Star Trek: Lower Decks: Where Pleasant Fountains Lie
September 23, 2021 7:36 AM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Jeffrey Combs is back, baby! Plus, the title is maybe the naughtiest in the franchise's history.

Memory Alpha has brushed up its Shakespeare:

- The title is from Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis; I quoth:
'Fondling,' she saith, 'since I have hemm'd thee here
Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:
Graze on my lips, and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.'
Nudge, as they say, nudge.

- Billups' real first name is Andarithio; I love that he's literally from a Renn Faire planet. Also, not sure if his being assigned both a male and a female guard for the Royal Deflowering signifies his orientation or his mom was just covering the bases, so to speak. Maybe he's Trek's first official ace?

- Jeffrey Combs. That is all.

"Great. The least nutricious food that tastes the most like poison."

- Mariner, about black licorice

"Where's Billups?! Did his kingdom come?"

- Rutherford
posted by Halloween Jack (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Boimler outsmarting the evil computer is very Kirk-like.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:49 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]

Since Billups is voiced by Paul Scheer, it was a little disturbing to realise the character's mother is played by June Diane Raphael, Scheer's other half.
posted by Marticus at 5:04 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]

Billups being asexual is unclear because of the apparent bind he's in whereby having sex would lose the job he loves (although given that he said early on he had abdicated, it never seemed fully clear why he would have to resign and be the prince, other than his sense of duty to the people; surely he could just stay away and let them sort things out, especially since they ought to have contingency plans in the event of the heir's death or whatever). Even when he changed his mind, years of suppressing that would have naturally inhibited him when the moment arose, as we saw.

It's actually pretty remarkable that in among the many many planets populated by a human colony with a big core gimmick, in no cases that I know did the gimmick naturally arise from the local ecology attracting only a certain kind of person; as such I specifically loved the idea that a Ren Faire planet happened because the dragons were already there. Makes at least 50% more sense than most of the other instances of the Trek trope, where it's left unexplained.

During the conflict between Boimler and Mariner, I found myself expecting a resolution where she'd admit that her real motive in keeping him from the other mission wasn't doubt in his abilities but simply a preference to have his company during hers — it's exactly the sort of thing she tends not to be vulnerable enough to say aloud.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:11 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]

Hysperia? More like HysPERNia, am I right?
posted by The Tensor at 2:44 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]

I'm digging the fact that one of the Daystrom Institute's captive megalomaniacal AIs is sporting the CBS logo (even if the streaming platform is now called Paramount+ and not CBS All Access anymore).

Makes me wonder if there's any kind of backstory about bad feelings between the showrunners and the network execs. I'm reminded of something from the second season of the 90s CGI Saturday morning cartoon ReBoot. In the US, the show was aired by ABC, and when ABC was bought out by Disney, they declined to renew the show for a third season.

So, when it came time for the season finale, the plot had the show's heros team up with the regular bad guys to defend their home from a Greater-Scope Villain. One of the bad guys had a fleet of combat vehicles called Armored Binome Carriers, and of course when it seems like the big battle was won, he orders his troops to start attacking the good guys. This prompts a minor character on the good guys' side to observe "The ABCs have turned on us, the treacherous dogs!"

Fortunately for the showrunners, YTV in Canada did want to continue the show, and had a much less restrictive Standards & Practices board than ABC, allowing them more creative freedom.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:30 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]

Man, what a great title. You get the double meaning of the Queen's deception, plus filthy Shakespeare.

Jeffrey Combs. That is all.

Fuckin' A. I'm annoyed that it took me halfway through the ep to figure out who that was, but in my defense, he was playing a quite different sort of character. And being AWESOME at it, I might add—we're talking Doohan/Frakes/Sirtis levels of cartoon voicework.

Makes me wonder if there's any kind of backstory about bad feelings between the showrunners and the network execs.

I guess I wouldn't be surprised either way. If any ep was going to cause friction with CBS, it's this one, what with a bedroom scene with TWO MEN AND A WOMAN (*clutches pearls, faints, snaps pearls, pearls clatter on ground, Bruce Wayne's parents fall dead*) But on the other hand, a show like this almost has to make fun of its network, gently or otherwise.

Rutherford is fast becoming my favorite character, in part because they keep giving him the best lines.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:28 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure "mom tricks son into non-consensual sex with someone else" is really a great story line. Imagine how that would play if genders had been reversed.
posted by hanov3r at 7:12 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]

On a related topic, can we just acknowledge that "trained from birth to not need foreplay" is a supremely skeevy line?
posted by radwolf76 at 8:50 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]

I want Jeffrey Combs saying "Just plug me in!" as my ringtone.
posted by zadcat at 9:55 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]

Makes me wonder if there's any kind of backstory about bad feelings between the showrunners and the network execs.

