“Room for Growth” has Delta shift vs. Beta shift, a not-so-relaxing day at the spa for Captain Freeman and the engineering team, and another ancient mask situation on Star Trek: Lower Decks today! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in today’s episode, so let’s get started with our review of episode 3×04, “Room for Growth.”
An Ancient Mask Situation and a Trip to the Spa
“Room For Growth” opens with Captain Freeman hovering menacingly through the hallway of the lower decks’ quarters. This is a nod to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 7×17, “Masks” where Data is possessed by an ancient mask. Since talking with Mike McMahan, the fact that he’s borrowing from a Data-centric episode in Lower Decks is completely unsurprising to me. Fixing this ancient mask situation puts the engineering department into 24-hour work mode to repair the damage and in turn, stresses them all out. A trip to the spa ought to help relax the engineering department and Captain Freeman after their ordeal, right? Not like you would think!
The best part of this plot line for me is the dialogue. Lines like, “For the more deviant among you, we also have kittens. No judgment!”, and “I AM RELAXED! I JUST GOT BACK FROM A SPA!” definitely got me laughing. Also, I appreciate that the episode shows that everyone has a different way to blow off steam–a trip to the spa, working on an engineering problem, or a holodeck Bonnie & Clyde simulation with the safety protocols turned off. I’ll just stick with the spa treatment, please and thank you.
Delta Shift vs. Beta Shift
“Room for Growth” features places we don’t normally see on the Cerritos as part of this Delta vs. Beta shift feud. Crawling around in Jefferies Tubes, seeing different parts of the ship, and just getting to watch our crew have a little bit of fun. “Ani-Grav Boim, Protector of the Lower Decks!” is just another aspect of the new and improved, BOLD BOIMLER.
Does Delta shift still suck and did they get that super swanky room on unscrupulous terms? Sure. But one thing that this plot is pointing out is that our gang is growing up. Tendi’s on a senior officer track. Mariner is more likely to get kicked out of Starfleet for going off at Ransom than to be promoted. Though spoken with a bit of sarcasm, I definitely have a few concerns about BOLD BOIMLER getting killed. Seriously though, how long is it before someone in our crew gets promoted and they don’t get to spend all this time together? Will their friendship hold true? It’s a weighty emotional question that I don’t think we’re done with yet this season.
Overall, “Room for Growth” is probably the flattest episode I’ve seen all season. Did I have fun with it? Sure. I always have fun with Lower Decks. But it’s fairly average. After the fantastic writing and humor of season 2, my expectations are a little higher for Lower Decks, and this feels more like an average episode from season 1. The best part of the episode, as with any episode of Lower Decks is the witty dialogue. There was a good bit of quipping in this episode, but quipping shouldn’t be the only thing going on. That being said, “35 Churros in an unmarked paper bag, hot,” Might definitely be one of the most niche things ever ordered from the replicator.
What did you think about “Room for Growth”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks airs on September 22, 2022, on Paramount+.