Review: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Comes Together In “First First Contact”

“First First Contact”

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2, Episode 10 – Debuted Thursday, October 14, 2021
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Jason Zurek

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

The action-packed season finale does not disappoint, delivering on many season-long character and story arcs and having a lot of fun along the way.

USS Archimedes

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

Too soon?

Returning to its roots, the USS Cerritos is to be in the rear with the gear as the big shiny USS Archimedes makes first contact with the Laaperians. Neither Carol’s admiral husband nor her old friend Captain Sonja Gomez–who has come a long way since spilling hot chocolate on Captain Picard 16 years prior–foresee any problems with the mission, but they do casually mention an unstable glowing red object in the system which might as well be named Chekhov’s Planetoid. The much bigger subject is the announcement that Captain Freeman is getting a promotion to a new ship. OMG. And while skulking around the space station with her usual load of contraband, Mariner hears all about it. Ruh-roh.

Beckett is super pissed her mom is feeding into her abandonment issues, but none of her pals seemed worked up about it. If anything, they are excited for the captain and the possibility of tasty goodbye party finger foods, although Boimler is concerned he won’t be able to suck up with his Captain Freeman Day banner. Never grow up, Brad. Mariner finds more fertile ground for her petulance with the senior officers, infecting them with so much passive-aggressiveness the Captain is forced to admit she’s leaving. But the real bomb is the reveal Command doesn’t want any more California-class officers to go with her… that didn’t go over well with the boys. Not. At. All. Sadly, the Billups bleeps robbed us of a number of colorful Hysperian metaphors.

But all of this will have to wait. The milk run to the Laap system goes sour after a solar flare causes that unstable planetoid to go all Praxis, showering the Archimedes with ionic plasma that shuts down everything and turns the giant ship into a powerless tumbling bomb–complete with a twenty-hour ticking clock–headed straight for the inhabited planet. After the Cerritos crew runs through all the usual technobabble solutions to get past the energy-sucking debris field and reach the other ship–not warp jumping, not some deflector dish magic, not tractor beam grab, not even a crazy Mariner out-of-the-box solution–they are faced with this first contact becoming the last contact for the Laaperians.

Billups is really going to let her have it in his mustache log tonight.

Good memories

The captain wasn’t the only one having a leaving-the-ship crisis. Tendi overhears Dr. T’Ana saying she wasn’t cut out for sickbay and watches T’Ana remove her from the roster. Tendi (of course) turns to Rutherford, who suggests a sort of goodbye tour of all of her favorite spots on the Cerritos, which includes admiring that big thrumming warp core, squeezing into cozy Jeffries tubes, and going into forbidden places. Together they embrace and are finally and tearfully able to admit their complete love… for the ship. Oh, so close! And Sam also has a crisis of his own: His implant is malfunctioning because he has been backing up all his Tendi memories in fear of losing another year of their friendship. Awww. Seriously you two, get a room.

Is this thing on?

Bad timing

Left with no options, the captain leaps into action to go it alone on her captain’s yacht. But Mariner still finds time to annoy the hell out of her mom, even in the middle of this huge crisis, as she tries to talk her out of the doomed solo rescue plan and dump years of baggage on her at the same time. Two seasons and many more years of issues continue to escalate as Mom drops some truth that Mariner’s cool attitude is just a defense mechanism, keeping others from getting close. So Mariner thrusts in the mek’leth, saying she never wants to work with her mom again. “I’m glad this is your last mission!” Wow. Seriously Mariner, there is a time and a place.

Did you hear that? We are going to have to wait another year to find out what’s going on!

Cerritos strong

Thanks to some quick thinking from Rutherford, the captain doesn’t have to go it alone; instead, the whole crew has to work together more than ever before. The crazy solution to get through the plasma debris field is to remove the ship’s outer hull and go through manually without shields. Still smarting from Mariner’s wound, the captain rallies herself and the crew with some Picard-level “Cerritos strong!” speechifying, kicking off a montage of crew-wide action and heroics to get the job done before all that impending death and destruction.

The plan is put into peril when one plate won’t come loose, so Sam sacrifices his Tendi memory backup to be able to get the job done, and in so doing he triggers a whole new mystery memory of some shadowy nefarious surgeons installing his implant, revealing it was never his choice to have it. So yeah, file that under some serious sh*t to deal with in season three. Now the ensigns are ready to save the day with a delightful trip to Cetacean Ops where we meet Matt and Kimalu, two adorable Beluga navigators who really want people to join them in their pool.

