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Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 3 – In the Cradle of Vexilon Review

3 min read
Like most episodes of the series, it's about the journey itself as opposed to the destination at the end of the episode.
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“In the Cradle of Vexilon”

What They Say:
Boimler leads his first away mission on an alien megastructure.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the show doing some good work in promoting the main group of characters, albeit in a comical way, we’re getting some solid growth and opportunities to do more now. Not by a lot but by keeping them to the lower decks, breaking them up in a new configuration, and giving them their own rooms should help to do some basic advancement. And it’s important to do so because when we saw it in Next Generation, it felt like it was important and show that this is serialized storytelling in a way that the original series never was. The opportunities are certainly there, as we see here, and watching how Mariner takes to having someone believe in her and also to watch as Boimler and the rest move up and become more connected to the ship and the crew is just a delight.

With this episode, the ship is visiting the world of Corazonia, we get the fun of a megastructure in space from an older long-gone race that has been taken over by others. It leans into a lot of the kind of TOS stuff here that’s fun with the costume design and the kind of old-school aspect with the world designs. With it being overseen by a system called Vexilon, it’s basically struggling in a lot of ways but it’s handling it as well as it can and open to help in getting back on track. It’s a fun inversion of the usual tropes. Of course, Captain Freeman decides to do the upgrade only to realize that it was held off on – six million years ago – because otherwise, it breaks everything. Do not upgrade the prime intelligence! Especially when it will basically ‘re-genesis” the entire world in a reboot!

While that unfolds, Boimler is getting his first run at command in handling some supply upgrades and the like. He’s obviously nervous and overthinking everything as you’d expect and it just makes you smile. What’s worse though is that as he micromanages everything, he basically takes it over and alienates the rest of the team. And to make matters worse, when Vexilon starts to fall apart and Freeman needs him to do things, it requires him to actually command and delegate. T’lyn is able to actually help him understand things and his own abilities in a really good way that lets both her provide the right observations and for Boimler to interpret it in the right way but execute it awkwardly. It’s a good moment for Boims and one that keeps him from getting the support of the usual regulars, who are all doing their own silly storyline about basically being hazed which is hilarious – in small doses.

In Summary:
Of course, everything comes together and we see things fall into place as you’d expect, but like most episodes of the series, it’s about the journey itself. I love seeing Ransom critique the artwork along the way and as Freeman tries to be a do-everything captain once in a while instead of delegating like she normally does. Billups and his whole lost ferret just let me in stitches as did a lot of the hazing material even though it’s clearly the third subplot of the episode and just to keep things moving. Boimler and what he goes through is solid and is the real storyline and I like that it’s T’Lyn of all people who gives him the talk he needed to be a better commander. Boimler’s anxiety and issues are honest ones for a lot of people that want to be in command but worry about their impact so it delivers some strong stuff to absorb and enjoy while also showing how it can be dealt with.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Paramount+