Star Trek: Lower Decks: Moist Vessel
August 27, 2020 7:15 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Worst Trek episode name ever? I mean, there have been several hundred episodes by now, but I can't think of one that even comes close.

Don't you give me that sarcastic Vulcan salute! MEMORY ALPHA!

[MA still kind of sparse on the details, so I'll just give with the rando observations:]

- In the course of making silly, goofy, heavily-inside-jokey-and-obscure-canon-dependent jokes, LoDe seems able to get to some pretty witty and trenchant observations about what being on a starship would likely be like: a lot like the jobs that a lot of us have now. Last week, it was Freeman going on an efficiency tear, resulting in the crew being so overworked and overmanaged that they couldn't deal with a relatively minor crisis. This week, it's that being a senior officer isn't all that. For every sexy, fun, exciting away mission, there's a bunch of things such as debating the type of chairs in the conference room (bar stools? That really is an awful idea).

- By some kind of amazing cosmic coincidence, the worst thing that Boimler can think to do in his plan to get kicked upstairs is almost exactly what Sonya Gomez does to Picard in the just-covered-this-week-in-the-rewatch TNG episode "Q Who".

- Speaking of amazing cosmic stuff, big week for Tendi: we get her main character beat aside from general gee-whizziness (cares too much about whether people like her), and the whole bit with O'Connor's quest for transcendence of the material plane is great. I wonder if the Q Continuum saw the koala? The Organians? Charles Evans?

- The bit with the waste extraction in the holodeck seems to be a reference to the "holodeck jizz mopper" meme, although I'm headcanoning that it can't be broken down by the replicators because it's one of those Trek-only elements that can't be replicated--something like latinum, dilithium, or verterium, only not, because all those are valuable--that somehow ends up on the holodeck and has to be manually extracted. Whatever it is, it gets bleeped out, which suits me--I want it to be like "petaQ", something that never gets defined or explained.

- "sense oars"
posted by Halloween Jack (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The technobabble in this one makes less sense than usual. The terraforming emulsion turns "inorganic material" (from the captain's log) or "inert material" (from the briefing room briefing) into a "living ecosystem". But, the actual effect it has for large parts of the ship is... to make rocks?
posted by hanov3r at 9:57 AM on August 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also, I see what you did with the tags.
posted by hanov3r at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


"Computer, colorful sand, room temperature!"

Um.... what is the default temperature for replicated colorful sand?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:02 AM on August 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Beach temperature.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:09 AM on August 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


I could imagine a world where I replicate a big bowl of warm sand that I shove my bare feet into after a long day at work. But I think this is just an extension of the "Banana, hot" joke from the first episode; specifically, the little-thought of fact that the replicator can not just make anything, but make anything at whatever temperature you like.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Worth it for "Computer, hit it!" "Hitting it."
posted by supercres at 2:03 PM on August 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Do they record the voices with the actors in the booth together, or separately?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:37 PM on August 27, 2020


Are you kidding?! "Moist Vessel" might be the BEST title of any Trek episode, although its accuracy w/r/t the episode's actual events is arguable. Clearly, somebody came up with the title and they decided they had to use it at some point.

The funniest stuff here IMO was the ascension stuff. Continuity-wise, Tendi's whole notion of a Human(?) turning to pure energy through personal work both answers and raises questions, franchise-continuity-wise.

Also funny, but more darkly, was the soul-crushing nature of senior-level work. Kirk was right: don't let them promote you.

the worst thing that Boimler can think to do in his plan to get kicked upstairs is almost exactly what Sonya Gomez does to Picard

Maybe Boimler's actual plan is to get kicked off the show after hardly any episodes.

Do they record the voices with the actors in the booth together, or separately?

I don't know, and I'm not sure how forthcoming an answer will be from the network. The Animated Series had the cast separated at least some of the time, as you can discern from conversations where (say) Spock responds to something Kirk says, but doesn't emphasize the word he should in a response.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:03 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Tendi's whole notion of a Human(?) turning to pure energy through personal work both answers and raises questions, franchise-continuity-wise.

I think the ascended guy was part of the Officer Exchange Program with Stargate SG-1.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:37 AM on August 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


One way to sync up continuity is to say that some people are mutants who can do that. In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", no one is affected by going through the "galactic barrier" except for Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner, who started getting psychic powers that were increasing at a geometric rate. (Spock, who has known psychic powers and is half-human, wasn't affected.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:14 AM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Worst Trek episode name ever?

It's a reference to Horst Wessel, right?
posted by hanov3r at 8:46 AM on August 28, 2020


wat
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:20 AM on August 28, 2020


One way to sync up continuity is to say that some people are mutants who can do that.

