Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Levels Up In “The Inner Fight”

“The Inner Fight”

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, October 26, 2023
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Brandon Williams

A solid episode that balances plot, action, character, and and heart and ties elements of the series and franchise lore together in surprising ways.

T’Lyn makes these outfits look good.



“Why is my daughter trying to get herself killed!?”

Mariner, Boimler, and T’Lyn are on a mission to upgrade the energy barrier for a group of Federation outpost scientists on Persioff IX who study “tremble lizards,” adorable birdlike balls of deadly poison. When one of the barriers goes down, the scientists panic—and Mariner is all “I got this” and out the door before Boimler can get his anti-venom pants on. She heroically avoids the eye-exploding poison attacks, fixes the fence, and makes it back inside, barely giving the scientists time to scream “We’re all going to die!” Unfortunately, she didn’t notice one lizard on her back, so now one of those scientists is going to need a new set of eyes. Boimler is pissed. Back on the Cerritos, T’Lyn agrees Beckett’s behavior has grown “increasingly dangerous” and the lower deckers (sans Mariner) are called in for a conference by the Captain, who is also pissed that her daughter is being so reckless. She is especially worried as the Cerritos has been tasked with assisting Starfleet’s efforts to counter the mystery ship, which has gone from taking out alien ships to targeting former Starfleet officers. The specific civilian they have been assigned to locate before they are abducted is Tom Paris Nicholas Locarno, and Freeman orders the Lieutenant JGs to distract Mariner so she won’t end up in a danger zone spiral with the infamous former cadet who was drummed out of the Academy for his own dangerous exploits. Tendi has the perfect idea: Some space buoy has stopped responding, so they can check that out, leaving the Cerritos to find Locarno before he gets scooped up by the big bad. The plan is to trick Mariner into thinking the buoy mission is “super dangerous”… what’s that thing about best laid plans?

No Mr. Boimler, you do not get to live out your Beverly Crusher fantasy.

“We aren’t going to actively seek out danger, right?”

As they shuttle away, Mariner asks too many questions, so quick-thinking T’Lyn assures her the mission will be “2.47 times more perilous” if they withhold the details. The plan starts to fall apart upon arrival at Sherbal V. Fixing an orbital weather satellite is as boring as it sounds, even though Tendi thinks someone might have tampered with it. Soon after Mariner declares the mission “sucks,” a Klingon Bird of Prey decloaks and aims weapons, so she pushes an annoyed Boimler out of the pilot seat to do some cool evasive maneuvers. A Type 6 shuttle is no match for the Klingon ship, and they only survive the inevitable explosion thanks to Tendi beaming them to the planet moments before.

Lost in a stormy alien forest full of scary sounds, Mariner sticks with her “bring it!” defiance while the gang focuses on figuring out why they were attacked and why this uninhabited planet is full of random aliens like a Ferengi and Romulan facing off at spear-point. Turns out they were actually working together to trap a third mysterious figure, and true to form, Mariner jumps in to join the fight, trash-talking the Romulan who quickly gets the upper hand. The other lieutenants drag her off before she ends up as a Mariner kebab, and after another attack (from a Cardassian) is thwarted (by a T’Lyn neck pinch), they find shelter in a tall tree. Tendi spots the satellite monitoring station they can use to send for help, and the plan is to avoid the various nearby aliens, but Mariner counters they should just fight their way through. Her friends finally admit they are under orders to keep her out of danger because everyone is worried about how weird she has been lately. Obviously, she does not take this well. As the group sleeps, she sneaks off on her own and soon enough finds just the kind of thing she has been looking for: that apex predator from before who turns out to be a Klingon. (It’s Ma’ah, remember him?) Completely forgetting what just happened with that Romulan, she starts insulting the formidable warrior… in Klingon. Even with some impressive Kirk Fu, Ma’ah gets the better of her in combat… and then it starts raining shards of glass. Is that threat level high enough for you yet, Mariner?

Scans indicate we are f***ed.

“We’re just a classic roving gang.”

Unaware of the events on Sherbal, the Cerritos arrives at New Axton, which Shaxs assures is “twice as lawless” as old Axton but “without any of the charm.” It’s a classic wretched hive of scum and villainy, albeit with some very snooty folks in charge who are no fans of the Federation. Freeman is ordered to park her ship far away, next to a moon, while they let obvious nefarious types fly straight down. As a frustrated Freeman, Shaxs, and Rutherford arrive via the local moon shuttle, the captain knows they will have to “think like criminals.” However, the “Hoodlums and Racketeers” seminar she took doesn’t seem to be working as the bouncer at Locarno’s last known location will only put the Starfleeters (in full uniform) on a waiting list, helplessly watching as the scary bounty hunter and other unsavory types waltz straight into the seedy bar. When they eventually do get in, they find a familiar-looking information broker who is also not a Federation fan—and that’s before Freeman assaults the little alien, accusing him of being a puppet. The broker is now motivated to sell Locarno’s location to that scary bounty hunter as the officers are booted from the bar amid boos and a loud “Starfleet sucks!” from the patrons. Tough crowd.

I told you, I don’t want any Tranya!

“My mind clears up when something is trying to kill me.”

Mariner and Ma’ah pause their battle to hide in a cave until the “stupid knife rain” ends. She learns he was abandoned on the planet by his crew from the same Bird of Prey that attacked her shuttle. The Klingon captain is impressed she is a warrior, but she rejects the notion, so he accuses her of waging war with herself. The warrior’s keen insight cuts to her core and Mariner decides to turn this into her moment of truth. She has been acting out because she doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with that promotion. She loves Starfleet, especially the scanning and exploring stuff. Her cycle of promotion and demotion goes all the way back to her time at the Academy. She and her friend (and hero) Sito dreamed of being captains one day, but after graduation, Sito was killed by a Cardassian on a covert mission, and Mariner just hasn’t been the same since. The whole Dominion War thing didn’t help, either. Literally throwing her new pip away, Mariner rejects the possibility of having to send friends to die. Dr. Ma’ah quickly diagnoses the problem: Sito was a warrior and Mariner is not honoring her memory. She died so Mariner and others could solve alien plant mysteries or whatever and would certainly not approve of all this moping. Beckett agrees, she is acting like a biHnuch (idiot). The Klingon returns her pip and she puts it back on. With the storm now over, he is ready to return to their battle, but Mariner pulls a surprise move on him. “Klingons do not hug!” he protests. Too late. She has decided they are allies, trapped on this weird planet… so he is now stuck with her.

I learned this one from hologram James T.