In a perfectly paced mix of action and character moments, Tendi steps up to knock some sense into the self-absorbed Mariner. “The captain needs our support, especially from you!” Beckett is dispatched to patch things up with her mom while Brad is tasked with taking that dive into the unknown he has craved to get that last plate removed. He almost drowns in the process but is saved by Tendi—with some help from those fun whales. Over on the Archimedes, things have got to the “it’s been an honor to serve with you” level of dire. But now Ransom can finally Riker-in-Insurrection manually steer the ship through in one of the most visually stunning and dramatic sequences of all Star Trek. Not bad for an adult animated comedy! Oh, and Mariner got a growth twofer, hugging it out with mom and finally burying the hatchet with Jennifer after the Andorian saves her life.

Um, detached nacelles aren’t going to be a thing for a few more centuries.

Just in time, the Cerritos arrives to stop the Archimedes from slamming into the planet, leaving Carol to perform her first first contact–we see what you did there Mike–with the Laaperians. She was nervous, but just her luck, they checked out the First Contact DVD to learn from Zefram Cochrane just how drunk you need to be to do it right. This all leads her to realize the carpet isn’t grayer on a new ship, so she will stick around with “the best crew in the fleet.” Hooray! And while we are wrapping up character arcs, it turns out T’Ana was kicking Tendi out of sickbay because she saw bigger things for her as a Cerritos bridge science officer. More hugging… and purring. Brad was even able to repurpose his Captain Freeman Day banner for First Contact Day.

So, another nice Lower Decks episode wrap-up in the bar with everyone bonding and drinking in their character moments. What’s that? Starfleet Command has sent someone on board? No biggie, Freeman will just send them off as she has decided to stay… not so fast. Commander Mandel from Starfleet Security is there to inform the captain she is under arrest for her part in a conspiracy to blow up Pakled Planet. Before you can say “Best of Both Worlds,” the captain is perp-walked off the ship into a TO BE CONTINUED… title card. WTF!? See you next season for the exciting conclusion, I guess.

Are you sure this isn’t some kind of new Starfleet commendation?

ANALYSIS

Cerritos love

After an exceptional season, the Lower Decks team knocked it out of the park with a strong finale full of action, heart, laughs, and intriguing mysteries. Everyone was working at the top of their game with perfect pacing to blend the tension of genuine stakes with some gut-punch character moments. This was helped along greatly by an emotional, dynamic score by Chris Westlake. The visual effects were also some of the best of the series, blending some nice cinematic homages to the Trek film franchise along with some unique beats for the USS Cerritos, a genuine hero of the episode, finally showing up one of those capital ships: California class gets it done.

Perhaps the biggest heroes were Tendi and Rutherford, with standout performances from Noël Wells and Eugene Cordero. Throughout the episode, they acted as catalysts at pivotal points: Sam comes up with a unique solution to save the Archimedes and Tendi snaps Mariner into doing the right thing, then follows up by saving Boimler’s life. These two can see through to the truth of things, making their blindness to their obvious love for each other even more apparent.

Bringing back Sonja Gomez was an inspired idea, as she was sort of a Boimler of the USS Enterprise-D, and her awkward ensign to confident captain story was an organic way to use a legacy character. Unfortunately, Lycia Naff was not able to deliver the kind of emotional performance needed for the role, perhaps due to unfamiliarity with voice work and the fact that she has moved on from acting in recent decades to journalism and charity work. But it was still a nice touch to have her there, and she got in a couple of good lines, although it would have been nice if the character had interacted with Boimler or the other lower deckers to show them what’s possible.

Anyone up for some hot chocolate?

Real mystery

With a bit less time devoted to humor, “First First Contact” delivered a complicated story worthy of a feature-length film, along with giving each character the time to work out some important issues and have their own epic adventures. A lot of the load was carried by Dawnn Lewis, who faced multiple personal crises in the middle of a planetary one. With so much focus on the Captain and her now in-peril freedom, the audience can genuinely believe that this could be the end for her (although almost certainly it isn’t).

The stakes of a first contact turning into a natural disaster and the solution to use science and engineering was pure Star Trek. Stripping the ship bare was a unique solution, which is hard to do in Star Trek, as noted by the hanging of a lantern on the rejected ideas like doing something with the deflector dish, which has too often been a technobabble crutch to get ships out of jams. You can almost feel you are in the writer’s room as everyone yells at Kayshon’s suggestion to just warp over the problem. And dropping all the defenses to parallel Mariner’s character arc was just a nice touch on top.

