Review: Lower Decks Takes On The Search For The Undiscovered Mariner In “Crisis Point”

“Crisis Point”

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, October 1, 2020
Written by Ben Rodgers
Directed by Bob Suarez


The action ramps up in a big way for the penultimate episode of the season, with a fun rapid-fire dive into cinematic Star Trek tropes. “Crisis Point” pays off some storylines that have been building all season, and sets up the finale nicely. A strong performance from Tawny Newsome carries “Crisis Point,” with a little help from her friend and podcasting partner, guest star Paul F. Tompkins.

They all look so lifelike…


WARNING: Spoilers below!

The Wrath of Carol

“Crisis Point” begins in a quintessential Lower Decks way with a second contact; however, in this case the planet is home to some lizard people and some rat people, who happen to use the self-described “delicious” lizard people as food. And Mariner’s cannon is as loose as ever as she casts herself as the hero to inspire the lizards to overthrow their rat oppressors. We are also soon reminded that Mariner’s mom is also the captain when Freeman beams to put a stop to all this, unimpressed with Beckett’s “screw the Prime Directive” petulance.  Solving the sentient-species-as-livestock problem with the promise of some replicators, Captain Mom sends her daughter to a fate worse than the brig: therapy.

Things also start very on-brand for Brad, who (as always) is obsessed with working his way up the system, this time with the goal of landing a spot in the captain’s advanced diplomacy workshop. To this end, he creates what Mariner rightfully describes as a “brownnosing program” in the holodeck that perfectly simulates the entire crew (using private personal logs no less) so he can practice ingratiating himself with the captain.

Mariner sees this as a golden opportunity to “work some s—t out,” and she commandeers Brad’s program to transform it into an epic movie, casting herself as the star and villain. And thus, our Lower Decks take on the Trek feature films is all set.

I hate you mom, you never let me violate the Prime Directive!

The Undiscovered Mariner

When Mariner’s “Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta” transforms the holodeck, everything changes, complete with flying credits, lens flares and even a movie-style aspect ratio. Nice touch. Mariner’s “Vindicta” is hell-bent on revenge against her meddling mom. There is a patina of a movie plot where the Cerritos is sent to investigate a ship impersonating second contacts on Idlocana VI. There they find Vindicta’s parody of a big bad ship, and following some dialoguing, the inconvenient cape-wearing villian sneaks onto the Cerritos with her two evil henchmen.

The movie-era satires, sendups, and sarcasms are flying by so fast you will want to do a rewatch just to catch them all. Mariner’s Vindicta is a mashup of revenge-obsessed baddies from Khan to Krall with just a little Kurtz thrown in for good measure. And since this is a movie, things are allowed go dark, and they do as Mariner’s id is on full display while she works out her demons at the point of a nasty disintegrating phaser step-by-step vaporizing the crew. Seriously Mariner, get help.

After some gruesome hilarity taking out simulations of Ransom and Shaxs, Vindicta finally faces down “the Freeman” on the bridge.  Mariner’s revenge fantasy blows the budget as she explodes Vindicta’s  ship to send the Cerritos into its own fiery crash landing. But things go off script when the captain is beamed away and Mariner faces her true adversary… herself.

Say hello to my little friend

The Search for Billups

Beckett’s hastily created movie also had parts for the other ensigns. Brad quickly bowed out of his minor role, which worked out well as “Shempo,” the sycophantic villain’s third henchman, was also her first victim. Tendi was set up as a sexy “savage warrior queen” leaning heavily on Orion pirate stereotypes, with Rutherford playing “Bionic-5,” Vindicta’s cyborg hype man.

But both D’Vana and Sam soon rejected the hench life set up for them by Mariner. Tendi made it clear it was not easy being green, exposing the prejudice she faces even from her friends, and bows out of the holodeck entirely. Sam took the program as an opportunity to finally give his boss Commander Billups a piece of his cybernetic mind, bailing on Vindicta to work out his own issues.

As for Brad, he just rolled with the cinematic punches and used the rewritten simulation to continue his original plan to figure out how to suck up to the captain. This created a lot of fun moments, like Brad quizzing the dying Ransom on what kind of cookies would be the best when trying to get on Freeman’s good side.

One of these guys isn’t going to make it. One guess for which one.

Into Bradness

Dropping the pretense of her vengeful id, Mariner’s ego now faces her own simulated superego, and the therapizing really starts—with a lot of punching. Brad’s overly good simulation forces Beckett to see who she really is, someone who loves the ship, loves her friends, and—gulp—loves her mom. All it took was for her to see sim-Mariner sacrifice herself by blowing up the ship to save the crew to realize how she is just afraid to be the daughter/officer she can be and that “therapy works!”

