Star Trek: Lower Decks - Ranking Season 1 Episodes From Best To Worst
Star Trek: Lower Decks has just completed its debut season and the first Star Trek animated series since - well, Star Trek: The Animated Series - has proven a little divisive with fans. Some enjoy the more comedic take on the franchise while others think it strays too far into parody.
Each installment of the ten-episode first season offers an opportunity to get into - or out of - the show. There is a lot to like in the first season, even though not all of it works.
10 No Small Parts
The season finale pulls out all the stops. The best episode of the season sees the contentious relationship between Mariner and her mother come to a head and Boimler looking for the exits. He takes a position on a familiar ship to Trek fans and the show gets its best cameos yet. Captain Riker and Counselor Troi show up along with the never before seen on screen U.S.S. Titan and cement the strong connection between Lower Decks and The Next Generation once and for all.
9 Crisis Point
"Crisis Point" is the intersection of a lot of the season's major themes and where the show really kicks into high gear. The recklessness of Mariner spills over as she commandeers a holodeck program and proceeds to alienate just about everybody in the crew. At the same time, she also rolls out a galaxy of references to the Star Trek movie franchise, making this episode one of the best and funniest of the season. The series is definitely starting to come together at this point.
8 Moist Vessel
"Moist Vessel" highlights another major conflict in the show. Mariner and Captain Freeman come to blows after Mariner upstages her in front of the crew (though none of them know they're actually mother and daughter, at least not at this point). The show really gets a lot of the strain between the 'upper' and 'lower' decks here.
This episode also features a nice Easter egg for Star Trek fans in the form of a subtle nod to the Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Lower Decks may be a very different take on Star Trek, but it does contain a plethora of Trek references and cameos. One of the best cameos of the first season comes in the form of one of the best villains in Trek history - Q. "Veritas" sees the crew of the ship basically put on a trial the same way Captain Picard was in Star Trek: The Next Generation, for a series of 'crimes' the Cerritos crew isn't sure they have anything to do with. This is the first appearance of Q since 2001.
6 Much Ado About Boimler
A transporter malfunction - something that's frighteningly routine in Star Trek - leaves Boimler out of phase. He floats around the ship like a ghost and it's a good exploration of who he is as a person. It also gives the crew an opportunity to gel with their colleague and friend in such jeopardy. The obvious nod to The Next Generation episode "The Next Phase" again emphasizes the show's strong ties to the 24th century and proves why the TNG era of Trek is the best.
5 Terminal Provocations
"Terminal Provocations" is maybe the episode from the first season where the show really takes advantage of its animated nature. The show introduces Badgey, a mascot-like version of the classic Starfleet delta insignia. It's also a funny riff on the old Microsoft assistant, Clippy. Badgey is not everything he seems (not that anything is on the holodeck, where he emerges as part of a training program). Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock voices the odd and funny character who just wants to help until he doesn't.
4 Second Contact
The first episode of the series establishes the fact that it's not your typical Star Trek right away. Mariner drunkenly swings around a bat'leth until she plants it in Boimler's leg. It's a rocky start for the series, but the show does establish previously unexplored corners of Starfleet. The Lower Decks concept pays a lot of dividends, especially on a ship like the Cerritos, which is a very un-sexy ship doing very basic work after all the big guns in the fleet have done the cool stuff.
3 Temporal Edict
Though the characters of Lower Decks maybe don't exactly behave as Starfleet as past shows, the series digs deep into character dynamics in a way few other Trek shows have (with the exception perhaps of Deep Space Nine).
"Temporal Edict" really gets into the simmering conflict between Boimler and Mariner, as the two try to keep pace with a new work schedule on the ship. Fans of drama and conflict may find it odd in a cartoon, but it's here in spades.
2 Cupid's Errant Arrow
The jealousy angle continues in episode five, "Cupid's Errant Arrow." In this case, the roles are reversed. Mariner is jealous of Boimler's new girlfriend (though it's an open question by the end of the season the extent of her feelings for him). The other members of the ensign squad that makes up the focus of the show, Tendi and Rutherford, find themselves green with envy over the equipment of another Starfleet vessel. The episode isn't that great but features some funny bits, including an Easter egg from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia that itself features a lot of Trek Easter eggs.
"Envoys" is the second episode of the series and the first indication it may not be a smooth ride going forward. The pilot episode introduces an important piece of Trek lore, but "Envoys" delves more into the character dynamics of the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos. Boimler gets jealous of Mariner's skills as a budding Starfleet officer to the point he quits his post in Engineering to find another. It's not exactly a good look for either; Mariner builds on her unlikable persona and Boimler comes off a bit milquetoast.About The Author