“Until we are off this s#!t planet we need to work together”

As various aliens tussle over glowing fruit at the relay station, Ma’ah suggests taking on the Orions and the others will scatter. Acknowledging what she is doing is harder than attacking, Mariner jumps in to try to stop the fighting amongst the gathered aliens from the abducted alien ships: Orions, Bynars, Cardassians, Ferengi, and Romulans. Thinking it’s a Starfleet trick, they aren’t ready for a time out until Ma’ah jumps in, and since they are all scared of him, they briefly agree to her “time out.” She digs into her Starfleet training to find that common ground; they are all stranded and hungry, so they should work together and focus on whoever is behind all of this. That Orion captain still can’t handle listening to a Starfleet officer and lunges for Mariner, only to be stopped in her tracks by the Mistress of the Winter Constellations. Tendi’s timely arrival (with Boimler and T’Lyn) has Captain Cosmia take a knee, giving Mariner a chance to go full Picard with a unifying speech about how all their species “chose to go into space and all the danger that comes with it.” If they work together then “nothing can stop us.” Cue the music! The alien adversaries put aside their differences and start working on an escape plan, but then Mariner is suddenly beamed away. WTF? Another Starfleet trick! Ma’ah again vouches for her honor—she was taken by the bad guys and  they should continue getting that distress call ready as he has a cunning plan. As the Bird of Prey sweeps in close to take out the station, Ma’ah has positioned his makeshift squad on the surrounding cliffs and they leap onto the ship, soon making their way to the bridge. The bridge crew is quickly subdued but Ma’ah has other plans for the petaQ who took his command, lunging at the traitor and literally tearing him apart as his new allies try not to look too horrified at his (purple) bloodlust. This ship is his again, but Mariner is nowhere to be found… so where the hell is she?

We all decided… Starfleet sucks!

“What the hell are you doing here?”

On New Axton, Rutherford is dejected their mission failed, but the captain declares it a success as the scary-helmet bounty hunter arrives and it’s Billups! She knew how the locals would react to Starfleet and used that against them, so now they have Locarno’s location. Maybe her seminar really worked. They arrive at a hangar hoping to get Locarno into protective custody, but the pilot-for-hire is nowhere to be found. What they do find changes everything: schematics for the mystery ship behind all the alien abductions! It was Locarno all along! Cut to Mariner waking up in a “minimalist hell” of a room on the mystery ship. When the door opens she is ready for a fight, but instead is greeted by a smiling Nick, who she recognizes. He is happy to see her declaring they are “going to cause some trouble together.” … Fade to black and “TO BE CONTINUED…” Dun dun duuun!



Wow, there is a lot to unpack for this satisfying episode that dives deep into Mariner’s backstory and underlying character along with the canon of the franchise and the show itself. There are laughs to be had, including some broad comedy in the teaser and in Freeman’s fun mission to the planet of criminals, but most of the humor is more character-based, relying on a love and understanding of the show’s protagonists. “The Inner Fight” also forgoes some of the usual comedy for a serious exploration of the underlying causes of Mariner’s motivations and why all season long (and all series long) she has rejected promotion and responsibility. Tawny Newsome really stepped up to show range as Mariner’s id wrote checks her body couldn’t cash to finally get real, revealing she isn’t a slacker or adrenaline junkie; she is wracked with survivor’s guilt along with some PTSD. It was clever that it took the insights of a Klingon for her epiphany as she has always had a bit of Klingon in her (as seen in the opening episodes of the series). Veteran character actor Jon Curry impressed with his return as the very-much-not-dead Ma’ah, delivering a nuanced performance worthy of some of the best Klingon stories from the TNG and DS9 era, albeit pushing the limit when it came to his brutal retaking of the IKS Che’Ta’. But why did it take Ma’ah (who didn’t even know Sito) to remind Mariner that Sito was a warrior as she was a security officer and protégé of Worf, so no stranger to the dangers of Starfleet?

This forest isn’t big enough for both of our egos.

Together with some of the elements of Freeman’s story on New Axton, Lower Decks once again was both having fun with but also commenting on some of the contradictions within Star Trek and Starfleet itself. Mariner saying that Starfleet can do better and “I’m not wrong to call out BS when I see it,” feels a bit meta, with the Lower Decks team talking straight to the audience. The best humor of the episode came from Carol’s Star Wars-tinged visit to New Axton, full of space criminal tropes and canon connections like the “Pickpocket’s District,” Mudds bar, and the Balok-like information broker. But it is also satisfying for fans to see that while Dawnn Lewis’ captain may not command the most important ship in the fleet, she is very much in command of the situation, showing keen cultural awareness and understanding of how Starfleet and the Federation are perceived from the outside, just as she has before (like the recent visit to Ferenginar). Is this outsider perspective the thing that has kept her from rising in the upper ranks? Of course, Jack Quaid is also always good for the laughs as Boimler has plenty of funny moments, this time getting some great assists from Gabrielle Ruiz’ T’Lyn, whose dry wit always cuts deep.

Can you look more seedy, Mr. Rutherford?

Beyond the straightforward episodic humor and character development, this episode’s ambitions stretch to the limit when it comes to tying everything together. Not only does it bring some resolution to both Mariner’s season arc, but also to the big mystery ship plot arc along with picking up on some beats from previous season 4 episodes, like Tendi’s command of other Orions and Mariner’s dangerous descent on display on Ferenginar. Yet that isn’t enough for episode writer and series creator Mike McMahan, who said at NYCC that the final two episodes of the season “just feels like the ultimate Star Trek, the ultimate Lower Decks.” He digs deeper into the series, making this episode a bit of a reunion from the Hugo-nominated season 2 episode “wej Duj,” which introduced both Ma’ah and T’Lyn. If you didn’t get the connection, T’Lyn brings up that battle with the Pakleds—although how is it she didn’t know the Cerritos was involved? Going deeper, Mariner’s backstory was tied into the origin story of the series itself, which was inspired by the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Lower Decks.” Making Mariner friends with Sito Jaxa from that episode was an astute choice and now everything starts falling into place on a number of levels, although one would need to be a superfan to see them all. And McMahan isn’t done yet as he dives even deeper into Sito’s story, going back to the TNG episode “The First Duty” and making that episode’s villain Nick Locarno into the big bad of the season. Having Robert Duncan McNeill return to play the former drummed-out cadet is certainly fun, although those who held that Tom Paris was secretly Locarno will now have to give up on that popular fan theory. All of these connections can be satisfying for fans steeped in lore, but to get there the show strains the small world of Star Trek.

Who wants to tell her she’s gone crazy?

After a nice steady build-up all season, the big mystery arc finally comes into focus, and yet is also completely woven into Mariner’s origin story as she apparently knew Nick Locarno from her time back at the Academy. Picking up on clues from this and previous episodes, it appears he has been building up his own little fleet comprised of disgruntled lower deckers from across the quadrant, and Mariner was his ultimate recruit. Very clever, Mike. One can see why he was so concerned about spoilers for this surprising twist, although holding back the episode title until release was a bit over the top. Leaving all the alien senior officers on the planet not only allowed for some of the fun of the episode but kept Locarno on the right side of mass murderer, hopefully, but we still don’t know his true master plan. This is a comedy show after all. So far this mystery is unfolding nicely and the season 4 story feels more nuanced than last season’s big bad, which devolved into another badmiral and fight against evil AI.

Let me diagram all the connections for you.

