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Star Trek: Lower Decks Took a Serious Turn, and Really Earned It

Reuniting with an old friend asks some introspective questions of Ensign Mariner.Image: CBSSeven episodes into Star Trek: Lower Decks, the show has found itself in a comfortable, if at times frustrating, groove. We have a plot for one half of our Lower Deckers, we have a subplot for the other, and in both, there are lots of fun trope poking. It’s all very earnest and silly fun. But this week, as the show enters is first season endgame, it asks if it’s truly found itself yet.Illustration: Jim Cooke“Much Ado About Boimler” surprisingly mixes things up by pushing our favorite Starfleet dweeb away from Mariner’s side and into the subplot of the week alongside Rutherford and, particularly, Tendi. She accidentally creates a…very bizarre approximation of a dog (called, wonderfully, The Dog), for a project, and Boimler—thanks to helping out Rutherford in a project of his own—finds himself partially phased after a transporter malfunction. As a result, the duo find themselves being carted off to Starfleet’s “Division 14.”It’s a section that’s a suitably mysterious enclave, the department that investigates science mysteries and the kinds of gruesome mishaps that can only happen aboard a Starfleet vessel—like partially-temporally-displaced officers who have one half of themselves aging, and another de-aging, or, say, that poor Lieutenant in TNG who partially phased through the deck of the Enterprise that one time. As we’ve come to expect from this show, it’s the subplot where Lower Decks gets to gleefully riff on Star Trek’s past, poking a thumb at all the weird nonsense that can happen on a Trek vessel. It does so with aplomb, weaving it around another favorite Trek trope, investigating the mysterious utopia that may not be what it seemsbr>Read More

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