On Star Trek: Lower Decks, the war with the Pakleds has taken a toll on both sides and time has come to parley. Usually tasked with more mundane missions, the crew of the USS Cerritos are in charge of the diplomatic mission and head off to the home world of Pakled Planet. Elsewhere on the ship, our young ensigns receive anomaly consolidation duty, otherwise known as taking out the trash. However, Boimler is able to skirt responsibilities and teams up with another group of ensigns that help each other out to gain promotions and make their way up the Starfleet ladder.
The Pakleds are a fitting race to serve as the overarching big bad of Lower Decks. Their rotund and comical appearance along with the slow demeanor plays well with the animation and comedic tone. A political refugee named Rumdar makes his way to the Cerritos but he may have ulterior motives of espionage. He’s dumb like a fox and only through sheer incompetence does he evade Ransom and Kayshon. The race as a whole is a nice contrast to the crew because sometimes you don’t know which one is more inept.
It’s also interesting and funny to journey to the Pakleds home planet and see them in their natural environment. We receive glimpses of their homelife and leadership structure. It’s almost as ridiculous as you’d expect and you wonder how they became such a threat. But they are a race with no real structure that breeds chaos. At least Captain Freeman is able to gain the upper hand in the end. She probably savors the victory even more since they confuse her for Voyager’s Captain Janeway.
Garbage duty is more eventful than you’d think since the crew of the Cerritos embark on so many missions and collect mysterious research materials. It would only be a matter of time until the ensigns are overwhelmed by drama. After getting a handle on things, the experience seems more of a team building exercise to boost the camaraderie. Tendi did complain how they never go on any adventures with the four of them.
The incidents also allow Boimler to display his leadership skills and ability to think on his feet. While his new crew of ensigns, the ironically named Redshirts, focus on their inspiring speech skills, he goes into action to save Tendi and proves sometimes, laughter can be the best medicine. It is peculiar the placement of this episode.
Last week, the whole issue Mariner had with Brad was that he abandoned her to join the Titan and they spent time settling their differences. Here we are, a week later, and Boimler ditches his friends again to pursue greener pastures. Sure, he proves he has what it takes to be a captain already and doesn’t need the Redshirts, but the way he got there was a pretty weak considering he leaves Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford first. They do reconcile over a crank call to a TNG’s villain.
“The Spy Humongous” continues the Pakled conflict in amusing and outlandish ways while also showing that maybe Boimler hasn’t changed with regards to his aspirations and friends.
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are released Thursdays on Paramount+.
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