On the season two finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the USS Cerritos is assigned to accompany Captain Freeman’s colleague, Captain Sonia Gomez of the USS Archimedes, as they make first contact with the intelligent life of the Laap System. What seems like an easy fluff mission turns awry when a cosmic event places Gomez’s ship in danger and it’s up to Freeman to rescue her friend.
Before we get to the action, Mariner and Freeman must settle unresolved issues between them. When Becket overhears some big career news about her mom, she begins to act out and stirs up unnecessary drama amongst the crew.
This further develops the rocky relationship the mother and daughter have had. Throughout Lower Decks, they’ve gone through extremes being completely antagonistic early in the series to becoming BFFs at the start of season two. At this point they’ve reached a nice middle ground and Mariner is happy where they are now. She’s angry but it’s more due to her insecurities that their bond might devolve again. It demonstrates her growth when she can overlook her own selfishness and be happy and proud for her mom.
Freeman isn’t the only crewmember that might leave the ship. Tendi overhears Dr. T’Ana bad mouthing her and jumps to the conclusion she is being transferred. If it truly is her last days onboard, Rutherford wants to make it count in a touching gesture where they visit all her favorite Cerritos spots. We’ve seen how close the friends are but the show has always had this will they/won’t they energy with the two ensigns. The pair seem to be pushed closer together with a nice memorable and romantic date in addition to the reasons why Rutherford’s implant begins malfunctioning.
The main conflict, the rescue, has many great moments. The entire crew work like a well-oiled machine and pull their own weight during preparation. This reflects how great a leader Freeman has been to have everyone in sync in such a huge endeavor. She can even get Mariner and her arch enemy, Jennifer, to put aside their differences and work together. The ship goes through a chic metamorphosis and the color schemes are cool.
Every now and then, Lower Decks mentions the Cetacean Ops unit on the ship and we finally visit the area. It adds a little bit of silliness but also plays an intricate role in the plot. In addition, the musical score does a good job setting the tone in the final half of the episode. It enhances the danger and urgency of the situation.
The ending of “First First Contact” sets the stage of where the show will go in season three. It is still relevant to the storylines these past seasons and it is a game changer with regards to the Cerritos. However, it comes so abruptly that you don’t really know what’s happening initially. It comes out of nowhere not in a good way and is a little forced.
The season two finale builds upon the character dynamics while incorporating a soundtrack that complements the excitement of the mission. Despite an abrupt and ill executed cliffhanger, it still generates interest to see what happens when the series returns.
Watch all of Star Trek: Lower Decks on Paramount+.
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