We’ve been boldly going all season with Lower Decks this year! Episode 2×10, “First First Contact” really sets the bar high for next season. Here are some of the things I enjoyed the most in “First First Contact” and a few of my expectations for season three.
Let’s Talk (or Yell) About Our Feelings
We’ve all been waiting for this. Mariner has been emotionally constipated for two seasons now. She has all this pent-up rage about change, trust issues that keep her from being truly open with any of her friends, plus near-constant mother-daughter friction with Captain Freeman. Watching her finally get all of that in the open is quite freeing for her, and is particularly emotionally satisfying for the viewer too! In particular, the way Tendi snaps Mariner out of her default posture of action over emotion by getting on her level and yelling, “WE ARE YOUR FAMILY!” is quite gratifying. Mariner needed that reassurance, especially when it was delivered in such a forceful way. It was a growth point for her, and it was necessary. Here’s to a more emotionally honest Beckett Mariner next season!
Tendi and Rutherford, Sitting in a Jefferies Tube!
Tendi and Rutherford have the sweetest, most wholesome relationship on Lower Decks. Their friendship is so genuine and they truly care about each other, and they say it out loud! I’ve never been the kind of person who could keep her feelings to herself. If I like you, you know it, because I’ve told you. Many times. Probably loudly, and accompanied by a tackle hug. Some people think that’s weird, but I don’t know any other way to be. I’ve never really seen any other show be so emotionally vulnerable and illustrate that kind of emotional honesty as normal. Not something that’s done because someone is about to die or leave, but as a daily, routine affirmation of care and affection for another person.
The small gestures, like the handholding, while Rutherford’s implant is malfunctioning, Rutherford wanting to help Tendi give a proper goodbye to the ship, and their conversation in the Jefferies tube about how they both love the Cerritos made my shipper heart melt into a puddle. Let’s be honest, y’all. We all know that Jeffries tube conversation is really just subtext about how much they love each other in a much more than friends sort of way. And what about Rutherford’s implant malfunction being caused by him being so afraid of losing all his memories of Tendi again that he backed them up in triplicate and now he’s out of hard drive space?! Billups’ words to Rutherford are just plain awesome though–“What’s the point of making new memories if you can’t remember them?” It’s all so achingly sweet. I’m so hopeful that they’ll finally break free of that subtext in season three. Until then, I’ll be swooning over screengrabs, gifs, and fanfic about this last episode.
The whole plot to remove the hull plating from the Cerritos in order to be able to save the Archimedes is the thrillin’ heroics that I love in my Star Trek. Maybe I’m just a softie, but when I see people working together for a common goal, putting themselves on the line to protect others, especially when it’s done in a way that’s potentially self-sacrificial, it just pulls on my heartstrings. Watching our heroes up against the clock to get to the Archimedes on time, Boimler getting that last plate off and nearly drowning in the process, Jennifer the Andorian performing a highly dangerous spacewalk in an asteroid field to grab Mariner before she flew off into the void of space, all made me a little misty-eyed. Heroism really gets me up in my feels and makes me want to have a little more courage too. I’m quite hopeful that we’ll get some more thrillin’ heroics in season three next year.
Final, Final Thoughts for Season Two
What a wild ride we’ve taken on the Cerritos this season! Here are a few things that made me say, “What the heck?!” and “Wow, that’s cool!” in “First First Contact.”
- Who put stuff in Rutherford’s implant and when did that happen??? What’s in his head??? Is he like a sleeper agent that’s going to go crazy and do something dastardly?? You best leave my sweet, nerdy boy alone!
- What is in play with the Pakleds and Klingons? We found out about a greater conspiracy in 2×09, “wej Duj,” but frankly, I was so distracted by this rescue mission with the Archimedes that any thoughts of Pakleds and Klingons have been pushed out of my mind. How do they think they can get away with putting this over on Captain Freeman?! Not okay!
- Lower Decks pulls at a really deep thread, all the way back from Star Trek: The Next Generation bringing back Ensign Sonya Gomez, now as CAPTAIN Sonya Gomez. Not only that, they brought back the same actress, Lycia Naff! What a deep cut!
- The whole bit with the beluga whale junior officers made me laugh out loud! I love that Rutherford can apparently speak whale! That’s hysterical! Also, clearly, they think that sweet, nerdy boy is hot stuff.
We’ve got a lot of exciting things to look forward to for season three. What did you think about this episode? What are you looking forward to next season? In the meantime, we’ve got Star Trek: Prodigy, a new season of Star Trek: Discovery, another season of Picard, and maybe some Strange New Worlds to keep us occupied. Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
Star Trek: Lower Decks will return in 2022. While you wait, you can watch all seasons of Star Trek: Lower Decks on Paramount+.