It’s another episode of Lower Decks, and amidst all the quick-fire jokes and impressive visuals, we learn Another Valuable Lesson: sure we love treaties, Tellarites, timelines and the exciting new T88 model tricorder, but what we’re really here for is hang time with people we love and the sheer joyous ridiculousness of it all. Live long and prosper, friends!
This week, Joe and Nathan work on their most pressing psychological problems by smashing the ship’s counsellor’s favourite bonsai, storming off to the holodeck, making fun of the Star Trek movie series, and playing the most violent (and possibly racist) video game in the history of the franchise. Everything turns out for the best, though, because good friends forgive, and they’ll always have time to hang out and admire the warp core.
This week, Star Trek: Lower Decks does what it does best: plumbing the depths of the franchise’s weirdest moments to produce something fun, entertaining, and sympathetic to its ideals. Which is why we get to root for some underappreciated and frequently mispronounced alien monsters, and why those two beautiful nerdy men, Boimler and Rutherford, get to save the day not with violence, but with a PowerPoint presentation and some maths.
It’s Star Trek’s most terrifying crew evaluation since Coming of Age: the crew of the USS Cerritos confront a ridiculous alien from Star Trek: The Animated Series, the Terran Empire, medical ethics, an unconvincing Old West set on the Paramount lot, the plot of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the Borg, complex strings of water molecules which acquire carbon from the body and act on the brain like alcohol, hexagonal crates in the cargo bay, and the plot of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. But more than anything, they confront the need to work together and respect each other. Because this is — and of course it is — Star Trek.
A game of Bat’leths & BiHnuchs takes a surprising turn, as Mariner and Boimler make some very important decisions: Mariner is going to be less insubordinate, while Boimler is going to boldly take opportunities he has never taken before. But soon Mariner finds herself ignoring Ransom’s orders and plummeting from an orbital platform to save her crewmates, while Boimler plays some springball, joins a Bajoran dirge choir, models nude for a figure painting class, and is finally hunted through the ship by a monster for sport. And we all learn a valuable lesson, except Boimler, who learns a stupid one.