Overall, this episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks delivered a fun little excursion. And the parallels to Star Trek: The Motion Picture had me grinning like a Gorn!
It’s time for our weekly installment of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. After last week’s hijinks, it’s back to business as usual for the crew of the Cerritos. But when three computerized villains hatch a cunning plot of revenge, the fate of the Federation hangs in the balance. But can Rutherford and Mariner save the Cerritos from destruction? And can Boimler and Tendi prevent universal armageddon? Let’s dive in and unpack this fun adventure.
A FEW BADGEYS MORE
After last week’s hilarious adventure, this week’s episode slips back into gear and showcases the destruction of a Bynar ship by the alien invader. Who or what this invader is remains to be seen, but as the weeks pass it is becoming clear that this invader cannot be reasoned with. But before we can address the invader’s true intentions, there is vengeance afoot. What follows is an adventure on two fronts. On Earth, Tendi is dispatched to the Daystrom Institute to attend Peanut Hamper’s parol hearing while Boimler is sent to interrogate AGIMUS (Jeffrey Combs), who claims to hold intelligence on the Bynar attack. All the while, the Cerritos is dispatched to investigate the Bynar ship’s wreckage for clues.
The franchise has always played with the notion of sentient machines turning against their organic overlords, and this episode affords us more of the same. Only this time, our old friend Badgey returns from the ashes to seek his revenge. After taking control of a Drookmani vessel and its crew, Badgey maneuvers the vessel into the debris field to await the arrival of the Cerritos. All the while, Boimler and Tendi struggle to come to terms with their former pet robots’ apparent rehabilitation.
PEANUT HAMPER & AGIMUS
Their suspicions are justified because Peanut Hamper and Agimus secretly plot their escape. And when Boimler agrees to take AGIMUS to the Bynar debris field in exchange for the information, the devious villain takes control of a Federation shuttle, captures Boimler and Tendi, and sets a course for his rendezvous with Peanut Hamper. But things go awry when the former fails to appear leaving AGIMUS to ponder the reason for her absence. And as always, mayhem ensues on both sides of the quadrant.
To be clear, I won’t be delving into spoiler territory here. But needless to say, this episode is well worth the price of admission. In classic Trek style, the exploration of computer sentience comes to the fore and highlights the dangers of artificial intelligence. A subject that is very much in the crosshairs of Hollywood execs these days. But in a pleasant reversal of roles, Rutherford is forced into some soul-searching and discovers his failings in his role as a surrogate father. It’s a welcome change of pace for the series, especially after last week’s drama on Ferenginar. But the inclusion of this moral debate is welcome and serves to highlight our role in the evolution of the technology we rely on in our daily lives. Mike McMahan and his brilliant team always find a way to satire our modern dilemmas, and long may it continue.
Edgar Momplaisir is a great writer, so full credit to him for crafting a solid episode. Finding the formula to turn the classic Trek technology tropes on their head is always a daunting challenge. But Momplaisir seems to have cracked the code here. And the result is a fun twenty-five-minute excursion. Badgey’s return is always a fun outing, and as always, Mariner finds a way to inject her typical manner of sarcasm into proceedings. But the significance of robot rehabilitation is not lost on me, and I found the subject matter compelling and thought-provoking. In the fun, tongue-in-cheek Lower Decks way! And the parallels to Star Trek: The Motion Picture had me grinning like a Gorn!
Overall, this episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks delivered a fun little excursion. Once again, Mike McMahan and his incredible team have found a way to take the traditional Trek material and give it a contemporary polish. The comedy is sharp, the sandbox feels fresh but familiar, and the artificial intelligence subplots are on point. Especially in today’s charged climate. Once again, as Boimler, Jack Quaid excels. Despite his chaotic approach to his duties, he always comes full circle and saves the day. And that quality comes to the fore in spades with AGIMUS. Similar to Rutherford’s journey of self-discovery, Boimler’s role with his former robo-pet is also explored, but sometimes bad programming cannot simply be overwritten. But it is welcome to see a more sensitive side of AGIMUS’ sinister persona.
Jeffrey Combs is a true icon of Trek lore, and it is always a pleasure to hear his unmistakable voice bringing another character to life. From his stint in Deep Space Nine to AGIMUS in Lower Decks, he has become part of the fabric of the franchise. And I, for one, will never tire of his participation.
Although this was far from the most original episode, it was a pleasure to see Lower Decks playing in the classic Trek sandbox once again. Borrowing subplots from Gene Roddenderry’s masterwork has become second nature to this team. And as long as they continue to dust off the classic tropes while paying homage to the episodes of yesteryear, long may it continue. It may be far from classic Trek, but it does what it says on the replicator. So settle in, replicate some popcorn, pour yourself a Romulan Ale, and get ready to enjoy some warp factor fun!
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force and babbles frequently!