Even though Lower Decks happily embraces the episodic nature of the TNG-era shows, it still has found a way all season, going all the way back to the season one finale, to sprinkle in just enough mythology to keep serialized plot fans happy. It was a genuine surprise to see how there was even more to the Pakled conspiracy than the rogue Klingon captain who was killed off in the last episode. And now we have a whole new set of questions left with an earned cliffhanger, plus wherever it’s going on with Rutherford’s implant backstory, now a whole new source of speculation.

This won’t hurt a bit, just ignore how creepy we appear.

Final thoughts

The second season finale was even more exciting than the first, which isn’t easy to do without Captain Riker and the Titan showing up. Mike McMahan and his team have crafted a strong sophomore season with a lot of variety that all led up to a satisfying conclusion, even with that cliffhanger. Lower Decks is the strongest two-season start since the original Star Trek. And there is no sign they are going to lose any steam in the third, and hopefully beyond.

Mr. Worf, fi… wait, wrong show.

MORE BITS

Random stuff

  • The episode title is a play on the TNG episode “First Contact,” as well as the Lower Decks series premiere Second Contact.”
  • Stardate 58130.6.
  • The USS Archimedes (NCC-83002) was named for the Greek mathematician, and the Greek theme was continued with a shuttle named for Adonis of Greek mythology.
  • Phillipa Georgiou of Star Trek: Discovery once served on a 23rd-century ship called the USS Archimedes.
  • The initial Paramount+ episode synopsis misidentified the Archimedes as an Excelsior-class ship, but executive producer Mike McMahan clarified it was Obena Class (named for Art Director Nollan Obena), which is “inspired by” the Excelsior, but “larger with some other changes.” The official synopsis on Paramount+ now simply says “another class starship.”
  • The assembled Starfleet ships seen at the end included another California class, a Vancouver class, an Oberth class, and a Nova class, the ship that took Captain Freeman away.
  • The Cerritos has a rubber ducky room, just like the USS Enterprise-D.
  • While mentioned before, this is the first appearance of Cetacean Ops, where Rutherford apparently has regular shifts.
  • Also the first appearance of the Cerritos captain’s yacht.
  • Among the memories Rutherford flashed through was him and Tendi celebrating New Year’s Day 2381 and them in a life drawing class with a nude Ransom as their model.
  • Billups showed his Hysperian heritage by using the phrase “dragon’s blood” when frustrated.
  • Tendi remembers the Jeffries Tube she and Rutherford watched the Trivoli Pulsar in the second episode of the series.

Laugh lines

  • I’ll tell sickbay to brace for hangovers
  • I don’t want a whole new captain, we could end up with some weirdo with a riding crop.
  • It’s a vanity holiday to trick kids into respecting authority.
  • You are lucky I am so spiritually centered, or I’d snap!
  • I don’t think Dr. T’Ana cares about being nice. She’s more into hostility.
  • Unless we figure something out, first contact is going to be us crashing into that planet. Okay, that’s enough existential dread.
  • Because I am a Kirk-style free spirit who kicks butt and it super intimidates people.
  • He’s not breathing! His blowhole is not working!
  • Nothing like saving your friend than going skinny dipping!
  • To work on the bridge, like Jadzia Dax? / Who the f**k is that, I don’t know who that is, like Spock!
  • I guess when you almost drown in whale pee, you don’t sweat the small stuff.

Isn’t this dark, cramped service corridor romantic?

More to come

Every Friday, the TrekMovie.com 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. On Saturday, we’ll post our weekly analysis of Easter eggs and references for this episode.


New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. It is available on Amazon Prime Video internationally on Fridays. It debuted in Latin America on Paramount+ in September.

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

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Wow. Again.

It’s going to be a long wait for S3.

Indeed. I wonder will it start right after SNW comes out? Really hope so.

Um, wow.

This season completely blew me away. Cue the speculation on the resolution for season three!

I really enjoyed this episode, and it actually might be my favorite of the entire series so far. If you listened to it instead of watched it, you’d think it was one of the live action shows vs. an animated comedy. It was full of suspense, unconventional solutions and great character development. In classic 90’s Trek fashion, it also ended on a major cliffhanger. Can’t wait for season 3 to figure out how the Pakleds managed to blow up their own planet, since we know it wasn’t Captain Freeman!

