Star Trek: Lower Decks S2E02 – Kayshon, His Eyes Open Review

KAYSHON, HIS EYES OPEN makes a deceptively obvious callback to DARMOK but it’s really burying the lede which is that, once again, Mariner is about to be confronted by not only her own recklessness but her tendency to overshadow and endanger her friends. Meanwhile, Boimler’s tour of duty on the Titan reaches a very STAR TREK decision point.

IF you think previous episodes of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS have been packed with Easter Eggs, you ain’t seen anything yet. KAYSHON, HIS EYES OPEN is so packed with callbacks and shoutouts the story can only be set in a literal and figurative STAR TREK museum. Running the gamut from TOS to VOY and all stops in between – including TAS – but, as usual for this best-in-class of current TREK, these in-jokes and sight-gags are in service of a more rewardingly character-driven story.

Kayshon, His Eyes Open Review

LOWER DECKS may be an animated series but in twelve short episodes, most of these characters feel more three dimensional than any of the characters from DISCOVERY or PICARD. Mariner is easily one of the all-time great Star Trek characters and I’m hopeful that STAR TREK will follow THE MANDALORIAN’s lead and start bringing animated characters into full live-action canonisation. I, for one, would love for Mariner to turn up in STAR TREK: PICARD, if only to drop snarky comments on all the nonsense the writers are pulling out of their backsides. Just take a moment to savour and imagine a PICARD season one DVD commentary from Mariner.

Kayshon, His Eyes Open Review

KAYSHON, HIS EYES OPEN sees Mariner confronted by her opposite and equal in Ensign Jet Manhaver, a new assignee to the Cerritos’ Beta shift. He’s every bit as clever and assertive as she is but decidedly by the book. The rivalry sees both of them trying to one-up each other and eventually Mariner comes to recognise that her determination to be the one who delivers bad-ass sci-fi action is making her overlook the abilities and contributions of her friends. It’s a degree of humility and self-awareness that’s sorely needed by Michael Burnham.

Kayshon, His Eyes Open Review

Meanwhile, on the Titan, Boimler is still trying to fit in with the shoot-first, shoot-later, maybe-ask-questions-then attitude of a combat vessel. Assigned to an away mission, once again his crippling self-confidence manages to get in the way of his skills. It’s great to see him save the day, though, and there’s sly pathos in how his assignment comes to an end without actually ending and it seems very on-brand for his dreams to simultaneously come true and evaporate.

Kayshon, His Eyes Open Review

Once again, with KAYSHON, HIS EYES OPEN, LOWER DECKS manages to tell not one but two compelling STAR TREK stories, layer on a bunch of jokes and deliver some satisfying character development in the space of twenty-five minutes. It’s not wide of the mark to suggest that the writers of STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS are the only ones in the current franchise hierarchy who know what the Kahless’ Fornication Helmet they’re doing.

trek score 8

8/10

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