But wait a minute. Didn’t Riker also make a surprise appearance in the season finale of Star Trek: Picard? Yep, that’s right, superficially, the last-minute Riker-rescue in Lower Decks is eerily similar to the Season 1 finale of Star Trek: Picard, which only happened back in March of 2020. And, in “Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2,” just like in “No Small Parts,” a last-minute rescue from Riker, commanding a super-powered starship is what saves the day. Did “No Small Parts” rip-off “Et in Arcadia Ego Part 2?” Is there any connection to these Riker-rescues?
The short answer is: Probably not. Michael Chabon, Akiva Goldsman and Kirsten Beyer were working on Picard separately from what was happening on Lower Decks. Yes, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis had to be involved in both shows, but it seems unlikely that Mike McMahan called Michael Chabon and said: “Hey, let’s make sure both our season finales have Riker showing up at the last minute and getting all mouthy and hilarious.”
And yet. Here we are. Back-to-back season finales have pulled Beardo Numero Uno in for a last-minute assist. This fact gets weirder when you consider that Riker and Troi also appeared in the series finale for Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, aka the episode “These Are the Voyages…” In the Lower Decks finale, Riker references this outright, when he says he was on the holodeck watching “the first Enterprise.”
Lower Decks seems aware that bringing in Riker and Troi in for your season finale is kind of a joke, because it already happened in Enterprise in 2005. BUT, because it also just happened on Picard, too, it feels not just doubly funny, but now, triply funny. What next? Will Discovery reveal that one of Kestra Troi-Riker’s descendants is named Will and he lives in the year 3188 and he’s played by Jonathan Frakes? Will Thomas Riker appear in Lower Decks Season 2? Will the Section 31 show try to figure out why Riker is always popping up at the last minute?