Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Lower Decks Shows How the Holodeck is SUPPOSED to Work

Star Trek: Lower Decks' penultimate episode, "Crisis Point," finally sent the crew on a holodeck adventure. When the holodeck was introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, it became an instant hit with fans. Typically, writers used the holodeck as an excuse to put the crew through any manner of fantastic or silly adventures using a computer simulation.

However, to keep things exciting, a trope developed where something would invariably go wrong in the holodeck and the crew's lives would be in danger. On some occasions, someone on the crew would get shot or trapped, while in others, a hologram would think they're real and try to leave or take over the ship. It's happened so many times across the Star Trek franchise that it's pretty much a given that when a holodeck is involved, something is bound to go horribly wrong.

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Yet, none of that happened in "Crisis Point," even though all of the right ingredients for a typical holodeck episode were there. Mariner brashly reprogrammed Boimler's training simulation into an action movie so she could fight a hologram of her mother, Captain Freeman, as a form of therapy. Normally, this is the point in an episode where the holodeck would malfunction in some fashion and the crew would be in serious trouble, but nothing like that occurred. Instead, the hyper-violent melodrama Mariner concocted was allowed to play out to its bloody ending. Even as blood was gratuitously shed, none of the crew were ever in physical danger.

And, despite her recklessness, Mariner actually achieved what she set out to do: come to terms with her mother and her place in Starfleet. She confronted a hologram of herself and Captain Freeman composed of their private logs, the act of which made her come to the realization that she needed to own up to herself and cut her mother some slack. However, this breakthrough did have some unintended consequences.

Boimler accidentally learned that Freeman and Mariner were related, and is aware that her mother covering for her was against regulations. Even though the writers completely flipped the script by not putting the crew in actual physical danger, the stakes of the show were still raised significantly. Just as Mariner is poised to be a proper Starfleet officer, the kind her mother doesn't need to cover for, their arrangement has been revealed to the most uptight member of the crew. Boimler doesn't want to hurt his friend and is trying to keep the knowledge to himself, but holding on to this secret has turned him into an absolute nervous wreck.

When all the dust settled, the crew only needed to say "End program" and leave the holodeck -- showing exactly how the machine is designed to work. In the end, "Crisis Point" was a surprising and poignant episode that highlighted one of the longest-running jokes in Star Trek in a very clever fashion.

Streaming on CBS All Access, Star Trek: Lower Decks stars Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana and Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs.

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