Final thoughts

Even though this was a cliffhanger, “The Inner Fight” still satisfies as a complete episode while still setting up the season finale. The heart and humor were enough, but how it tied in the season, series, and franchise really is on a whole new level, albeit one that requires deep fandom to truly see, and perhaps at least one rewatch. This penultimate episode continues to cement how season 4 is the best yet for the series. That “TO BE CONTINUED…” still hits hard, evoking the best of the franchise, but at least this time we only have a week to wait.

Today is a good day to die of embarrassment.


  • The episode title “The Inner Fight,” is a play on the title of the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light.”
  • This is the second Lower Decks episode to end with the classic “To Be Continued…” (The first time was the season 2 finale “First First Contact.”) In both cases, the show uses the same ending type from the TNG season 3 cliffhanger finale “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1.”
  • This is Robert Duncan McNeill’s second time on Lower Decks. He voiced both Tom Paris and the Tom Paris Commemorative Plate in the season 2 episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris.”
  • The Cerritos shuttle destroyed was the Death Valley, first seen in the series premiere “Second Contact.” The previous episode had shown the Kings Canyon shuttle crash-land, but it has apparently been retrieved and repaired as it was visible in the shuttle bay in this episode.
  • Rutherford discovers that Starfleet uniforms (at least the ones worn by the Cerritos crew) do indeed have pockets.
  • Rutherford’s eyepiece has an X-ray scan mode.
  • The Federation outpost scientists on Persioff IX were dressed just like the ones that clashed with Boimler and Mariner at a recruitment fair in the season 3 episode “Reflections.”

For the last time, your outpost outfits are not cool!

Easter eggs and more to come

There were plenty of canon connections and more to explore in a follow-up Easter egg analysis, so keep an eye out for that. And every Friday, the All Access Star Trek Podcast reviews the latest episode and 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.

Looks like Harry made it all the way to Tatooine.

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays, streaming on Paramount+ in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Europe. It will stream on Paramount+ in S. Korea later in the year. Lower Decks also airs on Thursdays in Canada on CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

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

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Well a good episode as usual . And I admit I was 1000 % wrong on the Agonizer shaped ship ,at least so far anyway ,it doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the Mirror universe . Haven’t we done the Marinier friend died so I’m reckless arch already ?

I’m worried they’re setting up the friend as the villain.

Arch? Do you mean arc?

yes don’t type in a car

I don’t think anybody guessed right.

Dude I never even bothered lol. I rarely if ever make any theories on any of these shows anymore because I’m almost always wrong. I kind of agreed with others it could be something like Section 31 or the Breen or something but my heart wasn’t set on any of it. I knew it would probably be something very left field no one would guess and in that sense, I was right lol.

Well, as fast ‘n loose as they play with established facts (attacking canon with plot cannons), there’d be no way to outguess them anyway. 🤷‍♂️

Case in point: Head over to YouTube and check out Major Grin’s video on the subject: “Continuity Mistake in Lower Decks vs Star Trek TNG Ensign Sito was Friends with Mariner”! ☝️😆

I, for one, am beyond relieved that the mystery ship had nothing to do with the tired, done-to-death, worn out mirror universe.

There’s really nothing to be relieved about, though, since there was never any hint that this would be about the mirror universe. That was never part of the equation, other than fans making things up that weren’t there.

eh… I’ll accept that it was a fan theory, but I also stand by my breathing a sigh of relief because I did breathe a sigh of relief. It happened.

Yes indeed, I agree — true confession: my own sigh of relief was enough to knock over a flower pot.
Just wish I had been as observant as Lorna: would have saved me from scooping up a small pile of potting soil.


Shockingly poignant episode, they really stretched their legs in this one and gave us something less disposable than usual. I can see why they held these two episodes back from the press previews. Great stuff, feels like the show is graduating to the next level.

It was. . . okay. The standout moment for me was Mariner’s grief over the loss of her best friend in the Dominion War, particularly the lament that serving in Starfleet these days seemed to be more about fighting than exploration. I think that’s a pretty worthy subject, one that certainly lends more texture to the Trek universe than some random Vulcan gangster, and something that DS9 itself never bothered to do during its Dominion War arc. What happens when all of the people who signed on to be scientists, diplomats, etc. are issued a phaser and told it’s time to fight?

Haven’t they been doing that for literally centuries now beginning with the Romulan War, then the Klingon war and the Carsassian war after that? Not to mention the hundreds of smaller conflicts between all those.

That just seems part of the gig at this point. Everyone who signs up for Starfleet already knows the deal.

And they can always just resign in protest if they feel that strongly about it. No one is being drafted.

No, not really. In fact, in fifty years of franchise history the downside of Starfleet being a “combined service” has hardly been addressed at all. (One of the earliest instances was when planetologist Jaeger informed Trelane that he was “a scientist, not a military man.” And it would only stand to reason that in such a large organization, when push came to shove some officers would choose not to fight, and maybe because they didn’t believe in the fight. Could they resign, or just walk away? I’m guessing Roddenberry would say yes, but the DS9 ep where a Starfleet ensign fakes an injury to get out of the fighting would imply otherwise.

Starfleet is basically the Federation’s police force of the galaxy the same way America is the police force of the world today. Who showed up at Wolf 359 or Battle of the Binary Stars? Or even the attack on Vulcan in the JJ verse. Starfleet right? And only Starfleet. It made zero sense the Vulcans didn’t protect their own planet at all being centuries older in space flight and all. And even crazier because they were sending in cadets to fight in combat. But don’t get me started on that ridiculous movie. 🙄

So I don’t really get your argument? It’s been addressed over and over again. Starfleet has been the defense force for centuries now and a big reason people argue about it being a military fleet or not. There are over 100 planets in the Federation by the 24th century but we rarely see anyone else fighting in these conflicts but Starfleet. SNW showed an entire episode of Starfleet fighting on a planet in the Klingon war last season and once again strictly Starfleet. I’m pretty sure fighting is just part of the job.

As for the DS9 episode he probably wanted to stay in Starfleet but just had enough of the war itself after fighting for so long or just didn’t want to show weakness in front of his unit. That’s common in the military today.

Well, we’re at least agreed on the 2009 movie. But Vulcans are supposed to be pacifists of a sort, so that aspect of it didn’t bother me so much. I get that they will reluctantly kill if their backs are to the wall, but they were way too militant for my taste in ENT (just one reason I don’t much care for that show).

As for Starfleet, yes, I imagine you’d be given a pretty good idea what you might be in for before signing on the dotted line, but people are people, and depending on the circumstances I could easily see someone who went in to do science ultimately balking at the thought of killing anything. (Especially in the TNG era, which had seen a long era of peace before war broke out with the Klingons and later The Dominion.) Just because people like Kirk and O’Brien thought of themselves primarily as soldiers (and even Kirk eventually came to think of himself mostly as an explorer) doesn’t mean that everyone in the organization does.

Ok fair points. But I think everyone knows joining Starfleet isn’t just being an explorer. You deal with some pretty crazy shit on a week to week basis lol.

I give credence with the Vulcan thing but watching their planet gets wiped out and no one tries to defend it is ridiculous.

