Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Gets Epic In “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus”

“Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus”

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 8 – Debuted Thursday, October 13, 2022
Written by Ben Rodgers
Directed by Michael Mullen

Lower Decks once again goes big with a fun and funny cinematic homage with a twist of some deep character development.

Again with the Romulans…

WARNING: Spoilers below!

RECAP

“We have a movie to do, man. We don’t have time to chat up the extras”

Things kick off in the heat of the battle with the USS Cerritos being boarded by Romulans! Ransom’s security team is too late to stop the bad guys from stealing a device, and things look dire as Freeman preps to abandon ship. But hope arrives with the powerful USS Wayfarer under the command of the heroic Captain Bucephalus Dagger… who looks a lot like Boimler (and his bridge crew looks a lot like Tendi, Rutherford, and Mariner). They quickly chase away the Warbird and the Starfleet ship captains exchange some fun banter with Freeman revealing the Romulans stole an obviously-named time travel device called a Chronogami. Hmm, looks like our pals are doing another movie thing as if the cinematic aspect ratio wasn’t already a clue. A call from the (real) Commander Ransom forces a pause to the holodeck program giving Mariner time to grouse about the title “Crisis Point II”—she’s concerned it will mess with her “Vindictaverse.” Boimler heads out to check in with Ransom as the gang is left to watch the cool credits and get into character: Rutherford as chief engineer Sylvo Toussant (he smartly gives up on trying a Cajun accent), Tendi as science officer Meena Vesper, and Mariner as first officer Rebecca Doodle… and she might have a point when she calls the whole thing “fan fiction.”

Brad returns to pick up the action at a Starfleet Temporal Laboratory and we meet the sexy Dr. Helena Gibson, who has some history with Bucephalus. The scientist fills us in using a familiar-looking briefing on the Chronogami, complete with epic technobabble like “Chronogasmic.” She gives the team a (“very convenient and not at all dumb” according to Beckett) watch that can track the Chronogami, but when the romance subplot starts to kick in, Brad (sorry Bucephalus) is all business, leaving Dr. Gibson confused and Mariner wondering why he designed her to be so hot. The team heads to Tatasciore IX to stop the Romulans from getting the fuel they need to go back in time to destroy the Federation. A perfect moment for some set piece action finally gets Mariner interested, but Brad/Dagger is more interested in random background mystics, focusing on one cultist preaching “Ki-ty-ha” as the source of all truth. Tendi/Vesper spots the Romulans escaping and uses a nice line-up of action-scene-ready Gravcycle bikes to give chase and is thrilled when Brad puts her in command as acting captain so he can find “the meaning of life.” Boimler dismisses Mariner’s complaints of a bad sequel, pointing out “Rise of Vindicta” was just an excuse to violently work out her anger issues, while he has gone full auteur to examine the human condition. As the holodeck stalls for time to give Brad’s extras a backstory, Mariner bails, dismayed that the path to Ki-ty-ha is literally a map written on the cultist’s flabby-skinned back. She leaves Bucephalus Dagger alone with this “Illustor,” and the lazily named alien follower Knicknac.

A movie means cool new dark uniforms.

“Smells like fried Romulan in here”

Even though Boimler downplayed the chase sequence, Tendi and Rutherford are having a blast Gravcycling after the Rommies, with D’Vana doing her own stunts, taking down the bad guy vehicle, and performing an amazing vault over the resulting explosion “for Starfleet!” But the Romulans escape via a time portal, so Acting Captain Vesper orders the crew to follow. They find themselves in 2341 during the “Great Soolian Algae Crisis”—you know the one, right? They witness the historic moment when the giant cephalopod Ambassador Koro communicated with the Algaeic Slime Mind to prevent the destruction of the Federation. Tendi is way into every little detail and pissed at Sam’s casualness, which included him popping out for a sandwich and not focusing on their new mission to protect Koro from the Romulans.

