Lower Decks Recap: “Terminal Provocations” (Season 1, Episode 6)

After comparing who’s rendition of what starship engine sounds best, our Favorite Four find themselves in two distinct predicaments.

For the bulk of this episode, the bridge crew has their hands full wrestling century-old Starfleet cargo from the hands of greedy scavengers, relying on the rest crew to maintain system-wide integrity. Too bad the Fave Four and others are in the mess hall goofing off, encouraging Ensign Fletcher during some kind of replicator keg stand. In her enthusiasm, Mariner accidentally knocks Dr. T’Ana face-first into her nachos. The ensign quickly apologizes, but T’Ana loudly calls out Mariner’s shortcomings, provoking her. Fletcher quickly swoops in with a new plate of nachos and a bit of diplomatic charm to save the day, suggesting elements of his character that are sadly not present for the remainder of the episode.

Tendi anxiously confides in Rutherford that she’s never successfully completed a space walk. Eager to help (and eager to show off his coding skills), he offers her a quick lesson on the holodeck. (Because nothing ever goes wrong on the holodeck, right?)

Back on the clock, Mariner, Boimler, and Fletcher toil endlessly on the isolinear core down below. Mariner and Boimler lament that their work is preventing them from a performance from the Zebulon Sisters and their apparently invigorating Chu-Chu dance. Fletcher offers to take over so they can watch the show, stating that ‘lower deckers stick together’.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to woo her, Rutherford introduces Tendi to his virtual tutor Badgie, who ends up being the most terrifying thing to ever walk a hologrid, including the Moriarty fiasco.

This takes us to Fletcher’s Big Lie. He leads Mariner and Boimler on a wild goose chase throughout the ship, searching for who could be responsible for the missing isolinear core for the shield array during a potential conflict with a hostile species. Mariner and Boimler soon discover that Fletcher somehow reprogrammed the core in an attempt to reprogram himself, creating a tech-eating, semi-sentient core goblin that grows larger as it consumes. Together, they realize that Fletcher is not to be trusted, but agree to help when he threatens to place the blame on them for leaving their posts.

The non-fight between the raiders rages on despite Capt. Freeman’s best attempts to avoid conflict, and the lack of shielding on the Cerritos causes all non-essential systems to be shut down, including holodeck safety protocols. Mariner and Boimler beg Fletcher to inform the bridge of the core goblin, and resolve to toss it out of the nearest airlock when he refuses.

Tendi and Rutherford battle against a glitching, murderous Badgie, barely escaping the holodeck with their lives.

The core goblin ends up saving the day by destroying the raider ship, and the senior staff trace Fletcher’s imprinted brain patterns back to him. Fletcher gets promoted and transferred to the Titan despite the fact that it was Mariner and Boimler who saved the crew. Together, they take comfort in the knowledge that when their ethics were tested, they remained true to their Starfleet merits.

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