My only letdown was the new ship, the Archimedes. I absolutely loved the TNG callback to ensign-turned-captain Gomez and the fact that they brought back the original actress, but the ship itself was disappointing. It looks like they took the Enterprise-B variant of the Excelsior class, modernized it a bit, slapped some Sovereign class nacelles and pylons on it and called it a day. Kitbashes were all the rage on TNG and DS9 because they had budget and time limitations, but since Lower Decks has already introduced several new ships this season and clearly has a bigger FX budget than season 1, I was hoping for a little more. I’d rather have seen a straight up classic Excelsior class or Sovereign class. I’m guessing they could have done it as a callback to the aforementioned kitbashes, but why bother creating a whole new class that looks pretty similar to what it was based on?

The Pakleds probably decided to test out the second bomb on the planet’s surface to see if it worked better than the first one did. “Maybe we can reuse this one!”

Wouldn’t surprise me at all, especially since the Klingons gave them another bomb at the end of the last episode.

This show is simply amazing. I genuinely feel bad for those unable to enjoy it, as they are missing some truly wonderful Star Trek.

Agreed. I think for many they can’t get past the humor, which I understand but the show just has really fun and good stories. Stories we haven’t gotten like this in about 20 years IMO.

Or lack of humor, actually.

Please, Lorna. Don’t feel sorry for people who don’t find that kind of soft humor hilarious. I mean come on…. Not only has only 1 out of 20 episodes had more than 1 laugh in it, but the main character is an appallingly horrible human being.

Great episode. Loved it. It felt real with things at risk. Season 1 felt like stories that were not really stories but rather devices to drop in references to other Treks. This season had a lot to stand on on its own. I’m glad Captain Gomez didn’t get too detailed in her reference to spilling hot chocolate on Picard and I’m glad her performance didn’t seem like the nervous-talking young ensign from TNG. This episode felt real. Excited to see more.

Couldn’t agree more! The last handful of episodes really rocked because they were strong enough to stand on their own without relying on in-jokes and references to previous Treks.

Personally, the Sonya Gomez part was the only weak point – her performance didn’t really fill me with any kind of nostalgia and it felt weak and phoned-in. Any old captain would’ve done just fine in this role. But, I agree, at least she wasn’t a bundle of nerves spilling hot chocolate on people like before.

9/10, McMahan and company!

I did not remember her well so did not miss the nostalgia. But I like the point Anthony made about how she was there to show how far you can come from being an ensign and gain confidence along the way. And in a way, the 4 lower deckers all gained confidence too in this episode.

Wow, Luke great to see you like this one!

I notice you been VERY disappointed with the season so far so it’s great you loved the finale. And I agree, I hope the longer it goes the more it will just tell great classic stories again and not rely on references so much (but I have no problems with them at all).

Lower Decks could basically be a direct spin off of TNG if was a serious drama without all the zany jokes. But it has all the beats down that show had and really embraces everything about the era. Also why I think its getting so much fanfare from fans.

Season 1 felt like stories that were not really stories but rather devices to drop in references to other Treks. This season had a lot to stand on on its own.

Definitely agreed; this episode actually felt like it was trying to advance the Star Trek story, instead of focusing on the combination to Kirk’s safe.

Actually that was something that probably needed to get brought up so the audience would remember. I never made the connection until I read it in the review. She was completely forgettable.

Wow.

Still amazed how real and nuanced facial animation and body posture can be with just a few strokes of lines – particularly well done in this one. Some graphic art was plain beautiful towards the end.
I think Mariner and Jennifer are being set up as an item since I, Excretus.
I don’t necessarily think Rutherford and Tendi need to be a couple, for now they have a beautiful friendship

The Lower Decks season 2 finale is A+ Star Trek! What a great season. From start to finish. There wasn’t a week episode in the bunch. I can’t wait to watch this episode and season again!

Every episode of the season except for 8 was below a C. And every episode besides 8 & 9 was an F.

Sigh. I keep wanting to like Lower Decks. And I guess I kinda like it, but don’t love it. As an “adult animated comedy” it doesn’t hit the right notes in that it’s not really funny (ala Rick and Morty, The Simpsons, etc.) and it doesn’t really get all the way there (for me) as Star Trek from an adventure/sci-fi point of view. It’s like it tries to balance between the two things and (again, in my opinion) looses something because of it. I keep wanting it to either really send up Star Trek and lean into the comedy, or really be a great animated version of Star Trek. I keep watching, and I get the occasional chuckle and the occasional rise in interest because of a cool idea (removing the outer hull was an interesting and new way of tackling a problem). I dunno, maybe I’m thinking about it too much. But I’m sure I’ll keep watching just to see where it goes.

