“I definitely wanted to do a story to explain where Rutherford got his implant from,” McMahan says.
There are memories that Rutherford isn’t able to fully recall but definitely create more questions for him to answer and a deeper backstory for fans to explore in later episodes. This is even more significant in the context of Lower Decks, because it marks a more serious note to the development of the characters in this comedy than what we’ve seen in previous episodes of the series.
“[Rutherford’s story in this episode] was partly inspired by the revelations we learn about Dr. Julian Bashir in Deep Space Nine,” he says, referring to classic Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, “Doctor Bashir, I Presume?” in which it was revealed that Dr. Bashir was actually a genetically enhanced being. That secret that sent his father to prison for two years and almost caused Bashir to lose his commission as a Starfleet officer. Revelations like these changed Bashir’s character forever and spawned a series of stories that sometimes had sinister repercussions.
McMahan sees similar implications for Rutherford down the road.
“Finding out that he used to be a different person, one who was a little less likable, who became this likeable Starfleet Officer, so genuine… and yet that’s the version of him he liked the most,” McMahan points out. “It was just like Bashir who chose to say: ‘you’re not defined by the choices you made in the past, but by who you are.’ I just thought that was touching.”
The parallels with Julian Bashir’s secretive background could potentially put Rutherford on a similar path for fans to discover more about him in future Star Trek: Lower Decks episodes. After all, who doesn’t love a good character origin story?