I’m not even sure how to talk about the season finale of Lower Decks getting everything so spectacularly right without mentioning how wrong all the other modern Star Treks are. Relentless references to beloved past episodes, three major plot turns that were absolutely earned, characters reinforced, relationships upgraded, all in 22 minutes or whatever. I can’t be bothered to go look up the runtime because I’m on such a adrenaline high of my enjoyment of this show. It’s so tightly written, so lovingly produced, I literally cannot believe Kurtzman’s name is on this thing.
I mean, where to start? This entire episode was like hooking a battery up to the frog’s leg part of my soul where my love of Star Trek lives. Landru callback spectacularly on fleek, TAS Kirk and Spock on the PADD, Ransom actually defining TOS as “those old scientists,” Captain Freeman threatening to paradox logic Landru again like it’s a thing taught in First Contact With Computers Running Societies class at the academy, Pakled threats, and 100% character service with Boimler and Mariner dealing with last week’s Freeman’s-your-mom bombshell, all in the first five minutes. This is masterclass writing, people. This is everything Roddenberry and Fontana and Berman and Taylor and Behr did, with crazy references and in-jokes, and backwards and in high heels.
Mike McMahan, you legend.
I mean, it’s like he watched the end of Picard and said, “Series Finale? Riker returning to clean up? Here’s how you do that! What a friggin’ triumph, made all the sweeter by the <Enterprise finale joke. But but but also: major consequences! Ruined ship! Shaxs dies! Rutherford’s head is ripped off! A cuteness fight between Badgey and Peanut Hamper!
And, speaking of Peanut Hamper, I love when they throw something in like that, a real plot device from the old show. This one was from the TNG show “The Quality of Life.” I’m such a nerd.
I gotta say, I love that Boimler threw his friends under the bus at the first opportunity to get a promotion in rank and a spot on the Titan, commanded by a guy who would never leave his friends or a promotion in rank and captaincy of a new ship until his service to the story was complete. Little thematic perfection, there. Kinda makes me want to see Boimler plus fifteen years played by a super-serious Charlie Day in his first dramatic role as a Starfleet Captain.
It really is saying something that a gruff, one note background character like Shaxs sacrificing himself in one last giant DESTROY IT ALL moment really has me thinking he hasn’t died. I mean, this is a cartoon, and everything! He was buried in a photon tube like Spock and look what happened there! But the thing is, LD is episodic with consequences, so this sort of turn is probably permanent. Kind of, you know, another gold shirted first season Security Chief we all know.
With Boimler on the Titan now, though, hopefully we’ll get some B-stories with Riker and Troi next season until the two stories dovetail. Anyway, between this and Ted Lasso, Coronavirus TV 2020 was still excellent.