Star Trek: Lower Decks returns for its second season on Paramount+ on Thursday, offering new adventures and misadventures of the USS Cerritos crew. ComicBook.com has seen the first few episodes of the series. We won’t spoil anything significant, but a few quick jokes pop up involving characters making assumptions about romantic relationships between the lower deckers. They’re not the focus of any episodes, but it occurred enough to make one wonder if the show’s writers were trying to clue fans in on something. Or perhaps the opposite is accurate, and they’re disabusing audiences of the possibility of romantic connections forming.
“I shouldn’t be doing this, but I think I will speak for the writers,” Jack Quaid, who voices Ensign Boimler, ventured when we spoke to him and co-star Tawny Newsome, the voice of Ensign Mariner, via Zoom ahead of the show’s return. “I think it is them saying, ‘No, no, no, this is not a thing. They’re not romantic.”
“Definitely with ours,” Newsome adds. “I know with Mariner and Boimler, [Star Trek: Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan] and everyone wants to make clear, no, this is not a ‘will they, won’t they?’ This is a ‘they won’t, let’s continue from here.’ There’s still enough weirdness in the friendship, and there’s enough codependency that I think is so amazing to explore that adult friendship that gets too close. It is never in any way romantic, and I think that’s important for everyone to know that no one wants that.”
Quaid suggests, “I think it’s a will they, won’t they friendship… Two characters who are best friends but won’t admit it. I think that’s what we’re going for more than anything romantic.”
Newsome is less sure of what the plans are for the other frequently paired couple on the show, Ensigns Tendi and Rutherford.”Maybe that’s in someone’s mind?” she says. The actors who voice those roles, Noël Wells and Eugene Cordero, seem similarly uncertain and wonder how that would work for two enlisted Starfleet officers.
“There are undercurrents,” Wells said when we spoke to her and Cordero. “Whether or not it gets acted upon… I would be curious from an HR standpoint what that means for their working relationships and whether or not that’s appropriate. I don’t really know the rules on the Cerritos, so I would just consult and see if technically that’s even allowed. But I think that’s interesting, a human dynamic. Sometimes when you’re working with people and you have a really good rapport, if you’re not already in a relationship you’re like, ‘What does this mean? Is this my person?’ I think that that’s just an inevitable question you’ll have.”
Cordero notes that “Rutherford has been on dates with other people on the ship, with Barnes and stuff, so romantic aspects of things are possible, but I feel like, as of right one, these four lower decks members it’s almost like they’re in the same group in the same dorm and everything. They see it as being in the same team and rising up together, so I don’t know if that’s in the mindset, because right now I feel like everybody’s like, ‘No, no, no, that’s not happening. This is my best friend. Come on, let’s handle this business,’ or, ‘Let’s do this job.’ I think that’s the mentality that everybody is in on the ship, right now, as far as the four of them. We’ll see, moving forward, when they get more and more comfortable on the Cerritos, if anything else happens. But I can see them being great working relationships with each other.”