‘Lower Decks’ season finale: The origin story that got away

"Old Friends, New Planets" seems to be an episode ripe for some sort of major character payoff, specifically around Mariner and/or Locarno. This seems especially true at the beginning of the episode when it smartly flashes back to 13 years earlier, where we see Locarno convincing his Nova Squadron team to take on the Kolvoord Starburst maneuver that would ultimately get their friend Josh killed in the accident at the center of TNG‘s classic "The First Duty." We see Mariner on the periphery of this group ("practically a junior member," Locarno notes), and we witness her hero worship of Sito Jaxa. Robert Duncan McNeill, Wil Wheaton, and Shannon Fill (the last of whom hasn’t acted since 1995) all return to voice the cadets from that episode. The opportunity for character backstory seems endlessly promising.

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