I am so torn over how to evaluate Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 7.
On the one hand, it's a wholly innovative, wildly creative, multi-layered narrative that they went all in on. I mean, they redid the entire opening credits for a single episode. That's commitment.
On the other hand, it's an entire episode devoted to an incredibly unlikeable character that forces us to imagine birdman on robot coitus—more than once.
Mating mechanics aside, Peanut Hamper's arc is genius in that it's really just a flat line that we're deceived into believing is character development.
The homage to Castaway in the opening scenes is a fun reference. Made more so when she pulls a total quokka mama and throws her Wilson (aka Sophie) directly into the Drookmani tractor beam cavity to buy herself time to escape.
(As she crash-lands on an entirely new planet populated by a hitherto unknown species, readers will have to forgive my entirely made-up spellings.)
Kowtorus's welcome as the wise and open-minded village leader is a solid contrast to Rowda's aggressive distrust.
My only question here is that one would assume Kowtorus raised Rowda, so why are their beliefs about mechanical life and sentience so far apart?
It might even suggest that the ancestors that banned technology didn't pass on all that long ago. Considering the ships are still functional, the ban may have only been implemented a generation or two back. Kowtorus might've been a child (chick?) at the time.
I'm not exactly clear on where Rowda sees his relationship with Peanut Hamper going.
Since the village leadership appears to be hereditary, you'd think the future village leader would feel it a priority to secure some offspring.
Rowda: There is one person you haven’t treated yet.
Peanut Hamper: I guess we should start with a physical.
Rowda: Oh, how I long for the touch of your nozzle.
As for Peanut Hamper's seduction -- if you have a better word for it, please suggest it -- since she jumps his, um, bones (?) before he reveals the ancestors' ships in the cavern, there's a chance she was actually into the idea for that first encounter.
I'll admit it was nice to see her settling into the community for that split second.
Peanut Hamper: Hey, Doyle. Did those stomach worms clear out?
Doyle: Oh yes. My fecal matter is back to being oily and white.
Peanut Hamper: Great! But also, gross.
It was almost a Dr. Quinn, Medicine Exocomp, sort of vibe.
Bringing back the Drookmani, last seen on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 Episode 6, is a handy device to play as it's been established that if a Starfleet vessel fires on them, it's considered an act of war.
However, it isn't clear if their firing on the Cerritos is also an act of war.
I'm intrigued by the technology of the Aerior ancestors.
How could the Drookmani transport onto one of these ancient vessels and immediately figure out navigation, propulsion, and weapons systems?
Even more curiously, how does Rowda, who has never operated a machine (besides Peanut Hamper, I guess), master the controls of the larger ship?
Peanut Hamper's plan to redeem herself in the eyes of Starfleet depends on some outstanding timing.
She couldn't have known when the Drookmani would arrive and where the Cerritos would be when she sent the distress signal.
Then, in order for her redemption to be witnessed, she has to sacrifice herself just as the Cerritos arrives. That's some precision puppeteering, and she manages to pull it off.
Just shut the f*ck up, Rowda. Grow a f*cking beak. I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my very long robotic life on a frickin’ bird planet.Peanut Hamper
Of course, it starts to unravel when Rowda chooses to forsake his duty to follow her to Starfleet.
Her initial demur could be interpreted as her wanting what is best for Rowda, but it's pretty clear that their relationship was a means to an end for her.
I wonder what would have happened if her plan had worked and Rowda had joined her aboard the Cerritos. I suspect T'ana would've had some scientific curiosity about their relationship too.
But things just weren't meant to be.
Despite her superior processing ability, she did not calculate for the Drookmani activating the Aerior ship.
Of course I could send a distress call to Starfleet. But those bipedal bastards would just lock me up for going AWOL. They’re so uptight about being betrayed.Peanut Hamper
She also didn't consider that her subspace message would be recorded.
Of course, it would've helped if she'd disguised her voice when she invited the Drookmani to pillage the Aerior.
Now that she's teamed up with Agimus, could we see a gruesome twosome emerge at a later date?
Is anyone else a little concerned by the number of inmates in the Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage facility?
Oh, whatever. I don’t want to stay here anyway. You’re like the poor man’s Aurelians.Peanut Hamper
Do you want to guess how impressed I am that they managed to slip an Aurelian reference in right at the end there?
I spent an unnecessary amount of time trying to decide if the Aerior were just Aurelians. This is the life of writing Trek reviews.
It would be interesting if the Aerior decide to join the Federation after this encounter with the dangers of space scavengers.
At the very least, as a Federation member planet, they could petition for visitation access to Peanut Hamper, where they could annoy her endlessly.
Peanut Hamper, when I first met you, I was afraid. Not only because you were the literal embodiment of everything I was taught to fear, but also because you were full of life.Rowda
So, here I am at the end of this review, and while I greatly appreciate the talent and effort it takes to bring something like this to life, never mind the audacious ambition of pitching this entire concept, I still didn't enjoy it.
What does that say about me? Why can't I get behind an Aerior-Exocomp hookup? Am I subconsciously intolerant of organic-mechanical intimacy?
In other news, with all the callbacks this season, I eagerly await the return of Badgey.
So how did this one land with you, Fanatics? Hit our comments with your biggest takeaways.
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.