“Tacky Cardassian fascist eyesore.”
The jokes begin flying fast and furious once the Cerritos drops out of warp early in the latest episode of “Lower Decks,” as the original theme song from “Deep Space Nine” kicks in and the familiar locale comes into view … until Security Chief Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) hilariously ruins the mood by spitting venom at the space station’s design. That and the opening gag featuring the Cerritos slowly circling around the space station for an unbearable amount of time — a crack at the opening title sequence of “Deep Space Nine,” which received a certain amount of lighthearted pushback for its ponderous and rather solemn credits — help set the tone for what’s to come in this episode of “Lower Decks.”
But for those in need of context, some background information couldn’t hurt!
Deep Space Nine was originally commanded by the hated Cardassians (who named it Terok Nor, at the time) and built by enslaved Bajorans while their nearby home world Bajor was under occupation, neatly explaining the Bajoran Shaxs’ lingering feelings of ill will at the mere sight of it. After the ceasing of hostilities (officially, at least) and the Cardassian withdrawal, “Deep Space Nine” (the series, not the station) began proper with Starfleet stepping in and becoming a complicated presence on the station — Bajor retained territorial rights over the station through its Bajoran first officer, Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor, who returns to voice her fan-favorite character), while Starfleet sent Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) to take on the role of station commander.
By the time our “Lower Decks” crew arrives, Kira has since been promoted to the top role and has acclimated well to the rigors of overseeing the day-to-day routines of the station, giving fans a welcome sense of closure.