While this article avoids spoilers, eight episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 were watched for review.

Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Random and Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner appearing in episode 2, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023.
Photos: Paramount+.

In Lower Decks season 4, the crew of the California Class USS Cerritos return for a fourth batch of adventures. Yet in spite of the fact that the series has proven its core concept three times over, Lower Decks season 4 is not content to rest on its narrative haunches, instead pushing further into series (and Franchise) themes and digging deeper progressively deeper into both Trek and Lower Decker lore.

Beyond Bold Boimler

In Lower Decks season 3, Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) pushed himself to be more “bold.” In Lower Decks season 4, there’s a clear effort by the series to extend its boundaries in a similar way. 

While Lower Decks season 2 concluded with a cliffhanger, Lower Decks season 3 closed on a relatively stable situation. This included Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) rejoining the crew of the Cerritos at the conclusion of the season finale, “The Stars At Night.” Furthermore, while Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) confronted the true origins of his implant over the course of the third season, he elected to retain it in “The Stars At Night.”

Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Gabrielle Ruiz as TíLyn, Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner and Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler

By opening on these relatively stable character situations, Lower Decks season 4 is free to launch Beta Shift and the Cerritos crew at large into strange, new situations. Building on the first three seasons, the show is able to confidently throw its characters into some unusually bizarre situations (even by Star Trek standards). This yields memorable, engaging, and entertaining results.

Far Beyond the Cartoons

Lower Decks season 4 also continues a trend the series has been leaning into since its first season finale: the unabashed integration and exploration of previously established Star Trek canon. This includes guest stars and episode plots that heavily draw upon previous shows, falling into the vein of episodes like season 3’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine crossover, “Hear All, Trust Nothing.”

There’s also a continued exploration of one of Trek’s oldest-yet-arguably-least-developed alien species, the Orion. As one of the first Orion officers in Starfleet, Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) has offered an increasingly complex depiction of an individual who is working against people’s preconceived notions. This has afforded Lower Decks the opportunity to more fully flesh out the Orion, with fantastic thematic results.

Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi and Gabrielle Ruiz as TíLyn appearing in episode 1, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023.

The expansion of established Star Trek aliens is also present through the inclusion of Provisional Ensign T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz). Lower Decks fans already fell in love with T’Lyn when she appeared in season 2’s “wej Duj,” and her transfer to the Cerritos in “The Stars At Night” provides another narrative springboard for the series to launch off as soon as season 4 begins. Previous glimpses of Vulcan characters on Lower Decks have already proven to be incredibly entertaining, and T’Lyn’s more prominent presence only allows for these to increase.

Finally, in addition to mining the wider Trek canon, Lower Decks season 4 also digs deep into its own continuity. This includes elements ranging from individual characters (as revealed by the season 3 commentaries and season 4 trailer) to the return of Trek species first introduced by the series. Not only do these provide narrative fodder as fertile as the other included Trek elements, but they will leave the viewer looking forward to what will hopefully be many additional seasons of Lower Decks, so as to explore these elements further still.

Lower Decks season 4

The performances of every actor involved in this season are excellent and include impeccable and unexpected deliveries of many lines destined to become well-quoted classics. In addition to the Beta Shifters mentioned above, the Cerritos bridge crew continues to steal the show.

This includes the unimpeachable Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), the underrated First Officer Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell), the hilarious Shax (Fred Tatasciore) and Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman), the quotable Kayshon (Carl Tart), head engineer Andy Billups (Paul Scheer) and ship counselor Doctor Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins).

And of course, there are also many additional Cerritos crewmembers that appear over the course of the season. As befits its long-standing central concept, every character in Lower Decks season 4 feels fleshed out, even if they only speak a few lines. 

This is another batch of top-notch character-based sci-fi stories. It’s no wonder Trekkies can’t get enough Lower Decks.

The fourth season of Lower Decks premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday, September 7th, 2023. 

Keep up with all of The Beat’s Star Trek coverage here.


  1. Jerry O’Connell comes to my picketline in Studio City at least once a week. The first time he brought wife Rebecca along with Jason Ritter when we were on the Colfax side and since the sun was blazing hot on that side of the studio, a bottle of mineral water left out in the sun too long exploded and the glass nearly hit her. She hasn’t been back since, even though we won a labor dispute to picket on the Radford side, but still Jerry comes around bringing other celebrity pals with him and we all have a great time.


    Coat (WGA strike coordinator for CBS Radford Studio City)

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