Lower Decks Recap: “Veritas” (Season 1, Episode 8)

This episode is probably the first in the season where the senior staff’s professional respect and appreciation for their lower decks crewmates are finally called into question. First thing out of the gate, our Favorite Four are in trouble. Locked together in what is obviously some sort of holding cell, Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford, and Tendi try to ascertain what could have warranted such a harsh change of scenery. Mariner tries to assume the best, that maybe this dank cell could be something less dire than it appears to be, but the floor starts to rise and suddenly they’re being hurled towards a bright light above. Is Mariner still too flippant for her own good? Did Tendi exceed her replicator quota? Will Boimler get back in time for his pottery class??

So far, these bright (albeit bumbling and irreverent) young ensigns have been slandered, exploited, and somehow simultaneously overlooked by their commanding officers. “Veritas” brings all of that to the forefront in a seemingly harrowing situation for both the Fave Four and their bosses.

Arriving in a chamber that bears a striking resemblance to the Klingon court that charged Kirk and McCoy with murdering a Klingon chancellor in The Undiscovered Country, right down to the skull-shaped gavel. Who wouldn’t think this was a trial? Especially considering the fact that the K’Tuevian before them calls them to testify as witnesses to the deeds of their commanding officers, who happen to be suspended before in mid-air by a beam of light.

Following demands that they tell the truth through a sacred horn, the Fave Four recount the days in question. Not only do they illustrate that their commanders keep them on a need-to-know basis, the four of them demonstrate that no matter how much they might botch protocol, these Starfleet officers are up for the task.

Nestled inside every free nook and cranny of this episode are the references, the little gems of Trek lore that we’ve come to expect from this show overall. This one takes the fandom cake, however, featuring appearances by a salt-sucker, running silent while Romulans scan nearby, a Gorn wedding, and John de Lancie reprising his role as Q (but sounding a hell of a lot more whimsical, like Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic…but that could be a matter of tomatoes and tomahtoes at this point).

The K’Tuevian grows more and more agitated when the Fave Four can’t give him the answers he’s searching for, until Boimler reveals the ultimate, undeniable truth: the senior officers don’t tell Lower Decks anything. Armed with righteous indignation, he then vehemently defends his Captain and her bridge crew, holding the “court” in contempt for attempting to slander them. In doing so, Boimler forces the K’Tuevian to reveal that Mariner was correct, in that it wasn’t a trial at all, but a thank you party to the crew of the Cerritos for rescuing him from Romulan imprisonment.

In the end, Captain Freeman commends her ensigns for upholding the ideals of Starfleet even when in a seemingly compromising scenario. She promises to keep the Fave Four and the rest of the lower decks better informed about the ship’s missions, and instantly regrets it when she’s bombarded by their questions about the mission they each had an unknowing part in. Satisfied with knowing they weren’t wrong and they weren’t really in trouble, the Fave Four return below, only to be intercepted by Q, who is clearly back on his bullsh*t.

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