But Starfleet is the military force and peace keepers . Who patrols the Klingon and Romulan neutral zones (when they existed ;))? It wasn’t the Andorians, Vulcans or the Betazoids, it’s Starfleet as Balance of Terror showed. Who was there to get Bajor on its feet once the Carsassians pulled out? It was Starfleet. Who were creating advanced armed ships like the Defiant to help fight the Borg when they tried to infiltrate the Alpha Quadrant again? Starfleet.

None of that has anything to do with exploring strange new worlds and civilizations. It’s all tactical defense/advanced weapons/nation building kind of stuff that the real military does all around the world today.

Starfleet may not considers itself a military organization but it certainly prepares itself and acts like one

The funny thing is that all of these situations we see in Star Trek were set up in TOS mostly came from WW 2 and other conflicts like the Korean and Vietnam war.

That’s always been the irony about Star Trek, it exists as this noble idea of humans living in harmony and exploring the galaxy together but it was all built around wars and geopolitical politics with deep divisions like the real world of the day.

Patrolling the neutral zone is basically like the American military guarding the border between North and South Korea which is still done nearly 75 years after that war ended. Just like how Starfleet came to help Bajor rebuild was similar to the Marshall Plan after WW 2 with America helping Europe rebuild and became embedded in the continent militarily as well. And of course out of that came NATO which a lot of people feel what Starfleet was originally based on and Enterprise took a more direct comparison with the Coalition of Planets that would go on to form the Federation. And that was all based around possible combat. In the real world NATO was formed against the threat of the Soviet Union while the Coalition of Planets was made to fend off against Romulus.

In the 24th century, things were more peaceful, at least for awhile. But once the Borg showed up and then the conflict with the Klingons and an all out war with the Dominion, Starfleet went from peace keepers basically keeping the Romulans at bay to an all out assault force once the Jem Hadar came barreling out of the wormhole.

Starfleet is very much a military, just not in name. Not only for the wars it fights, but how its presence alone helps it become a deterrent to more wars along with being the sole protector for all its partners and allies. You can’t look at it’s 200+ year history with so many conflicts, wars and treaties and pretend otherwise.

” That’s always been the irony about Star Trek, it exists as this noble idea of humans living in harmony and exploring the galaxy together but it was all built around wars and geopolitical politics with deep divisions like the real world of the day.”

Agreed, and a great part of Trek’s appeal for me over the decades has actually been the ironic contradiction between those two things.

“ The funny thing is that all of these situations we see in Star Trek were set up in TOS mostly came from WW 2 and other conflicts like the Korean and Vietnam war.”

Actually just about always WW II, perhaps the result of both Genes being veterans of that conflict. Which gets back to my dissatisfaction with DS9’s Dominion War arc, which also took “The Good War” as its template. I won’t deny that this led to some great drama (e.g. “In the Pale Moonlight”), but Vietnam, with a significant portion of the Federation public and even maybe some Starfleet officers questioning the war’s methods and goals, might have been a more interesting and courageous choice. Someday, maybe.

Does the 24th (or 25th) century public ever actually learn that the main reason the war was won owed to the secret good guys poisoning the goo folk? And if so, what was their oh-so-enlightened response? The by now programmed ‘Needs o’ the many?’ (so long as the many aren’t goo people) How un-IDIC can you get? (the last line is supposed to be sung, in the vein of ‘how silly can you get’ from my beloved TOP SECRET!)

On the part upthread about 09 and the Vulcan obliteration, I have never given the movie much serious thought (mostly just mild fury), as it never felt to me like anybody on the creative end of things gave the plot or characterizations much consideration and therefore only deserved my scorn. But now that you folks bring it up, the idea that Vulcan couldn’t or just didn’t protect itself at all makes zero sense whatsoever to me. ‘Check out the big brain on Brad, or S____K, or T’____,’ doesn’t ring true if they just default to other protectors when push comes to getting the floor wiped.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what the public reaction to Section 31’s plans for genocide might have been. Wars have horrible effects on populations, even those not in immediate physical danger, as evidenced by the huge amount of support for William Calley after My Lai. My beef with the producers of DS9 (and PIC S3 after it took up the subject of wartime atrocities) was that they didn’t bother to address the issue at all.

As to the Vulcans, yeah, it’s pretty absurd that they wouldn’t at least have some means available to defend themselves, pacifists or no, while waiting for the Starfleet Calvary to show up. But that was the least of my issues with that abomination of a Trek movie, and in truth the noble Vulcan race has been mishandled more often not by every Trek series since TOS. (I admire RDM and Ira Behr inordinately, but nevertheless in particular loathe the baseball episode, which features an obnoxious Vulcan captain who taunts Sisko and crew for not being on the front lines. Really?!) I have my share of issues with SNW, but at least with the casting of Gia Sandhu, who imo has done a remarkable job channeling Arelene Martel’s T’Pring, the franchise has at least taken a step towards getting its most notable alien species right again.

Baseball ep was a huge flub for me too, Vulcans all wrong, tho I found the vulcan in the maquis episode kinda sexy.

I definitely get your point, the Federation and Starfleet are suppose to be peaceful and noble organizations but every other year they are getting into a fight with someone; although to be fair it’s usually the other side that starts it obviously.

But yeah I think that’s what it is, they have all acknowledged war is still an unnecessary evil and because of that still look at it as a noble effort. And yes as said Federation was created out of war but Starfleet wasn’t. It was suppose to be the noble organization whose purpose was to expand knowledge of the universe and seek peaceful coexistence with whoever they meet.

But then look what happened in Starfleet’s infancy once it pushed farther into space? The NX-01 had to deal with everyone from the Klingons and Suliban to the Xendi and Romulans. Archer started out as someone who wanted to see the good in everyone he met in season one but by season four was telling Captain Hernandez not to leave spacedock without having more weapons and soldiers on her ship. That idealism went away pretty quickly when the realities of what was out there confronted him week after week.

Again, this is part of the problem with how the entire show is set up. We have to believe for some strange reason they know the galaxy is still a very scary and dangerous place once you get outside the Federation but seems to ignore that reality until something like the Borg shows up. As far as I can tell, the Federation is the ONLY wide spread organization that is about unity, equality, democracy and security in the entire galaxy. We seen what’s out there in the Delta and Gamma quadrants and there is no Federation type organizations anywhere. It’s why it’s so insane there is not anything beyond Section 31 that keeps it safe and we know how controversial that is.

So it’s not a surprise, it’s such an odd thing to me you have made your explorers soldiers when for two centuries now you know how dangerous the galaxy really is and of course those bigger foes will try to take down the one wide spread institution that is there to protect others…only that protection is minimum at best. If the Borg ever decided to just do a full on invasion, the Federation wouldn’t last more than a few days or weeks at best. They know that but still did nothing.

I think this issue should be discussed more, but not just the morality of scientists fighting in wars, that’s really just a byproduct of the bigger problem: why does the Federation accept that as the end all and be all to keeping it safe and thriving?

