Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 Episode 2 Review: EnvoysDiana Keng at .
Things move fast on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 Episode 2 and along two totally separate plot tracks so it sometimes feels like watching two completely different episodes.
If you squint hard, you can sort of make out a unifying theme of being true to your calling despite obstacles and insecurities.
But, admittedly, you gotta squint really hard.
The most challenging thing I find about writing about brand new, sci-fi shows is that they are infamous for inventing terminology and names and they never provide a spelling guide in advance.
For example, here, we're introduced to a Klingon general not in canon.
His name is pronounced "KOR-in" but a comment by Mariner insinuates there should be an apostrophe in it. So, I'm going with "K'rin" although "Qo'rin" would be completely possible, knowing the Klingon language's penchant for using Qs.
Memory Alpha will correct me eventually, I'm sure.
Boimler: I'm going to be piloting General K'rin down to Talgana IV.
Tendi: K'rin... How do I know that name?
Boimler: Maybe because he's like one of the most decorated and battle-hardened Klingon warriors in history?
Mariner: Or maybe it's just cause all the Klingon names sound the same? Like they all have an apostrophe for some reason.
Tendi: Yes! That's it!
The usual Klingon accessories are present -- bat'leth, blood wine, random and sudden physical altercation as a greeting -- and it's fun to discover that planets like Talgana IV (another guess at spelling) have neighborhoods like "Little Qo'noS" because ... of course, they would.
But then we have some all-new species introduced. The Kaylon (spelling guess #3) seems to have markings like Trill but Boimler states that they're incredibly insular.
Mind you, the choice of Kaylon as a name is quirky since the Kaylon are Isaac's AI species on Fox's The Orville. A sideways salute or purely an inadvertent coincidence?
Boimler running into a giant furry blue Taxor (spelling guess #4) who apparently still lives with his parents was probably my favorite moment since he apparently thought his Taxor-speak was fluent enough to forego the use of a Univeral Translator (total canon) and ended up describing feces in a borderline-insulting way.
How that doesn't happen more often, I'm not sure.
General K'rin: Do you remember Jaksa Pride, the commander who didn't believe you about rectal insectoids?
Mariner: Ha! Yeah, I got chewed out but his ass got chewed up!
Once again, we see that Mariner pwns Boimler on every aspect of space travel and interplanetary relations -- language, custom, physicality, and mob control.
Also, saving him from being implanted with Autobaj (seriously? How it that actually spelled?) eggs was kind of her.
Despite his terrible Taxor-speak and his clear ignorance of what the Khitomer Accords entail, Boimler's dream is of Starfleet and when Mariner realizes that she's basically smooshed that into warp exhaust, she makes an effort to correct that heading.
Boimler: This whole time, I've either been one step behind you or totally in the dark.
Mariner: Yeah, but only because I'm pretty amazing.
In a weird way, we may be seeing what it would have looked like if Kirk and Picard had served as ensigns together.
Picard, despite the life-changing choices made on Star Trek: The Next Generations Season 6 Episode 15, was a fairly by-the-books sort of commander. Arguably, his best moments were when he was forced out of his comfort zone and the books were definitely his comfort zone.
Starfleet doesn't just need badass cool people like me. They need, like, booksmart people like you too!Mariner
Kirk, on the other hand, is best known for his ability to talk, fight, or seduce his way out of a situation. On Star Trek: TOS and in the Kelvin Timeline, Kirk is seen as a rule-breaker, innovator, and outside-the-box problem solver.
Mariner's already been demoted (at least) once. She's definitely a Kirk-style captain material while Boimler will probably consistently move upwards in Starfleet until he plateaus because he's too much cog and not enough piston.
Of course, Mariner's cunning plan to reinvigorate Boimler's fervor for Starfleet works and he doesn't resign from his position. For those keeping score, that's the second time in two episodes that Boimler's reversed a decision once he returns from the away mission.
Meanwhile, Rutherford's love of Engineering is put to the test because he's got a platonic (maybe?) date set up with Tendi.
Yeah, I don't get the set-up either.
Rutherford: Y'know, if I quit my job in Engineering and switch divisions, I wouldn't have to be in the tubes at all.
Tendi: Really? You can do that?
Rutherford: Sure, when's the pulsar?
Tendi: 0800. AH! This really means a lot. I don't have a lot of friends yet and doing science on my own really bums me out so thanks, Rutherford!
Rutherford: All right. Looks like I just have to ... find a new career!
It's basically a filler story that takes us on a tour of the ship and the various jobs people do.
What's halfway amusing is how the supervisors and departments are all so gung-ho to support Rutherford in his career exploration.
Well, if you see an unaligned EPS conduit, don't call me. Mine are aligned as hell.Rutherford
And it's not like Engineering is trying to off-load him. Billups seems genuinely pleased that Rutherford is capable of spending days in the jeffries tubes, working on alignments and calibrations.
I wonder about the order of divisions that he tries out though.
Why would he try out Command first? I'd expect him to head to Science first, especially since spending time with Tendi is the whole reason he's doing this.
Computer: Ship destroyed. Casualties - 105%
Rutherford: Wait, how did I kill more than the whole crew?
Maybe it was to eliminate the obvious misfits first. The simple fact that he's changing careers in order to follow-through on plans with a new friend makes it obvious that he's not Command material.
Also, it's REALLY disturbing how almost all of Ransom's lines have a sexual subtext.
You made the right choice transferring into Command, son. Nothing compares to the firm, hot pulse of a joystick in your hand. The bridge is where the action is.Ransom
Which, I understand, is the whole point. Ransom's a testosterone-driven, alpha male, with more bravado than brains (as exhibited on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 Episode 1)
Ensign, the bridge is yours. Be gentle but attentive. Get her where she needs to be. Guide her home.Ransom
To be fair, we really haven't gotten to know much about the bridge crew so far. Rutherford's adventures only scratch the most rudimentary surface. Ransom is overly self-important. T'Ana is straight-shooting. Shaxs is the standard Security jock.
And, of course, in the end, despite his cybernetic implant making him the perfect Security recruit, Rutherford's heart leads him back into the jeffries tubes and, it turns out Tendi is just as happy hanging out with him there as on the Observation Deck.
Of course, that would've been useful information to have at the start.
But honestly, I like that both Rutherford and Tendi are tenaciously optimistic characters. Not sure they have enough street smarts between the two of them to buy a cup of gagh from a food vendor but there's something to be said for a sense of wonder and discovery.
In thousands of simulations, that's literally never happened before.Ransom
I'd like to see the pairings switched up soon even though Mariner and Boimler are naturally meant to team-up more since they are both Command.
Mariner and Tendi have had their own little side-adventures. The scene in the teaser with the transdimensional genie entity was a lot of fun.
Of course, it may be that Boimler's too awkward to deal with in general, and Mariner's the only one on the crew willing to put up with him for long.
Oh, wait. Maybe Captain Freeman, her MOTHER, purposely paired them up?
Well, what do you think? Is it a case of being workmates by chance or design?
Will their next adventure give Tendi some active involvement?
And when exactly did Boimler have the opportunity to seek jamaharon? And with whom?
Finally, when did the Janeway Protocol become a maneuver involving jettisoning all the children from a vessel?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.