Honestly, with “Lower Decks” having riffed on theme parks in the past, it was probably only a matter of time before the animated “Trek” series put Disneyland squarely in its crosshairs. Opting for a more restrained approach this time around, however, “The Inner Fight” left its jabs mostly as subtext by taking the action to the “pickpocket district” of the Western-coded planet of New Axton, where the Cerritos crew are looking to barter for information on Nick Locarno (who, of course, is another callback to a very specific episode of “The Next Generation”).
Even beyond the very “Star Wars”-inspired architecture of the buildings and the general atmosphere of ne’er-do-wells running amok in the seediest part of town, the trouble begins early for our Starfleet heroes. The local inhabitants demand that the Cerritos “park” around a moon in orbit, as opposed to setting down on the planet surface right then and there. Sound familiar? It should to anyone who’s had the misfortune of leaving their car in a parking garage and walking the rest of the way to the actual park — not unlike the unconscionably long shuttle ride that Freeman, Rutherford, and Shax are forced to endure. Even Mudd’s establishment has a strict waitlist, ostensibly to keep out those uppity Starfleet officers but still startlingly similar to the long wait ahead of anyone trying to visit one of the many bars and restaurants at Galaxy’s Edge. Even the preferential treatment afforded to certain patrons ahead of our Starfleet characters feels like a shot at those able to afford VIP tours and FastPass!
Episode 9 contains bigger revelations ahead of next week’s finale, but there’s no denying the fun to be had in seeing “Lower Decks” spare a moment to poke fun at “Star Wars.”