Star Trek #1506: Cupid's Errant Arrow

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Mariner sets out to prove Boimler's girlfriend is an alien threat.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Mariner's conspiracy board.

WHY WE DON'T:
Does that Lore/Rogue Borg reference work in the time frame?

REVIEW: I think this is a good use of a Star Trek comedy show. It takes a trope we've seen countless times on Trek and puts the "Scream" spin on it. Unlike your traditional Trek character who cluelessly falls in love with an entity with strange or dangerous designs on them, Mariner KNOWS these things happen. And so when Boimler's (long-distance) girlfriend shows up and is cute and cool, she decides there's no way this could be real and tries to expose Barb Brinson (played by Gillian Jacobs, Photoshop enthusiasts, start your engines). That she's both wrong (she's human) and right (something alien motivated the relationship) is a great twist. Is her over-protectiveness a sign that she has feelings for Boimler herself? Well, that parasite would have worked on her too, right? Its powers are pretty mild. (The premise reminds me that Tendi is an Orion and should have a bit of that pheromonal magic, but not even a mention as yet...)

Boimler has his own fish to fry, namely feelings of jealousy for cool dude Jet from engineering who once dated his girl. Though meant to expose his insecurities and impostor syndrome, it's a pretty tired trope and makes him look bad for not trusting her. I do like how they play with the idea of people changing themselves to attract mates, which is a loser's game because you gotta expose yourself eventually, right? It will all end with another old trope - the girls bonding over snickering at the boy. Good jokes and Trek references throughout, but on a plot level, this is nothing new.

Rutherford and Tendi are once again relegated to the B-plot - I'm ready for more, guys! - temporarily assigned to the USS Vancouver and competing for a T-88 scanner. Their usual nerdy overachiever humor, and I wonder how they keep getting thrown together even though they're in completely different services. Why is Tendi, a medical officer, assigned to scanning engineering stuff anyway? They both win a T-88, but more importantly, a spot on the Vancouver, which is described as having Enterprise-level adventures. It's a scheme by its chief engineer to get himself transferred to the Cerritos so he can lead a quieter life. Though the prospect is attractive, the episode makes a point that the ramshackle Cerritos has its own qualities - their friends (which would feel more true if they actually hanged out with Boimler and Mariner) and heck, it just needs more love and care. I do like how they get out of the transfer.

The C-plot, then, is the controlled implosion of an unstable moon and negotiating with the various cultures in its planetary system. Good resolution with a wink at Top 1% shenanigans, and it's a good setting for the action (the platform for Mariner and Brison's fight, and the collaboration with the Vancouver). Nothing too memorable, nor, I would argue, should it be.

LESSON: Just be yourself... unless yourself is a face-melting shapeshifter.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A lot of clichés drain this one of interest, but the jokes work.

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