Boimler manages to make two separately impressive skills lame by combining them together at an open-mic. Mariner and Tendi interrupt and rock so hard that the music transcends decks and makes it to the bridge. Capt. Freeman tries to play it off as the Klingon ship on the viewscreen takes direct offense to the bass, sending Shaxs to handle the ruckus. Mariner and Tendi leave the stage in just enough time for Boimler to take the heat. Just another day in the life of Lower Decks…
In “Temporal Edict”, we see how Capt. Freeman deals with rejection and the crew’s ability to adjust. Initially slated to host a historical peace summit on Cardassia Prime, Freeman flips when she learns the summit has been moved to Vulcan and reassigned to another ship. Instead, the Cerritos is ordered to another Second Contact mission, leaving the captain feeling disrespected within the Fleet.
Down in the brig, our Favorite Four celebrate a containment field well-calibrated with margaritas. Tendi is innocently aghast with the breach of protocol, but the others enlighten her to the glory of ‘buffer time.’ Capt. Freeman takes an angry stroll through the ship, chastising the crew for their slackery, and overhears a crewmember mention the phrase. When Boimler and the captain share a turbo lift, he blurts the phrase again, to which she demands an explanation. Boimler folds under pressure and snitches, sending Freeman on a rampage, now requiring every crewmember to adhere to a strict time frame for each assigned task.
A week later, the crew is stretched thin and everyone is stressed tf out trying to adhere to their new scheduling. Cmmdr. Ransom goodheartedly leads the away mission to Galrak V with Mariner in tow, rebellious as ever. Ransom is sure to set a prime example of Starfleet pomp anyway, even ordering Mariner to roll down the sleeves of her uniform. When they accidentally present the crystal-loving Galrakians with a wooden fertility totem, at least two levels of hell break loose, resulting in the capture of the away team.
A squad of pissed off Galrakians manage to take the ship in the wake of this outrage, and because the Cerritos crew is so worn out, the Galrakians actually succeed. Suddenly, the rigidity of protocol is no longer beneficial, leading Boimler – yes, Boimler – to talk sense into Capt. Freeman, advocating for the strength in diversity of the crew. The captain lifts constraints so the crew could take back the ship, providing us gems like Dr. T’Ana’s hissing dropkick.
On the surface, the imprisoned Mariner and Ransom argue about who Starfleets better than the other, and actually fight over who gets to participate in the trial by combat for the lives of their away team. No big deal. Ransom wins (by stabbing Mariner in the foot – that’s some Burnham sh*t to do, so he ‘Burnhams’ that fight), ‘Kirks’ the next fight against the brutal-looking 18ft Galrakian while shirtless, and finally ‘Picards’ his way into convincing the Galrakian magistrate to let them all go. Ransom may be a bit self-absorbed, but the man has clearly done his homework to earn those pips. Mariner is impressed too, she just doesn’t want to admit it.
Back on the Cerritos, Mariner gives Ransom some credit for saving the day, and in reply he throws her in the brig for not rolling down her sleeves. In the captain’s ready room, rule-loving Boimler is horrified to learn that Freeman has coined the Boimler Effect, a new shipwide mandate enabling the crew to bend whatever rules they deemed fit to get the job done best.
What continues to make this hilarious crew so surprisingly effective, is their collective intersectional strength in unorthodox situations. Together, they’re prime examples of how strict constructs like regulations don’t always work best for everyone, and that sometimes a little buffer time is absolutely necessary.