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Star Trek: Lower Decks - Strange Energies - Review: A Fun Return

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When Lower Decks got first announced I was skeptical at best, Star Trek had dabbled in animated shows before (The Animated Series) and to say it was bad would be an understatement. Which is why Lower Decks turned out to be such a pleasant surprise, the first season found its footing fairly quickly and knew what it wanted to be from the outset. Take The Next Generation, update it to modern standards, sprinkle some humor and shake vigorously. It’s the recipe to one of my favorite Star Trek shows of the modern era.

Season two wastes no time dealing with the fallout of last season’s finale, as it picks up mere months after the battle with the Pakleds. With Mariner dealing with feeling of being betrayed by Boimler accepting a promotion to the Titan and the new mutual understanding between her and her mother captain Freeman. While the former is paid little attention to, it´ll sure come back into focus when the Lower Decks gang reunites with Boimler. I did feel his presence was missed for most of the episode though.

It´s the new mutual understanding between Mariner and Freeman that most of the episodes main plot revolves around. From the great opening teaser holodeck swerve, to the final resolution that they work better apart, it was all about that relationship. And honestly, that pay off felt a little too fast after they just made amends in the previous episode. We barely explored how that relationship had evolved, and grew stagnant, before it went back to the status quo of last season.

It was also great to see Ransom getting more of a focus and how he felt sidelined, but again I wish they had explored that a little more so we could come to understand his frustration better. And though I don’t particularly like the God-like powers in Star Trek, it lent itself to some great call backs and gags to other Star Trek episodes that Lower Decks does so well. And dr. T’Ana got some more moments to shine, which is always welcome. The Looney Tunes-esque forklift with a boulder she seemingly found out of nowhere still has me smiling.

Rutherford and Tendi dealing with Rutherford’s reset memory and new habits was both hilarious and heartbreaking. I’m glad they resolved that within the episode and that they’ll remain friends. Though I feel Rutherford dating Barnes will be revisited as that relationship didn’t work out in the pilot. I laughed out loud at Barnes mentioning how joined Trill never shut up about it. Lower Decks’ ability to poke fun at some of fans' grievances about older Star Trek are some of its best parts!

The quick switch back to Boimler at the end of the episode at the end of the episode was great. Looks like his desire for promotion on a more prestigious ship like the Titan isn’t working out the way he thought it would. The scene’s energy was infectious and a great appetizer for what I assume will be the ongoing storyline this season: the conflict with the Pakleds.

This was our first Shaxs free episode and I already miss him. I hope he’s happy killing Pah-Wraiths in the afterlife!

What did you think about the episode? Let us know in the comments.

“I love my job” - William T. Riker

Rating: 8 out of 10

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