Of course we know the real world answer, to keep in line with Roddenberry’s hippie dippie values. But it’s reasons like these I don’t over think his ‘vision’ or take Star Trek as a viable future that seriously. People complain about stuff that it’s silly Earth doesn’t use money anymore, etc, but look around there are tons of things that just makes zero sense on its head in Star Trek. This one is the biggest IMO.

“ I think this issue should be discussed more, but not just the morality of scientists fighting in wars, that’s really just a byproduct of the bigger problem: why does the Federation accept that as the end all and be all to keeping it safe and thriving?”

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean by the “bigger problem.” Can you clarify for an old man?

And just for the record, Roddenberry never expected or wanted anyone to take Trek itself seriously as a viable future, or even to regard it as some kind of transcendent statement about the human condition. I know this because he went out of his way to say so at every college lecture of his that I ever attended. That said, we’re in complete disagreement about those ‘hippy-dippy values,’ which for my money all these years later still lie at the very heart of the franchise’s appeal. The day they’re gone, I’m gone.

Dude I just explained it! That the Federation doesn’t seem to think it needs an actual military with highly specialized trained soldiers whose job is simply to fight and defend against enemies of the Federation. And there are sooooo many enemies.

It seems to think the explorers who becomes part time soldiers in a crunch is just good enough which is very very odd. We’re agreeing with each other lol. That said, since the Federation hasn’t lost a single war (that I know of) in over two hundred years (in nine hundred years if you throw in the Temporal Wars), then I guess they’re doing something right. ;)

But it’s still ridiculous. And why no one, has EVER bring this up in all this time? Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. But as I have said, my guess is this just your job as a Starfleet officer and you accept it as such.

Boimler actually made that clear in ‘Reflections’ when he went off on everyone manning the Starfleet recruitment booth. He says, and I quote, “We don’t want to protect you from the Klingons or the Borg, we just want to explore and study fucking quasars, but it’s the right thing to do!”

I think that’s it in a nutshell and what every Starfleet officer would say and it’s simply their duty to protect the Federation as much as it is to make first contacts or study new stars….maybe just say it a bit more civilly though lol.

And no, I’m not saying Roddenberry actually thought this was what the future would look like, but how he would envision one just the same. And I obviously like a lot of it as well but as I said many times, a lot of it just doesn’t make any sense either. I’m a black liberal social democratic anti-war atheist, I’m exactly the kind of viewer that gets what Star Trek is putting down lol. Same time, the idea that religion will just die out is about as realistic as believing people will just turn away from money and everyone will get a free house from the government. Or at least I think that’s how the economy works in Star Trek. No one really knows because no one ever dares tries to explain it lol.

But sure it’s an aspirational fictional TV show, so yeah, whatever. But the whole no military thing just really really bothers me because it’s not realistic in a galaxy where aliens who can time travel 100 years from a parallel universe and literally has the technology that can implode planets in literally minutes…but yet, you only have seven ships on hand with minimally trained combat officers and cadets to take these freaks out. Yeah, that’s your real problem.

Yeah there are so many parallels to real wars and alliances today. The difference is every country not only has a military but work together with other countries too.

But in Star Trek it’s like no one in the Federation has a standing military although all their enemies do like the Romulans, Carsassians and Dominion. It’s weird.

That also what confuses me because the Coalition of Planets as you mentioned was formed as a defense and security tactic which later became the Federation. But how do you go from a defense alliance with a dozen different planets in the 22nd century to now basically just Starfleet saving everybody centuries later?

I don’t understand if you don’t want Starfleet to be the military guys then why disband the MACOs and have NO other planet there as a defense force?

For three centuries now they had to deal with the Xindi, Romulans, Klingons, Borg, Carsassians, Gorn, Breen and the Dominion. But in all that time no one has said maybe they should make an interplanetary defense force whose job it is to go up against these guys when someone is in the mood to try and blow up Earth or take over the Alpha Quadrant instead of calling Pike, Kirk or Picard when they are too busy sending resources to people on a colony.

It makes no sense. 🙄

It makes no sense because it’s just silly and short sighted on its head. This is an organization that has seen Earth attacked twice by the Xindi and the Breen and close invasions with the Borg twice and the Klingons during the war. My guess is in SNW season 3, the Gorn will probably be attacking it the way things are going there.

Earth is the seat of power in the Federation and everyone seems to know that lol. No one should be getting within ten light years of the place and yet we have seen species after species showing up to destroy it with ease.

And I agree, the MACOs made perfect sense to have, but sadly they had to find a way to explain why we didn’t see them on TOS or TNG and why they were put out to pasture later according to Beyond. But they should’ve ALWAYS been there, at least ready to protect Earth if nothing else.

The funny thing is it’s Discovery, yes Discovery, that has finally created the United Earth Defense Force by the 32nd century. Of course it took 800 years to happen lol. And of course the bigger irony it was only created because the Federation and Starfleet left. But as been pointed out, even when they were there it’s not exactly like Earth was some penetrable fortress. Like why not have something like this in the 22nd century once the Xindi strolled up to the planet without any push back and carved Florida in half??? That should’ve been the time to do it, not a thousand years later.

And yes, why isn’t there just more alien forces involved in combat in the Federation? But maybe we just have to accept the reality that the Federation simply sees Starfleet as its military/security arm and EVERYONE who joins it accepts it as so to go with Michael’s argument. I mean as you and others have pointed out, there is no one else even mentioned in the 23rd or 24th centuries as even a back up plan.

But again, why they just can’t make a space force totally focused on security and combat is beyond me. Actually I guess we kind of saw that in Picard season one when Riker showed up with his army of cut and paste ships. I remember a Trek fan and long time military veteran came here and made an article about it which was very informative on how something like that operated in the real military. And if so, that’s at least ‘progress’ but it still goes back to the same issue, why is it ONLY Starfleet part of this reserve unit and why was Riker in charge of it when he wasn’t even a soldier? Why not specifically trained combat Starfleet officers at least?

It’s all so bizarre but end of the day just more proof Starfleet is a quasai military even if no one calls it that.

Well, a lot of this comes down to the creative choices made on the fly by the writers and producers of a TV space opera created almost six decades ago. “Balance of Terror” is a great episode by almost any measure, but when it was written there was no Starfleet in the series format, let alone a United Federation of Planets or its founding members. There was the Space Service, and the prior conflict is described as taking place entirely between Earth and the Romulans. Everything established since then has been an in-house or fan retcon, with all of the baggage and inconsistencies that implies. (Which is one reason why it’s fairly ridiculous to get too worked-up about such things.)

In TNG William Riker, second-in-command of the fleet’s flagship, unequivocally states that Starfleet is not a military organization, an opinion definitely not shared by David Marcus, the progeny of Starfleet’s most famous captain. In responding to Gene Roddenberry’s public distaste over the regressive attitudes expressed by Starfleet officers on THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, Nicholas Meyer compared Trek to an opera or cantata, with the idea that different artists over time would bring their own unique spin to it, for better or worse. That will never satisfy the canonistas, but is the only explanation as to why even the really good episodes and movies tend to contradict each other.

Ok but then wouldn’t that make my argument stronger that the show started out more militaristic at least in the beginning?