Sam is also on a beautiful and strange voyage of self-discovery. Still in the guise of a marauder, he confronts his genuine feelings of admiration (and love?) for Commander Billups. After bonding over subroutines to beam the crew to safety, the unlikely pair hugs it out on the planet and they talk about “buffering the phase coil” together. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

As for Brad, the whole simulation exercise has proven to be yet another failed attempt to garner promotion. After bringing the wrong cookies to sim-Freeman, he is unceremoniously thrown off a cliff by the sim-Jet (remember him, the second coolest guy on the ship?). Things get even worse when Brad witnesses sim-Freeman eulogizing her sim-daughter Mariner after her sacrifice. Yep, after nine episodes, Brad finally learns the truth about his best friend, and it breaks him—mostly because Freeman makes it clear that if anyone found out the truth in the real world, they would be on the top of her naughty list.

Like most episodes, things wrap up nicely with our ensigns palling around and bonding, and this time Mariner even gives her mom a fist-pound, which only makes the captain suspicious. However, for the first time in the season, we end on a bit of a cliff-hanger as Brad hangs back, burdened with the Mariner/Mom news he should have been told in episode one.

Thumb war survives into the 24th century


Shrink Contact

Even with all the fun spectacle, the strongest part of this episode comes down to the characters and how we see them grow and develop. A lot of this was done through the lens of Mariner being sent to the ship’s counselor. In a nod to the real-world era that spawned Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mariner decried “It’s the ‘80s dude, we don’t have psychological problems,” which was clearly not true. All season we have been putting together the complicated puzzle that is Beckett Mariner, the too-cool-for-space-school ensign that doesn’t want anyone to see how she really is just as much a dork for the Federation and Starfleet as Brad Boimler.

We also see development for our other ensigns, especially some surprising revelations about Rutherford. “Crisis Point” stands up well as an episode on its own, but it nicely rewards regular viewers with bringing home some of these character arcs.

Paul F. Tompkins was delightful as the food-metaphor-spouting Dr. Migleemo and hopefully, he will have a recurring role as a lot of these characters can use the help. It was nice to see the pompous admiral from “Moist Vessel” return, but there was a missed opportunity to play up his odd pronunciations, and Captain Freeman’s adoption of them to suck up.

This wasn’t part of the script!

Lower Decks: Beyond The Final Nemesis Picture: The Movie

What most people will take away from this episode is the love letter it writes to the Star Trek movie franchise, in all eras. The homages paid to the Trek films were broad and subtle, and almost entirely wonderful. And not only did they evoke this through visual style, but composer Chris Westlake upped his game in a big way to take the score to a cinematic level, leaning heavily on James Horner.

And while Lower Decks can go too meta, it worked this time through the magic of a holodeck episode. As Rutherford noted, “It’s a movie, you can do all sorts of beaming stuff in a movie.” This gives you some fun freeze-frame moments like seeing Mariner programming in parts of the actual script for the episode, including elements like Shaxs phaser bazooka, described as “(another special ‘movie budget’ weapon).” And the movie references weren’t just to Trek, but nicely paid little homages to other films including Star Wars and Aliens.

Most of the movie gags worked, even if you aren’t a fan. The beauty shots of the Cerritos in spacedock turned William Shatner’s Enterprise lust from Star Trek: The Motion Picture into a fun way too long gag. Although some homages did seem a bit indulgent, like the character signatures ala Star Trek VI. Lower Decks should never forget to service the laughs first and the fans second.

Oh yeah, check out that ample pair of… nacelles

The Voyage Milestone

“Crisis Point” is yet another successful high concept outing for Lower Decks, and one of the stronger episodes of the season. Clever writing, superb design work, emotional music, and nuanced voice acting from Tawney Newsome all came together to give us a delightful movie-in-TV-show indulgence.

There is just one episode left and this time we are left with a bit thread to be picked up with the season finale. It can’t come soon enough.

Choke holds can be fun!


Today we learned

  • The simulation of Capt. Freeman has picked a warp catchphrase: “Warp me.”
  • Many Orions have not been pirates for over five years.
  • The gang like to skeet shoot with Leonardo da Vinci in the holodeck.
  • Mariner dressed as Toby the Targ every Halloween, even when she was too old.
  • There is not a California-class ship named after San Clemente, CA.

