Star Trek: Lower Decks just provided a possible answer to a question we never even thought to ask: Why do starships have carpets?
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4, Episode 5 – “Empathalogical Fallacies”
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- “Star Trek: Lower Decks” reveals why Starfleet starships have carpeting, as Betazoid diplomats joke about it being perfect to pass out on.
- The carpet joke in “Lower Decks” follows a similar joke made by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: Picard” season 3, bringing levity to emotional moments.
- While carpeting on starships may seem impractical, it would provide a more comfortable landing for crew members in turbulent situations.
Star Trek: Lower Decks just revealed a possible reason why many of Starfleet’s starships have carpeting. In Lower Decks season 4, episode 5, “Empathalogical Fallacies,” the USS Cerritos ferries three Betazoid diplomats from the planet Angel One to the planet Risa. The three women have clearly been enjoying themselves attending parties on Angel One, and they plan to continue their fun on the Cerritos. As Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell), and Lt. T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) escort the women to their quarters, the Betazoid women flirt and joke about their “mission.”
As Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Betazoid diplomats sip their large drinks out of Angel One souvenir cups, one of them exclaims: “Oh, I love your Starfleet carpeting. It’s perfect to pass out on.” It’s a quick joke, fired right at the beginning of the episode, and it provides an answer for a question viewers may never have thought to ask. Why do starships have carpet? While it’s true that carpeting would be preferable to hardwood or tile if one were going to pass out, this joke also follows a joke made by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek: Picard season 3.
Related: Star Trek: Lower Decks Cast Guide – Who Voices Each Character In All 4 Seasons
Star Trek’s Carpet Joke Follows Picard Season 3’s Carpet Joke
In Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 9, “Vox,” Commodore Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) reveals that he has completely rebuilt and restored the USS Enterprise-D. When the old TNG crew step onto the bridge of the Enterprise for the first time in decades, Admiral Picard casually remarks: “You know, it wasn’t until this moment, reunited with all of you I realize what I miss most. The carpet.” Jean-Luc Picard was never one to be overly emotional, so it’s fitting that he would bring levity to this otherwise very emotional moment.
Upon further reflection, it does seem odd that starships would have so much carpet when something like metal or tile would be more practical. With all the trouble Starfleet ships get into, it seems carpet would not only be unsanitary, but also a fire hazard. Although, looking back at Star Trek: The Next Generation, the bridge crew were often getting flung out of their chairs by energy beams or aliens’ weapons fire or unidentified space phenomena. Landing on carpeting would feel better than colliding with a solid metal floor.
Star Trek: Picard’s Titan Didn’t Have A Carpet But Enterprise-G Needs One
When Star Trek moved into the modern era of television, its starship designs were suitably updated. The USS Titan-A seems to have replaced any carpeting with sleek grey flooring. Despite all of the lights on the bridge of the Titan and the shiny, polished floors, the bridge feels much darker than the bridge of the Enterprise-D. The Titan’s sleeker, moodier look made sense for the story of Picard season 3. A lot of intense moments happened on that bridge, including the deaths of some of the Titan’s officers. A bright and cheery bridge with red carpets would have felt out of place.
On the other hand, maybe Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) wouldn’t have been injured so many times if he had landed on plush carpeting instead of the hard floors of the Titan’s bridge. The proposed Picard spin-off, Star Trek: Legacy, should include a brighter look for the bridge of the USS Enterprise-G, complete with carpeting, and it might help give Legacy an entirely new feel. Plus, who knows when officers will get flung out of their chairs or need to pass out? Better to channel those Betazoids from Star Trek: Lower Decks and embrace the Starfleet carpeting.
Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.