Spoilers ahead, so…. you know… beware.
While Mariner and the lower deckers go on board a dead collector’s ship to catalogue his belongings, Boimler goes undercover with the crew of the USS Titan to help a mining colony overrun by Pakleds.
Last week, I lamented that Star Trek: Lower Decks undid the character growth of Mariner and Freeman by reverting their relationship back to square one and, given that we’ve seen Boimler back on the Cerritos in the previews, I was certain that he was due for a little lazy character backtracking too.
Honestly, though, I don’t mind this solution. It’s clever and actually sets up a lot of interesting story ideas for the future… not to mention a backdoor for Captain Riker and the Titan to return. Not only was an accidental transporter clone of Boimler a clever callback to the TNG episode, “Second Chances,” but it also provides a mirror for Boimler. Someone he can look at, envy… and perhaps even inspire him to be the better Boimler.
However, the high point of the episode were the flurry of Easter eggs on board the collector’s ship. I could have stepped through those backgrounds frame by frame and not found every reference, from the Curiosity Rover, to Khan’s necklace, to Odo’s bucket, and… my god… Giant Spock’s skeleton. The references alone were a hoot.
The action was a lot of fun as well, watching the characters escape into worse and worse situations. Mariner and Jett were a lot of fun together and, by the end of the episode, you actually get the feeling that Mariner learned something for once. Plus, it’s nice to see Rutherford and Tendi finally get some spotlight.
I’m not… crazy about the new security chief. Granted, Shax is a tough act to follow, but Kayshon left zero impression on me. The Tamarian language gags never really landed and, honestly, if he hadn’t been turned into a puppet for most of the episode, I would have probably enjoyed it less.
A bit stronger than the premiere, Lower Decks is proving itself to be the best Star Trek series on television today. No foolin’… it really is.