Laugh lines

  • “They are not oppressed. We raise them as food. They like it.”
  • “You were kind of a Xon, to be honest. You probably were not going to make the final cut anyway.”
  • “If this was actually happening they would send the Enterprise, but you know, artistic license.”
  • “This isn’t my first overpowered space lord and it won’t be my last.”
  • “Warning, the ship has crashed.”
  • “When you get to hell, tell the Pah-wraiths that Shaxs sent ya special delivery straight from Bajor.”
  • “Let me just take down the captain and then we can grab tacos.”
  • “Thanks for ruining the awesome captain murder this was all building to.”
  • “I know you might be a psychotic space raider whose boss just destroyed my ship, but you are alright in my book.”

That’s not canon!

More to come

Every Friday the new All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network. And on Saturday we will post our weekly analysis of Easter eggs and references for this episode.

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It has not yet been announced where and when Lower Decks will be available outside of the USA and Canada.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at

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Mariner is the best thing about the episode. She is growing as a character. Her relationship with her mom is so relatable.
This episode is a love letter to Star Trek in a beautiful way. The movie Easter eggs are well done and make sense in the appropriate moment.

This show has grown on me.

And I did not expect that.

I feel the same way.

I was not even planning to watch the series. But I gave it a shot and grew to love it. Very funny and entertaining.

Mr. Peanutbutter!

But no John-Rhys Davies as Da Vinci :(

Loved the grainy filmstock effect on the holodeck — look closely and you’ll even see a ‘cigarette burn’ in the upper righthand corner of the screen (shades of Fight Club!).

I like how the holomovie’s title reads like a superhero film title (a mashup of familiar DC Comics big event titles like FlashPoint and Final Crisis — which fits perfectly with the Trek movie (especially last 3) tendency to skew superhero.

… and the ship *had* to crash! Its practically a requirement now!

“But no John-Rhys Davies as Da Vinci”

That was definitely a missed opportunity for sure.

The opening credits were straight out of the opening for Wrath of Khan.

The opening credits were straight out of the opening for Wrath of Khan.

Superman, I’d say. The credits flying by was Superman for sure. Them bonking Boimler on the head as they went by was pretty funny.

I think the rat people in the opening are Anticans, which were introduced in the TNG Season 1 episode “Lonely Among Us”.

I thought the Anticans were supposed to be canines. But their opponents were lizards.

Yeah, I think you are right but I agree with Matt that they looked a lot like the Anticans

The lizard voice actor was great

2nd best episode of the season, behind number 8. I loved all of the excessive lens flares, the flying around the ship waaayyyy too long, and how every movie was not complete without at least one ship crashing.

I am totally here for that ship crash!

Rolling on edge. Whoa.

I found the flyby absolutely funny. I was so sure someone would say: can we freaking land now ?

Like the crash… The Ceritos flyby induced a smile. Clever. But not funny. The entire series still is nothing but one side with no main course.

A longer flyby is only fair. I was so disappointed with Star Trek 2009 when they showed that awe-inspiring teaser trailer of the Enterprise in the shipyard with material that turned up nowhere in the movie… Universe re-balanced!

Yes, the ship crash did induce a smile. But again… Clever. But not funny.

Yeah, the flyby of the ship went on way too long- and it made no sense either, with the shuttle ducking in and out. But I think that was the *point*. I was howling throughout. Same for the signatures.

It was the point. I think the actual flyby in Star Trek The Motion Picture (or STII or STV or STVI…) was still *much, much* longer than in this episode!

The flyby in TMP felt like it was much longer than this entire episode.

The flyby in TMP was indeed much longer but in this episode it FELT longer. The fun of the gag wore off pretty fast. Then it just became tiresome.

The flyaround scene in TMP is just short of six minutes.

“I think the actual flyby in Star Trek The Motion Picture (or STII or STV or STVI…) was still *much, much* longer than in this episode!”

And I loved every second of it!

I have to agree. I LOVE that fly by. Was digging every second of it when I saw it in the theater and I dig every second of it still when I watch it on disc.

And yes, I can enjoy poking fun at something I love. The Ceritos fly by gag was clever. Have to admit that. Just it went on too long.

I have to agree. I LOVE that fly by. Was digging every second of it when I saw it in the theater and I dig every second of it still when I watch it on disc.

And yes, I can enjoy poking fun at something I love.

Sorry for the near duplicate post. There was a weird issue here that caused it. I’d go back and delete it if I could.

Personally I thought that STTMP’s peak moment was when the Klingon K’t’inga-class cruisers appeared and once V’ger destroyed them it was all down hill from there.

