“A Few Badgeys More”
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4, Episode 7– Debuted Thursday, October 12, 2023
Written by Edgar Momplaisir
Directed by Bob Suarez
The return of some fun, familiar characters brings a lot of laughs, a lot of danger, and a lot of heart.
“He’s trying to salvage you!”
This week we sort of got two teasers. First, we pick up on the post-credit scene from the season 3 finale: Rutherford’s old eyepiece (with the evil Badgey AI inside) is retrieved by Drookmani scavengers. The captain claims the tech as his own and Badgey makes it clear he will gladly offer up Starfleet secrets, ominously promising “I’ve certainly never killed anyone.” Soon enough, the eyepiece wires come alive and attach themselves to the captain. Next up, we meet some Bynar lower deckers… you know the drill. After some of their unintelligible computer chatter, there is an alert and they head to the bridge, where the pair of captains tries to deal with the mystery ship and soon enough they meet the same fate, with their catamaran-style ship apparently destroyed. Things come full circle as the Drookmani scavengers show up to gather the remaining debris, with the captain and crew now under the thrall of Badgey. Cue maniacal laughter! (There’s going to be a lot of that this episode, BTW.)
“Have fun with the sinister robots!”
Cut to our favorite four lower deckers adding a grappler to their never-ending shuttle project. Rutherford gets frustrated when his targeting system misses the target and pins Tendi to the wall, but she encourages him with the reminder that science and experiments are supposed to be messy. The four are called to a briefing on a Bynar distress call; Starfleet has tasked the Cerritos to investigate if it is part of the recent attacks. However, Tendi and Boimler are not coming along. D’Vana has been called to appear at the parole hearing for Peanut Hamper and Brad is coming along as AGIMUS, the megalomaniacal computer sentenced to the same facility, claims to have information on the Bynar attack. He will only talk to Brad—specifically, only to that “stringy ensign meat pipe.” Everyone assumes it’s some mind game trap, but Boimler is going just in case he has real intel. At Daystrom, Peanut Hamper and AGIMUS are busy with some gardening therapy, learning “life forms are as easy to grow as they are to annihilate.” The pair is enjoying “scheming and conniving” as they (no surprise) plan an escape for AGIMUS after Hamper is paroled. He is going to trick Boimler by switching his red light to blue, which she agrees makes him look “totally not evil.” When Brad shows up, he remains skeptical but admits that blue light is “reassuring.” AGIMUS does seem to have legit info on the attack, so Brad agrees to take the computer to the location of one of his drones to get all the details on the Bynar attack. Once on the shuttle, AGIMUS is pleased to hear Peanut Hamper has been released after giving a nice speech about her regrets. The devious computer goes back to red and uses drones to take control of the shuttle and put the Cerritos duo in restraints. Tendi nails it with: “You can turn your red light blue? You are a jerk.”
“Hi father, prepare to die.”
When the Cerritos arrives at the site of the Bynar ship disappearance, they find the Drookmani captain hailing, asking for help from the “demon triangle” just as Badgey takes control and attacks. Thanks to all that Starfleet knowledge, the disruptors bypass the shields — but the AI says “boop” after each shot, so it’s kind of adorable. Rutherford ignores Captain Freeman’s objections and space leaps to the Drookmani ship in an act of sacrificial atonement, and Mariner jumps along as she isn’t going to let him go alone. Her “What’s up party people?” swagger upon arrival is tempered when she learns Rutherford doesn’t have a cool virus or even an AI-killing knife. His plan is to do something he should have done a long time ago… give his son a hug. This sweet moment of crying and catharsis actually works until Badgey glitches and splits into two. The part moved by his father’s compassion introduces himself with “I’m Goodgey, we should run for our lives!” while what’s left of Badgey threatens to “rip your spines out.” Hiding on the ship only gets the evil AI angrier as it takes control of the Cerritos systems, filling the ship with toxic gas. With time running out, Samanthan has a new idea. He returns to the bridge to argue with the AI that vengeance has no benefit, which works because Badgey is still a computer program, after all. But the hologram glitches and splits again, this time excising “Logic-y.” The remaining pure primal evil Badgey ups the stakes, now planning to kill everyone in the Federation. Kids, am I right?
