Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E05 – Cupid’s Errant Arrow Review
Having been peripheral to the last couple of episodes, CUPID’S ERRANT ARROW puts Boimler front and centre again in an episode so jammed packed there’s not even time for a cold open, unrelated or not.
While the USS Cerritos is in orbit around Mixtus III to assist in a controlled demolition of an unstable moon, Boimler takes the opportunity to meet up with his girlfriend Barbara who serves aboard the USS Vancouver. While Mariner is skeptical that Boimler even has a girlfriend, Rutherford and Tendi contemplate applying to serve on the much more technologically advanced USS Vancouver.
Again, the series manages to comfortably combine topical social commentary. The subject of the moon’s deteriorating orbit and imminent environmental devestation is the subject of a multitude of differing opinions and agenda, not least of all accusations of ‘fake news’ and government conspiracies. Away from the main Star Trek storyline, there’s a lot of mileage in Mariner’s refusal to accept that Boimler’s girlfriend exists (she’s obviously well aware of Geordi LaForge) and, even when it’s proved she exists, that she could possibly be attracted to Boimler without some kind of alien influence or parasitical intention. Her suspicions run nicely parallel to Boimler’s growing paranoia and jhealously with more than a few great gags.
Tendi and Rutherford are again relegated to the C-story but there’s a lot of fun in watching them geek out at the ‘luxurious’ USS Vancouver which is conspicuously identical to the Cerritos in its interior design and layout, especially when they discover the grass isn’t always greener.
The Easter Egg references come thick and fast in CUPID’S ERRANT ARROW, with a flashback to DEEP SPACE NINE of all places (making its first – fleeting – onscreen appearance since WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND…) where Mariner is discussing the events of the TNG episodes DESCENT (parts I & II). It leads to one of the series’ greatest lines so far commenting on the crew of the Enterprise-D with, “It’s like a new thing every week with those guys.”
CUPID’S ERRANT ARROW also brings nudity – and pantsing – to the STAR TREK universe and yet still manages to be less gratuitous than the underwear scene in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (2012) and although it ends in disappointment and heartbreak for Boimler, it somehow manages to fail the Bechdel test in the most feminist way possible and ends up reinforces the platonic bond between Boimler and Mariner.
Nothing, though, beats the punchline of why the delegation of Mixtus II is so dead-set against the moon implosion. Priceless.