Often, a present just like the animated Star Trek: Decrease Decks—the place the events our ensigns get up to are principally just like the c-plot in every other collection—upping its stakes and scope would possibly include a degree of apprehension. Maybe the present would transfer away from what made it work, and going massive might perhaps stretch its humor too far. This week we realized that, actually, we shouldn’t doubt what’s grow to be maybe the smartest Star Trek series around.
Referred to as “wej Duj”—or “Three Ships”—this was the primary Star Trek episode that used a completely Klingon language title even written in Klingon script quite than Federation Normal English within the episode itself. The story supplied a premise that, at first, appeared way more comfortably in Lower Decks’ remit. In for a long-haul warp flight, the Cerritos crew are left with little to do within the downtime, and Ensign Boimler is the one one amongst our protagonist quartet who doesn’t have a “Bridge Buddy” to spend the day with. Mariner hangs out together with her mother for mandated bonding, Rutherford spins clay with Shaxs, and even Tendi goes holo-mountain climbing with Dr. T’Ana. Then there’s Boimler, who spirals into his typical paranoia of not utilizing his time effectively, or not consistently fascinated with his profession development to the detriment of actually anything he’s doing. As he runs round making an attempt to fit himself into his buddy’s warp-flight distractions (to no avail), he settles on making an attempt to buddy up with Commander Ransom and his group of fellow Hawaiian officers, which necessitates an ethical quandary. Does he lie about being from Hawaii as effectively to slot in and acquire cachet with a bridge officer—he does—or is it the Starfleet factor to do to be trustworthy, and hope frankness about his misjudgment will ingratiate him extra? (It does, for a time.)
If “wej Duj” was solely about this arc, it will be a superbly positive, and fairly humorous, episode of Decrease Decks. It ties in with a central push and pull that’s sat on the coronary heart of the season—Boimler making an attempt to navigate his innate need for profession development without having these needs come at the cost of distancing his buddies once more. Plus there’s loads of good gags to be discovered with each ensign and bridge officer alike outdoors of the everyday Star Trek confines we discover them in, as Boimler chases every certainly one of them down (Shaxs, particularly, will get some suitably hilarious rage to take care of over his time within the Bajoran resistance). However, as we talked about up prime, Decrease Decks is a really sensible slice of Star Trek, and anticipating the naked minimal out of it solely leaves room for it to maintain shocking us—and shock “wej Duj” does, as its titular which means turns into in a short time obvious. We aren’t simply following the decrease decks of the Cerritos this week: we’re following the decrease decks of three ships. Effectively, 4 technically thanks to at least one transient gag, however, we’ll get there.
The episode intersperses Boimler’s bridge buddy quest with the views of two related figures on two very completely different ships: a younger Klingon (Ma’ah) aboard the Fowl of Prey Che’ta, and a younger Vulcan (T’Lyn) aboard the Vulcan cruiser Sh’vahl. Regardless of the clearly very completely different cultures aboard their respective vessels, Ma’ah and T’Lyn are in some ways fairly like Boimler himself. Ma’ah is raring to show himself able to ascend by means of command ranks, albeit by means of the standard Klingon strategies of honor, ritual fight, and greater than a little bit understanding of social duplicity. T’Lyn, then again, is a uncommon Vulcan craving to assume outdoors of the snug slender constraints of her place, working on intuition and hunch as a lot as she does logic, and at all times prepared to face her floor as an alternative of fairly defer to command.
Their tales grow to be extra than simply the mere “Oh boy, I’m wondering what decrease deck life is like on that ship” they begin out as. They grow to be reminders of the common commonality all these aliens races have within the methods their command buildings play out—that even in enlightened utopias and empires, there’s at all times going to be the little people on the underside rung. However past that, when Decrease Decks weaves T’Lyn, Boimler, and Ma’ah’s tales of frustration collectively into an even bigger image for the present at massive, the collection shifts right into a gear not seen because the later levels of its first season.
Over the course of “wej Duj” it turns into clear that the tales of the Che’ta, Sh’vahl, and Cerritos are intertwined. A lot to Ma’ah’s dismay, his captain has been undermining the Klingon Excessive Council and stoking battle with the Federation by offering superior weaponry to the Pakleds in their very own aggressions with Starfleet—one thing that’s been simmering within the background this complete season. He’s indignant, not out of a love for the Klingon Empire’s most up-to-date wartime allies, however due to his fervent perception that if a Klingon desires to combat an opponent, they accomplish that proudly and out within the open. The identical hunches and order-defying expansions of her scanning remit that maintain getting T’Lyn despatched to punitive meditation classes are additionally those that permit her uncover the hint sign that brings the Sh’vahl to the Cerritos’ assist when each ships individually detect metreon particles from Klingon explosives because the Che’ta does its illicit commerce with the Pakled Clumpship, err, Pakled.
One splendidly explosive ship combat later—and one transient glimpse of what life’s like for the Pakled’s decrease deckers—the day is saved, however the collection is organising one thing a lot bigger than this episode led us to consider. Ma’ah’s honor is what lets him overthrow his captain’s illicit makes an attempt to conduct a proxy battle with the Federation, gaining the ascension in rank he craved but in addition setting the stage for a lot bigger points between the Pakleds, the Klingons, and now Starfleet, with the Cerritos able to reveal the true architects of the battle to Federation command. T’Lyn, regardless of saving the Sh’vahl from destruction with defend enhancements she was not designated to work on, is reprimanded with the worst punishment a Vulcan ship can provide: reassignment to a Starfleet vessel (if we will accurately estimate one factor about Decrease Decks as an alternative of it consistently vaulting over these estimations, it has to be aboard the Cerritos subsequent season, proper?). And even Boimler will get a simply finish, discovering himself taking a younger academy graduate beneath his wing on Ransom’s personal advice, an opportunity for him to impart all of the issues he has realized to a brand new era of junior officers.
It makes for an extremely satisfying little bit of groundwork to put the ultimate episode of the season on—a finale that has quite a bit to stay as much as after the equally satisfying means the primary season got here to its conclusion. That first finale threaded an excellent stability between acquainted fan service and tying off the character work the present had constructed up round Mariner from its debut. Now, Decrease Decks comes right into a second finale with a a lot bigger world and extra characters to tie into the threads it’s weaved this season, with a lot larger ramifications past simply the Cerritos. However, as we realized right here and have realized a number of occasions over the course of this season: there’s at all times room for Decrease Decks to shock us.
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