So are Rutherford and Billups possibly going to become a couple? That was interesting possible foreshadowing.

Also, Mariner says something about her mom being extremely hard on her since she was 8 years old, indicating that something traumatic or otherwise life-altering might have happened when she was a kid.

Boimler getting smacked in the head repeatedly by the opening credits was funny.

I didn’t take it to be couple vibes. Rather Rutherford fangirling over Billups programming skills, and friendship with someone likeminded can be a strong emotion too.
I’d say the joke was replacing the “someone gets together” trope at the end of a movie with “two people bond over enthusiasm for technology”, while intentionally inviting subtext which is a TV/Movie thing in itself (think Bond Skyfall or Sherlock). And doesn’t Billups just look a bit like Stamets?

I don’t think so. It’s more of a bro-mance kind of thing. Remember, in his battle with Badgey he admitted trying to impress Tendi because she’s “so hot”.

yeah, butt she IS so hot! holy god, did you see Tendi in that pirate outfit?

I will give them props for what the Kazinti Doctor said that was bleeped out. I think we all know what word she used. Given the overly sensitive world we live in today I was floored they even allowed a bleeped out version of it. The line was even a little funny.

Oops… Another error. Caitian Doctor.

Dr. T’Ana has a mouth on her that makes even Admiral Clancy blush lol. I love it!

some rat people

Um… those were Anticans, from ST:TNG.

They weren’t Anticans or Selay (both would’ve had second contact before we met them in “Lonely Among Us”). These were lizard aliens and rat aliens (as opposed to dog aliens and cobra aliens). It was meant to remind you of that TNG episode, not follow up on it.

I get what you’re saying, but they were pretty clearly the Anticans. I don’t think that’s at all debatable. The others were not the Selay since they didn’t look like that species, so the second contact was clearly with them, not the Anticans. Discrepancy removed.

This episode was SOO freaking fun! I haven’t had this much fun with Star Trek since I was a kid watching TNG.


Yeah I had a blast. They just keep knocking these episodes out of the park. It feels like the perfect Trek comfort food but also does a great job telling its stories while making you laugh. All the hype Discovery and especially Picard got, but its LDS that is easily my favorite of the new shows by far.

I haven’t been that impressed with LDs so far, but I have to admit I watched the intro and I couldn’t turn the channel. Now that might be because there wasn’t much else on besides the Dog Bowl TNF game plus no NBA game and the NHL is done, but tonight’s episode turned out to be “must watch” for Trek fans. It’s like a non-stop ode to Trek movies from the past that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Btw, I couldn’t stop chuckling at the lens flares. To be honest, I am waiting for the season premiere of Discovery, but I will definitely tune in to see what LDs has in store for the season finale.

Yeah, I think this one will fall into a fan favorite episode easily. It doesn’t mean everyone will like it, but most people who watch it will definitely smile at a lot of it. It’s not just the fact they throw out constant references, just how clever it’s done. And a lot of it is so obscure only the most hardcore fans even knows about. For example, when the Cerritos hit warp drive and you saw the electricity building between the nacelles, I leaned that was an idea they wanted to do with the Enterprise for TMP, but it was later dropped. They even posted the artwork on it. Never heard of that until now. It just stuff like that that really makes you appreciate this show.

So I’m glad you’re giving it another chance. But if you really don’t like it and think its stupid that’s OK too. I love the show, truly loving it, but I don’t have a single issue with people who think it’s the biggest piece of shit since STID. Everyone is just going to feel the way they do, I don’t understand why people can’t just enjoy what they like without feeling so offended others don’t share their viewpoints?? I feel that way when I agree with people about a show, I feel that way when I disagree with them

LDS is definitely an acquired taste and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. I do think it’s smart and (usually) funny, but it’s not going to win everyone over, especially being such a broad comedy for some…and that’s OK. Really, its OK not to like it and there are valid reasons why people don’t. I come here to hear all sides, not to just validate my own. I wish all fans could do the same here and the discussions would be a lot more civil over it.

Yeah I whole heartedly agree. I never had a problem saying LDs was not really my cup of tea, but I also see why many fans really like it. I also like the fact that each of the new shows has its own distinct character and audience, with Discovery being very different from LDs. (haha I always laugh when I type LDs because of the line from The Voyage Home). Btw I appreciate those who posted positive comments about this newest Trek show because it gave me pause and a reason to keep giving it a shot and last night that paid off – it was well worth watching. Oh, one last comment – I really liked the LDs TWOK mashup. Enjoy the finale!

