Welcome back everyone to a new, very relaxing episode of Lower Decks. I don’t know about you all but my stress levels lately are dangerously high, and Lower Decks is apparently the cure! On the Cerritos, apparently Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) has managed to don an ancient mask and is channeling the spirit of Minooki in order to transform the Cerritos into an ancient temple. I mean, as you do. Just another day on the Cerritos! Unfortunately for Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Boimler (Jack Quaid), Tendi (Noel Wells) and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) they are stuck in the bunks of their hallway room, with no way to escape either Minooki’s destructive rampage OR towel guy’s tiny towel.
The fallout from Minooki’s rampage means that the poor engineering crew has been working around the clock removing sacrificial altars from key systems and they are STRESSED. Billups (Paul Scheer) is an inch from a full on mental breakdown, bags under the eyes, cackling through gallows humor, slapping Bajoran security officers. Honestly, I have never related to Billups more. At this point I think pretty much everyone is burnt out beyond belief. Dr. T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) sends word that Billups needs to relax before his heart explodes, so Freeman arranges for the whole engineering team to have a “mandatory vacation”. Cue me, staring off into the distance, daydreaming about a society in which mental stress is actually noticed and addressed rather than just forcing us all to work through unimaginable turmoil. *laughs maniacally* *cries* I sincerely appreciate the message of this scene, with Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore) specifically saying that needing a break is not a weakness. Rest is essential, everybody!! Shaxs said so!
Meanwhile, the Lower Deckers find out that there is going to be a room lottery, and four rooms on the coveted Deck One are opening up! This is very exciting news, but unfortunately Tendi overhears that their nemeses DELTA SHIFT have a nefarious plan to go in through the auxiliary corridors and hack the lottery so they get the rooms! Obviously, this cannot stand, and Mariner, Tendi and Boimler vow that they will beat those asshole Delta Shifters to the terminal and claim the rooms for themselves! This is an excellent time to explore ethical grey areas.
The engineering crew have made it to the Dove, a super fancy spa ship, where there are yummy lemonade drinks, puppy (and kittens for the deviants) rooms, mud baths and senSOR bracelets that tell you if you are getting too stressed. Maybe it’s just me but sensor bracelets tracking my stress would probably make me more stressed. Unfortunately, the engineering crew isn’t really built for relaxing and not even the puppy room can distract them from fixing things!
Back on the ship, Boimler, Tendi and Mariner are taking a shortcut that Boimler has devised to get them to the lottery terminal faster than those shithead Delta Shifters. Unfortunately, they have to cut through a holodeck program that features such archaic things as “bonks” and “money”. *stares longingly off into the distance yet again* Turns out, Shaxs and Dr. T’Ana get their foreplay on by roleplaying Bonnie and Clyde before they get hot and heavy on the bonk counter. Shaxs however wants to get REALLY nasty and share FEELINGS and INTIMACY and SECRETS. Dr. T’Ana is ready to get kinky so she’s about to reveal how she lost her tail, to Tendi’s great interest, before our Lower Deckers are forced to run from a hail of gunfire. Someday, Tendi. Someday we’ll know.
Next up in the gauntlet, our intrepid Ensigns find… a swamp? I love the idea that the ship just has all of these weird areas that no one ever really sees. Anyone who has every worked in old government buildings has experienced this where there’s just weird, inexplicable shit like a safe, or a secret hallway, and no one can even remember how those things got there. Unfortunately, as cool as the swamp is, it’s also rather oxygen light. Boimler and Mariner start breathing in nitrogen gas and hallucinating like they are touring with the Grateful Dead. Tendi is luckily immune as an Orion and manages to get her two friends that are tripping balls through the swamp safely. “I’m sorry I made you hatch” and the expression Mariner makes in response is one of the funniest things they’ve ever done on this show and I laughed. A lot.
Much to Freeman’s dismay, the engineering crew is not using the sand garden as intended and instead are designing schematics and sneaking in build time on the massage table. Those engineers, smh. Freeman has her hands full trying to get those folks to relax properly.
Things are going slightly better back on the Cerritos, where Tendi, Mariner and Anti-Grav Boy have found a very fun room where they get to bounce and do flips… until the deflector shield gets activated and Boimler nearly dies. That wasn’t great. Luckily, Tendi and Mariner make a tether and manage to save him.
Things are REALLY breaking down at the spa, when mani/pedi time is uncovered as a RUSE. Freeman realizes that the engineering crew has been putting cucumbers on their sensors to make it seem like they are relaxing and that really stresses the Captain out! Because she’s been stressed as well, as one is when their mind is taken over by an ancient primordial being trapped in a mask, this small thing sends her over the edge. She perceives it as disrespect, even though Billups tries frantically to explain that they were just trying to keep their stress from turning into her stress! Freeman goes straight past red and into black band territory, and the spa staff leap into action. She needs relaxation! Stat!
Tendi, Boimler, and Mariner are soooo close. All they have to do is wait for a vent to open and they’ll have straight shot to the terminal. But then! The dipshit Delta Shifters bust in on their way to the terminal. Both shifts begin bonding over the kinky foibles of the senior staff. We learn some fun facts, including the fact that Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) has a wife made of churros. I wish I had a wife made of churros. Ransom has all of the luck. Our Beta Shift buds are ready to bury the hatchet but apparently it was all a ruse by those douchebag Delta Shifters so they could get through the vent first! Never trust someone from Delta Shift.
Nothing is bringing down Captain Freeman’s stress levels! They even put *gasp* bunnies! In the puppy pile! And there was no effect. But the engineering crew is here to save the day. Turns out that solving problems through engineering is the way this team can destress. They build a stress busting capsule and manage to do what no one on the Dove could, which was give Freeman a thousand massages in one treatment. Freeman and her crew head off to do what they find the most fulfilling… work! The Dove ejects the stressbuster machine… the world is not ready for that technology.
Bold Boimler has found another way to the terminal and the ensigns begin hacking the terminal. But, alas! There’s not four rooms on deck one, there’s one room on deck four. Mariner points out that Tendi is headed to bridge officer-dom, Boimler is clearly going to die because he keeps hurling himself into danger trying to be “bold”, and Mariner will eventually insult Ransom enough to get kicked out of Starfleet. They need to stick together and not let a room assignment tear them apart!!!! Let those fuckwit Delta Shifters tear themselves apart… oh wait. Delta Shift gets the room and does the very logical thing of putting four beds in there so they can share. Curses. Beta Shift yet again gets fucked. Ah well, better luck next time.
I enjoyed an entire episode about relaxation and the evils of stress, considering how stressed I am. It’s a small thing, but Lower Decks always brightens my day and gives me a good laugh, whether it’s thinking about Ransom’s churro wife or lol’ing at that dude’s tiny towel. Thanks Lower Decks, for the stress relief, and I can’t wait for the next episode!