Captain Riker’s arrival on Star Trek: Lower Decks revealed he was Ensign Beckett Mariner’s mentor but that story hasn’t been explored since.
Captain William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) saved the day in Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ season 1 finale, but the show seems to have forgotten the bombshell that Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) was Riker’s protégé. Riker and the USS Titan rode to the rescue of the USS Cerritos in Lower Decks‘ season 1 ending, “No Small Parts,” which prompted Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) to transfer from the Cerritos to the Titan. Riker returned for two episodes in Lower Decks season 2 but the mystery of his past with Mariner is still unsolved.
Riker became Captain of the Titan at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis but it took almost 20 years for Star Trek fans to actually see him in action commanding his starship. After Captain Riker and his wife, Commander Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), rescued the Cerritos from the Pakleds, they drank and partied with Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) and the Cerritos’ crew. Riker and the Titan continued their action-packed, ‘serialized’ adventures with Boimler aboard until Bradward accidentally created a transporter duplicate of himself named William Boimler. Riker kept William aboard and sent Brad packing back to the Cerritos, where a dejected Mariner was waiting.
Star Trek Forgot Lower Decks’ Mariner Was Riker’s Protégé
Star Trek: Lower Decks is about to enter season 4, but there has been no significant follow-through on Mariner’s past with Riker, which presumably took place on the USS Enterprise-E, given Beckett’s age. Riker and Mariner are obviously tight, and the fact that she ribs him so informally indicates they go way back. Riker says Mariner’s mother, Captain Freeman, was “sort of” his cha’DIch (Klingon for ‘mentor’), and Will paid it back by teaching Mariner a thing or two, as well as hooking her up with contraband. But Riker’s story became entwined with Boimler’s in his Lower Decks season 2 appearances, leaving big lingering questions about how, when, and what happened when Mariner was Riker’s protégé.
Plenty of mysteries still surround the unusually prolific Starfleet record of Ensign Beckett Mariner. Besides working with Riker, there are persuasive indications that Beckett served on Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War, given her closeness to the station’s Number One, Colonel Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor), and Quark (Armin Shimerman). The last two Lower Decks seasons focused on Mariner’s evolving relationship with her exasperated mother, Captain Freeman, but Beckett’s history with Riker and the Enterprise is so intriguing that hopefully more answers are coming in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4.
Will Captain Riker Return To Star Trek: Lower Decks?
Captain Riker missed all of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3, but hopefully, he will reappear in season 4. The main reference to the USS Titan in Lower Decks season 3 was William Boimler faking his death in order to secretly join Section 31. Seeing Riker in Lower Decks is a joyful contrast to his appearances in Star Trek: Picard; in Lower Decks‘ 2380s time frame, Will is having the time of his life as Captain of his own starship, and he leads the Titan with a hilariously jazzy, wildman style.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 is poised to give Riker his most significant amount of screen time and story since Star Trek: The Next Generation was still on the air. Riker looks to be the main person Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) turns to for help to kick off Picard season 3’s story. But fingers are crossed that Captain Riker will return to Star Trek: Lower Decks to give more background and context to when Ensign Mariner was his protégé.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 premieres in 2023 on Paramount+.