Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E02 – Envoys Review

It’s traditional for STAR TREK series to pause for breath in the episode immediately after the pilot but, not for the first – or last – time, LOWER DECKS isn’t interested in convention, preferring to come out with its phasers set to killing it.

ENVOYS opens with the first of what will become a mainstay of the series, the throwaway cold open gag. This time it’s a parody of that most venerable of classic Trek tropes, the floating ball of energy. Despite its portentous threats, Mariner and Tendi make short work of the intruder and the series even finds time for a pointed jab at DISCOVERY’s weird obsession with what the captain says to order warp speed before the opening credits roll. Those credits, by the way, still funny and gorgeous enough that the ‘skip credits’ button offers little temptation at this stage.

Star Trek Lower Decks Envoys Review

Assigned to escort a Klingon General, Boimler is dismayed when Mariner manages to wheedle her way onto the assignment too, but when the mission goes all kinds of FUBAR, Boimler starts to doubt himself when Mariner proves herself to be a more effortless outer space bad-ass than he is. Meanwhile, on the ship, Rutherford decides to leave engineering in favour of another department so he can keep a promise to Tendi.

ENVOYS is a fun, freewheeling episode, sailing closer to RICK AND MORTY style shenanigans than other episodes will, but the focus is more on character building than plot-driven events. We get much more confirmation that there’s a lot more to Mariner than meets the eye and she’s clearly not just another journeyman Starfleet ensign. It’s in sharp contrast to Boimler’s neurotic eagerness and stickling for the rules. Together they’re developing a gentler, but no less amusing, version of the Rimmer/ Lister dynamic from RED DWARF.

Star Trek Lower Decks Envoys Review

Meanwhile, we also get to know Rutherford a little better as he tours through the various departments on the ship – a nice conceit which also starts to introduce some of the USS Cerritos’ senior officers as the cybernetically enhanced ensign tries his hand at command and security – dismantling some holographic Borg as he does so. Tendi’s still a little overlooked, though, so it’ll be fun to see her step into the spotlight in future episodes.

ENVOYS will leave you with a smile on your face, no doubt, but it feels a little lightweight in the story, bordering on an old-fashioned farce as Boimler and Mariner stumble from one situation to another in their quest to recover their Klingon charge but it’s also a welcome reinforcement of good TV practice of fleshing out the characters before immediately plunging them into some high concept adventures.

Star Trek Score 7

7/10

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