Boimler and Mariner are given a mission to escort a Klingon diplomat to a Federation outpost, but when that diplomat gets drunk and steals their shuttle, they have to get it back as quickly as possible before the crew on the Cerritos find out. Meanwhile, Rutherford tries out different departments on the ship.
There’s nothing wrong with, “Envoys.” It is a funny episode, light and airy… nothing about it screams horrible writing or disrespect to fans. I enjoyed the Klingon character and the lampooning of the warrior culture. The planet that the action took place on was full of references and easter eggs, including a shape-shifter from the 70’s animated series that I recognized right away because I am cool and awesome like that. The events on the ship were a well-balanced diversion and perfectly amusing.
That being said, this episode was… simply present.
I’m not expecting universe shaking consequences from a show like Lower Decks because it’s made it perfectly clear those kind of shenanigans are not its thing, but that being said, I am expecting a little of the unexpected and I think that’s where “Envoys” has me disappointed… it delivered the expected and nothing but the expected.
It was obvious that Rutherford was going to return to engineering, it was obvious that Boimler and Mariner were going to get the Klingon diplomat to the outpost in time, even the revelation at the end that the Ferengi and Mariner were friends was completely unsurprising.
Hey, don’t get me wrong… this show has humanity and heart. The scenes with Tendi and Rutherford were cute, I really like how Mariner humiliated herself to build up Boimler, but it’s… forumalic.
Speaking of which, I’m also not a particular fan of the show’s message that street smarts will always be superior to book smarts because, well… that’s a lame and predictable message. I would have preferred a resolution that showed that both were valuable, especially when they work together, but Lower Decks chose to make Mariner the cool one with the predictable and telegraphed Ferengi scene.
It’s even more frustrating because, in my opinion, the opening scene with the alien orb lifeform got it exactly right: Seeing the cliched glowing all-powerful space alien threaten the crew and then getting beat up by one crew member and unceremoniously shoved into a container and treated like a non-event? That’s gold! I want more of that!
Lower Decks could use a little more shirking of the formula, more complications for characters, and more of the unexpected. I mean, come on… have the Klingon diplomat get killed or use the shapeshifter in some unexpected way. Maybe Mariner and Boimler were unknowingly escorting a Changling or a Romulan spy? Maybe they get that imposter killed and try to spend the whole episode covering it up, only to get found out and hailed as heroes for stopping a plot?
This show needs to get better at surprising us.
But otherwise, yeah… it was fine.