And isn’t Starfleet based around the Navy with ranks and all of that? Every one seems to agree the show is a bit of both, it’s about scientists and diplomats most of the time but then they become soldiers when a situation calls for it.

That’s one of the things I liked about Enterprise and the MACOs. There was a clear division between military and explorers which would make sense. But then we learned in Beyond the MACOs were disbanded after the Federation was formed which makes no sense to me.

Did they really think their problems would just go away once they defeated the Romulans? Or maybe it just means Starfleet decided to take over the military component which they obviously did in the 23rd and 24th century.

I understand Riker doesn’t look at Starfleet as the military but when the Borg is trying to assimilate Rigel IV, who do they call?

David Marcus is right, they are the military. They may not like being called that but no one today calls NASA when they need to send troops to Syria. But in Star Trek Starfleet is the CIA, Homeland Security and Department of Defense all rolled into one

Well, in terms of what we’ve seen Starfleet definitely includes NASA too, since when its members are not fighting we clearly see it perform that function. (And, alas, the CIA too, with Section 31. I hate Section 31!) You ask whether its function was more overtly militaristic (“Navy-like”) in the original concept, and in some ways that would be true. But in others, not so much. In the original opening for “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Kirk notes in his log that until now, their mission had been “space law regulation, contact with earth colonies, and investigation of alien life.” No galactic-scale wars to fight, because the Federation and the empires that surrounded it hadn’t been conceived of yet. The original format may have had the Enterprise crew serving under a traditional military command structure (as did that of the ship in FORBIDDEN PLANET), but the ship’s mission was something else entirely, and I for one rather regret that the original concept, where the crew was constantly confronting the unknown — with the captain out of touch with command authority much of the time due to the vast distances involved — was mostly lost after TOS’ first season.

Well NASA was just a given obviously. I was mostly just referring to the security/defense side of things.

Take a look at STID. There is a bombing in London and who do they call to investigate? Starfleet. It’s literally the captains and first officers trying to track down the terrorist. Maybe because Khan hit a Starfleet facility it becomes their justification or something but I don’t think there is any other organization on the planet to handle it other than Starfleet. There certainly isn’t any other named.

Then we later learn Khan takes off to Kronos and literally just sits around waiting for Starfleet to come get him on a barren moon instead of the ‘brilliant mastermind’ having a plan B (this movie is sooooo dumb).

But once again why Starfleet? Why are they the ones assigned to get Khan? Is there just no other organizations who does this kind of stuff?

And once again that movie parallels events in the real world, namely September 11th. After that attack what did America do? They sent the military to Afghanistan to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. NASA was apparently too busy I guess but in the Trek universe it just shows time and time again Starfleet are the guys you call for any combat or defense issues. There seems to be no one else… anywhere.

And maybe originally it was strictly a peaceful and scientific mission but that obviously haven’t been the case since the first season of TOS.

Even the first season of TOS had Starfleet acting as a purely military force when the situation required it (“Errand of Mercy;” “Balance of Terror.”) So you don’t even need to go to INTO DARKNESS to make that point, since while it should be obvious by now that I’m no canonista I don’t regard anything done in the Abramsverse as “real” Star Trek. That said, I don’t deny that Starfleet has traditionally been the go-to organization every time the Federation needs to bare its teeth. Which just brings us back to my original point: that for me, at least, an episode or movie addressing how mismatched its basic functions are — and how that might adversely affect the organization in a situation more morally ambiguous than the equivalent of WW II — would be most welcome.

Oh yeah I feel the same way about JJ verse too. I don’t look at it as ‘real’ Star Trek either. I mean I know it’s 100% canon (so no one gets triggered over it) I just don’t care about it. That’s the weird universe where third year fratboy cadets can get promoted to captain in a week, Starships can go underwater and Khan is white. Not for me. Real Trek for me is where the original Kirk, Janeway and Picard lives. Oh and Tendi! ♥️

But I get your point, you accept Starfleet engages in combat you just want a discussion about it within the show itself and where should the line be. I can’t disagree with that.

The John Ford novel THE FINAL REFLECTION has got separate earth defense forces that handle stuff planetside rather than Starfleet, and that made good sense to me. The idea of Starfleet being multipronged tool makes sense too, given it is dealing with unknowns some of the time, but you don’t work that expertise in an area that is already covered by ground forces who are expert.

I guess that is kind of a huge problem now that I think of ds9 s4 with HOMEFRONT/PARADISE LOST, since we only see Starfleet forces — and in fact, it makes it sound like Starfleet and Federation are the only agencies in charge of anything.

Yeah that’s the bigger issue everything is just Federation and Starfleet only, there is no other Earth based organizations. Homefront/Paradise Lost is the perfect example, Admiral Leyton was about to completely take over Earth and militarize it. There was not a single other agency to push back on it. They are the ultimate security force.

And that episode was interesting because we saw Leyton and the Federation President but where was the Earth President??? Wouldn’t that person have a say in all this too? It’s a one world government but there would still be a lot of various government entities controlling the planet like today but they are never mentioned or shown. It’s Starfleet brass and the Federation Council running everything.

But that kind of go to the other problem, there isn’t a lot of checks and balances and why you get rogue Admirals like Leyton and Marcus able to do whatever they want until they are caught.

Starfleet is basically the Federation’s police force of the galaxy the same way America is the police force of the world today. 

On the contrary, the Prime Directive is very much the epitome of what Walter Russell Mead calls “Jeffersonian” or “Hamiltonian” foreign policy, whereas the paradigm that has prevailed in DC since Clinton’s second term is mostly Wilsonian (with Trump being a Jacksonian interlude). The Prime Directive is about non-intervention, not “policing the galaxy.”

Apologies if the terminology is a bit abstruse. Walter Russell Mead’s book SPECIAL PROVIDENCE coins these terms in an effort to broaden the typology of American foreign policy beyond the traditional “realism-idealism” axis. It’s one of the best foreign policy books of the past 20 years.

I understand and agree. All you have to do is see what happened with Bajor and 60 years of Carsassian occupation to understand that.

I was specifically talking about Federation space. Starfleet (usually) avoid helping non-Federation planets but they will curb stomp anyone that tries to mess with the Federation and her allies.

But there has been times Starfleet still helps non Federation worlds, those just end up being special circumstances like in Pen Pals or The Quickening.

something that DS9 itself never bothered to do during its Dominion War arc.”

You and I remember AR-558 very differently.

That’s not the episode being referred to.

You said that this was something that DS9 didn’t really handle, so I gave you an example that I thought did what you said DS9 didn’t do. That’s why I pulled part of what you said out of the whole statement.

Just watched “Siege” to make sure I was remembering it correctly, since I hadn’t seen it in many years. Aside from Bashir’s aside that he had “joined Starfleet to save lives,” the plot and attitudes of the doomed “Starfleet troops” were really not what I was talking about at all.

Sito died well before the Dominion War.

I am so happy this season is digging into Mariner’s self-sabotaging tendencies and why she is the way she is. Also, confirmation at last of a shared connection to legacy characters! Just not the one(s) I’d seen people talk about. Wow, I’m really digging this episode.