No, I think you get it. They say they are an adult comedy but they have no desire to poke fun at the franchise in any way. They fear pissing off fans. They need to lose that fear. Really joke about the Trek tropes. It would be funny! It’s a comedy! But because they fear really having some fun with Trek their humor will always be soft. Unfunny. Dull. And because the humor is weak, it plays like it was 100% aimed at the under 10 crowd. If my son was 9 I would have no issue whatsoever with him seeing most episodes of this show. Hell, he may have found it unfunny back then himself.

So no. This show knows that it wants to be something that doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Also when senior officers bicker and pout to protest her leaving, Freeman’s type of captain becomes clearer: Snarky crew mom

A great episode all around if not as good as last weeks. LOVE seeing Gomez back as Captain. So much beautiful ship porn. And YES CETACEAN OPS!!!!

Dr. T’Ana is a bleeping hoot! Every time she’s on screen I laugh hard. And holy bleep Billups losing his cool was also funny as hell. He’s always the cool mellow (sane) one in the senior staff.

And WTF did they do to Rutherford? Anyone thinking Section 31? Yep, Section 31! Pretty sure it’s Section 31! Two to one it’s Section 31! My money is on Section 31! Section 31 or bust!

We knew Freeman wasn’t going anywhere but I didn’t expect it to end this way at all. I’m SO happy the Plakled story is continuing. TWICE in a row they did a great job of hiding that plotline. But now we have to wait. :(

This episode didn’t have that great cathartic moment of seeing Riker and the Titan swooping in to save the day but easily one of the best episodes of the series so far. But I have to say this show has really impressed me. After the over done Kelvin movies and uber-villains trying to take down the Federation in really big ships along with both Picard and Discovery having these over convoluted end of the galaxy stakes, LDS is more my type of Star Trek of old. Just smaller adventure stories about solving an isolated crisis using science and teamwork.

Sometimes less is more.

This show represents the Star Trek I fell in love with waaaaay back in the 70s and 80s and I hope it continues for years to come. It definitely deserves it.

Yeah, I’m kinda regretting not watching these in order….my bad.
These guys hit their stride early. It’s a solid show.

Glad you are enjoying it more as well Phil!

It’s just a really good show with a lot of heart and solid story telling. The characters are very developed and it tells the type of TNG stories I have always loved. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with the universe we all know and love while still going its own way. It’s bringing me back to this era of Star Trek I personally love and I like it all.

I liked Sonya too and had no issue with her voicework. Why should she have been more emotional, to me she seemed just calm and professional. Plus some people maybe become detached emotionally in the face of danger.

Oh and the funniest line for me in the episode: “Who the bleep is Jadzia Dax??” Dr. T’Ana could be my grandmother. I’m loving this character more and more.

That was the ONLY funny line of the episode.

I’m surprised you didn’t catch the planet named “Laap” as a variation on Live Long and Prosper. I had to do a rewatch to make sure it wasn’t “LLap”

FYI, I completely forgot all about it but The Ready Room is back lol!

Will Wheaton is of course talking about the rest of the season of Lower Decks! Haven’t seen it yet but SUPER excited to watch it!

This ep was pretty good, the kind of episode they should be. I’d say season 2 had many improvements over season 1 and shows some real promise for next season. I’d cut back on the Mariner drama, at least mostly the drama with her mom. It gets old fast. Try to slow the pace, but more action and a better balance with the comedy and Easter eggs. Loved seeing the new ship and I have enjoyed the Pakleds being the villains. I’m going to say this over and over, redo the series intro and quit making the ‘ritos look like a ship of misfit incapable cowards. If season 3 has as much improvements as at least this season, it could be a pretty good show you know how like TNG took several seasons to really get good.

Episode 8 worked. They need to look into what made that one work and see if it can’t be repeated. Give Ann (whatever her last name was) another shot at a script. See if it wasn’t just a mistake.

But overall the show still suffers from Star Trek Discovery syndrome. Failure on nearly every front.