The next stop on the time-travel tour takes the Starfleet crew to 1980s Earth and the Sydney Aquarium, where they dispatch some unruly Australian punks, naturally. Tendi continues to be frustrated by Rutherford, who is just having fun stealing the bandits’ cool old-timey punk outfits and not focusing on the plan to “kidnap that octopus and take it to a safe house,” as one does. We next catch up with the gang at the founding of the Federation as they foil the Romulans’ plot to blow up the ceremony, with hologram Dr. T’Ana bravely sacrificing herself. Tendi is feeling that emotional beat and finally loses it when Sam casually sings his way through diffusing the bomb. He thinks this is all fun and games, but playing acting captain has ignited something in her. She’s realized she really wants to be a captain one day, but if she can’t get her best friend to take her seriously, what hope does she have with the rest of Starfleet?

The Playmates Gravcycle playset for this movie is going to be cool!

 “F—k yeah, we’re Starfleet”

Back in the real world, when Mariner attends her weekly evaluation with Ransom (which goes surprisingly well), she learns that when Brad slipped out earlier, he was informed his transporter clone William Boimler had died in an accident on the Titan, which explains his dramatic change in mood. Concerned, she returns to the holodeck where her character is immediately thrown in the brig of the Cultist ship and finds a dejected Boimler also there, feeling sorry for himself because his followers mutinied when he couldn’t find Ki-ty-ha. He is ready to end the movie, but she convinces him that even though it’s “an uneven slog that totally ignores the successes of the original,” it is worth doing because it’s a Starfleet movie. And right on time, a wall explodes for a brig breakout… it’s Knicknac! The weird little alien is in love with “Purplehead,” so there’s your romance subplot too. The trio storms the bridge to take on the fleshy Illustor. Expecting Boimler to speechify his way through this, Beckett is surprised to see Brad do the “Kirk thing” and punch his way to victory, with an assist from a totally ripped badass “third act Knicknac reveal.” Now, this is a movie. With the Cultist leader down, Brad pushes his back-skin folds together (yuck) to find the true path to Ki-ty-ha.

Back to the original movie plot: Rutherford tells a relieved Tendi he thinks she would be a great captain and he’s ready for orders. She rewinds the clock to the beginning of the movie, with everything mostly playing out the same way. However, the Wayfarer’s new Captain Vesper has a surprise for the Romulan Melponar triplets, who find she’s  swapped out their own bomb for the stolen Chronogami. BOOM! Brad’s personal discovery movie continues as he and Mariner travel to the Ki-ty-ha’s hidden moon. Sadly the rock creature turns out to be nothing more than an inspirational quote generator with clunkers like “Life is like a cup of tea.” But Brad isn’t giving up on his search and literally digs into Ki-ty-ha only to find the Wright Flyer and its smudged “KItTY HAwk” plaque. Incensed with the meaninglessness of this reveal he collapses, awakening at a familiar ranch with a mailbox that says “Kirk.” OMG!  He looks for for Captain Kirk,  but finds Captain Sulu… even better! The wise old Starfleet hero helps Brad find some peace, teaching the lesson that if he continues to worry about the meaningless death, he will never find joy in life. Before Boimler can fanboy out, he awakens again in sickbay, informed by Dr’ T’Ana he was briefly clinically dead due to dehydration. Together again, all four ensigns recount their great adventures in Boimler’s successful sequel and agree that it ended well… and without any dumb cliffhanger.

What happens in the holodeck stays in the holodeck.

In the dumb cliffhanger, we find William Boimler being awakened in his Starfleet torpedo coffin by a mysterious figure. He is offered a familiar black badge, welcomed back, and informed Starfleet considers him dead, revealing his collusion with “It worked!” After debating the merits of having a badge for a secret organization, William delights to be joining Section 31, complete with maniacal laughter.

There are still two Boimlers.

