In episode five of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the biggest Star Fleet party is going down and everyone on the USS Cerritos are trying to book their ticket in. Before the senior officers can attend, they must escort a potentially problematic diplomat to his destination. Meanwhile, Mariner has yet another harebrained scheme to get into the celebration and pulls Boimler into her foolishness.
“An Embarrassment of Dooplers” follows a familiar formula with a Mariner wild adventure that is spurred on by her dark past. But her interactions with Boimler provide an opportunity for them to finally address their unresolved issues. It’s the first time we’ve seen them alone since Brad left the Titan. Abandonment is a big theme and their friendship is further tested when one of them gets into the party.
It’s a personal journey for both of them as they’re able to confront their problems with each other. The experience brings them closer together and there’s a touching ending when the pair show up at a more exclusive spot. There’s high praise for them when references to another Star Trek duo, Kirk and Spock, are brought up. Not only is it an admirable relationship to shoot for but also how the classic characters are brought up is a reminder that everyone has humble beginnings, not too different from Lower Decks’ young ensigns.
Another subplot with an emotional impact involves Rutherford and his memory struggles. He and Tendi are assembling a model kit and past Rutherford has written clues on the pieces. The engineer is unable to decipher the messages and becomes frustrated as if he’s competing with his own ghost.
Over the course of the episode of Lower Decks, we learn that old Sam was unable to finish the model either and the story demonstrates how much progress he’s made since the season one finale. In a way, he’s caught up to his pre-amnesia self and the purchase of a new replica to construct indicates a point to move on and create different experiences.
The senior crew of the Cerritos always draw the short end of the stick with regards to missions and Doopler is no exception. Guest, Richard Kind, is perfect for the overly sensitive and nervous alien and it’s hilarious watching all the different and mundane things that set him off. There is some lazy writing because there are recycled elements from another Mike McMahan series, Solar Opposites, and its Gooblers but it’s different enough for something new.
Having Captain Freeman and her team end up in the same bar with her daughter following the Doopler fiasco is a nice way to cap off the episode of Lower Decks. Though they might never receive the respect and recognition they deserve from Star Fleet, they all end up where they should be amongst great company, i.e., with each other. Plus, the captain has a little revenge by beaming Doopler into the party.
“An Embarrassment of Dooplers” delivers some emotional moments for the young ensigns with a lot of over-the-top shenanigans and a happy ending for all.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are released Thursdays on Paramount+.
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