[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 2 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “First First Contact.”]
The Season 2 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks packed quite an emotional punch, as the U.S.S. Cerritos’s crew’s happy celebration took a tragic turn when Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) was arrested by Starfleet for unthinkable crimes. And how’s it all going to work out? All we know for sure is that the answer is coming in Season 3, thanks to the bold “To Be Continued…” card at the end of the episode (even using the classic Next Generation font).
Season 3 is in production now, but while star Jack Quaid didn’t provide any hints to Collider as to what might come next, he did have plenty to say about his reaction to the big twist, his own growing Trek fandom, his favorite and least favorite bits of Trek-speak, and whether there’s an easy answer to the question of “is Boimler the show’s Kirk or Spock?”
Collider: So I was thinking about how when you get a script for Lower Decks in comparison to The Boys, you must be excited that it’s animated and not live-action, so you don’t actually have to physically do some of that stuff.
JACK QUAID: Well, both Hughie and Boimler get covered in a lot of goo, but the difference is when Boimler gets covered in goo, I get to stay dry from the safety of a sound booth, so that’s great. But no, I get really excited when I get a script for either, but for Lower Decks, I’m always just… Every time I open up the script, I’m always just so surprised at what they’re able to do within the Star Trek universe.
I’ve said this a little bit before in other interviews, but I started off Lower Decks as a Trek fan, but not a huge Trek fan. Not that I didn’t like it. I just didn’t know a lot about it. But now through the show, and I’ve been watching a lot of TNG and Deep Space Nine at night, I’ve really gotten to get a really good grasp on the Star Trek universe. And so every time I open a script now, I’m like, “Oh, I understand that reference, or like, “Oh my God, they did that with this character?” And I just, I’m nerding out about it tenfold now. It’s awesome.
In terms of the dialogue, have you landed on bits of technobabble you really enjoy trying to do — and also technobabble you don’t enjoy?
QUAID: I really don’t like saying stardates for some reason. Because they have to be rattled off as if they’re very run of the mill, but it’s just hard for me to say. Looking at numbers on a page and saying them in a very official manner is very hard for me to do I realized, especially because I’m a guy that when I give someone my cell phone number, I always say oh instead of zero. With Star Trek, if you’re saying a stardate, you say zero. So that’s my tendency.
The rest of it, I’m pretty comfortable with. I often have to ask Liz Shannon Miller Mike McMahan for pronunciation notes on some alien species or how to say the Maquis. I didn’t really know how to pronounce that at first. But like I said, as I’ve been submerged myself further and further into Trek, it becomes easier for me to pronounce things because I actually have a memory of, “Oh, I saw that episode with Darmok,” or, “I saw that episode with the Jem’Hadar,” you know? So if I see it on a page now, now I actually know what I’m talking about in a way that I kind of did Season 1, but I definitely have more of a grasp on the scene.
That’s great. What’s been your takeaway from watching all this ’90s era Trek?
QUAID: Oh, I love it. I mean, it’s just so… I don’t know. I just think that these characters are just so iconic for a reason. And I think I give them so much more credit because they had to follow the original series, which it’s so iconic. They made Picard, and Worf, and Data, and Geordi — they made those characters just as iconic. They were like the follow-up show that originally no one really seemed to want, but they just stuck it out and it’s incredible. I just give so much credit to those actors doing that show at that time, having to follow something that big.
One of my favorite moments from Season 2 of Lower Decks is the moment where you see that Boimler and Mariner have carved their names into a bar the way that Kirk and Spock once did. I think my original version of the question was, well, if Boimler and Mariner are the new Kirk and Spock, who’s Kirk and who’s Spock? But I don’t know if it’s that simple.
QUAID: Yeah. I don’t know if we’re trying to say that we’re like the new Kirk and Spock. I think Kirk and Spock or Kirk and Spock, but I think within our show, within the Lower Decks show, we’re trying to say that Mariner and Boimler are a duo to be reckoned with. And I remember when I first read that… Actually, no. Tawny Newsome read that scene and then texted me about it being like, “Oh my God! Have you read Episode 5? They did something so great and so touching and it’s so cool.” She just nerded out on me and then when I read it, it was so cool just to have our names etched in the same bar that Kirk and Spock drank at. I’m nerding out about it as much as Boimler was.
But in terms of who’s Kirk and Spock, I think Mariner’s definitely Kirk. She’s a rebel. She doesn’t always go by the book and Boimler, with as much progress as he’s made this season in terms of letting go of his book smarts a little bit, and learning to roll with the punches a little bit more, I think he’s definitely the more, out of the two of them, the more logic. He’s definitely the more right-brain. So, yeah. I think Boimler out of the two of them is definitely the Spock.
Cool. I mean, that’s a proud tradition to uphold.
QUAID: I love it. Look, I’ll take it. It’s a very proud tradition, for sure.
In terms of this season, you’ve got this amazing cliffhanger that feels very old school, very, very authentic to the old Star Trek: Next Generation cliffhangers. What was your reaction to seeing it on the page for the first time?
QUAID: It was pretty crazy to see on the page. I think what hit me more was when I finally saw the episode and I saw in our Star Trek font, seeing, “To be continued,” at the end of the episode. I read on the page and it really hit me, but then watching it, it was a little bit like Shaxs dying last season. I read it on the page and I understood it was a big deal, but then watching Fred Tatasciore read those lines of like, “I got you, Baby Bear,” and all that stuff, like that made me tear up.
So watching Carol Freeman coming to the realization that she’s not being promoted, she’s being arrested, and listening to Dawnn Lewis’s performance, it really hit me because it comes from such a high moment for the crew where they just accomplished this amazing thing, and then to just hit us with that gutpunch of having her carted away was really impactful for me as simply a fan.
Of course. I mean, it really solidifies how the characters have really coalesced as a crew by that point in the show.
QUAID: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. The crew, the ensigns, the senior officers are all hanging out in the bar. They finally really bonded and it’s such a rewarding thing as an audience member to see all these characters interact with each other, bridge crew and lower decks. That was really something special. So to have that undercut by Freeman getting arrested is… Really hits you, or at least it did for me.
Of course. So with my last question, I just really quickly want to touch on Scream 5, or as you dubbed it, 5cream. [Pronounced “five-cream.”]
There are people out there who do think that genuinely should be the real title of the film and I’m curious if you have a statement on that matter.
QUAID: Well, I posted about this. So I have a friend, his name is Marty Abbe-Schneider. I grew up with him for like, since I was 13. He’s an artist and Melissa Barrera and I, we, for a wrap gift for the cast and crew… It was started as a joke and then it became really serious, like, “Oh yeah, 5cream forever.” And so we made, as a wrap gift, a T-shirt.
Yeah, I saw it on Instagram. It’s great.
QUAID: Yeah. So I think for the fans who are upset that it’s not called 5cream, just know that in our hearts, yeah, it is. For me, it’ll always be 5cream, so I think in some parallel universe it definitely is.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2 is streaming now on Paramount+.
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