Great episode, and it really makes me want to see even more animated Star Trek. I know that Prodigy is on the way, but I would also like to see a cartoon that is more of a straight-up drama. Something akin to the Berman-era shows, but not necessarily set during the same timeframe. There are so many possibilities for what can be done in animation. I wonder what the state of Trek will be like ten years from now.

LDS really is a Berman-era show at its core. It feels just like anything you would find in TNG, VOY or ENT IMO. But I understand what you mean, something more serious and mature like the classic shows.

I’m very excited about Prodigy as well. It too sounds like it’s going to be a fun animated show. I’m really excited to return to the Delta Quadrant and I kind of hope we see Captain Chakotay on a Voyager. Probably won’t happen, but the fanboy in me really wants it. ;)

Give us an animated EXCELSIOR show. :-)

That was the greatest and coolest rescue mission in star trek ever! I loved it. And Crustacean Ops was hilarious!

I cannot wait til S3

Cerritos Strong!

Cetacean Ops, not Crustacean Ops. Crustacean Ops would be crabs, not whales. And while it’s certainly possible that some of the Cerritos crew might have crabs (looking at you, Ransom), I doubt they help run the ship.

Lol! Thanks for the correction! I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly all night.

Good for them, well done to Mike and his team, great episode and solid second season.

Fantastic, just absolutely wonderful!

LD has quickly become some of the best Trek currently on air, and this finale firmly elevated it from really good to straight up great.

If any modern Trek could use more than 10 eps a season, it’s LD. I really didn’t want to see this season end… and that cliffhanger!

And Cetacean Ops! We finally got to see it! I’ve been hoping for that since the pilot episode :)

Rewatched the episode for the second time and liked it even more!!

One thing about this show is you really have to watch every episode twice because it goes SO fast and there are so many fun and random things you don’t catch the first time. LDS is probably the strongest Trek show we had out of the gate since TOS. It’s pretty amazing. This show could’ve been a complete mess easily. Comedy+Animation is not what people think of when they think of Star Trek. At least not GOOD Star Trek lol.

But McMahan really had a vision and came up with something unique. And it looks like fans are gravitating to it more now. Look at this thread, it’s soooo positive and a lot of goodwill. I been on TM for 10 years now, its rarely EVER this positive lol. People are usually pretty divisive, especially with modern Trek, but LDS made it through 20 episodes of fans generally happy, especially with the season finales which seems VERY hard to get right with PIC and DIS thus far. That’s saying a LOT! You can’t say that how Discovery is discussed episode to episode. Sometime I literally want to take a bottle of aspirin after reading a thread on that show here and other places.

But it also proves that fans aren’t out to get Kurtzman or “NuTrek” either (I never liked that word). When they really like something, they fully embrace it. Yeah there are certainly many fans out there who think these new shows/films, including this one, are bring created by Satan. But most NORMAL fans really want to like any new Star Trek and when something comes along that’s at least slightly decent and gets the basics right, they start to rally behind it.

I just hope this goodwill stays through Prodigy and Strange New Worlds! But LDS has proven it’s just as much Star Trek-y as the rest of the franchise. Some ways even more so.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone put themselves through the tedium of watching each episode twice. Let alone once. I wouldn’t even watch the one good episode twice.

And BTW…. I think the reason the threads are so positive is because the show’s detractors opted to just not watch. I delayed over a month before I started. I don’t have any insight but I would guess that the number of streams of this show decreased from last season to this one.

I thought it was a great episode until the last minute. The “Freeman arrested for blowing up Pakled Planet” doesn’t do it for me. It just kind of came out of left field and didn’t ring true at all. They could have come up with a better Pakled cliffhanger if you ask me.

For a while there, I thought they were going to kill off Captain Gomez and have Freeman take over the Archimedes (the way Voyager brought back Lt. Carey after years and years just to kill him off.)

I agree, but it can be redeemed in the next episode

I think so too. I think we’ll see both of the other two ships from Three Ships come back in the cliffhanger resolution. That will be a good way to bring in T’Lyn as a regular.

I just would have liked them to set up “Freeman getting framed” a little better.

I really liked the cliffhanger… It wasn’t BOBW but after 30 years, we had so many cliffhangers… But it was still great…

It was a great scene when everyone gravitated to the windows to see her go

The final shot got to me.

It sorta said everything about the Cerritos‘ status within the fleet that after everything, after the Cerritos saved the day and countless lives aboard the Archimedes and the planet, multiple Starfleet ships are flying around the Archimedes repairing it, while the “skinned” and dented Cerritos is standing alone almost forgotten by Starfleet.

