Star Trek: Lower Decks: In the Cradle of Vexilon
September 14, 2023 8:06 AM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Well, have you tried switching the world off and switching it back on again?

New lieutenants give Memory Alpha life:

- Although the artificial world isn't necessarily a reference to Larry Niven's Ringworld, I think that it's significant that the Kzinti ensign (whose name is Taylor, by the way) is on the away mission.

- Chula, the game that literally sucks you into it, is from the DS9 episode "Move Along Home", which many people regard as the worst of the series, although I disagree; I think that it's merely silly.

- Ransom's an art critic. Who knew?

"If you have any questions, don't hesitate to come to me or Provisional Lieutenant Junior Grade T'Lyn, who's on site in case any science stuff happens."
"Everything that has ever occurred is science stuff."
"Oh, uh, right."

--Boimler and T'Lyn

Poster's Log:

A big, fun episode that's spun out of a disarmingly simple premise: what if one of those planet-controlling computers wasn't actually evil, but just needed an OS update and/or reboot? What could possibly go wrong? And Boimler's fear that he could get one of his formerly fellow ensigns killed is not at all implausible, T'Lyn's perfect chill notwithstanding. Plus, we get lieutenant hazing, and a chula speed run, and the Betazoid gift box, and a ferret, and Boimler not going into the light but rather into the Twin Peaks room with the koala (WHAT DOES HE KNOW) and the Black Mountain. Whew.

Poster's Log, supplemental: Allamaraine!
posted by Halloween Jack (21 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Stacking the LT's room with the chula game AND the Betazoid gift box ("I didn't know that Doctor T'ana came in here!") AND the Inner Light probe seems like overkill.
posted by hanov3r at 1:11 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]

Blasting the Betazoid Gift Box with the Inner Light as a throwaway gag was amazing. Also everything about Lieutenant Dirk's love of wet jazz.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:38 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]

This one struck me as being focused on showing character/relationship growth (which LDS should, and did well here--fairly directly with Boimler but also more low-key with Tendi and Mariner), but at the expense of laughs. I think the last time I laughed so little at one of these was the all-Peanut Hamper episode. Maybe folks who work in IT appreciated the A story more?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:24 AM on September 15

I lost it when we saw the Red Room with the Koala. And I missed the Inner Light zapping the gift box, but it explains the joke immediately afterwards. And Rutherford speedrunning Chula was the best.

I mean, I get that LD isn't for everyone, but for a certain kind of trekkie shitposter, it is _life_.
posted by Kyol at 5:22 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]

I felt like it crammed a lot in and still got its fair share of yucks. "Gimme 30cc's of whatever just worked a ****ing minute ago" was a killer line.
posted by Molesome at 5:50 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]

Maybe folks who work in IT appreciated the A story more?

It definitely spoke to me, having spent the past two weeks in Upgrade Hell at work.

In his weekly Trek Culture Ups and Downs video, Sean Ferrick noted something I was sure was going to happen when this show first began - a lot of the little visual gags showing assorted Trek doodads are beginning to repeat. The show is doing a killer job with the charaqcter development and creating its own references, but you can only go so long with the easter eggs before you run dry.

I like the combo of Boimler and T'Lyn as an alternative to Boims and Mariner. I think it's a more natural duo than Tendi and T'Lyn.
posted by briank at 6:10 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]

I enjoy the fact that, absent constant AI supervision, the Ringworld is unstable.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 7:37 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]

The "Greatest Trek" episode on this episode reversed what the Koala was saying: "It's not your time yet, Bradward Boimler."
posted by Navelgazer at 10:22 AM on September 15 [11 favorites]

I enjoyed the episode. Granted, not as funny as the previous episode (so far number one for season four) but still solid LD content. I completely missed the Inner Light probe joke, gah.

Perhaps my favorite line was Mariner's "He keeps sending me wet jazz playlists and I keep liking them. It's pissing me off!" (okay, that's an approximation of the actual line.)

Boimler dying and being brought back does indicate he's getting closer to the command crew and their seemingly apparent ability to die on missions but then be right back, as if nothing happened, the following week (season 1 joke reference ftw). Rutherford's irrational fear of the ferret. Why?

Chula...Chula .... Chula. I think LDs take on Chula is the better version. "Ohhhhh." (sad and disappointed).

I wonder if some of the future episodes will cast the other LDs and their experiences being in charge of others, similar to Boimler's. I appreciated the T'lyn pairing more than Tendi and T'lyn, because while Tendi is very emotive in a positive sense, played against a "straight man" it doesn't come across nearly as funny versus Boimler's equally emotive, but 100% far more negative and worrisome perspective.
posted by Atreides at 12:57 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

Fear of ferrets is never irrational. They’re vicious little fur-snakes.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 3:12 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

the Inner Light probe joke

The best part of that joke was the look of absolute existential despair and horror on the Betazoid Gift Box's face a few seconds later, while tucked under Rutherford's arm.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:52 AM on September 16 [2 favorites]

The captions for the koala say, "(speaking Koala)". Which is sublime.
posted by Horkus at 10:59 AM on September 16 [5 favorites]

There was a lot of stuff in the room of oddities, but the Nomad probe was probably my favorite. Though to quote an ancient Earth professor of archaeology, "That thing belongs in a museum!"

Oh Rutherford is too innocent to be in the Starfleet that includes so many mean officers and Badmirals.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:47 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]

Also I think "Move Along Home" was where I gave up watching DS9.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:56 PM on September 17

"Move Along Home" is halfway through season 1 of DS9. Plenty of good stuff came after that.
posted by zadcat at 12:31 PM on September 18 [3 favorites]

Season 1 is the weakest season of the show. It goes on to good stuff to great stuff pretty fast.
posted by Atreides at 7:11 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]

Season 1 is the weakest season of the show. It goes on to good stuff to great stuff pretty fast.

As can be said about most Trek series, but DS9 starts to get good as early as the back half of Season 1, with "Progress," "Duet" and "In the Hands of the Prophets" being standouts.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:18 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]

Lower Decks s4e3: Captain Mariner encounters difficulties while attempting to install Windows 12 onto an eccentric Culture Mind
posted by schmod at 8:38 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]

If the race that made the ring and the AI have vanished, who is writing and putting out system updates?
posted by Karmakaze at 9:40 AM on September 22

I think the indication is the software update had been there for eons, but no one ever actually installed it.
posted by Atreides at 11:39 AM on September 22

I think the indication is the software update had been there for eons, but no one ever actually installed it.

And, speaking as an Ops Guy... jesus christ a patch that hasn't been installed for that long? WHY NOT? What did the last tech know that I didn't? I would NOT be installing that patch
posted by coriolisdave at 10:07 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]

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