ANALYSIS

Worthy sequel

It’s always a challenge for sequels to live up to the original, and season one’s “Crisis Point” was a great episode. Yet Lower Decks succeeded in doing just that and much more, as this follow-up had all the meta-movie hilarity but went even further in taking the opportunity to do some major character development. Noël Wells and Jack Quaid are outstanding, showing great range as they take on both their fictional movie personas deep emotional arcs for each of their characters, with satisfying payoffs for each. Tawny Newsome is right behind them as she carries much of the humor of the episode, wisecracking her way along Brad’s journey of discovery but showing true compassion when she finds out what’s troubling him. This all ties in beautifully with the arcs and development and character-based humor that has been the hallmark of this different third season (not counting last week’s little excursion to the bird planet).

Wow, this movie got dark.

It’s not just the actors; everyone involved in this production is working at the top of their game, from sharp-witted yet heartfelt writing to the perfect pacing to the amazing music that built on the show’s own soundtrack with classic movie cues. Visually the show has never looked better, genuinely creating a cinematic experience for Boimler’s sequel. And what’s a great movie without a surprise cameo? George Takei is an excellent, huge surprise after the (OMG, did they actually pay for Shatner?) fake-out. The original Sulu hasn’t lost a step, returning to the role with a beautiful mix of wit and wisdom.

Tendi embraces her inner pirate captain.

Let’s go to the movies!

“Crisis Point II” was another chance to get a bit meta, even cozying up to the fourth wall as Lower Decks takes a loving but honest look at some of the tropes of the Star Trek movie franchise and tentpole movies in general. Between the fun homages to classic movie moments like the Star Trek II Genesis Device animation and even the less-than-classic Nemesis dune buggy chase, the show comments on oversimplified plots and exposition of the feature films that often shortchanges character development. The different visions of Boimler and Mariner were proxies for the debate over feature films, dumbing down some of the franchise’s philosophical themes in pursuit of action, random romances, and even the glorification of violence.

And of course, the debates over maintaining the integrity of the “Vindictaverse” are a fun poke at the fandom itself, and our obsession over canon and connections. (Oh, and make sure to check back later for our weekly Easter eggs/references article!) But mostly, “Crisis Point II” was another love letter to the Star Trek movies at their best and even at their worst—because as Mariner pointed out, any movie that is a “Starfleet movie” is worth it as there is always something to love.

Yes, we all agree she is too hot.

As for what to make of the cliffhanger with William Boimler, it turned out to be kind of fun. While another dip into Section 31 is risky, Lower Decks has earned enough goodwill to make us look forward to where they’re going with it. There is also a good chance this storyline could be connected to the conspiracy behind Rutherford’s implant. The show is best when it is episodic, so let’s hope they don’t drag these mysteries out too much.

William goes full evil twin.

Final thoughts

Lower Decks bounces back in a huge way after the mixed results from last week’s experimental episode. We are back on track with this more character-focused season and it’s hard to believe that are only two episodes left, which promise to be “big.” Can’t wait.

And you were there and you were there and you were there too

MORE BITS

Laugh lines

  • Ransom just probably wants me to spot him. He just learned Tellarite deadlifts.
  • Don’t tell me we’re going to have to go back and assassinate Kennedy because that is not happening. (A reference to an oddball unused Trek film script Gene Rodenberry wrote in 1980).
  • What, does it make an alternate cinematic timeline that runs concurrent to our own, but with, like, different people playing younger versions of us?
  • What in the alien-of-the-week bulls—t?
  • Can we get back to the real movie? Tendi and Rutherford could be in ancient Egypt riding crocodiles without us.
  • Quickly, read my saggy skin.
  • Wait, how does this play into the octopus stuff?
  • Don’t touch me! Your characters don’t even have names./ You know nothing of our ways. Acolyte 2, throw her into the brig!
  • There’s always a catch with these “god” stories.
  • I took this place off Kirk’s hands. He had to go time travel or who knows what. The man could never relax.
  • Is this heaven? The afterlife? The Nexus? / It’s Idaho.
  • Dagger here fought off a mutiny and then beat the s—t out of a god.

