Wait, Did Star Trek: Lower Decks Reference Breaking Bad In Its Latest Episode?

Rutherford on Star Trek: Lower Decks
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Warning! The following contains SPOILERS from the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “Trusted Sources.” Read at your own risk!

Star Trek: Lower Decks is a show that prides itself on references from the beloved franchise it hails from, and it does a great job at making them (as evidenced by the massive callback in the Season 3 premiere). I guess it should be no surprise then that it managed to seemingly reference another show’s Star Trek reference quite masterfully, provided that was the intention in the Season 3 penultimate, “Trusted Sources.” One might think referencing the world of Breaking Bad might stick out like a sore thumb on the sci-fi series, but judging from reactions to the episode, this one might’ve slid by without a lot of fans noticing. 

The moment in question happened when Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi were preparing for the annual pie eating contest on the Cerritos. The contest never actually happened, as Captain Freeman had it shut down after spotting Mariner covered in blueberry pie filling. Freeman did that because she feared that a visiting journalist might judge the ship and its crew, thinking they’re an unprofessional Starfleet vessel, which would reflect poorly on her. The four main protagonists all watched in horror as the pies were trashed, and all of their hard work and training ended up being for nothing. As mentioned though, we saw Mariner had a bunch of blueberry stains on her body, as seen in the photo below: 

Mariner and Journalist on Star Trek: Lower Decks on Paramount+

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Blueberry pie isn’t something often mentioned in Star Trek. In fact, if you look up blueberry pies and the space franchise online, chances are you’ll be directed to a specific scene from the Breaking Bad Season 5 episode “Blood Money.” In the episode, Jesse’s friend Badger pitched a Star Trek episode to Skinny Pete in which the crew of the Enterprise hosted a pie-eating contest. Badger originally stated the pies were made from tulaberry fruit, but when Skinny Pete claimed that tulaberry hails from Voyager, Badger switched it up to blueberry pies. He then proceeded to tell a story of how Chekov attempted to cheat during the competition by having Scotty use the transporter to remove the pie from his stomach as he ate, but was gravely injured as his insides were accidentally transported from his body. 

Fortunately, the pie contest was canceled, so no one had a chance to try that on Star Trek: Lower Decks. I’m not sure that would’ve happened anyway, though, as the off the wall and outrageous Paramount+ series does like to respect the franchise lore of Starfleet protocol as best as it can. If there was an accident involving a Starfleet officer being killed due to a pie-eating contest, someone or multiple people would be in the brig for a long time. Still, it’s cool to see that the series seemingly acknowledged Badger’s offbeat idea, especially given the attention the fandom has given the scene over the years. 

Star Trek: Lower Decks is just one episode away from the Season 3 finale, and there’s a reason for fans to be concerned. Captain Freeman officially transferred her daughter/Ensign Mariner off of the Cerritos after mistakenly blaming her for making the rest of the crew look bad during her interview with the visiting journalist. It’s hard to imagine Lower Decks will write off one of its biggest characters in Mariner, especially considering we know she’ll be in the live-action Strange New Worlds crossover next year (which Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan is a part of), but perhaps this new plot will lead to some interesting happenings in the finale. 

Stream Star Trek: Lower Decks right now with a Paramount+ subscription. Fans might be bummed out the Season 3 finale is nearly here, but rest assured, there’s still plenty of new Star Trek content on the way in the coming months to enjoy. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.