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STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS 1×02 “Envoy” review

Neil reviews the second episode of CBS All Access’ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. The series streams new episodes weekly in the US.



Star Trek: Lower Decks airs new episodes weekly on CBS All Access in North America. International air dates are yet to be confirmed.


After a high-profile mission goes awry, Boimler is further plagued with self-doubt when Mariner proves herself to be a more naturally talented sci-fi badass than he. Rutherford quits his job in engineering and explores other departments on the U.S.S. Cerritos.


Last week Star Trek: Lower Decks made it’s debut with an episode that felt deeply rooted in the history of the franchise. Series mastermind Mike McMahan demonstrated a huge reverence for Star Trek: The Next Generation which helped make this new take on the series feel unique but not unfamiliar.

Second episode, “Envoy,” doubles down on all of that Trek lore and yet manages to completely embrace this new comedic aesthetic.

In my review of episode one I mentioned that the dialogue felt incredibly punchy and fast paced. As someone who isn’t well versed in Rick & Morty this took some getting used to. But already in episode two of Lower Decks I feel comfortable with the style and delivery.

“Envoy” continues in much the same vein as “Second Contact” by pairing off the main cast. Our leads, Jack Quaid’s Boimler and Tawny Newsome’s Mariner, take the main story whilst Ensign Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Ensign Tendi (Noël Wells) take on the B-storyline.

Despite a 30min runtime, the structure of Lower Decks takes further inspiration from classic Star Trek series. We open with a short, pre-credit teaser and then launch in to the main stories after the opening credits. One story takes place outside of the USS Cerritos whilst the other is firmly planted on the ships decks.

Boiler and Newsome take the lions share of the screen time. Their relationship is the most sparky on screen and plays for the most laughs. Quaid suits voicing a character who is dedicated to his work (but down on his luck). Newsome counterbalances that perfectly by playing Mariner as a completely free spirit. There’s easily endless hours of comedy built in to this relationship and it feels well developed even at this early stage.

Building in Klingon General K’orin allows “Envoy” to throw another list of classic references at the audience. From bloodwine to Qo’noS with a little gagh thrown in for good measure. The representation of the Klingon’s is perfectly adapted to fit the comedic nature of the series.

There’s even time for a trip to Risa which is also laden with references, visual and audible. Jamaharon anyone?

Boimler is still trying to prove himself at this early stage. With Mariner besting him at every turn it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over the rest of the season.

Back on the Cerritos, things between Rutherford and Tendi are a little less bombastic. These two are clearly the unspoken romantic relationship of the season. Rutherford just doesn’t seem to realise it.

It’s nice that their characters are written so differently. It allows Lower Decks to explore more facets of the emotional spectrum and makes sure the show doesn’t feel flat. Something which I think plagues a number of adult comedy series.

As Rutherford quits his engineering job to spend more time with Tendi is brings about a string of hilarious scenes. His time in security will please fans of the Borg but I think its perhaps it’s his trip to the medical bay which elicits the most laughs.

The animation style and its ability to make Trek feel accessible to an entire audience who may be unfamiliar with it remains its strongest factor. Whilst the stories are pretty funny, Star Trek: Lower Decks needs a little more time to develop and become a “must watch.”


“Envoy” is a hilarious second episode, playing off tropes of Star Trek past to create something which feels entirely contemporary.


Star Trek: Lower Decks stars No’l Wells as Ensign Tendi; Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford; Tawny Newsome as Ensign Mariner and Jack Quaid as Ensign Boimler.

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