“We can still be friends without vanquishing people.”
At the rendezvous in Martinique, Tendi and Boimler are playing along as captives when AGIMUS reveals the plans he had to join Peanut Hamper. They head to a planet the schemers had picked out, perfect for some nice subjugation. First concerned at her no-show, he then sees hope in his belief she has betrayed him to take over Plymeria on her own, so they head over, but she isn’t there. AGIMUS still takes over the planet “in record time,” but his computerized heart just isn’t in it and he laments that his prison buddy led him astray with all her co-conspiring. He perks up when Tendi says she can locate Hamper using the prison parole system and relishes the idea of finding her concocting some plan “more nefarious than I imagined.” They leave the conquered planet flying banners of AGIMUS and Peanut Hamper behind and find her among other exocomps at a research station, happily working alongside her dad. AGIMUS can’t believe she (and other sentient robots) are willingly doing menial work, but she finds the Zen of it. Peanut admits that she had fun scheming about dominating stuff with him, but her time behind bars (force fields?) led her to true remorse. AGIMUS admits he really isn’t all that into planet subjugation anymore; he just wanted to hang out with his new friend. With this, his light turns blue for real and Boimler and Tendi’s restraints fade away. Before dragging him back to prison, Boimler gives AGIMUS a minute to meet Mr. Hamper (whose name is Kevin) and have some time with his pal, “You have a very special daughter.” Aww, he has totally conquered friendship.
“All life are strands in the fabric of reality”
As all that was happening, things were escalating on the Drookmani ship as Badgey decides to upload himself into every ship, station, and planet. Logic-y jumps into action and back into Badgey, but the evil AI is too strong, splitting again and killing him. “Logic-y!” Rutherford pleads, saying he still thinks there is good in Badgey, but the AI scoffs as he begins his subspace upload—and is overwhelmed by the massive spread into systems across the galaxy… and the “unlimited power and infinite knowledge” changes him. Now blue, Badgey sees the beauty of all life, organic and synthetic. His attempt at revenge has led to a spiritual awakening. He lets go of genocide and embraces a new plan to create his own universe, maybe even hang out with the Q Continuum. They all watch in awe as the transcendent AI leaves this dimension into the embrace of the Great Koala. His creator bids his goodbye, wishing his son “good luck being everything!” This is really turning out to be a big day for AI catharsis.
“Is this guy going to murder us?”
AGIMUS is again stored back at Daystrom, where he gets some sass from his fellow megalomaniacal computers for the failed escape attempt. He vows to do the work and use the facility’s therapy to process his “toxic behavior” so he can really be rehabilitated and be released to reunite with his best friend. This nice plan was still followed up by his signature maniacal laugh… baby steps. Oh, and it turns out he wasn’t lying about having info on the Bynar attack, and gives Boimler an image that changes everything. The mystery attacker isn’t destroying the alien ships, it’s stealing them! He thanks AGIMUS and exits, leaving the AI vowing to help Tyrannikillicus, a fellow evil computer trying to be a better artificial intelligence who wants to learn about making friends. And speaking of adorable, Rutherford brought Goodgey back to the Cerritos to help with that grappler targeting system. The other lower deckers are naturally concerned about another rogue AI, especially after a bit of glitching, so they make their exit (except for Boimler, stuck to the wall by the grappler). Sam and his son wrap things up as they happily tinker together.
Fans have been hoping to see the return of these computerized villain characters and Lower Decks didn’t disappoint, bringing back Badgey (now Badgeys?), AGIMUS, and Peanut Hamper all at once. While this series still indulges periodically in dives into the Trek canon like last week’s visit to Ferenginar, this fourth season continues to shine brightest when Lower Decks relishes its own lore as “A Few Badgeys More” did with these characters, along with the Drookmani and more, all seamlessly woven into the new season mystery arc as well as the individual season 4 character arcs. But the show isn’t just playing the hits. This episode mixes things up by pairing up Boimler and Tendi for the AGIMUS/Peanut Hamper story and having Mariner join Rutherford for his difficult father/son reunion with the Badgeys. It’s a testament to the strength of the characters and their voice actors that these different dynamics still had the great comic chemistry that is at the core of the success of the series. And while T’Lyn has been missed these last couple of episodes, it was great to give Rutherford (and Eugene Cordero) time to shine.