Sulu is living the Kirk life

Random stuff

  • Mariner quips that Boimler has been taking acting classes from Winger Bingston, the ship’s “triple threat” performer.
  • When Mariner had to exit the holodeck movie, she had to step over the letterbox.
  • The plant Tatasciore IX was obviously named for Fred Tatasciore, voice of Shaxs.
  • One of the mystics on Tatasciore IX preached “The Koala smiles on us all,” referring to the show’s own mystical Koala.
  • Another mystic says, “We’re all holograms in a simulation,” a meta reference or a possible indication the hologram is becoming self-aware.
  • The Illustor’s saggy-skin map includes Karzil, Earth, Betazed, Kelva, Mercury, Earth, Alpha VIII, and Itamashi.
  • Rutherford was singing the Chu Chu dance song from the Zebulon Sisters, who were recently banned from performing by Admiral Jellico.
  • Ransom reveals his “besties” on the ship are Honus the bartender, Nurse Westlake (presumedly named after show composer Chris Westlake), and Matt the whale, which would devastate Stevens… And to make matters worse, Stevens was admitted into sickbay for burning himself on the warp core for the second time that day.
  • The USS Wayfarer (registry NCC-80035) was a Sovereign-class ship like the USS Enterprise-E, but it’s likely the ship was made up for Boimler’s holo movie.
  • The Melponar triplets’ ship was a Valdore-type Romulan Warbird, first seen in Star Trek: Nemesis.

NOTE: We will have more about the many Easter eggs and references in a follow-up article.

It’s the Wayfarer!

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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One of the best episodes so far! This is how you poke fun at Star Trek and make it exciting and funny.

Couldn’t agree more.

How it this poking fun at Star Trek? It was really just verbally pointing out movie tropes. Poking fun at Trek would be like the guy on the other side of the viewscreen is off center and the captain asks him to move to the right a little. Yes, that joke was done on Orville in their first season but it’s a good gag that pokes a little fun at Trek. Dressing characters up in styles from the movies isn’t poking fun at Trek.

This was a lot of fun! And it was great to hear George Takei’s distinctive voice again.

Oh my!

KNICK KNACK!

Thank you! It’s Knick Knack for me. I mean I’m laughing just thinking about Knick Knak. GET HIS NAME RIGHT!!! So damn funny.

He needs to be in all the sequels.

I’m still hoping for that Knick Knack spin-off. Hurry up, Paramount!

Yes, bring back Knick Knack!! Drop that annoying boring flying robot.

Sylvo Toussant (he smartly gives up on trying a Cajun accent)

Haven’t watched the show. But someone with the name “Toussaint” is almost certainly Haitian or Creole, not Cajun.

Or French Canadian.

Toussaint comes up in the lists of old Acadian surnames (and in the rarer Québécois surnames).

So, Toussaint could appear in Cajun family lines too – not all Acadians returned.

Didn’t Ransom and Shaxs die in the lat Crisis Point? This sequel completely ruins the integrity of the Vindictaverse.

I think they both received magic blood off screen so they are fine now.

Oh wait, Shaxs was blown up. Well it wouldn’t be the first time he was blown up and came back to life again, right? ;D

I don’t think the holo-movie ever ended!

After meeting Sulu in Kirk’s barn, Boims wakes up in sickbay, in his “Vindicta-verse” uniform. He’s greeted by a non-disintegrated T’Anna in her standard Cali-class uniform and med coat, and Mariner, Rutherford and Tendi — also in their “Vindicta” uniforms. Now what am I going on about this for? Maybe they replicated the uniforms to wear on the holodeck, right?

EXCEPT…..

that when Mariner left the holodeck earlier (before she went to Ransom and learned about William), her holodeck uniform was replaced with her standard issue uniform.

This is either a huge continuity gaffe or the holo-movie never ended.