True, good point. And post-Gary-Mitchell, Federation science may have figured out how to determine this in a person beforehand. Could be part of your standard checkup at the doctor's office. If you ping as a potential "ascender," they refer to you a specialist on Mount Seleya or something.

It's a reference to Horst Wessel, right?

…Gahh! I sure hope not!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:21 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh, how did I miss that O'Connor was played by Haley Joel Osment?
posted by hanov3r at 10:38 AM on August 28, 2020


Welp, looks like this show's formula has attained the Media MegaCorp Seal of Approval:

"'X-Files' Animated Comedy Series in Development at Fox" (Variety)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:11 PM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


[sarcastic Vulcan salute]
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:35 PM on August 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


Humans ascending to a higher plane of existence is pretty unremarkable in Trek canon at this point. It's a feature of one of the first episodes of Trek ever, though usually there's some precipitating factor. As far as I know Wesley did it on his own, the Traveller only helped guide him. Kes did it, as did that guy from TNG episode "Transfigurations," but of course they were both members of species that undergo the transformation as a part of their life cycle.

Like many of the other most far-out aspects of the Trek universe, there's seemingly very little curiousity expended on this concept, instead Starfleet spends its time surveying pulsars and other mundane space objects.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:25 PM on August 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the Q Continuum saw the koala? The Organians? Charles Evans?

My bet is the koala is the Q Continuum's doing, for reasons beyond our mortal ken.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:29 PM on August 30, 2020


The reasons being they wanted to fuck with people
posted by emjaybee at 7:15 PM on August 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Humans ascending to a higher plane of existence is pretty unremarkable in Trek canon at this point.

Oh but I was howling with laughter at this ascension scene. Because of course it would be traumatic and frightening and painful to be turned into pure energy. What an awful thing! I enjoyed them turning that trope on its head.
posted by Nelson at 8:13 AM on September 1, 2020 [7 favorites]


I'm really growing to like this show. I've still got a few complaints: in the writing, that so much depends on main characters being dumb; in the production, the depth of field effect they use far too often. But, on the whole, it managed to be intentionally funny in a way that Trek only rarely does well, and it's written by people who actually seem to like Trek but aren't entirely devoted to fan service. (Unlike the Kelvin films and Picard, respectively.) I personally wouldn't have leaned into the sensOrs joke quite as hard, but I'm probably not a typical casual viewer. (Is there a casual viewer paying for CBS?) This is the first show in the series that really feels like it had stakes, which is great. I could have done without the throat singing. But, I guess it's better than panpipes.

The carbon and turbolift scenes remind me of a personal experience. I spent some time working in an antarctic research station, where one of the maintenance jobs involved standing on a slippery metal roof and greasing huge gears with a bucket of quickly thickening goop and a paintbrush, at -60C, in the wind, under the light of a dim red bulb. It was a terrible job that left you with numb fingers and covered in grease. Somehow my colleague managed to Tom Sawyer random other people on station to volunteer for the job. Which should have been great. . . except that they were often both new to the specific location and not always hired for their physical dexterity. I spent every moment trying to stand between the 15m dropoff and the random person who was trying to complete the task, terrified both of seeing someone injured and also figuring out how to explain why, as the equivalent of a bridge officer, I'd chosen to let a chef do that work. In retrospect, I probably should have forbidden it. But, they were all really, really excited to do it. Discovering a bunch of random people using phasors on the ship seems like it should have made the first officer more concerned.

It's a shame that lockout-tagout systems, like seatbelts, were among the technologies lost in the Eugenics Wars.
posted by eotvos at 7:30 AM on September 4, 2020 [9 favorites]


Do they record the voices with the actors in the booth together, or separately?

I don’t know about Lower Decks specifically, but if it’s like most other animated shows IF they’re in a booth at all they’re usually alone. The logistics of getting all the performers together is just too great for most TV animation, particularly since that aspect is “optional.”

But increasingly voice actors aren’t even in a booth at all: even before COVID-19, almost all voice actors had good enough equipment to record from home. Prosumer audio equipment has gotten cheap enough, and post-processing technology has gotten good enough, that it’s trivial to record at home with directors and producers listening in via videoconferencing or just a phone call. Much cheaper and easier on everyone involved, at least from a production standpoint.

My best friend is a professional voice actress and she’s recorded voices for major commercials, animated shows, and video games in her hall closet using her laptop and less than $1000 worth of equipment.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:02 PM on September 12, 2020 [1 favorite]


Adding to that: in the Lower Decks panel of the recent "Star Trek Day" CBS event, the voice cast indicated that they now have home setups for doing the voice work for the show.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:18 PM on September 12, 2020


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