“You’re the First One They Sacrifice”: Lower Decks Is a Lie, as Harry Kim Admits Being a Star Trek Ensign Is Actually Hell – News Today

“You’re the First One They Sacrifice”: Lower Decks Is a Lie, as Harry Kim Admits Being a Star Trek Ensign Is Actually Hell

Star Trek: Lower Decks may show the fun side of being the lowest rung on the ladder, but Harry Kim has some ideas of his own.

Star Trek Voyager The Thaw Harry Kim

Summary

  • Ensigns in the Star Trek universe are often expendable, as shown by the high casualty rate on away missions.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks takes a comedic approach to the lives of ensigns, finding humor in their lower-ranking tasks.
  • Harry Kim’s jaded outlook on lower deckers stems from his dangerous experiences on Voyager, while the crew of the Ceritios has a safer work environment.

Warning: contains spoilers for Star Trek #16!

Lower Decks shows the lighter side of being a Star Trek ensign, but Harry Kim has a far different outlook. Harry was Voyager’s Operations Officer, an integral part of the crew–but was never promoted beyond ensign in the show’s seven seasons. Harry spent many hours as a “lower decker” and, as seen in Star Trek #16, it has made him jaded, and he offers a sharp rebuke to Lower Decks.

Star Trek #16 is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly and drawn by Marcus To. Harry and Ensign Sato are having some downtime during the Tzenkethi crisis. Harry tells Sato he was an ensign for seven years, and how, during that time, he was continually put in danger. He opaquely references some of his Voyager adventures, and tells Sato being on the lower decks is not a “breeze” and it’s actually terrifying.

Three panels of Harry Kim and Ensign Sato discussing how it sucks to be on the lower decks.

He concludes by saying ensigns like him were always sacrificed first and were the ones expected to be left behind.

Harry Has a Point: Ensigns Are Expendable

Star Trek Original Series Redshirts

Harry Kim is not entirely wrong. In the Star Trek universe, ensigns and lieutenant junior grades are some of the most expendable characters. In the Original Series, nearly every landing party had one or two ensigns beam down with Kirk, but their safety was not guaranteed. Indeed, the sheer number of crewmembers who were killed on away missions became something of a franchise trope. Later Star Trek shows dialed this back, but lower deckers still tended to be the victims of mishaps and still had an expendable quality to them.

However, Star Trek: Lower Decks takes a whole different view of being the lowest rung on the ladder. The animated show depicts the lives of four lower deckers on board the USS Ceritios in the 24th century. Comedic in nature, Lower Decks shows the lowly tasks that ensigns perform aboard starships, some of which Harry Kim references while talking to Sato. Lower Decks finds humor and humanity in cleaning out warp injectors and maintaining the replicators. It gives a look at the chain of command on board Starfleet vessels, and how starship operations work.

Star-trek-voyager-Harry-Kim-
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Harry’s Attitude Towards the Lower Decks Is Unfortunate, But Understandable

Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager.

The difference between life on Lower Decks and Harry Kim’s views may lie in their experiences. Harry was on board Voyager, lost in the Delta Quadrant for seven years. Nearly every mission was breaking new ground, and every race was a first contact. This created an unbelievably dangerous work atmosphere, and it appropriately tainted Harry’s way of thinking. The crew of the Ceritios, on the other hand, travels in Federation space, where the stakes are a little less high. Harry Kim’s cynical view of Star Trek’s ensigns may stand in stark contrast to Lower Decks, but he is not wrong.

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