Last week on Star Trek: Lower Decks, the USS Cerritos had a close call with the Breen. Though the crew manage to survive, their biggest loss is when Mariner is expelled from the ship. They don’t have time to mourn because they caught a glimpse of their future replacement.
The season three finale pits the newly revealed Texas class starship against one of the California class’s finest in your typical man versus machine showdown. You can feel the tension in the air during each stop of the competition and the accompanying music helps enhance the intensity. There is little room for error and even a slight delay is enough to determine the victor.
However, there is much more below the surface such as the flaws and lack of a personal touch associated with an artificial intelligence. In addition, the big bad comes out of plain sight, although he isn’t too unexpected if you’ve been watching closely. And their main motivation is a little weak, generic, and shallow for an evil scheme. It leads to an epic space battle along with a touching show of unity in the end. It’s a great way to have cameos of some of Star Trek: Lower Decks’ beloved guest stars and minor characters.
On a character level, it was nice to finally receive closure on some of Rutherford’s mysterious past, particularly the shady figures involved with his cybernetic implant. He has deeper ties to the main conflict and there is an amusing tease for the future in the brief closing credits scene. Not as successful is the Boimler and Shaxs drama. There is already much going on in the season finale and it seems their entire dispute is played for a gag/plot point at a crucial moment. Granted there is potential moving forward if the series continues to explore the new normal of their relationship.
Also, Mariner’s time as a treasure hunter is exciting and it gives her an opportunity to see what her life can be as a civilian. She’s the type of person who would be successful in whatever she chooses to do. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and who are we to think she could be anything other than a Starfleet lifer. It’s fitting that her return to the Cerritos is in their most desperate hour.
The Star Trek: Lower Decks season three finale delivers plenty of tension and ends with a thrilling large scale starship battle.
Watch episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks on Paramount+.
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