Boimler volunteers to test Rutherford’s transport upgrades which leaves him phasing; while Tendi genetically engineers her idea of a dog leading both to be transferred to a medical ship destined for a recovery colony known only as The Farm. Meanwhile, with Captain Freeman and Commander Ransom on a covert mission, a replacement command crew is sent to the Cerritos whose captain has history with Mariner.
What do you do with Boimler when he gets involved in a transporter accident and ends up out of phase? Why you send him to Starfleet’s secret facility The Farm of course.
With this episode Star Trek: Lower Decks is finally mixing up its cast a little bit. It’s also reneging on its formula to tell a story with cohesive plot points from start to finish.
We’ve seen a number of episodes feature a pre-credit teaser gag which has little impact on the rest of the episode. “Much Ado About Boimler” bucks the trend and uses the running gag of Tendi’s dog, also called The Dog, throughout the episode.
But hallelujah, Lower Decks has finally paired Tendi with Boimler, given Rutherford his own story and given Mariner some heavy character development.
Whilst “Much Ado About Boimler” has some excellent developmental elements to it, the overall story feels a little less successful than in previous episodes. I feel like I can hear the executives asking the show to move its plot lines a long a little rather than retread the usual steps.
But I’m absolutely here for the show experimenting with its cast and doing things differently. Its instantly a fresher setup and allows for some different emotional beats to other stories.
Given the speed at which the TV industry chews up and spits out series its hard to remember that Lower Decks is only seven weeks old to its audience. The small missteps made across the season to-date just serves as a reminder of the days when series were given time to find their feet before finding success.
I think that at this stage we’re seeing the Lower Decks writers feeling comfortable with the characters, the ship and the wider world of Star Trek. I hope that heading in to final three episodes of season one we see more of this experimentation as we had to a place where the show spreads its wings and takes more chances.
The Farm circles Lower Decks back to its referential roots as we’re able to explore some of Trek‘s mistakes of yesteryear. Voyager fans will get a particular kick out of The Farm given a particular reference which had me falling off my seat.
Looking at my own reactions to the series it’s interesting to see how my opinions have changed across the past seven weeks. At the beginning of the season I needed Lower Decks to keep reminding me that it was part of Trek cannon. Now that has become much less important as the show has proven its worth.
I’m now invested in its characters. So this episode feels particularly satisfying when it comes to Ensign Mariner. Understanding more of her background and how she approaches her role in Starfleet feels like the right step forward for her. There’s an underlying urge to find a chosen family and it underpins all of her actions in the episode.
Going forwards Lower Decks I want more of this experimentation but with bigger stories please!
“Much Ado About Boimler” is a successful experimentation with Lower Decks character formula but needs more bang for its buck with storytelling.
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.