Star Trek: Lower Decks S1E06 – Terminal Provocations Review
TERMINAL PROVOCATIONS sees STAR TREK LOWER DECKS finally get round to doing a malfunctioning holodeck story – in its own inimitable style.
During a tense standoff with a crew of Drookmani scavengers over some Starfleet salvage, Tendi confesses she never finished her spacewalk training and asks Rutherford to help. Meanwhile, Boimler and Mariner find themselves covering for their friend and fellow ensign Fletcher (guest star Tim Robinson) who, it turns out, is a compulsive liar.
It’s the first episode of LOWER DECKS where the disparate storylines don’t quite come together and it feels a little disjointed despite having a lot of great moments. For the first time, the bridge crew get their own storyline as they try to negotiate with the belligerent Drookmani which is good for some laughs while Boimler and Mariner’s storyline dealing with the increasingly weasely Fletcher ends up hogging most of the episode for little real reward.
Tendi and Rutherford’s adventures on the holodeck likewise feel a little underdeveloped even though they introduce a new character to LOWER DECKS: Badgey (other guest star Jack McBrayer), the holographic interative training program with an unfortunate tendency towards homicide. Ironically, it’s Badgey who saves this episode, thanks to the great vocal performance by McBrayer and a characterisation which again feels like he’s popped in from RICK AND MORTY for a cameo appearance.
Each of the storylines in TERMINAL PROVOCATIONS feels like a pitch for an episode which couldn’t quite be stretched out to an entire episode on their own in the writer’s room so instead ended up in this portmanteau story which, after the previous episodes, just feels like a little bit of a step down. It still has its share of gags and observations which hit the mark but it just feels a little more forced than we’ve become accustomed to.
Fortunately, lesser LOWER DECKS is still better than a lot of other shows and proves that even when it’s having trouble with its warp core concepts, there’s still enough power to get the show through.