Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Shows Off Every Part Of A Starship You Never Think About

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" is an endlessly enteraining show because it delights in showing off the many, many parts of "Star Trek" lore that past franchise installments never had time to explore. Sometimes, that means revisiting a kooky planet, but other times, the show digs deep into the unexplored intricacies of Starfleet life. This week's episode, "Room For Growth," sees the Cerritos crew exploring some of the lesser-known parts of their own ship, poking fun at the seemingly endless configuration of specialized rooms that have appeared in "Star Trek" ship layouts of the past.

The adventure begins when Boimler (Jack Quaid), Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Tendi (Noel Wells), and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) discover that the Cerrito is having a room lottery, one that could land them some sweet, non-hallway digs where they don't have to worry about bedtime being interrupted by dramatic upper deck crew plotlines. When Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) floats by, possessed by a cursed mask she was trying to inventory, it's the last straw for the gang.

A tour of familiar places

Throughout the episode, the Cerritos lower deckers explore the ship from a perspective we've rarely seen before: within the maintenance systems. Their journey begins with a holodeck room, where they witness T'Ana (Gillian Vigman) and Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) engaging in what turns out to be some adventurous roleplay as they playact their way through a noir-style bank robbery. Unlike so many of the gags on "Star Trek: Lower Decks," this doesn't seem to be a direct callback to any other Trek shows, but it does call to mind "The Big Goodbye," a holodeck-heavy episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that pays homage to classic noir-style detective stories.

Next up, the Cerritos crew makes their way to a hydroponics bay, which Tendi explains is great for medical research. Mariner isn't so convinced, calling the place a swamp, but when they accidentally get gassed by a hallucinogenic Tamarian root, they start going on a long, strange trip. The hydroponics bay is another starship feature Trek fans have seen before, most prominently in "Star Trek: Voyager." Called airoponics in that series, the greenhouse-style area was a place of natural discovery, where Kes (Jennifer Lien) and Neelix (Ethan Phillips) could often be seen. "What kind of weirdo signs up for a job in outer space just to garden?" Mariner says, before a shot cuts to Kayshon (Carl Tart) having a grand old time talking to flowers.

The Cerritos goes full Willy Wonka

Finally, before the lower decks crew realizes their whole mission has been for naught, they discover a low-gravity room, where Boimler floats around, declaring himself Anti-Grav Boy. This, too, seems to be a throwback to a seemingly useless room that's popped up before in "Star Trek" history, including on the cargo module ECS Fortunate in "Star Trek: Enterprise." While Trek lore explains that most space explorers are on ships designed to utilize "artificial gravity," the Fortunate featured a spot where its crew could throw a football through a nearly zero G environment just for kicks.

This last room also makes another of the episode's possible homages apparent, one that has nothing to do with "Star Trek." As Boimler confidently twirls through the sky, unaware of the fact that he'll soon become dangerously stretched by the environment, it calls to mind the third act of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," when Fizzy Lifting Drinks send Charlie Bucket skyward. It might be a silly comparison, but it's an apt one, too. The lower decks crew is forever enamored with the weird wonders of Starfleet culture and space exploration, even if they often end up in situations that are dangerous and strange. The Cerritos is their own chocolate factory, a seemingly infinite place of adventures and discoveries that are definitely worth sleeping in a hallway to experience.