Star Trek #1509: Veritas

CAPTAIN'S LOG: The crew is questioned by aliens, but no one ever tells them anything, so...

WHY WE LIKE IT: Finally! Everyone is important to the plot.

WHY WE DON'T: We just did that joke.

REVIEW: Up front, I will admonish the showrunners on building their plot on the same basic joke the Boimler plot was in the previous episode. Basically, to have aliens act all sinister like, but have friendly motives. It's taken to an amusing extreme, but it's still a cheat, no matter how many Star Trek VI references you throw at me. The same joke occurs early on when the Captain orders Mariner to send the opposing ship "a message" exactly in the way you would if you wanted to a shot across the bow, and then gets upset when Mariner does it.

That said, the episode uses everyone, ESPECIALLY Tendi and Rutherford who are always kind of stuck in the B-plots. I still don't get how lower decks jobs are kind of interchangeable (why send a blue shirt to clean the conference room? - that's how Tendi is mistaken for a black ops "cleaner"), but at whatever it takes, right? And the other thing is that this episode works like the original TNG episode "Lower Decks", with a big secret mission our characters (and us) just see glimpses of, creating a fun mystery. Rutherford is technically in the middle of the action, but an implant update makes him black out through most of it. it's a great way to tell the story and imply badassery on his part. Stealing an old Romulan bird-of-prey, crashing a Gorn wedding... the blackouts are done with a few twists and some computer humor. Tendi is really the only one with a complete memory of the last part of the mission, even if she stumbles through it. And by stumble, I mean show some serious martial arts chops! Her shtick is to redact all the classified information with sounds and black-out bars, and they have fun with that too.

Mariner and Boimler miss a red alert, run to their stations with no info and make asses of themselves, but they become important in the frame tale. They're the ones who are gonna make the final point that 1) Lower Decks don't know what's happening because there's rarely time to inform the crew in a crisis situation, that 2) Starfleet officers make mistakes all the time (cue a bunch of smash cut gags) because they face the unknown (cue cool references from live action Trek), and that 3) the lack of transparency on the ship really can be problematic. It's a cool little ode to what makes the show dramatic

In terms of jokes, there are some great references for the nerds in this - including appearances by Q, as John De Lancie becomes the first actor to reprise a role in the series - though I do find some of the gags extended beyond their capacity to be funny. Boimler spinning out plans without knowing the sitch and the scanning warbirds bit all went on too long. And Q has actually been funnier in the so-called "serious" shows.

LESSON:
What happens while you're rebooting your implant stays in Space Vegas.

REWATCHABILITY - Medum-High: Despite some moments that do fall flat, I really like this one. It uses the cast to its fullest potential and explores the "Lower Decks" concept at its core.

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