Of course, this episode also shines thanks to some fantastic guest stars. Fan favorite Jeffrey Combs relishes in the supervillain tropes as AGIMUS, providing some of the funniest moments of the episode, but he, too, gets some nice character development as does Peanut Hamper, the (formerly) self-centered exocomp, who became his fast friend at Daystrom’s Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage. Does it make sense that this AI penitentiary had all the common prison trappings like a yard for weight lifting? No, but who cares? It was funny. And even Peanut Hamper, a character who has tested the limits of annoying, has also found her way in this episode tied together by the common Trek themes of friendship, family, and redemption, helped along by a more nuanced performance by Kether Donohue. An example of how tightly this show works is her return to her father, tying up her arc after she refused to help the Cerritos crew in the season 1 finale because she only joined Starfleet to piss off her dad. Nowhere were these themes more on display than with the Badgey storyline as Jack McBrayer went above and beyond, playing Badgey, Goodgey, and Logic-y. This storyline also had nice subtle touches that played on some classic Trek stories of dangerous AIs, including Rutherford wielding logic like Kirk did with Nomad, Logic-y fighting his “brother” like Data and Lore, and even the connection and transcendence of Badgey evoking V’Ger. There was also something nice about the way that when Badgey obtained that ultimate power instead of going all Gary Mitchell, he became enlightened.
The mystery ship attacks arc has now moved to the forefront, the driving force behind Boimler’s assignment as well as his infinite patience with the spiraling AGIMUS as he stuck with it to get that key intel. As a side note, Brad’s manipulation of AGIMUS shows how far he has come, and was just one example of how the characters on this show can all show their smarts, not relying on tropes to create tension and conflict. As for the fate of the Bynars (yeah, Bynars!), we learned the key new fact that the mystery ship isn’t destroying alien ships, it’s stealing them. As Boimler says, the destruction (with debris left behind as proof) was all a lie. This (almost) confirms a TrekMovie theory from the start of the season that the mystery ship isn’t killing all these aliens; however, much remains to be discovered, especially who is driving that ship and what their motivation is. This plot arc has ramped up slowly but surely during the season, adding more fun mystery without dragging it out or getting in the way of the episodic stories.
Episode 7 cements the idea that this is the best season yet for Lower Decks as it gets even funnier when the show builds on its own lore while still making plenty of nods to canon. The impressive writing, voices, art, direction, music, and more pack so much into such a short time that every episode is worth watching twice. What more could you ask for?
- The episode title is a play on the title of the classic spaghetti western For a Few Dollars More.
- Badgey’s recovery in the Kalla system was from when he was left behind during the Battle of Kalla in the season 1 finale, first hinted at in the season 3 finale.
- Badgey threatened the lives of the Cerritos crew by releasing Neurazine Gas, but that gas was used to incapacitate humans by the Dominion (according to DS9). It’s Neurocine Gas that is toxic, used by the Cardassians as riot control (also seen on DS9).
- When Badgey uploaded himself across subspace, we saw the effect on a number of familiar locations, including the USS Vancouver, Douglas Station, Deep Space 9, and the Vulcan ship Sh’vhal.
- Badgey’s transcendence mirrored that of O’Connor from season 1, where we first saw the Great Koala.
- Peanut Hamper returned home to the Tyrus VIIA Station from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode (“The Quality of Life”) that first introduced the exocomps.
- Mariner and Boimler talking up how grapplers (introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise) are cool picks up on them saying the same during the Strange New Worlds crossover episode “Those Old Scientists.”
- Tendi reveals that Orion beaches don’t have sand, just sharp little pebbles.
More to come
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