Synopsis: The crew of the U.S. S. Cerritos look to have been captured this week, and are on trial. The bridge crew are imprisoned in what looks like a stasis like state, and the “lower decks” lot is charged with bearing witness to the court, to find the truth out about what happened . . .
This episode belongs almost entirely to Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Boimler (Jack Quaid) Tendi (Noel Wells), and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), as they answer charges and try to secure the freedom of their superior officers. Whilst it does seem like they’re in a tight spot, the situation clearly isn’t what it is claiming. At one point it seemed like it might be some sort of a holodeck training simulation, to maybe see how well the ensigns would cope in this kind of situation for real.
By the end of the episode, it turned out that Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), First Officer Ransom, and co. were actually being rewarded for rescuing an alien from the Romulans. Whilst the setting of the episode references many of the courtroom drama scenes from Trek’s history, the final explanation feels a little lame and less than satisfactory. Definitely one of the weaker offerings and, unlike most episodes so far, this one doesn’t offer character development by setting individual challenges for any crew members to overcome and therefore emerge altered by the experience.
The Voices and Characters
It’s always great to see (or hear in this case) John De Lance’s Q, and he hasn’t lost any of the impishness to his voice. Other than that, there’s no real stand out moments this week. Boimler (Jack Quaid) probably comes closest as he blindly defends the decisions that his superior made, without even knowing why. Quaid really knows the character and captures that he is absolutely Starfleet through and through, to the point that he maybe can’t see any faults at when they do exist. It shows a good understanding and how much can be captured via tone and pitch.
At various points of the mock trial, during Rutherford’s “interrogation”/cross-examination, Eugene Cordero matched the emotional state of the character well, to the way he felt at the points of the flashbacks he was recalling. That was about as good as things got this episode, unfortunately.
So much can be done with this animation style and is being, which is at least something. Great to see some references to TOS, with the fan-favorite Gorns and the “salt vampires”. They did feel a little forced this week and didn’t fit in as seamlessly as the visual jokes/easter-eggs have done, mostly. At least Trek history is being mined well and if nothing else the creators are showing that they at least understand what they are trying to poke fun at. There was nothing to push the boundaries though and little that could be seen as truly original. When this is the case the style really slips back to only being an irritation and a way of cementing thoughts of the show being a little bit pointless. When the episode isn’t great it feels as if it may as well just be a YouTube fan thing.
Another off week. Fair enough, it’s only the first series and that’s allowed. Not every episode of every show is going to be a winner. It was a gamble that the “big reveal” would pay off at the end of the episode. At least they are experimenting with different types of episodes. The “in-joke” felt a little bit general and not specific enough. Perhaps there’s some truth that Starfleet has mostly always been painted a near-perfect organization, on the whole, but as a thematic subtext, it’s not strongly referenced enough by the writing here. It relies on the show’s history alone and not the episode identifying things. That feels lazy and asks a lot of viewers’memories.
This was far from the show’s finest week. By the end of the episode not much had really happened, and whatever else the show’s been so far, it’s done a good job of telling us about the crew and their motivations and character traits. Something else it lacked was the references feeling part of things. They were just there to makeup and it very much felt that way. A lack of a subplot also showed as a half-decent one might have at least given a better pay off than the rather dull reveal of the A-plot.