I was a bit skeptical about Star Trek: Lower Decks, though was at least willing to give it a try. But after two unfunny episodes, I’m about ready to tap out. It’s not that I don’t think Star Trek can’t be a knockabout animated comedy, but I wish it was more focused, less hyperactive and actually had something to say about being at the bottom of the Starfleet food chain.
Despite that, the show is at least good at dropping references to obscure Star Trek stuff. So far, we’ve seen a Benzite, a character wearing a ‘skant’ and the reappearance of Jean-Luc Picard’s beloved dune buggy. But now the series has dropped a mention of something that has even hardened Trekkies scratching their heads.
In the second episode, we saw Ensign Rutherford in a training simulator failing in various embarrassing ways. At one point, he’s encouraged to use “the Janeway protocol,” a move the show is very coy about explaining. It’s obviously a reference to Voyager‘s Captain Janeway, but what’s the manoeuvre?
Well, there are a couple of theories doing the rounds among the fans. One could be that this refers to plowing your starship straight into the thing that’s causing you trouble. This doesn’t sound particularly smart, but in the Voyager episodes “Parallax” and “Year of Hell,” we saw Janeway doing just that.
In her words:
“In command school, they taught us to always remember that maneuvering a starship is a very delicate process, but over the years, I’ve learned that, sometimes, you just have to punch your way through. Mr. Paris, full impulse power!”
If this is the move, it’d certainly explain why the Lower Decks helm officer freaks out a little at the suggestion of it. But there may be another option.
Voyager often played with time travel, resetting a year’s timeline in “Year of Hell,” sacrificing the crew of an alternate Voyager in “Deadlock” and Janeway being assisted by an older version of herself in series finale “Endgame.” So, with the problem in Lower Decks being a temporal rift, perhaps a solution to the issue may be to simply reset the timeline to prevent the problem from ever having occurred in the first place?
In any case, hopefully we’ll find out more as Star Trek: Lower Decks continues to air new episodes on Thursdays on CBS All Access.