Man this was an incredible episode! I loved it so much I immediately rewatched it after my first viewing. I loved everything about it. They were on point with practically everything about the films. Loved the Cerritos fly by shot with all the excessive lens flair and the Horner musical homage. I lol watching Billups cry.

They did such a great job with all the movie tropes, the biggest having Mariner playing another unstoppable uber-villain. Since there has been a little bit of news about the Kelvin films lately there has been a lot of talk about that again so it felt like perfect timing. Of course all of the movies do it, TNG and Kelvin are the worst though.

But outside of all the fun references it was a great episode for character building as well. I loved that Rutherford wanted to tell his boss how much he loved and admired him. He and Tendi are so sweet and have amazing qualities. They are just adorable without being over bearing about it, ie, the opposite of Tilly. We also learned many Orions stopped pirating five whole years ago. We gotta hear more lol. But that’s now canon! Mariner does have some real issues to work out. I mean I know it was fake but trying to kill her mother in the holodeck was a bit sadistic. That girl needs some help. And I finally realize Freeman herself has some serious anger issues. I’m starting to think she’s related to Sisko. ;)

Anyway, amazing episode. Easily my favorite by a mile. I’m still shocked the silly animated cartoon I thought could suck ended up being some of the best Star Trek in over a decade, at least since Enterprise for me. Love being back in this era, love how it feels SO much like TNG but clearly doing its own thing as well. Thank Kahless we already have a second season coming. And I hope a third, fourth and fifth after that!

Tiger, it sounds like you feel that this series embodies the TNG era you wanted to return to for so long, much more than Picard, like the first true return to it since the TNG movies nearly 20 years ago! And it sounds like it does the “feeling like TNG but doing its own thin-” much better!

It’s a real bummer though we can’t have a live action drama series set in this era that doesnt turn into Farscape. I hope one day we will (preferably also set before all the mayhem of Picard that unfortunately is now canon).

For me, it does. You know that feeling you get the first few seconds a TNG episode starts usually with the ship out in space somewhere or orbiting a planet, it use to feel like returning home and you can’t wait to see what your family is doing next. That’s what LDS does as well. Right at the first shot of the episode they start that way too and sets you in the right mood from the start. I love that feeling. I MISS that feeling. It’s not like Discovery hyper-spasm ‘previously on Discovery, look at all this crazy shit that happened last week and trust us shit will get even crazier this week!!!!’. You don’t ‘settle in’ on that show like TNG and the others. It’s just go-go-go from start to finish.

But LDS brings you back to classic Trek where the episode just opens, slowly (most of the time anyway), and pulls you into the story. And its nice you don’t have to know what happened in the last 8 episodes, the episodes just feels like their own thing again with minimum cross over from previous weeks. That’s probably why it’s landing with a lot of people, the episodic nature just works a lot better here like it did in TNG.

Ironically that’s what they were sort of promising on Picard. Things would be ‘slower’ than Discovery and they are, but it’s still the same hyper-bolic storylines like Discovery has, it just spins it’s wheels a lot more and a few less ship battles or phaser shoot outs.

LDS works because the show isn’t about end of the world stakes. Just like classic Trek, 90% of the stories is usually about their mission only and rarely deals with the fate of the galaxy. But again that is how serialized stories usually work and how DS9 got into that mold with the Dominion war (but it worked on that show well ;)).

So yeah I’m happy we FINALLY got some TNG era spirit in one of these shows. It’s just too bad it’s a cartoon not everyone can take seriously but even with all the silly gags and jokes it feels much more Trek to me than PIC and DIS does.

Your first paragraph about wanting to see what your family does next is exactly how I feel about TNG (DS9 and Voyager too, to an extent) and now LDS. For met it was always a little bit more the TNG introductory credits and theme song that got the emotions stirring. You had the teaser done already, so you had a little info about what the story was going to be, but then it jumped into the credits. To me the music/credit sequence just was this big promise/question mark about what wonderful adventures the characters would be up to this week. Anything and everything could happen, and it was generally awesome.

And now I agree that LDS has this same feel. You get an opening shot of the Cerritos in space and you don’t know what is going to happen, but it is going to be fun, and exciting, and with these great characters.