Wouldn’t be the first time Crisis Point led right in to the next episode…

Mariner physically left the holodeck and the uniform and robe did not disappear. Boimler’s was real as we saw him leave earlier as well. It’s a little odd the robe stays with her, but it’s reasonable to assume some things like clothes can be replicated in the holodeck versus projected. We’ve certainly seen replicated water leave the holodeck on TNG.

Technically the next shot of Mariner where she storms away in her normal uniform isn’t a continuity gaffe – it could be a jump cut. She could have quickly changed while still hopping mad about things on her way to that meeting.

I believe we regularly saw TNG cast “in costume” entering and exiting the holodeck. So they dressed up in “real” clothing before embarking on their holodeck adventures.

The Lower Decks scenes where the whole crew is running around in costume after being caught during R&R time are so good. It’s funny but also so Star Trek – they are utterly committed and professional.

TNG movie ‘first contact’ had clothes replicated when Picard , lily entered the holodeck

Yes. We didn’t see them leave in them, so one assumes they disappeared as they left. Mariner’s robe must have been programmed to be replicated so it could stay on her as she left.

The widescreen bars disappeared when they were in the real world. Mariner actually had to step over one on her way out.

Self deprecating humor. Love it….

Was it, though? Was there a joke about how throwbacks aren’t good jokes?

As Tendi might say, THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!

This is why I love Lower Decks so much!! It was just meta on top of meta!! My god I couldn’t keep up. I was laughing so hard at nearly everything but I like how Mariner was all of us (yeah, she usually is but definitely this time).

Crisis Point 2 had it ALL! Time travel, crazy action sequences, ROMULANS (always happy to see more Romulans), love those uniforms and felt like a nice update from First Contact and all the great twists this episode had! CAPTAIN SULU showing up in some weird Nexus like heaven and William Boimler joining Section 31 (and thanks for calling out the badges Boims). I saw none of it coming, but loved every damn minute of it.

SEVEN SEASONS AND A…wait, we’re kind of getting movies! OK, SEVEN SEASONS AND A MOVIE LENGTH MOVIE!!!

My favorite line. Shaxx worried “Look we don’t want any…” then head button a punk and grimly finishes “…witness”

LMAO, that was such a great line. Shaxs and Dr. T’Ana are just totally insane as characters. I also loved Dr. T’Ana’s line when she was dying, “Never bullshit a bullshitter.”. Maybe Bajorans and Caitians are just really a hot blooded species in general but they are always fun to watch.

One of very few second watches for LD. Kit t ya, Easter egg for V ger? It was in my head the first time but I didn’t complete the thought… Lots of other Easter eggs too.

Of course Kit T Ya was V’Ger, what else?

LDs is not really my cup of tea, and therefore I haven’t seen many episodes. But whenever I am in the mood to put up with the off the wall humour, this show always seems to deliver.
The underlying story and the overall writing really is quite good and in many ways exceptional. The Sulu cameo in Idaho was my favorite part but William Boimler being saved by Section 31 was a close second along with his questioning of the black badges haha.
Glad I tuned in tonight because it really was good Star Trek and I can definitely see why so many fans really love this show!

8 for 8.

This season has been an absolute joy! So many funny moments! Can’t wait to hear from Tony and Laurie on the podcast.

This show is pure joy and one of the best things to come out of Star Trek in 20 years!

This episode was peak Lower Decks! So much fun to watch! 😂😂

I’ve already talked about it in other places but my favorite parts were all the scenes of that beautiful sovereign class ship streaking through space, everytime Mariner threw shade on the ridiculous over the top movie plots they keep using, returning to the day and site the Federation was birthed (where was Archer though McMahan??!), William Boimler faking his death to join Section 31 and finally Captain Sulu making his grand return to Star Trek! I almost cried. 😥

Second favorite show of the season. Very close to the DS9 episode which is now my favorite LDS episode period.

9/10

It really was greet to see George Takei part of Star Trek again, even in a small cameo role. It’s a little sad, but he’s the first TOS actor involved in some part of Star Trek again since Nimoy and the Kelvin movies. 

