What They Say:
The Lower Deckers go on a classic cave mission.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Lower Decks did some fun stuff in the previous episode as you could initially think all the big stuff going on has been orchestrated by Peanut Hamper or some other artificial intelligence. But the twists come in along the way and we go into the final three episodes with things still a bit unclear on some levels. It’s been interesting to watch this season with the larger plot moving in very slow ways but making sure that the main cast is getting all the right attention as they do slowly grow since their promotions. They’ve interacted in different ways because of it, and we’ve had new characters, and it’s been a lot of fun. But it’s also welcome to get the four of them being put to a mission together with some cave exploration on a planet named Gottonus of all things. They’re all in a familiar mode in the cold open with Mariner bored by the whole thing while everyone else has their usual enthusiasm.
Naturally, it goes about as wrong as Mariner expects it to with a tremor that traps them underground. What this leads to is some fun as we see them recounting past stories of being trapped in caves. Caves, Tendi, not turbolifts! Boimler’s bit at first has him dealing with being stuck on a mission in a cave with a crewmember named Levy in the past and he’s a real pill to be with as he’s filled with conspiracy theories. It’s comically over the top in all kinds of ways and even as bad as things get, Levy just keeps making it worse and worse even while using his knowledge in a way that should get them killed but ends up saving their lives. It’s fun since the aliens in this one are the Vendorians and we get some great designs that aren’t just a humanoid shape with funny elements added to it. They’re properly alien and it’s amusing to watch how Boimler isn’t able to find any real positive to take from any of this, though the Vendorians do in their own way.
Rutherford’s story takes the cake right from the start as he talks about when he and Dr. T’Ana were trapped together with the cave baby they had. Like Boimler’s story, the mission doesn’t matter as it’s just a setup for the pairing and the humor that comes from it. Seeing Rutherford become pregnant thanks to the local they were dealing with, it’s hilarious to watch as T’Ana deals with the quickly-born baby and how the two have to manage it for a bit. It’s always fun when T’Ana isn’t wearing her doctor’s coat and is in a standard uniform as it just feels so weird. It’s a simple subplot but I love the way everyone reacts to the news of Rutherford, in some form, giving birth. It’s a nice reminder that they are all growing and interacting with others and find themselves now able to tell each other about everything. They’re going on so many different paths now and it’s natural to happen like this.
Mariner’s story definitely gets to be fun as she’s stuck working with Delta Squad and things go pretty bad when their mission has them crashing the shuttle and stuck in a cave. With one severely wounded person, the hilarity that plays out is that the cave has a space where what they need is surrounded by chronotuns. And they get older when they go through it and seeing them age so quickly is hilarious as they have the young attitudes with it. The cruelty that comes with this in a comical way is so over-the-top that you can’t help but laugh, especially with the twist of a different part of the cave that makes you younger. You really feel for the guy whose leg is lost, though. And you even feel for Mariner a bit in that she befriends Delta Shift a good bit and the others do not like her doing that.
When we do get to Tendi’s story, it’s one from after the rage virus that plagued the ship previously and we get Tendi a bit impaired because of what they were drinking. The gang gets stuck in a turbolift and the hours just keep going on because the ship is recovering from the event. It’s a lot of fun to see the bonding between them from this point and how it helps to smooth over the problems that came up during this cave adventure. Of course, ther’s a great little twist to it at the end and it works well. With the episode avoiding anything related to the bigger threat of the season, this is a good reinforcement of the cast really being friends even though they’ve been pulled in so many different directions lately. It’s a solid semi-anthology-style episode and getting so many different things without trying to make a whole episode about just one worked really well for me.
Streamed By: Paramount+