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Photo: PARAMOUNT+

Television

‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ season 3 episode 5 review: Haunted by a former self

On this week’s Star Trek: Lower Decks, Rutherford battles himself while Mariner and Boimler search for new recruits.

On Star Trek: Lower Decks, we’ve been able to get to know the four main ensigns as they set out on space adventures. But who were they prior to Starfleet? In “Reflections” we find out that Rutherford wasn’t nearly the same person that he is now.

The young engineer is haunted by nightmares and his cyborg implant is malfunctioning. A quick fix by Tendi is ineffective and a suppressed memory of his younger self is released and takes over his body. The two have an eternal struggle of technical acumen to determine the dominant personality that will regain control.

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It’s interesting what a stark contrast young Rutherford was that he seems like an entirely different person. He’s a young arrogant hotshot that plays by his own rules and is a little bit of a jerk. The only thing they have in common is their engineering prowess. Lower Decks uses the two to also highlight how much the current version has matured from those days and is in better control of his life. He might not have the same flash and flair, but his practical thinking is as effective and the series reinforces the strong group bond he has with his friends and trust in others with his approach to the competition.

The more significant outcome from the inner battle are what younger Rutherford spills about the cybernetic augmentations and the visions he has with regards to the people responsible. The narrative has much more darker tones compared to the rest of the show and could imply some shady doings from within Starfleet. We’ve received clues in the past about how the implant wasn’t necessary and now seeing that it may have been forced upon the ensign raises even more intriguing questions that we hopefully explore.

star trek lower decks 3.5.2
Photo: PARAMOUNT+

At the same time, Mariner and Boimler are tasked with finding new Starfleet recruits. What seems like such a mundane job quickly gets out of hand. All the criticisms hurled the pair’s way from skeptical groups with agendas seem to be a humorous way to express general Star Trek complaints about the universe as a whole but also raises valid arguments against the organization.

In a refreshing change of pace, Lower Decks flips the script and has Boimler serve as the irrational one who has to stand up for Starfleet. In the end, it’s a little weird seeing him and Mariner on opposite sides of the brig. Ransom has had a stabilizing influence on his normally hot-headed subordinate since Beckett uses every ounce of self-control to do her job. However, the entire ordeal places her at a curious crossroad where the day’s commentary has her questioning her place, particularly when offered an alluring alternative.

“Reflections” provides an insightful look at Rutherford’s past while raising further questions about his origins. At the same time, the episode takes a comical approach to common arguments about the franchise in general, and places Mariner at a peculiar crossroad.

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are released Thursdays on Paramount+.

star trek lower decks 3.5.1
Star Trek: Lower Decks S 3 E 5 review: 'Reflections'
"Reflections" provides an insightful look at Rutherford's past while raising further questions about his origins. At the same time, the episode takes a comical approach to common arguments about the franchise in general, and places Mariner at a peculiar crossroad.
Reader Rating0 Votes
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The contrasts of the two Rutherfords highlight how much the current version has matured and is in better control of his life.
The Rutherford reveals only make the bigger mystery of his origin more enticing.
Interesting developments with Mariner and her thoughts on Starfleet.
8
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