An ancient generation ship, adrift with a mummified crew, carries an elemental liquid capable of bringing inorganic material to life. Captain Freeman teams up with former crewmate Captain Durango of the Merced (A Tellarite captain? Let’s go!!) to escort the ship to safety, and Ensign Mariner is as disrespectful as ever. The title sequence saves her for the time being, but has she gone too far?
Captain Freeman is, understandably, terribly vexed by her sarcastic, lackadaisical, yet brilliant daughter. Commander Ransom suggests assigning Mariner the worst jobs on the ship so that she’ll transfer on her own volition, an idea the captain agrees with and promptly takes credit for.
Down in the Lower Decks, our Favorite Four receive their assignments for the day. Boimler is elated to clean the conference room, hype for another chance to eavesdrop on the senior officers’ conversation and sample their exclusive replicator menu. Rutherford is disappointed he doesn’t get to monitor fluctuations he’d had his hopes set on. Mariner, on the other hand, discovers she’s been assigned duties so foul, even Boimler reacts with disgust. Tendi is thrilled she has the chance to see a crewmate’s ascension, a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual event that has her bowling over Vulcans on the way. She’s so excited in fact, that she manages to completely ruin the ceremony moments after joining the group of spectators.
Mariner gets to work on the gritty tasks laid out before her, but turns the tides into her favor by making the best out of the situations, encouraging her crewmates to join in on the fun, and Freeman is livid to find that Mariner is actually enjoying herself. Finding inspiration in Ransom once again, the captain decides how to deal with her daughter. After collecting the senior officers together with Boimler diligently washing the windows, Captain Freeman pulls the ultimate power move, granting her daughter, a champion underachiever, a promotion.
The newly-minted Lt. Mariner joins the tedium of the meeting, and Boimler is visibly distraught Freeman proceeds to torture her daughter with responsibility, throwing salt on the wound by upgrading her quarters. It’s clear at this point that it’s the rest of the crew that carries the weight of the Cerritos, because the senior officers do nothing but goof off in the name of professional development.
Meanwhile, Tendi is determined to help the crewmember ascend and doesn’t understand why he keeps refusing her ‘help’. Rutherford tries to talk some sense into her, but she distracts him with pudding, proving that Rutherford is pure of heart and needs to be protected at all costs.
A promotion would exhilarate any other given ensign, but Mariner is absolutely miserable. When Boimler comes to visit, he begs her to tell him the secret to her success. Freeman checks in to see if her daughter is ready to hand in her transfer, but Mariner digs her heels in, illustrating that petty, like apples, doesn’t fall far from the tree.
As the two of them battle wits, Captain Durango and the Merced get too close to the generation ship, rupturing the hull and pulling the elemental fluid (aka Life Juice) into the tractor beam array. In a rapid-fire turn of events, both the Merced and the Cerritos are slowly terraformed by the Life Juice. Tendi is stuck in engineering with the crewmember who never ascended, and the bond amidst the peril surrounding them. Mariner and Freeman (finally) put aside their differences and save the ship and both crews, hinting at the possibility that the captain might actually have to respect what her daughter contributes to the crew.
Mariner ends up getting herself demoted directly after receiving a medal of honor for saving the day by making fun of the admiral who awards her. She kindly hands over her senior officer replicator to Boimler, showing that she still values his friendship. This was a highly-anticipated glimpse into the actual relationship between this mother-daughter team and it’s left us wanting to see more from the family, something we’re sure future episodes won’t fail to deliver.