Star Trek: Lower Decks – Episode Guide – Season 1
For those who thought Discovery and Picard entered Star Trek lore with particularly strong season 1s, introduce yourself to Lower Decks post haste. For as well-integrated into the ST universe as those series were, Lower Decks is pretty much pure ST goodness from Ensign Boimler’s first “captain’s log” entry.
With sharp wit and great comedic timing (which sometimes descends, admittedly, into gutter humor – but what do you want from a showrunner who cut teeth on Rick & Morty?), Lower Decks sedge-eason 1 comes off as a love letter to everything fans dig about Trek – especially the TNG/DS9/Voyager era. Best of all, the final episodes brings real edge-of-the-seat action, surprising turns, heroism in spades and fist-pumping moments aplenty.
Simply put, best first season of a Star Trek series ever.
- Second Contact – For a second-contact mission to the Galar system, Ensign Boimler is given a special assignment by the Captain: to observe any of the many breaches of protocol for which Ensign Mariner is known. Once planet-side, Boimler catches Mariner providing Galarian farmers with equipment. Meanwhile, Comm. Ransom unkowningly unleashes a Galarian virus on the ship with dramatic (and disgusting) results. ***
- Envoys – Boimler and Mariner are tasked with bringing a Klingon general to a Federation embassy and, in Mariner’s case, trash-talk, drink and generally reminiscence about partying. Ensign Rutherford meanwhile tries out jobs other than engineering in order to have more quality time with his buddy Ensign Tendi. ***
- Temporal Edict (though perhaps better entitled Buffer Time) – Mariner, Rutherford and even Boimler introduce Tendi to the concept of “buffer time”, i.e. the overestimation of required time to get a given task done to superior officers in order to enjoy more free time. Captain Freeman decides that buffer time must end, thus paradoxically leaving the Cerritos vulnerable to alien attack. An excellent bit capping this episode earns a whole extra star in the ratings. ****
- Moist Vessel – In an effort to get Mariner to quit the ship, Freeman promotes her to lieutenant. After a Genesis Device-like technology begins converting inorganic matter aboard the Cerritos to living beings, Freeman and Mariner must save the day. Which they do shortly before Mariner is bucked back down to ensign. ***
- Cupid’s Errant Arrow – Mariner is driven crazy by the fact that Boimler’s girlfriend, aboard the Cerritos for a visit, must be a salt-vampire, shapeshifter or other body-possessor extant in the Star Trek universe; she’s just too cool for him! While this plotline plays out to a neat twist ending, Tendi and Rutherford get busy in trying to avoid promotion to the Vancouver. ****
- Terminal Provocations – Ensign Fletcher volunteers to do a boring recalibration job for Mariner and Boimler. Unfortunately, he does so poorly that aliens known as the Drookmani attack the Cerritos, trapping Rutherford and Tendi in the holodeck – holodeck malfunction episode! – with a psychotic avatar named Badgey (think Clippy: The Next Gneration). ****
- Much Ado About Boimler – Boimler, Tendi and Tendi’s new genetically-engineered dog, “The Dog” are sent for treatment to “The Farm” via the USS Osler. Other patients aboard the Osler attempt to stage a mutiny but, naturally, Boimler stops them. In what is oddly the B-story, an old friend of Mariner’s temporarily takes command of the Cerritos, putting Mariner under self-imposed pressure *not* to succeed. ****
- Veritas – All right, alien court case! Mariner, Boimler, Tendi and Rutherford must testify against the senior crewmembers of the Cerritos, thereby unlocking a good old-fashioned run-in with the Romulans. Plus a cameo by Q! ****
- Crisis Point – Self-reference time! Boimer, with
somea lot of subversion from Mariner, creates a holodeck program which plays out as a Star Trek movie. As Boimler attempts to glean useful information in advance of his job assessment interview with Freeman, Mariner plays the role of Vindicta and happily sets about destroying the holodeck Cerritos. ****
- No Small Parts – To this point, Lower Decks could be seen a loving parody of the franchise even despite the obvious canon-building – but episode 10 establishes this series as legit Star Trek. An old villain returns, evolved from their first (and prior to this, only) appearance in ST:TNG; a crewmember makes the proverbial ultimate sacrifice and a couple old favorites on a famous Federation starship save everybody’s bacon. This is not just the best episode of Lower Decks season 1, it’s classic Star Trek.*****