Glad you enjoyed it man! But then you always enjoy this show as much as I do!

Wow an amazing episode. It was great we finally got Mariner’s backstory and a big reason why she never wanted to be promoted. And it was brilliant they connected her story with Sito, the original Lower Decker in Star Trek.

And no one would’ve guessed it was Nick Lacarno behind it all lol. I’ve seen every wild theory online from Mirror Universe Spock (would’ve been a cool idea though) to the Dominion. But this was done in classic low key Lower Decks style with a much smaller foe. I love it! And to bring back this character is just genius.

I love this show so much and can’t wait for next week now. 😎🖖

I am thriving since she mentioned Vorta in this episode. Thriving. It’s about time they get mentioned again! I love them so much!

I was close when I said the legacy character that appeared was going to be a minor TNG character. Good for me. I was thinking it was gonna be (sub?)Commander Toreth though who had come looking for the missing crew.

Thriving? As Inigo Montoya would say, I do not-a think-a that word-a means what you-a think-a it-a means.

I’m using it in the same context that Mariner herself did in Those Old Scientists.

I was close when I said the legacy character that appeared was going to be a minor TNG character.”

Wait, how is this “close” rather than “correct?”

I guessed Toreth specifically.

And well done in doing so!

Being completely honest, I’ve stopped reading the far-too-long plot synopsis at the beginning of each review. It’s just no necessary, since we’ve already seen the episode. It would be better to just provide analysis without 1,000 words of retelling the story. A great review requires no plot rehashes. So I always skip don to the “REVIEW” portion, which is always good to read. You provide great analysis, a nice touch of humor, and cool breakdowns of trivia I sometimes have overlooked. That should be the meat of this site’s reviews. Why waste time with a massive, overly wordy plot rehash? Open with the review–that’s the part worth reading. That’s my two cents, anyway. (To be clear: I mean this in no way to be insulting or rude. I’m just providing my honest feedback. TrekMovie is the premier Star Trek fan site, bar none. But the reviews are not among the stronger articles here, largely due to to the fact that the reviews always open with multiple paragraphs you can skip entirely.)

There are people who read the recaps/reviews without having seen the episodes.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to do that but other people do. So these people probably appreciate the recap before the analysis.
If you don’t feel the need to read the recap you can easily skip it thanks to the headings. So ho harm done in including it.

Also, there are often times that the recap notices something that I missed. If you don’t like it… just keep scrolling. (Super easy. Barely an inconvenience.)

I read the recaps because I don’t watch the show. I’m not into the humor but still find the stories themselves interesting. I’m

A great review requires no plot rehashes.

Bit of an aside, but I agree with this. I always thought Tim Lynch’s DS9 reviews, where he omitted the plot summary, were better than his TNG reviews for this very reason.

I wonder if somebody who reads these FOR the synopsis feels like they are skippable. Probably not.

You really do take the fun out of reading these comments. If you aren’t complaining about the words people use, you’re complaining about the recaps or going out of your way to tell people they are wrong for whatever reasons. I don’t think I have *ever* seen you say a kind word about anybody or this franchise. I don’t understand why you come here. I can only assume you derive some pleasure from this sort of behaviour.

By the way, we need a live-action T’Lyn. As anyone who has watched My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can attest to, Gabrielle Ruiz is simply breathtaking.

Yup, I’ll drink to that. Fun actress, Three cheers!

Theory that won’t happen but I want to throw out anyway.

Locarno is undercover himself. He’s working for Starfleet to take down whoever is actually behind this operation.

That would be good, but a little too similar to when Paris was undercover acting like a jerk in Voyager, for I don’t remember what reason. Since both characters are played by the same actor, maybe it would be too much of a coincidence?

Or maybe not. This is Lower Decks.

It would be an homme-age.

Wow! Mike McMahan wrote this superbly! I love it that we finally get an explanation for why Mariner is the way she is. Has McMahan known this about Mariner all along, or did he just make it up recently? And if he has known all along, did he tell Tawny Newsome in the beginning?

Watching a Starfleet character rally everyone to work together never gets old. It’s so great to see MARINER, of all people, supporting this quintessential Starfleet ethos.

I was afraid McMahan was making Captain Freeman an idiot, and I was thrilled when it turned out that all of this was her own plan. Strong A character work AND strong B character work — yay!!

Marner faced her shadow, accepted the truth, and can now reach her potential.

Yes! And she starts to do that even in this episode, rallying all the different species to work together.

It’s so great to see you loving LDS these days. I thought you were really going to dislike it after not loving the first two seasons, especially Mariner.

Even my girlfriend who DID hate the show actually liked this season. She liked it so much she’s thinking of trying out the others now ( she only watched the first few episodes of season one). Mariner was a big reason though that she couldn’t stand her or the show.

But she loved her arc and saw how much she changed. And knowing how much she was affected by losing friends in the war (and loves the TNG episode Lower Decks) made her see a different side of Mariner too.

It’s always nice to see when people can change their minds on things. I might even like the last season of Discovery…nah that’s crazy talk! 😂


From my perspective, I didn’t change my mind, it was Lower Decks that changed. I used to dislike the show because Mariner was horribly selfish, and Boimler was only concerned with his own advancement. But they’ve both grown, and now Mariner only hurts herself, and Boimler is less self-focused. :-) So now I like it much better!

Yeah I understand. My girlfriend had the same view of Mariner. And I never disagreed with that assessment as you know I just never had an issue with it

I was OK with Boimler though and he definitely cared about his friends and the crew but it’s good to see them both grow and change!

Now I am wondering if as a kid Beckett and her family lived on the Enterprise D in 2366. That’s how they know Riker.

Given that currently her father is an admiral, and her mother a captain, they would have had to get their early experience somewhere. The Enterprise D is certainly a possibility, but there are lots of other possibilities, too.

2364 I mean. Season one.

It would be crazy if Mariner was on both the Enterprise and DS9.

But I think we would know she was on the Enterprise since they talk about it so much and holds it in such high esteem. And her interaction with Riker kind of suggests they met somewhere else.

Woo, Thomas Riker is alive and free! I always hoped we’d get resolution on that, and on Sito, and Eddington, and Hudson, etc.

The Beverly Crusher reference…wouldn’t Jack have been born by then…(this being post Nemisis era…)

Eddington and Hudson got resolutions, at least, and there wasn’t much chance Sito was alive. Tom though… nice touch there.

So how old is Mariner?

If Sito was 20 or 21 in The First Duty, then that makes Mariner probably 31-35.

Math is your strong suit! Was never mine. Great work!

I love these type of Klingons. Ma’ah is fantastic

Ma’am is turning out to be a great character and could be the next Martock and rank up as he goes.

BTW would love to see Martock again.

I just noticed they made him look buffer this time out too. That’s a nice realistic touch that he would be making a major effort to be a tougher/stronger leader since assuming command.

I haven’t watched much of LDX, with the exception of the first two episodes that came out before my P+ subscription expired.