Can’t wait for next week. :) But also so sad that it is already ending for the season. :(

Also, to add about the episodic vs serialized bit. I think what LDS and, eventually SNW, is doing is the right way. Episodes/stories that have endings and are conceived of and written as a piece so they (hopefully) hang together and don’t meander to their weak ending (Discovery with the Klingon war and the Control battle; PIC with the AI/Romulan showdowns). Stakes that are not universe-ending affairs – things you can feel personally about or get invested in. But, and this is critical, they must maintain character arcs and emotional arcs. No forgetting the life changing events of last week (that TOS and TNG, and even VOY used to do). That is essential/critical to modern storytelling, and I would say very important to all storytelling.

I’m glad you get what I’m saying! And yes I felt the same way about DS9 and VOY too. LDS really does bring back the same feelings of those shows I feel the new shows completely miss. And yes the theme songs after the teaser really brings it home. To this day, I still watch the VOY opening straight through because I love that song so much 25 years later. I always watch LDS opening as well now.

But LDS just does a great job of bringing back those opening moments of all those shows and of course the stories themselves. The show just really works for me even if its still not perfect.

As far as the episodic nature of the show, I think LDS is probably the most episodic since TNG, at least in its first season. DS9, VOY and ENT all started off episodic but even those had a bit more cross over in their early seasons than TNG did. That was also probably due to the nature of their premises too. But LDS really seem to not recount much of anything episode to episode. I do expect that to change more in season 2 and become a little more serialized but maybe not.

I think SNW won’t be as episodic and probably will follow the Enterprise model in season 4 where you will have connected two part stories but probably not so tied in like DIS and PIC. At least that’s what I get the way they talk about it.

The other thing is we keep hearing from a certain troll here who keep saying shows like TNG wouldn’t work today; and YET LDS is basically TNG, just in animated form. It seems to be working for plenty of people. People who don’t like the show complain it has too many gags/references, the language is too adult/contemporary or Mariner goes too far at times but no one complains the actual stories themselves don’t work. That seems to be the ONE thing even people not in love with the show seems to like. They just wish they were told more straight forward like the old shows with more serious characters, but its pretty clear most Trek fans are still hungry for these types of stories and format.

Again, I know it sounds like I’m trying to have it both ways with Kurtzman and getting on his case on one hand but supporting him on another but I have to give him credit here. He is trying to shake things up but he also realize people did miss this standard of story telling Trek was doing for nearly 2 decades. LDS is nothing like DIS or PIC in any way besides sharing the same canon. But they feel like they are in different universes. It just feels MUCH closer to the older shows, just animated. But this is all my opinion only.

I don’t think I’m the aforementioned troll, in this case anyway, but can we all please stop with the name calling and needling anyone who doesn’t agree with us?

Wasn’t talking about you Jack or think you are a troll lol.

And I’m talking about an actual troll. It has nothing to do with ‘disagreeing ‘with someone. They were literally banned from this site before for trolling. ;)

I was really pleased with the way this episode showed Tendi as hurt by Mariner’s casting her in an Orion slave-trading pirate role.

Seeing Tendi walk out and refuse the role was great, as was her gently teaching Mariner in their reconciliation scene in the bar.

We haven’t seen enough alien characters in Star Trek pushing back against systemic stereotyping. The Ferengi arc in DS9 was great, but otherwise the focus on finding identity as often reinforced species stereotypes.

Yeah that was great TG!

It finally gave us some insight into the Orion slave girl thing (I lol it’s been 5 years they started to become more progressive, but at least they are starting). And it was nice to acknowledge as ‘progressive’ Starfleet people are mostly, they still have their hang ups and prejudices from time to time, like Boimler with the Ferengi.

And why I never believed in this ‘perfect human’ idea Roddenberry was trying to sell with TNG. I can certainly see humans more outwardly looking and accepting of others but deep down they are still human. They will still have certain biases and beliefs in certain stereotypes. And frankly because they will also meet many people who exhibit those stereotypes obviously; the trick is not to tell yourself every species is like that, or penalizing them because you think they are like that. Mariner clearly failed at it with Tendi, at least with the former. That said, she never treated her any differently before, she clearly knows that’s not who Tendi is, but deep down thinks that’s what most Orions are like. Hell until LDS, I did too lol. But I don’t actually live in the 24th century, so I don’t have many things to go on. ;)

People who think this show has nothing to say like the others are clearly not paying that much attention to it. It just doesn’t beat you over the head like a standard TOS or TNG lesson of the week episode might do, but those issues are there.

I haven’t re-upped yet because I was going to do double features with Discovery. But it seems like these are really enjoyable on their own – I really love how everyone seems to be finding good in Lower Decks.

This is my new favorite episode! As much as I loved the whole episode, it was the final bit between Vindicta and Da Vinci that made me laugh the hardest.