It added to the melancholy of the ending after Freeman’s arrest.

However it is kind of a cool idea to not only show the lower decks of a starfleet vessel but also the lower decks of the starfleet vessels.

Melancholy? I think the show would be better if she never returned. It needs to get rid of either Mariner or Freeman for sure. Maybe even both. That mother/daughter dynamic just doesn’t play. Nor for laughs or character. If I had my choice it would be Mariner.

This was great! S2 ends on a very high note. When the season started I was so much not into LDS. The opener was just terribly overdone. But then the show really found its space footing. It got better and better and yeah, I somehow managed to adjust to the over-the-top easter-egg bombardment in some eps. I’m glad the show exists…

BTW: When the view screen was detached, I instantly thought… so they’ll get one of those new window screens next season?

Easily the best episode to date.

I haven’t been this excited for the next series since Best of Both Worlds.

Also, Rubber Duck Room? Man alive I love this show 😂

What the hell is a Rubber Duck Room?

I really liked the character of Ensign Gomez back in “Q-Who” and wish they had kept her as a semi-regular, so I decided to check out this episode of LOWER DECKS.

It wasn’t half bad; it was much improved over the awful early episodes of season one. Do I think this is a piece de resistance of Star Trek, a la “Best of Both Worlds” or even a typical three-star TNG episode? No. And I don’t think we’ll be discussing it in 20 years, the way we are with TNG today. But for the first time with LOWER DECKS, at least I found it a pleasant diversion, and an episode that could have been scriptable for TNG and its progeny. They actually had a real problem to solve and did so by improvising brilliantly, something that Kirk would have done.

They’ve toned down a lot of the humor, and they’ve toned down — considerably — the “All Easter Eggs, All The Time” approach. (I still don’t find it particularly realistic that they know everything about the Enterprise-D and DS9 missions, but that’s a minor point.) They’ve also jettisoned the anti-ambition, “promotions are for brown-nosers” nonsense that characterized the Mariner-Boimler relationship of the early episodes. I was pleasantly surprised that Tendi *wanted* to be promoted. In the first couple of episodes, this would have pegged her as a brownnosing square.

Freeman’s intention to turn down promotion at the end of the episode wasn’t particularly realistic, but that was a trope throughout TNG too, and probably a necessary concession to network TV realities; we see how much griping there is with DISCO’s portrayal of characters leaving the ship. (Also, in fairness to TNG, “The Pegasus” explained quite a bit about why Riker was turning down his opportunity to “work with out a net” — at some level, he had imposter syndrome). Frankly, I’m not sure she would have really turned it down once she sat down with the brass.

What didn’t work: First, Slacker Mariner (TM) is still on the prowl. Seriously, any halfway intelligent officer (or office worker, for that matter) be able to handle sensitive information discreetly. Blabbing rumors *to other members of the senior staff*? God, this woman’s judgment is seriously impaired. And second, the idea that an officer is reporting to her mother, and that the mother is reporting to her husband, is a bridge too far, and that bridge hasn’t moved from day one. The only reason this officer hasn’t been drummed out of the fleet is pure nepotism. I get it’s a workplace comedy; it’s still an example of why Star Trek doesn’t mesh with the workplace comedy genre.

“It wasn’t half bad”

Holy crap! I nearly gagged on my popcorn reading this lol. For you this is HUGE! This is basically the equivalent of Donald Trump admitting, “Maybe I really did just lose the election.” It’s that monumentally big! ;)

You’re still not in love with the show and still had issues with this episode, noted, but I’m just happy that you have an open-mind. Even if you still hated it, I wouldn’t question of it. That’s not what I do here. But it is nice to see more people like yourself coming around. And remember it’s only the second season. What were people saying about TNG, DS9 or ENT in their second seasons? I’m ONLY saying that maybe it could really improve for people if they are grudgingly admitting the show is not the pure poison they felt it was early on…maybe.

And I agree with you about Mariner. I like her but she is coming off VERY selfish and ratting her mother out to her senior officers just made her look small. I had the same issue with her when she kept getting on Boimler’s case moving to the Titan. The guy wants to move up, you KNOW that, he’s not there for him to be your side buddy forever. She naturally didn’t want her mother to go but there are better ways to handle it. So I understand why she’s a divisive character. And she’s suppose to be but it can still be too much at times. I will say they did pull her back at the end of the finale and it’s going to be interesting to see how she handles the new acting captain if Ransom doesn’t take over (Spoiler: not well ;)).

