This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. Without them, the movies and television shows we cover would not exist.
Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon” gives us some Star Trek: The Next Generation-style supercomputers, Boimler’s first away mission in charge, and some good-natured hazing. Don’t forget to keep your breathers handy! Let’s jump into my thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon.”
Decide! Direct! Delegate!
Boimler gets his first command of an away team in Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon.” His struggle to own the command is extremely relatable. Many years ago I worked in retail management and my biggest struggle was delegation. Watching Boimler try to do everything himself felt like looking back in time at my younger self. It’s one of the most difficult skills to learn in management, but it’s a skill that’s crucial to good leadership.
But I can also appreciate Boimler’s stress in the situation. “It’s like disarming a building-size bomb?!” would definitely have me stressed out. It’s encouraging to see Boimler learn to trust his crew and delegate well. He’ll do so much better on the next one.
Finally, I must say that Gabrielle Ruiz as T’Lyn is knocking out of the park. I love T’Lyn’s interactions with Boimler and how she logics him into doing what he should have been doing all along. I think they’re going to make for some fun storytelling this season.
Time for Your Initiation
Having been in the Marching Band in high school, I’m all too familiar with some of the “initiation” rituals we see our crew experience in Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon.” While I was never asked to scan a room full of isolinear chips or hunt down a ferret, the idea of some pranks played on newbies by older officers is very relatable. I have to wonder if there is some version of “Enterprise Bingo” on every ship. This feels like “Cerritos Bingo.” While this part of the plot is played for laughs, it also highlights just how truly competent and capable our team is. Rutherford solves the Wadi game in minutes! Tendi scans all the isolinear chips, guns a-blazin’! Mariner uses her interpersonal skills to divert Dirk from their prank! Even if it’s just for fun, we get some nice character moments here with our crew. It’s those little character moments in Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon” that are just the icing on the cake.
There are several small nods that really add a lot of flavor to a fun episode. First up, the anomaly room is full of Star Trek deep cuts. How many did you spot? I also love the off-handed comment of “I didn’t know Dr. T’ana had been here!” when the Betazoid box started shouting obscenities. I love Tendi’s description of Orion hazing rituals. “How did you deal with this back on Orion?” “Blindfolded saber fights.” And of course, Alamaraine!
I also appreciate the IT-based humor with Captain Freeman. The idea of running an entire planet on an ancient computer that needs an update is endlessly amusing to me. Running it in safe mode to debug it is funny enough, but then the idea of finding an ancient instruction scroll in an ancient junk drawer is GREAT. It’s the little details here that really add to the humor. And of course, the solution rests with having to turn it off and on again. Really great stuff here, and very relatable if you’ve worked in IT for any length of time.
Overall, while Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon” didn’t tickle my funny bone quite as much as episodes 4×01 and 4×02, this is still a very good and solid episode of the series. I’m eager to see what comes next for the Lower Decks crew.
What did you think of Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×03 “In the Cradle of Vexilon”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.