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STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS 1×06 “Terminal Provocations” review

Neil reviews the latest episode of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS, “Terminal Provocations.” The episode is available to stream now in North America via CBS All Access.

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Star Trek: Lower Decks (CBS)

Synopsis

The Cerritos attempts to resolve a dispute over salvage, Boimler and Mariner investigate a missing computer core, and Rutherford’s holographic creation attempts to kill him and Tendi on the holodeck.

Review

With “Terminal Provocation” Star Trek: Lower Decks promised to introduce some new characters to the series. Boy did it introduce two very interesting characters that we’re unlikely to see again in a hurry.

As it the new well established format of the show, the cast is split in to its usual teams. Mariner and Boimler find themselves babysitting Ensign Fletcher (guest star Tim Robinson), an old friend of Boimler’s from Starfleet Academy.

Fletcher is obviously going to cause problems from the outset. Of course it seems, at first, like he’s going to be a enabler for them to bunk off their shit and go watch something called the “Chu Chu” dance. It seems like a big deal but it also gives Fletcher an excuse to do something truly stupid.

It was hilarious to see how the Fletcher situation escalated so quickly. It also bring itself to a typically Lower Decks resolution simply to frustrate Boimler.

But more than just providing the audience with a good laugh, the Fletcher storyline also subtly nudges Lower Decks in a new direction. All the episode to-date have featured some kind of action. We’ve seen zombies and recreated the famous Kirk fight scene, but we’ve yet to have any major space battles.

This week Fletcher, tied in with storying surrounding the bridge officers, steps the show up to a new level. We’re able to see something of a different side to Lower Decks, one which leans in to action-adventure more than just straight up comedy. That is a show I’d happily see more of.

On the flip-side of the action we find Rutherford and Tendi. Trapped in the holodeck and fighting off an attack from a talking Starfleet insignia. This is Lower Decks at its most zany. But at the same time its still rooted in Trek history to some respect.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility for a character to venture to the holodeck for further training. In this case it transpires that Tendi never completed a spacewalk at the academy and needs to get over her fear if the USS Cerritos is to collect the debris they have been sent to retrieve.

It turns out Rutherford has programmed his own training regime in to the computer. It’s even hosted by a cute talking Starfleet insignia called Badgy (voiced by Jack McBrayer). But when the space battle outside ensues the computer goes haywire and Badgy turns evil!

It’s another hilarious story on top of some already great comedy. Badgy, as it turns out, is also brutal. For the first time ever Lower Decks verges on Harley Quinn animated series style violence with poor holodeck NPC’s having their heads ripped off left-right-and-centre.

Of course being the Holodeck you might think that it’s harmless terror, but not when the safeties are turned off! The peril is real here.

“Terminal Provocation” manages to wrap itself up perfectly, intersecting its various stories to create a very cohesive story across the crew of the Cerritos. It’s some of the series finest writing to date.

Verdict

“Terminal Provocations” is an interesting beast. It ramps up the level of action on the series but takes a small step away from its Trek roots with interesting results.

8/10

Created by Rick & Morty writer Mike McHMahan, Star Trek: Lower Decks features the voices of Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells and Eugene Cordero as the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos.


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