On the previous episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, it was a girls’ trip with Tendi and Mariner setting out on a task for Dr. T’Ana and ending up having a crazy adventure. This week, it’s the guys turn to team up but they’re working against one of their own.
Boimler and Rutherford have gotten their butts kicked one too many times by Mariner in anbo-jyutsu. One day in the ship’s watering hole, a bartender reveals that their friend is a special trained black ops agent for Star Fleet. The bombshell irks them and they find it difficult to trust her on their next mission. Especially since they witness some questionable actions toward the rest of the field team.
As implied from the title, “Mugato, Gumato” revolves around the famed white horned gorillas from the classic Star Trek series. Lower Decks goes all in with the humor towards the beasts. There are gross out scenes as Shaxs (he’s back leading operations with no one else questioning his return) tracks them down through their dung droppings. We catch some of the creatures in heat and in the midst of some primal love making. The inclusion of a voyeur takes it to another level. Then the different pronunciations are amusing because the characters use them all and also because it’s a nice nod to the history of the Mugato.
No matter how wild a situation on the series, it’s always fun to see most of the time it’s resolved through more cerebral, aka nerdy, methods. Boimler and Rutherford even incorporate elements of the geeky board game they play to negotiate a compromise. Who would think a PowerPoint presentation on cost benefit analysis would be a powerful tool.
Mariner has some nice character moments as well when we learn the truth of her black ops gossip. The situation brings her closer to her two friends seeing her vulnerability and opening up a little more to them. It’s also a kind gesture in the end when she starts a new rumor about how hardcore Rutherford and Boimler are following their exploits with the Mugatos.
Meanwhile, Tendi is given another task by Dr. T’Ana. This time on Lower Decks, she must scan all the crew members who skipped their annual physical. The job was a set-up to fail but the young ensign pulls through and even turns the tables on her boss. Don’t let her passive and demure exterior fool you. People need to stop underestimating Tendi because she gets things done regardless.
Then, Captain Freeman receives a humbling experience. For someone who’s always demanding respect and wanting to move up the federation ladder, it’s surprising how easily she’s duped by a two-bit conman. It’s a funny little subplot that is on par for the scrappy underdogs of the USS Cerritos.
“Mugato, Gumato” shows a funnier side of the recognizable Star Trek creatures while demonstrating how kick ass our group of ensigns are in their own respective ways.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are released Thursdays on Paramount+.
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