And Lower Decks has now officially used at least one character from all the classic shows except Enterprise! And we know they want to use them so I have faith (of the heart) Lower Decks will figure out a creative way to bring them in (although I nearly cheered with glee when I thought we would see Archer in the Federation hall to give his speech–but we’ve already seen his holodeck version before so I’m over that ;)).

And it’s not that hard to figure out a way. I mean Boimler just met Captain Sulu in some kind of Nexus heaven after a near death experience so anything is literally possible in this franchise lol.

I love Star Trek!

Last time George Takei was involved with Star Trek, at least officially, was on Voyager in Flashpoint and that was 26 years ago. That was before I even became a Star Trek fan.

I don’t mind John Cho as Sulu but nothing beats the original in the prime universe sharing the meaning of life with Boimler!

Welcome back Takei, you have been missed! 😎🖖

Sorry it was Flashback.

“faith (of the heart)…” I LOL’d

Someone needs to put together a complete list of all the ST movies this episode paid homage to!

Third Moon of Shatanari? 😉

came here for this comment. was not dissapointed

“The Playmates Gravcycle playset for this movie is going to be” …$800 – fixed that for ya

Did Lower Decks shade Kirk? For Boimler, meeting Sulu is “even better” than Kirk and he asks about serving with Spock and Uhura, not Kirk.

They’ve established that while Boimler admires the likes of Riker and Kirk and wants to be a captain, he didn’t enjoy the intensity of the Titan and has a real affinity for the underdogs – he’s proud of being lower decks. Plus, I get the sense he picked up the sword interest because of Sulu.

Wonder if they will put Trip from Enterprise faking his death to work with Section 31 in the novels into canon. Maybe in a throw away line or something.

That seems to be the leading theory (or more likely wish fulfillment) in a lot of places from fans and that Boimler faking his death to be part of Section 31 was purposely lifted from Trip’s arc in those novels. Some people are taking it farther and thinks it could be foreshadowing Lower Decks will make that officially canon somehow.

I would personally love that as well. Killing off Trip is still the biggest mistake they done in Star Trek to me. Even worse than Kirk’s death because I was fine with killing Kirk, just how it was done that sucked. But Trip still had a lot of life and development for the character even if Enterprise as a show was cancelled. They know these characters will live on regardless as he literally did just that in the Section 31 novels. So if McMahan is trying to retcon it because he knows that’s what all the Trip fans want, then please, please do it!

The top-secret video about the Chronagami is animated in the same way as the video for the Genesis Device.

Loved the episode!!! Next to wej’Duj my favorite!

I noticed a little goof – the schematic in the background of the Wayfarers bridge was the one of Luna class, not of a Sovereign class

This was a good one, a fun episode! Much better than the first “Crisis Point,” too! The DS9 episode from two weeks ago still has it beat, but give me Knicknac over that trashcan Peanut Hamper ANYtime!!! 😁👍

uhm, isn’t NCC-80035 basically calculator-speak for “BOOBS”? xD

Yes, if you’re 12

Once again the writers think that just duplicating something that happened in a feature film is funny.

Newsflash…. It’s not.

Again, the moral was fit to be heard by 10 year olds.

But… Closing on a positive: There was a quick gag at the end that led to a small chuckle. Something that has been very rare for this show. “Twice in one day!”

And one more thing…

And this is yet another big problem. The characters in this show really shouldn’t be Star Trek fans. That aspect severely undermines whatever comedy they try to mine. And believe me, they aren’t mining very hard.

I have to say that when the Holodeck showed illustor’s backstory as a story on his back literally, I wheezed and gasped for air as I laughed for several minutes. I replayed the scene and wheezed and gasped for several more minutes. Even now, I’m wheezing and gasping just writing about it.

Boy, did that make me feel good.

Incidentally, Illustor for some reason reminds me of Marty Feldman.