But seriously, if Slacker Mariner is so prone to jeopardizing missions, and is likely to fall in with The Wrong Crowd, maybe…instead of giving her Potemkin missions, just act like a freakin’ COMMANDING OFFICER and transfer her off the ship?

‘Course not. This is Captain Nepotism we’re talking about.

I’ve always wished “Tom Paris” were really Nick Locarno. I suspect the change was no so much about the latter’s redeemability so much as paying residuals to the writers of “The First Duty.” Still, like Klingon makeup from the 1960s, this was yet another thing that didn’t need explaining.

Ah yes. I too see my child being actively suicidal and decide to destroy her entire career instead of being a concerned and caring parent! We can just have the same season finale two seasons in a row! Brilliant! But then what do you expect from a guy who doesn’t pay any actual attention to character arcs! Even UpperDecks is more aware of things than you!

She outright fully says that she wants to die as an ensign in this episode and you think transferring her will help? The point is that she sabotages herself! And everyone is fed up with it and is trying to get her to stop! Not keep that cycle going! Because transferring her will be a demotion and she’ll keep right on sabotaging herself until she finally does die. She’s traumatized from her experience in the fucking Dominion War and she’s finally getting the help she needs! So fuck right off with this bullshit!

I just don’t see the point of Locarno or Paris being the same person? Like why? Yeah similar back story but Paris was a different character. He was someone who didn’t feel like he belonged in Starfleet versus Locarno who badly believed in it but his own ego got in the way. Paris felt like he never fit in and the accident just confirmed he should’ve never been there.

Paris really did have one of the best arcs on the show from a smarmy bad boy who didn’t care about others to a devoted family man and pilot who cared about everyone by the end. I love listening to McNeil’s take on the character on Delta Flyers and he believes Paris had come to see Voyager as his home and the crew his family vs the guy who was just looking at it as a way to get his sentence reduced and nothing more.

But they made it very clear Locarno only wasn’t on the show due to paying residuals to the writer. If it wasn’t for that, he would’ve been on the ship. I’m guessing he would’ve been redeemed as well. This is Star Trek, everyone gets a second chance if they really want it as Paris along with the entire Maquis crew and Seven of Nine got and all still in Starfleet years later.

On the Mariner thing, the answer here is this has all been addressed at length in essentially every season and you should just watch the show. From explaining why she’s on her mother’s ship, up to and including an arc about her getting transferred. Lower Decks is far more than it’s first 2 episodes.

It is getting harder to find something to say on these message boards because Mike continously gives us superb stories and surprises. The only word I have is, “Awesome!”

Yeah I agree. I think McMahan is just brilliant and really understands the core of Star Trek. I know there are people still bothered by the broad comedy, goofy characters and plethora of easter eggs but there is so much more to this show that doesn’t get enough credit. LDS isn’t just a comedy show no more than TOS was just an action adventure show. It has really done a great job fleshing out these characters and deliver fun and thoughtful stories with a very Treky message week after week. I don’t care it’s a comedy or not, I really just enjoy the story telling and love watching these characters grow and develop.

It’s funny, I can’t imagine this show being made in he 90s with the others and yet it does such a great job keeping to the spirit and heart of those shows. It’s why it won over so many fans who were (rightfully) skeptical of what they were getting in the beginning. Now it feels like a love fest everywhere it’s talked about.

Totally agree bro! This show is just awesome. I was sure it would be cancelled after season 2 lol. To see it not only thriving but getting better and better every season shows how great McMahan is as a story teller.

Thankfully there’s finally some progression with Mariner. The self-sabotage shtick was getting very, very tiresome

I get what they were trying to do, but this just reconfirmed for me what an immature, entitled person Mariner is…so sick of this “look at me” loudmouth-blowhard character. And the PTSD excuse thing was weak — OK, she get’s to be a self-absorbed jackass all the time because she has grief? Really?

Totally agree! And this is now canon? Pub-Leeze

Sadly, I agree. Because of that terribly insufferable behavior, and Freeman continuously enabling it, they’re still the worst part of the entire show for me.

…kind of the reason I’ve had trouble getting into the show since the beginning. That, and it appears everyone is on some sort of speed.

Mariner is the most insufferable character in the history of Star Trek. I just need to hear the sound of her hyperactive, obnoxious voice and I involuntarily wince.

Oh wow, really enjoyed this one. So many cool moments and I really liked how they built on the story with the mystery ship and we found out Nick Locarno was behind it all. Mind blown. McMahan just does deep cuts like nobodies business lol. And speaking of deep cuts, happy to know Thomas Riker was no longer rotting away in a Cardassian prison cell. It would’ve been great if Frakes could’ve reprised that role like McNeil could with Nick. And we still have no clue how he got involved or the motive to the whole thing. And people keep saying he’s a villain but it could be another great twist and he’s somehow helping them.

Liked Mariner’s reveal how close she was to Sito and I guess Locarno by default (or at least knew him). Again pretty cool connections and I guess Mariner is in her mid 30s which would make sense given her experiences in Starfleet.

But thought the entire episode was great. Really liked the mission with Freeman, Shaxs and Rutherford with another great twist while it paralleled what was happening on Sherbal V. Although it’s a bit sad how much Starfleet is hated on by everybody lol. And yes, so great to see Ma’ah back. He got some great stuff with Mariner.

LDS absolutely rocked it this season and know the finale will be great as well.

I figured when they were looking for Locarno and then the Sito connection with Mariner came up that Mariner may have been friends with Nick since Sito was in Nova Squad.

And although I’d have been happy had Nick and Paris been the same person or something, I’m glad that at this point Nick is a separate person.

That was a super-solid episode. Were there shout-outs to all other series, minus maybe Enterprise (and Prodigy)? I liked that the Captain was playing the long con game, as she’s often portrayed as not that bright. Was this the first time we heard of the connection between Mariner and Sito/Lorcano? Does this mean she knew Wesley, too?
Loved the episode. Great review/analysis too, thanks for that.

Not sure if Mariner’s motivation quite gels and I’m curious to know how long that’s been her backstory, but it’s a pretty decent effort to explain the Why of her.

Some lovely scenes throughout. Ma’ah, T’Lynn and Freeman especially had great utility this time around.The planet was wonderfully conceived, too.

The reveal of Locarno is a deep cut that feels a little too convenient next to the revelation only a few minutes prior that Mariner was friends with Sito, but I can’t say I’m not curious to see where this goes.

Everybody should head over to YouTube and check out Major Grin’s video on the subject: “Continuity Mistake in Lower Decks vs Star Trek TNG Ensign Sito was Friends with Mariner” — Sito herself made it perfectly clear that she had no friends left at the academy! ☝️😆

(I’d post the direct link, though this comment would hang in limbo forever… ⏳️).

Hmm. She could have been exaggerating to Picard. Maybe Mariner was too junior to do the flight test with her? Bit iffy considering she’s practically a polymath.

The question is if retrofitting Mariner into Sito’s life for an overt link to the original “Lower Decks” is poignant enough to forgive this iffy continuity in a franchise that both invites adherence to it but also has flaunted it many times.