Title: Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 – ‘Temporal Edict’ Review
Release Date: August 20, 2020
Network: CBS All Access
Genre: Science Fiction
Of all the Lower Decks episodes thus far, this one just CLICKED for me and it changed my life.
So let’s talk about Lower Decks episode 3, “Temporal Edict”.
Lower Decks Episode 3 Summary:
This episode follows two main story threads: Mariner and Ransom heading out on a diplomatic away mission while Captain Freeman tries to cut down on break time (in the worst possible way). During a turbolift conversation, Boimler accidentally reveals “Buffer Time” to the Captain. It’s the break time that a lot of the Lower Decks crew put into their schedules. Determined to run a tight ship, Freeman puts everyone on a timer to keep them moving and busy. No Buffer Time allowed.
Safe to say, it doesn’t go well.
When it comes to the away team, the lack of break time causes a stressed Bolian officer to accidentally switch out a crystal peace offering with the icon of their enemies: a stump of wood. The aliens do not like that. The entire mission, Mariner and Ransom butt heads trying to lead the mission, playing out as this series Kirk and Riker types, respectively. While Ransom starts off trying to be a Starfleet speech man, he later shows off his ability to fight back (very Riker, indeed). Well, and his dark secret that he loves it (stabbing Mariner to keep his limelight). Ransom saves the team, with his fists and abs, and loves every second of it.
The wildest part is that it seems to have started a little spark between Mariner and Ransom.
Meanwhile, everyone else is losing their minds, overworked and slowly getting overrun by invaders. They are so stressed, they can’t even fight off aliens with crystal spears. Luckily our resident workaholic and rule-lover, Boimler, can get the bridge and help the Captain save the day. Not only that, but he also gives her a moving, Picard-esque speech that some people need breaks to be the best officers they can be. Moved, Freeman does that and calls the new initiative for officers giving themselves breaks “The Boimler Effect”.
We absolutely have to talk about the stellar intro scene. It was a beautiful reference to the beloved Starfleet musicians who played all their classic violins and clarinets to start old Star Trek episodes. Boimler definitely is all about that old precedence, playing a violin and dedicating songs to his mom and being so pretentious and overdone. Then Mariner and Tendi come in and blow things out of the water with a fantastic hard rock performance. It would count as classic music, technically, and I love it.
And can we just say that in only a couple short snippets of scenes, Tendi and Mariner are the best troublemaker best friends ever?
We also need to talk about Commander Ransom. Ransom, while self-important and full of himself, is arguably one of the most entertaining characters in the show thus far. He is a fabulous contradiction of a perfect Starfleet man who also loves heroics and adrenaline junkie action. Ransom tries to be a walking rulebook but you can tell there’s more going on. From the way he reacts to Rutherford’s messed up training last week and the battle this week, he’s more than up for the gritty, not-so Starfleet side of conflict. He reminds me a lot of Riker if his secret love of rule-bending was dialed up to nine-thousand.
Boimler also shows off his potential by building a bridge between senior staff goals and the needs of Lower Decks officers. Despite all his angst and nervousness, for the first time (in my opinion) Boimler proves he is command material. He just needs to get over his own anxieties, hang-ups, and pushing his own ideals on other people. He needs to accept he doesn’t need to do everything; the point is Starfleet is a team effort.
And it seems this episode, between his turning point defending “buffer time” and standing up to Captain Freeman, he’s making progress for once.
Oh, and I didn’t think about Rick and Morty!
While the heroic moments for Boimler and Ransom were some of the best parts of the episode, it is tiresome that the two white guys were the sole saviors. With so many diverse and awesome characters, they could have switched it up.
The show also has a fun time of mocking the intense speeches Starfleet makes, but it was just short of being brilliant. I think they could’ve elevated it by maybe having Ransom do his peace speech while fighting, or having Freeman ignore most of Boimler’s suggestions until he starts phrasing it like a speech. It would make the bit about Starfleet loving speeches, and the contradictions of that, just so much better. Missed potential always breaks my heart.
Next episode better be about Tendi, though. After 3 episodes, we’ve had decent insight into Boimler, Mariner, and even Rutherford as characters. But Tendi hasn’t gotten much fleshing out, other than her enthusiasm and willingness to try new things. She’s adorable and we love her already, writers. Let her shine!
Verdict: Lower Decks episode 3 still has some growing pains, but I am definitely more on board this week. I think that this show will always have weird nitpicks for Trekkies because it’s trying to appeal to a wider audience. So some of that cultural nuance of other Treks just won’t be there. But I feel like this week, I got it. It’s funny, it’s light-hearted, and the writers clearly love Star Trek. That’s all I can ask for.
And boy was it fun. I can’t wait for next week.
- Ransom and Mariner as Riker and Kirk
- Violins and electric guitars
- Boimler growth!
- In Miles O’Brien, the most interesting man in the galaxy, we trust
- BONUS: Didn’t think about Rick and Morty!
- White boy saviors
- Not enough Tendi
- Missed speech jokes
- Wood-lover hate