I really, truly don't want to get all trotting-out-my-hobby-horse-yet-again-and-maybe-verging-on-getting-a-big-Charlie-Day-type-conspiracy-chart-going-with-the-red-string about this, but I'm pretty sure that there was a lot of network interference during the UPN years. I was disappointed that The Fifty-Year Mission oral history of Trek didn't go into it more, and one of the anecdotes that did slip in had to do with the Voyager pilot, which at the time (and maybe still, I don't know--some of the Marvel shows have had pretty fancy pilots) was the most expensive series premiere ever. We know that they had to do a lot of reshooting after Janeway was recast, but a network exec named Kerry McCluggage insisted that several days' worth of footage, with Kate Mulgrew in it, be scrapped and reshot because he didn't like her hairdo. (Which was very close to what it was in latter seasons.)

I'm not sure "mom tricks son into non-consensual sex with someone else" is really a great story line. Imagine how that would play if genders had been reversed.

On a related topic, can we just acknowledge that "trained from birth to not need foreplay" is a supremely skeevy line?

Yes and yes, and I think that that's deliberate. (The first line quoted in the MA entry is "Mother, if you're planning on tricking me into intercourse, think again.") I think that it's commentary on the franchise's often not-great record on sexuality and relationships; think of, for example, the way that TNG portrayed the interpersonal struggle between Lwaxana Troi and her daughter, who's part of the command structure of the Federation's flagship. I don't think that Lwaxana would have faked her death to get Deanna to marry, but that's just a matter of degree.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:58 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Star Trek has pretty routinely had plot points around sex via trickery or coersion. I can think of quite a few examples just off the top of my head: Data and Tasha in The Naked Now, Riker in First Contact (the episode, not the movie), Janeway in The Q and the Grey. I'm sure there's many more, going all the way back to TOS.

That said, it does seem like we're flying a lot closer to the sexual event horizon in this season, and not in a way I'm personally enjoying. We've come a long way from an Anabaj shouting "HE DESIRES JAMAHARON!" in season one.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:29 PM on September 24

Hysperia? More like HysPERNia, am I right?

Not as such. I'm sure they would have mentioned if the ren-faire planet's dragons were telepathic, teleported, and/or traveled through time.
posted by mikelieman at 7:22 PM on September 24

I watched Season 1 and I've been reading these threads and I'm trying to decide if it's worth signing up for Paramount+ (or what ever its called) for a couple months. I have so much stuff going on right now, I wouldn't even be able to binge over a weekend. Opinions?
posted by kathrynm at 8:36 PM on September 24

The Queen's boast about her guards' training does, however, set up the situation where the two guards are literally without the knowledge of how to assist Billups, and contrary to the Queen's expectation this lack is what gives Rutherford the time needed to thwart her plan.

I have yet to see any commentary about the ENIS B. BOIMLER seen on the PADD.
posted by channaher at 7:32 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]

kathrynn, it's a lot of fun for people like me who have been Trekkies literally all their life, and there's other stuff on the service worth watching. But I get not having time for the streaming services that you're already subscribing to. (It's one of the reasons why I haven't gotten Hulu, even though there are some things on it that interest me.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:39 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]

Lower Decks continues to be my favorite of all the Treks. It focuses on the sort of characters I've always wanted to see (people who aren't the bridge crew) and it keeps hitting all the best notes.

The vault of evil sentient computers was yet another excellent note. I kinda hope we see that particular computer and/or an amalgamation of the others as a returning villain at some point.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:59 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]

The vault of evil sentient computers was yet another excellent note.

Yeah, you just knew they were gonna do a Raiders-style pullback, and yet the foreknowledge made it no less delightful.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:11 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]

> ENIS B. BOIMLER seen on the PADD

That's because it's just ENS, short for Ensign.

But I did notice, a few seconds later, a typo. TRASNSFERRING DATA, on screen for a brief moment.
posted by zadcat at 11:09 AM on October 9

It hasn’t aged well for other reasons, but Firefly is the one piece of TV science fiction that got the interior volumes thing right.

I mean, hell. Lower Decks should actually engage with the trope that circular (Starfleet) ships are going to have a really confusing and inefficient internal layout (and none of the furniture will fit cleanly against the walls!)
posted by schmod at 7:30 PM on October 11

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