Lower Decks Recap: “Mining the Mind’s Mines” (Season 3, Episode 3)

Hey everyone! Apologies for the late post. As much as I’d love to spend all of my time watching Lower Decks and recapping it for y’all, occasionally real life gets in the way. (Ugh!)

Our cold open is yet again reminding me why I would not actually be cut out for space exploration. Show me an ominous glowing green orb and I will run the other way POSTHASTE. Zero interest in ominous orbs, honestly. The orb immediately starts up the shenanigans, as glowing space stuff tends to do on Star Trek, and shows our hapless scientist a fantasy of his smoking hot middle school geology teacher in a toga. I’m immediately picturing what the orb of fantasy projection would show me, and what I’ve come up with is the very cute girl at the airport with adorable ankle boots and amazing hair who smiled flirtily at me in the security line and completely and irrevocably broke my delusion that I was straight as I promptly almost fell over and had to face some facts about myself. *stares off into the distance* I guess what I’m saying is that the fantasy orb thing would totally work on me, and so I can do nothing but feel sympathy for the hapless fellow being turned into a statue by some ominous looking dude made of rock.

Back on the Cerritos, the USS Hood has already done the hard stuff so the Cerritos and the Carlsbad are there to do the unglamorous clean up jobs that they specialize in, in this case, clearing the psychic mines! Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) spends some time ranting about how these federation scientists always end up in the shenanigans, and honestly he’s not completely wrong. We also learn from Stevens (Ben Rodgers) that Ransom does do stand up… a raw look at “mating and dating” and I’m pretty sure Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and I both would pay good money to see that show so we could boo and throw tomatoes.

Ransom breaks down the mission clearing psychic mines.

As Mariner, Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Boimler (Jack Quaid) get ready to the head to the planet and pick up rocks, Tendi (Noel Wells) is thrilled to be starting up her science officer training with her new mentor. Her brain is ready to EXPLODE WITH SCIENCE!!!! She’s surprised and very wary however, when her senior science officer mentor turns out to be Dr. Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins). He’s very enthusiastic but uhhhhhhhhhhh not very sciencey?

On the planet, Stevens and our ensigns meet the ensigns from the Carlsbad and he assigns the Carlsbad crew to cleaning up the outpost equipment while our crew gets the lovely task of clearing away the ominous fantasy rocks. Mariner tries to make friends but these ensigns are NOT having it. They do things by the book over on their ship and they don’t want to get involved in the many shenanigans that the Cerritos ensigns regularly get up to. Mariner’s competitive streak is immediately engaged and she’s ready to fight for the honor of the Cerritos!

Back on the Cerritos, senior science officer training is not going as well as Tendi would have liked. She’s been studying! She’s so ready to take a test and prove her knowledge of science. But Dr. Migleemo is far more interested in getting her to understand that the training is less about hard science and more about how to make sure she’s communicating what her Captain needs to know. I think this is actually a good point? I’m sure there are lots of science officers who struggle breaking down what is happening in an easy to understand way and lay out a Captain’s decision points. My guess is the folks that really thrive in these positions aren’t just excellent at science, they are also excellent communicators. Dr. Migleemo’s first task for Tendi is to spend the day with Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) and make sure to make her voice heard about SCIENCE.

Rutherford being seduced by his fantasy Dr. Leah Brahms.

On the planet, our crew is hard at work clearing the fantasy orbs, and we get to find out that Rutherford has more in common with Geordi LaForge than just a head for science and very cool disability tech… they also share an attraction to Dr. Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney)! Rutherford quickly tries to think about parisses squares instead of Dr. Brahms talking dirty to him about warp field theory. Certainly can’t fault his taste in ladies! Mariner is not having it. They need to beat those snooty Carlsbad douchebags and to do so they need to pick up the pace. LOWER DECKS! LOWER DECKS! We also get a glimpse of Boimler and Mariner’s fantasies, which aren’t really a surprise… Boimler longs to ride in a side car with an Admiral (he’s a natural passengers) and Mariner is tempted by her beautiful Andorian girlfriend Jennifer. It’s so nice to see proof that Mariner and Jennifer are still dating, even though it’s pretty clear that Mariner is being pretty… Mariner about it.

