This week’s Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves” brings an interesting trope to an animated Star Trek series. Done in the style of a “bottle” or “clip show” episode, Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves” hearkens back to a time when Star Trek had 23-26 episode seasons. In order to save budget, shows would sometimes do “bottle” episodes where the story occurred on the ship, which saved budget on set design or time and travel to shoot on location.
It also has aspects of a “clip show” where there is a light wrap-around story and clips from previous episodes are then spliced in. It’s another cost-saving method from a bygone era, but one I would have not expected to see in an animated series. And yet Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves” gives us a variation on both of them while also playing on the Star Trek trope of a cave mission. Let’s dig into my thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves.”
Classic Cave Crawls and Trek Tropes
It’s been a minute since all four of our favorite Lieutenants, Junior Grade have gotten to go on an away mission together. So of course, like so many Star Trek shows before them, they are tasked with exploring a cave. And just like many Star Trek crews before them, our crew gets stuck in a cave. The stories told are hilarious and zany, as a Lower Decks story should be. I especially enjoy the great reactions from everyone as their stories are told. Boimler learns to get along with Levy, even if his conspiracy theories are bananas. I also appreciate that he is able to at least see how Levy arrived at his conclusions, even if said conclusions are completely illogical.
Mariner’s story is over-the-top gross and hilarious, and shout out to Asif for being the real MVP, losing a leg to the mission. Tendi looks especially concerned at the idea of Rutherford having a “baby” with Dr. T’Ana, even if that baby was a consciousness clone of their guide. Watching Rutherford go into full dad mode though is so dang adorable. I love that sweet, nerdy man. I’d be glad to watch a Star Trek: Lower Decks cave episode anytime.
It’s the Friends We Made Along the Way
What is especially nice in Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves” is Tendi’s turbolift story. It shows the heart of Lower Decks. It shows how they bonded when they were stuck together somewhere, even if it wasn’t a cave story. This gives the audience a slice into the real heart of the series—the deep friendship among Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford, and Tendi. Its sincerity is heartwarming. The sincerity makes Lower Decks stand out as one of the most truly wholesome stories on television today.
There’s not a lot to say about Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves,” and I don’t mean that pejoratively. A nice soft episode after the crazy of last week’s “A Few Badgeys More” is just what the doctor ordered. Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves” feels like the calm before the storm. We still don’t know who or what is driving the Not-Slave-1, or why it’s taking the ships. With just two more episodes left, I’m hoping to get some resolution on that storyline.
Do you have thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks 4×08 “Caves”? Who do you think is driving the Not-Slave-1? Any predictions for the final two episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks season four? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks will air on October 26, 2023, on Paramount+.