Synopsis: Amina Ramsey (Toks Olagundoye) visits the ship this week, to temporarily take command. Turns out she’s a friend of Mariner’s (Tawny Newsome). She’s there because Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) is on an “important” secret mission with most of the usual bridge crew. Meanwhile Tendi (Noel Wells) makes a genetically superior dog and Boimler (Jack Quaid) tries to help Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), resulting in the usual mishaps, with him as hapless victim.
An interesting way to get Mariner (Tawny Newsome) to retake her old rank this week. That works well with the show because of the shortness of the episode. Also because it’s generally more lighthearted than other series of ‘Star Trek’. The problems are set up really well and the solution to it is well planned, so you to get to enjoy seeing how things are resolved. the great strength of this show is how it manages multiple plots simultaneously. It really does do that well and deserves credit for doing so, as it pushes for her to explore potential promotion to her former rank. It also reminds viewers that she’s a really capable member of the crew and definite badass.
Boimler (Jack Quaid) and Tendi (Noel Wells) get lumped together so what would be the b and c plot (Boimler’s transporter accident and Tendi’s “freak” dog) are just the b plot. Well crafted bit of storytelling and a clever way to show even more characters who are also Starfleet “freaks”, a nod to the many plot device one offs who have featured in “moral/ethical connundrum episodes” over the years.
The Voices and Characters
As she might never be on the show again it’s only right to assess Toks Olagundoye, as Captain Ramsey. It can be a tough ask to play a central role in an episode of a show that has an already established cast. That’s doesn’t seem to phase Olagundoye too much. She gets the right balance of authority and cheerfulness, as she sees her old friend. Perhaps a tough ask for Mariner (Tawny Newsome) too, but she makes it seem natural. The banter and reminiscing between the two is warm and a sense of them having past shared experiences comes through easily.
Boimler (Jack Quaid) also puts in a solid performance this week and goes through the usual cycle of emotions. Great comedy voicing and authentic too. Pitch, tone and delivery are everything in a show that relies so heavily on making personality a presence via sound. The same is true of Noel Wells‘ Tendi, show deals with sudden ups and downs brilliantly, switching effortlessly. Special mention to Jennifer Hale as “The Dog”, who only plays a small role near the end, but brings much to the proceedings.
What’s really great to see is that the animation is truly playing homage to the established world of Trek. It must be said that it’s doing a great job of it. Updated versions of characters that were species only ever touched upon appear regularly. This week it’s the Captain of “the farm ship” – the Osler, who is presumably the same species as Arex from Star Trek: The Animated Series. There has been debate around the name of the species, over the years. Great to see and a nice little nod to the world of Star Trek.
In terms of creativity the show does perform, with the style of animation that it’s gone with. The talking dog fitted in well and didn’t look or feel out of place. Maybe it needed a little getting used to, but it doesn’t seem as lame as it did in the first episode or two. They’re having a lot of fun with the style, which is nice to see.
Back to what it does best this week (last week was a lame episode – the show’s only real one, yet), which is sharp writing, character growth and a whole host of Easter-eggs thrown in. That really does help to make the show enjoyable and even those who are still trying their best to hate it will have a hard time doing so. Everything that’s included as a reference is accurate and almost always fitted in to the story seamlessly. Whist they’re doing their own thing, the writers do seem to really want to pay homage to the old stuff, and even if the limited animation means this will never be riveting watching, it’s still nice. It keeps you on the look out, too. There are many blink and you’ll miss it moments and that’s sort of a fun game to play whilst the episode is on. The show does its job, and love or hate it, the format works and the writer’s stick to it. It deserves credit for that. This show will likely win over fans of the original shows, who have felt isolated by some of the writing in Star Trek: Discovery. It’s hard not to enjoy Lower Decks a little bit. If Star Trek has guilty pleasures, then this show is absolutely the one most will share.
- The Voices and Characters8.7