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STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS 2×03 “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris” Review

Neil reviews STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS episode 2×03 saying the episode “couldn’t do a better job of managing so many disparate plot threads.”



Star Trek: Lower Decks (CBS)

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.


The animated comedy series follows the support crew on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies.


So Boimler (Jack Quaid) is back on the U.S.S Cerritos and the status quo has been reset. That clearly means it’s time for Star Trek: Lower Decks to shake things up. Back during season one I wrote in several reviews how the series needed to shake up how it paired off its cast. So here we are in episode three on season two and finally Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Tendi are breaking the mould.

Pairing off the two female leads allows for some unexpected character exploration. Of course it’s all maintained within the overall comedic tone of the show. For example, learning that Tendi (Noëll Wells) likes Klingon acid-punk as much as Mariner does. Or learning nobody knows Tendi’s first name, admittedly I too thought she only had one name like Odo.

On a deeper level what Lower Decks is doing is continuing to flesh out the relationships between the core cast. Season 2 has shown that the show is actively pushing its character further, much like The Next Generation which is a huge influence. It’s quiet but capable storytelling from executive producer Mike McMahan which reflects his own Trek fandom in the writing of the show.

Elsewhere in this episode there’s bountiful storytelling to enjoy. Boimler has been erased from the Cerritos’ systems and so can’t even open a door. It’s the 24th century equivalent of first world problems when you can’t replicate your own dinner. He’s also got to contend with another of his heroes, Lt. Tom Paris of the U.S.S. Voyager is paying a visit to the ship. It’s wonderful to have Robert Duncan McNeill back to voice the character. It’s also more of an appearance than the trailers made out which is very exciting. It’s these kinds of connections to the wider universe which make Lower Decks one of the most exciting Trek shows on TV.

If that wasn’t enough then there’s still room for a further sub-plot with Rutherford (Eugene Cordero). In the episode’s more bonkers twist – saying a lot considering it features a talking plate – Lt. Shaxs (Frad Tatasciore) is back from the dead. Just don’t ask him how. The storyline plays in to Rutherford’s innocence and naivety perfectly. But the storyline brings a sweet pay off to climax of season one.


Boimler is back. Tom Paris stops by for a visit. Shaxs is alive. This episode couldn’t have packed in any more to its 25 minute runtime. It also couldn’t have done a better job of managing so many disparate plot threads.

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