Da Vinci has always been a bad ass! We saw how well he handled himself on Voyager.

Probably too much of a bit part to bring in John Rhys-Davies, alas.

Can I say that we wouldn’t get through the season without seeing Mariner in the counsellor’s office?

Holodeck therapy, however unplanned wasn’t what I expected though. Obviously, should have.

I think for a proper TNG sequel (and not just a parody) it is important not just to rehash the tropes of the TNG world but to expand on them. Great to hear that they do!

The Way Too Long Gag had to be too long or the gag wouldn’t work.

I disagree. They got their point across pretty quick. The longer the gag went the staler it got. And I say that as someone who smiled at the gag. Not laughed. (there was only one of those this episode and it, like most laughs on this show, was a small chuckle)

Exactly. Think of a comic like Gilbert Gottfried. He’ll get a laugh. Then he’ll keep pounding the same note and the laughs slow down. Then he just keeps relentlessly pounding that same note over and over and it becomes funny again.

Wow, this episode actually brought tears to my eyes and made me laugh at the same time when the fake crew circled the Cerritos on the holodeck like the 1979 movie. A fantastic homage and very funny at same time! And to end it with the signatures! Tears!

Overall, an amazing episode. Wow this show has really increased in quality

This is probably as good an example for what this show is as anything. The entire show is just a giant excuse to have a fan-gasm. Sure, it can be clever at times. And this episode did indeed have some clever fan service. But the problem is only hard core fans are going to pick up on that stuff. Newbies aren’t going to get ANY of it. Perhaps they realize that pretty much the only people watching this ARE the hard core fans?

I enjoy fan service as much as the next guy but this show is nothing but fan service! You can’t revolve an entire show around fan service. You have to give the viewers SOMETHING. It’s like ordering a roast beef sandwich without any roast beef. Sure, you can eat it and at best it might be OK but it doesn’t have the thing that makes it a roast beef sandwich.

The characters in this 2D (in more ways than one) show are quite appropriate for a shallow cartoon show. That’s not really the problem with it. I didn’t tune into the show hoping to get complex characters who work through issues. I tuned into the show to see Star Trek done as a straight up comedy. Something that I have, and still believe, had the potential to be unique and good. The problem is this show is not it.

After nine episodes (and even if the finale is a complete 180 degree change to beging funny and good) my assessment of Lower Decks can be summed up in two words: MAJOR DISAPOINTMENT.


ML31, this show doesn’t have to have a mass audience to be successful and profitable.

All it needs is a sufficiently large niche that will watch it and subscribe to ViacomCBS’ streamer to have access to it.

What I see on Parrot Analytics for the US is that its steadily increasing audience and interest through the season. More, since Labor Day , its increase in demand is going up with a much steeper slope, a higher rate, than animated comedies overall. It’s in the top percentiles for the niche.

It’s proportion of demand isn’t quite as high absolutely in Canada, but its percentile rank is slightly better.

I believe that another two season order will happen.

OK. Well that shifts gears a bit from what my post was about but I’ll respond.

I’m not sensing any large interest in the show elsewhere regardless of what your parrot analytics say. But then, I have never like using sabremetrics to rate baseball players either. They can be useful but they don’t give you the complete pitcture.

Success is fluid. It is not the same for everyone. I would argue that just because it picks up a third season does not automatically make it a “success” in my book. There are a lot of metrics that go into those decisions. One of the more basic elements is how cheap is it to produce?

But yeah… I wasn’t talking about that sort of thing anyway. I was merely pointing out my view of it and why I arrived at the conclusion I did.

Fair enough.

We understand that it’s not the show you’d thought it could be, but my point is that it’s a more successful concept and product than many expected.

Many of us here watching it and loving it had low to no expectations of liking, but find out it’s something we want more of.

I keep wondering whether, if you let go of your positive preconceptions, you might be able to better enjoy it for what it is.

As a separate thought, I think that one of our kids really watches this show straight up, not seeing much of the humour.

That was especially true for this episode. Fortunately, I’d prewatched, but my guffaws at the ship vistas earned a “Stop that!”

At any rate, a good comedy works at different levels, and it seems as though this episode hit the mark on that.

Kinda tough to do that at this point. My expectations were what they were. And you are right. Given the short history of Secret Hideout Trek they should have been a lot lower. That’s on me.

But I have monumentally low expectations for season 3 of Discovery coming up. So they have an incredibly low bar to clear so we can see how they do with extremely low expectations.

