Star Trek.: Lower Decks’ “Hear All, Trust Nothing”—Worth the trek to Deep Space Nine?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: A re-creation of "Quark's Bar" from the "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" TV series on display at "Star Trek - The Exhibition" at the Hollywood & Highland complex on October 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: A re-creation of "Quark's Bar" from the "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" TV series on display at "Star Trek - The Exhibition" at the Hollywood & Highland complex on October 10, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images) /

The Star Trek: Lower Decks crew visited Deep Space Nine in “Hear All, Trust Nothing.”

In “Hear All, Trust Nothing,” the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the U.S.S. Cerritos pays an unexpected and ultimately action-packed visit to Deep Space Nine. This episode could be considered “proof of concept” of the animated series’ ability to crossover with live-action productions, as it will do again in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ second season. But was this experiment in mix-and-match Star Trek a successful one?

Virtually all the reaction I’ve seen online proclaims “Hear All, Trust Nothing” a huge success. Gizmodo called the episode “perfect beyond pastiche.” Slashfilm gushed that Lower Decks forged “an incredible connection with a beloved Deep Space Nine character.” Giant Freakin Robot even said the show’s tour of Deep Space Nine looked “glorious.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine isn’t my favorite Star Trek series. But I do deeply respect it. While I rarely choose to rewatch it, I grant it contains the most consistently excellent writing, acting, and production values in the franchise. One reason I don’t casually dip in and out of DS9 is because its seven seasons feel more like a cohesive whole than any of the other series’ seasons do. DS9 is a rich, unified narrative best enjoyed start to finish.

Perhaps my attitude toward the series is why Lower Decks’ one-off jaunt to DS9 struck me as enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying.

“Hear All, Trust Nothing” was a superficial trip back to Deep Space Nine.

Does “Hear All, Trust Nothing” offer more than pastiche, as Gizmodo posits? Undeniably. Some of the episode’s funniest moments are purely parody—especially (and even after its reveal before this season started) the Cerritos stalling for time by circling around the station and “pretending we’re in awe of the pylons,” lovingly poking fun at DS9’s leisurely opening credit sequence.

But the episode does go beyond send-up. The plot involving Captain Freeman’s diplomatic negotiations with the Karemma, and the way in which Quark’s endless pursuit of profit threatens them, feels like it could have come from an actual DS9 episode. Armin Shimerman’s vocal performance as Quark really helped sell it, especially in the final act. (“I may have borrowed a Karemma replicator some years ago, but it was my codes that made it so popular!”)

Does the station look “glorious” in animated form, per GFR? I might not go that far. But it looks impressive, and generally faithful to the live-action sets. I noticed a few comedic embellishments—“QUARK’S” spelled out on Las Vegas-esque diamond-shaped tiles, for instance, and the presence of a “Bat’leths ‘R’ Us” stand on the Promenade. But by and large, I appreciate why ardent Deep Space Nine fans felt as though “Hear All, Trust Nothing” was a homecoming.

But as for that “incredible connection” of which Slashfilm is singing praises? I don’t feel it. It’s not surprising Colonel Kira and Shaxs served together in the Bajoran resistance. But their continuous, ridiculous outdoing of “owing each other one” quickly became an old joke. Even though Nana Visitor turned in a first-rate vocal performance as Kira, this odd refusal to acknowledge how a fellow Bajoran had helped her, and his refusal in return, felt out of place, and not like the Kira I came to know over seven seasons. (Ditto her undignified running after Quark, nearly Wile E. Coyote-style, to get a certain holosuite program out of his hands.)

What’s more, this episode’s most “incredible” character work was done—and rightly so—in the service of the Lower Decks characters.

The Mariner and Jennifer subplot kept us aboard the Cerritos too long when we could have been seeing more of DS9, but it did significantly advance their relationship. On the other hand, Tendi’s interactions with Mesk (delightfully voiced by Adam Pally) becomes a thrilling showcase for everyone’s favorite Orion science officer trainee, complete with glorious orchestral score from Chris Westlake. These two plots delivered a message about accepting yourself and others as who you and they truly are with finesse. Tendi’s plot could have carried an episode all in itself.

Yet these two plots, the episode’s emotional heart, could have taken place anywhere. Neither one involved Kira or Quark more than tangentially. For that matter, the lack of DS9 characters beyond these two, welcome though they were, made this return to the station feel less like a family reunion than a visit to your childhood house after new owners and neighbors have moved in. (At least Morn was still around.)

For my slips of gold-pressed latinum, “Hear All, Trust Nothing” was frequently funny and clever, but less than completely satisfying. The voice cameos, familiar settings, and Easter eggs only underscored that Lower Decks, in one 24-minute episode, can’t do more than engage the world of Deep Space Nine at a superficial, nostalgic level.

In the end, I felt the episode took us back to DS9 less as old friends and more like tourists, desperately wishing we could dangle our legs off the Promenade’s second level the way Rutherford did.

Every Deep Space Nine cameo on Star Trek: Lower Decks’ “Hear All, Trust Nothing". dark. Next