We turn to the negotiations on the Cerritos between the Federation Scientists and the Scrubble. Captain Freeman is surprised to see that Captain Maier (Baron Vaughn) is so young – apparently he’s a rising star! He of course starts out on the wrong foot by sneakily implying that Captain Freeman is old… uh-oh. The negotiations should basically be wrapped up, the treaty was already worked out so at this point Captain Freeman just has to get the two parties to sign off and then eat some brie and maybe some yummy looking delta shield cookies. Unfortunately, a wrench is thrown into the mix when the Scrubble attempt to give the Captains some sort of sacred rock, and they promptly begin fighting over who should take it.

This is conflict is mirrored on the planet, where our ensigns are still rushing to pick up the orbs in order to show up the Carlsbad ensigns. Stevens is unimpressed and starts to lecture Mariner, until she invokes his “sacred bond” with Ransom by telling him the Carlsbad insulted Ransom’s abs. Obviously, this insult can’t stand and he begins to sloppily rush the orbs into containment only to accidentally knock them to the ground, where they break. Immediately, the Starfleet crew begins to be attacked by nightmares, starting with a giant bird like creature who swoops from the sky and snatches up Stevens to turn him into a statue, which breaks! Yikes. Everyone else begins to run, chased by a hodge podge of hilarious nightmares, including Klingon clowns with bat’leths for arms and Borg snakes. It. Is. Hilarious.

Klingon Clowns attack the Ensigns through a green mist.

They get chased into a cave, and nightmare Jennifer turns into… a werewolf who wants to commit to Mariner? And grow orchids with her! *gasp* Boimler rightly points out that uhhhhhh Mariner’s got some unresolved issues here. Therapy may be needed. Safe (for the moment) in the cave, all of the Ensigns find out that they were rushing for no reason. The Carlsbad crew was intimidated by how “cool” the Cerritos crew is (do they know about Boimler’s chair sniffing habits?) and were trying to impress them!

While the Ensigns are finally working out their conflict, the Captains are still at it. Captain Freeman calls Tendi over to prove that the sacred rock thing is just a simple rock. Tendi tries to point out that actually, there are some interesting properties with the rock and is immediately steamrolled by the Captain, who is not interested in hearing it.

Back in the cave, the Ensigns of both crews grow suspicious when their nightmare Borg snake coughs up… a basketball? Where did that come from. Overall, these nightmares seem a little bit TOO detailed, and are picking up a lot of superfluous information that is also being streamed farther into the cave! Dun, dun, dun!

Defeated after her dismissal by the Captain, Tendi heads over to the mentor she truly trusts, Dr. T’Ana (Gillian Vigman), who is showcasing her very gentle bedside manner on some poor schmuck whose toes are being digested. Dr. T’Ana reminds Tendi that if she’s too afraid to mistakes, she’ll never become a great science officer. You have to be willing to take risks and learn from any ensuing mistakes. I think it’s interesting that this is similar to the advice Tendi kept trying to give Boimler last episode, but it helps to hear it from someone she respects and who believes in her.

The Ensigns on the planet have found a rather suspicious cave door and open it to find a great deal of Federation tech being used to store a massive amount of Data on the Starfleet ships that showed up to respond to the crises. The Ensigns realize that the Scrubble and the Federation Scientists have staged this whole thing in a massive data mining operation! They fight their way through their nightmares as a team to get back to the ship and warn everyone.

The ensigns of the Carlsbad and Cerritos enjoy a celebration together.

The negotiations have basically devolved into pointless yelling as both Captains are pettily shoving the rock back and forth, when Mariner jumps in and tries to get them all to listen to her. It unfortunately just causes MORE YELLING until Tendi stuns them all into silence by shrieking for everyone to SHUT UP and breaks the rock open to show… a listening device? Uh-oh. With the plan foiled, the Captains throw a party for everyone to celebrate. Stevens is back in one piece with cinnamon schnapps, Dr. Migleemo is congratulating himself for his mentorship, the Captains share a souvenir of their shenanigans, and the Ensigns trade rumors of the Cerritos. Fun times are had by all! (except Boimler)

I enjoyed this episode very much. I loved the theme, which I think we all need to remind ourselves sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can’t let a fear of your own mistakes stop you from achieving all that you can achieve. If no one had made any mistakes this episode, the treaty would’ve been signed immediately, the psychic mines would’ve been cleared without incident, and Starfleet would’ve been the victim of a massive data breach. It was their mistakes that saved them! Love it. And also this episode had Klingon clowns with bat’leth arms which is instantly iconic. Can’t wait to see what mistakes the Cerritos crew gets up to next week!

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