I didn’t have an issue with Freeman wanting to stay though. Yeah, it’s a trope at this point, but what can you do? By the end of the TOS movies, you had literally 3 Captains all still working on the Enterprise lol. At least Sulu finally moved on at least. And I will say, being a big fan of the show from day one, I can believe how much she wants to stay with her crew because she’s grown attached to them. If she was allowed to take some of them, it may have given her a bigger push to leave.

I think you are wrong… we will be talking about LDS 20 years from now, especially episodes like: Crisis Point, wej duj and First First Contact(and hopefully more down the road). Guarantee it.

Interesting that you said “toned down the humor”. How can you tone down below none? Unless you are using episode 208. Which actually DID have multiple laughs in it.

Great episode. Great review, too. I’ll give a different opinion on just one aspect: I thought Lycia Naff was great as Captain Sonya Gomez, one of my favourite two-episode engineers from TNG. (The other, of course, is Ashley Judd’s Robin Lefler.) I thought Naff gave a performance where she was firmly in command, not hysterical, not overblown – a perfectly appropriate portrayal, and a logical characterization of a competent starship captain.

But I’m also someone who thought Jonathan Frakes and John de Lancie were too over-the-top in their ST:LD appearances. I’m likely in the minority, but I don’t think every animated performance has to come in at 12 on a scale of 10, especially if the actor is reprising a role we’ve seen them in before. (In contrast, I love what Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid bring to their characters – for them, 12/10 is perfectly appropriate.)

Again, great review! Thanks.

I’ve always thought that CBS/Paramount should have made a successor to TNG starring Ashley Judd about 10-15 years ago. She was doing short-lived TV shows at the time. They probably could have gotten her onboard. Star power. Established character. A new show in the TNG universe. What’s not to love?

What a great finale. Absolutely loved it. Back in early Season 1, I was a bit iffy towards this show, finding the charterers and their behaviours somewhat irritating. However from my perspective the show has steadily improved to the delight it is now and I can’t wait for S3. Congratulations to Mike McMahan and the entire cast and crew for producing “must see” Star Trek, that is a pleasure to watch.

By the way, I love that Billups’ standard reference for a fruit size is a pomegranate.

Hopefully enough people are watching this to keep it around for awhile.

They renewed it for season 3 before season 2 even started. So I think it’s going to be fine and will probably stick around at least 5 seasons. Fingers crossed anyway.

I’m personally hoping for 7 seasons…and then a movie! ;D

If it does we can only hope that they look long and hard at the one episode that worked. And try to make the show more like that one. Otherwise more of the same unfunny gags and uninteresting characters just won’t cut it.

I didn’t see anyone mention this so I just wanted to note–

Rutherford in Cetacean Ops is a callback to the beginning of the season when he was dating Barnes. She invited him to go swimming with her and “some of the girls from Cetacean Ops.”

Too bad. After some high hopes from episode 8, a let down in episode 9 we are back to boring unfunny garbage in the finale. For this sort of episode to work we really need to care a little about the characters. And this show suffers from Star Trek Discovery disease. Boring characters you don’t care about. In fact both Mariner and Freeman are actually repulsive people. When word came she was leaving I was thinking “Yay!!!! Maybe the show will be a little better with a new captain.” But I knew that was too much to ask for. Mariner was her usual awful person. Honestly never cared if she made it or not. And that cretatian opps thing…. Ugh. Really stupid. The fact that they are there reminders me of a bad Galaxy Quest joke of big mechanical things that make no sense and appear to do nothing useful. Speaking of Galaxy Quest, this show is very much like it. Not funny.

To be fair, this episode did produce one laugh. “Jadzia Dax? Who the f**k is she?” Again, that is the kind of fun the show should have. Bring up some name the audience knows but the characters wouldn’t. The joke went downhill when she said she meant Spock but the gag was still on the right track.

Regarding the review…. Still stunned people still refer to this show as “adult” comedy. The comedy is CLEARLY aimed at 9 year olds. As are the overly simplistic “character” themes the show has dealt with. Sterling Archer and Peter Griffin are deeper characters than anyone on this show. Consider the gravity of THAT.

I’m suspecting that the one good episode out of 20 is more of a mistake than a sign of potential. Like Star Trek Discovery, this show needs a 100% overhaul. I’m glad I subscribed late.