Two TNG Stars Returned In Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season Finale

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The season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks dropped today and it featured a couple of cameos from two franchise favorites. Despite its irreverent sense of humor, the animated series has always displayed a deep love for the Trek universe, featuring endless easter eggs, references and connections to make fans happy. And in the debut run’s final outing, titled “No Small Parts,” we discovered that the show saved perhaps its best treat for last.

The episode saw the U.S.S. Cerritos coming under threat from the Pakleds, as first introduced in The Next Generation‘s “Samaritan’s Snare.” Thankfully, two veterans of the Enterprise’s encounter with the alien race were on hand to save the day. None other than Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) responds to the Cerritos’ distress call aboard the U.S.S. Titan, with his wife Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) by his side.

Riker wastes no time in destroying the Pakled ships and hopping aboard the Cerritos for some socializing, at which point we learn about his unexpected connection with Captain Freeman. It turns out he was Freeman’s mentor and is on friendly terms with her daughter Mariner. In fact, he’s actually the source of the Ensign’s secret contraband, which gets him in trouble with his wife when it comes out.

Of course, this is the second time this year that Frakes and Sirtis have returned to their roles, following their live-action comeback in Picard season 1. As per Lower Decks being set shortly after Star Trek: Nemesis, though, the couple are based on the Titan. This is a pretty big moment for fans, then, as it’s the first time that we actually got to see the ship that Riker commanded. There’s also an additional fun easter egg to his cameo as he goes off to watch a holo-program of Archer’s adventures on the Enterprise at one point, referencing the infamous Enterprise finale.

With Star Trek: Lower Decks now concluded, Star Trek: Discovery season 3 kicks off on CBS All Access next week.