My daughter is 23 and has never paid any attention to anything Star Trek related other than knowing the names of some of the shows, characters and ships that she’d pick up from me by osmosis. Other than a high-school infatuation with anime, she’s about as far from a geek as possible. She wandered into the room when I was watching the first episode of LD and she’s watched every episode with me since. Of course she missed many of the references but she truly enjoys the characters and stories, plus as a psych major she’s having fun psychoanalyzing Mariner. She said from the start that she hopes they eventually have Mariner work towards either a breakdown or a breakthrough because they can’t keep her in the same state of denial forever. Of course I’ll pause episodes to explain some of the references when I’m laughing, sometimes she finds them funny, sometimes she doesn’t.

Can someone help with this: Mariner said that she only breaks the rules because everybody expects her to, and that she’d be really badass if she followed the rules. Then later I believe she said that it was not others that cast her as a villain but herself. – That first seemed like a contradiction and made me think about it. 

What I now think she meant by it is: If Mariner keeps delivering a behaviour (breaking the rules) that everybody has come to expect of her, then her behaviour is actually not free but adaptive to and reinforcing the existing role dynamics. She is by now kind of typecast in the role of rebellious ensign. Mariner realizes that she has a choice and the freedom to conform to or reject the role expectations that others have come to have about her. It opens up a way for personal development by leaving behind the existing role allocation. 

The funny thing about this is that Mariner’s ostensibly rebellious probably developed as a kind of an adaptative behaviour to the strictness of her mother, where Mariner could not conform with demands to follow the rules, because it would have felt like submission and losing to her mother. This then further developed into an entrenched role allocation where Mariner was established as the stereotypically rebellious rulebreaker. 

By the end of the episode, Mariner realises that – even when others demand her to follow the rules – it is not submission when she decides to follow the rules on her own accord because it is what she wants out of love for her work, and because it breaks the mold of entrenched reactive roles to gain freedom for personal decisions. This in fact makes her behaviour independent of the opinions of others, even if she happens to do what her “adversaries” call for, not letting defiance stand in the way of making her own decisions.

If I understood this right, then this is real psychology and quite thoughtful. 

It’s also a fascinating thought that expectations in the sense of what someone asks you to do can be very different from expectations in the sense of how they typically presume you to react.

Although this comment comes late I hope someone still reads it because I’d like to read opinions about it.
Your psych major daughter maybe care to elaborate? :-D

Thanks Webguest (would welcome your using an alias here since there are other Webguests on this thread…)

Really interesting analysis. It taking me a few times through the episode to really parse everything in that Mariner/Vindicta vs sim-Mariner fight.

Corylea (who acknowledges being a therapist) also really liked this episode so it sounds like they are getting “the science” right.

I’m totally not an expert in this area, so I really appreciate it when those among us weigh in who have more than the standard/basic organizational psychology training (that comes with the territory in management education).

Thanks TG47! May I ask what you mean by there are other Webguests on this thread? I left a few comments on this thread but all are by me. Only I got invested in this analysis with some delay, when commenting on this thread was a good as finished. Which is why I posted the cross-reference on the easter-eggs thread. I have some knowledge of psychology but am not a professional in that field. I’d also really appreciate other people with an interest in psychology weighing in! Maybe Corylea wants to comment? I love that LDs provides food for thought like that.

Wow that was SOME kind of autoagression and maybe a wish for punishment when Mariner calls for the brig :-). If I was Tendi, I’d probably be spooked by Mariner for some time to come…
This one had the most story of all episodes so far. It could have been a legit live Trek episode save for the gore. I appreciate that it had a great new holodeck story idea, which had not been done before I think. The line was really heartwaming when Rutherford said “Look at him sitting there all badass” about Billups sitting there being his inconspicuous self :-) Poor Boimler suffered from serious overpreparation so my penchant for workplace topics also covered. 
This episode was really on a roll until the flow was broken by the scene where Boimler runs from the interview room screaming. Running off screaming was overly cartoonish, i.e. too un-real a reaction to fit in with the tone of the episode so far which in spite of fantasy action kind of meant serious business, so the scene did not sit quite right with the rest of the episode. Probably it was meant to be comic relief but did not work for me. I wish they’d make Boimlers reactions a bit less cartoonish and more nuanced – more 3-dimensional such as Barclay and less Speedy Gonzalez?

Best ep yet! Funny script, great animation, and so many Trek references.

Any chance this show can create a legacy of it’s own, instead of relying on fan service, callbacks and easter eggs? It was bad before this episode, then this one jumped the shark. Seriously, enough already! Do something new!