“Walk, don’t run”
One of the most persistent problems with franchise media is what I call the Mickey Mouse problem. Mickey Mouse is Disney’s most famous character and one of their most valuable assets, but when was the last time you saw a Mickey Mouse cartoon? Mickey is also Disney’s de facto corporate logo, possibly more recognizable than their actual logo, so the notoriously risk-averse media giant can’t do anything that will risk his image.
Very Short Treks has been all about bucking the Mickey Mouse problem, doing very risky and naughty things with beloved characters. So it’s disappointing to see the final episode play it safe, with an episode that ends with everyone talking about how great everyone else is.
It starts with Tendi from Lower Decks talking to the camera about Star Trek: The Animated Series, with Arex, M’Ress, and Scotty. Scotty is the odd man out there since the other two are exclusive to TAS (maybe it’s a reference to the fact that James Doohan voiced Arex. Who knows.)
When Tendi uses the phrase “they walked so that we can run.” That starts an argument over the implication that TAS is more primitive than the current animated series, but it’s just lazy filler until the love-in.
Then Sulu and Riker enter. Again, Riker is the odd man out, as this isn’t even his era. But I can’t fault this, because there’s a musical number coming up, and Riker plays the trombone, and trombones are the funniest musical instrument there is. The song is fun and catchy, but the fandom can and has done it better.
It’s also nice to see Tendi. She’s criminally underused on Lower Decks, and Noēl Wells’ sunny ‘just happy to be here’ vibe is very Star Trek.