In the second episode of the sophmore season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” written by Chris Kula and directed by Kim Arndt, we get to meet Lt. Kayshon (Carl Tart), the new Security Officer, and we find out what’s been taking place on the Titan!
Catch up with prevous Lower Decks recaps right here.
Kayshon, his eyes open
We open on the U.S.S. Cerritos, with Ensigns Tendi (Noël Wells), Mariner (Tawny Newsome), and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) exhausted after being kept up all night by the Red Alert klaxon. They’re heading to the sonic showers where they run into Jet Manhaver (Marcus Henderson). It seems Jet has been reassigned to Beta Shift, meaning he’ll be showering with our main team of Lower Deckers.
Inside the sonic shower room, we get what everyone’s been waiting for: nudity! Sure, it’s mostly blurred out by the showers, which is good for Boimler, who has issues with communal nudity. However, Jet swiftly establishes that he’s not Boimer; Boimler’s not here.
But Mariner is unwilling to let the unsettled team dynamic lie. She and Jet swiftly become embroiled in an antagonistic battle, each turning the setting on the sonic shower higher and attempting to endure the ensuing abuse as we head into the opening credits.
Rapunki, when he joined the seven
We return to Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) recording her Captain’s Log, Stardate 58001.2. The Cerritos is assisting the Collector’s Guild in dealing with a starship left behind by the late Kerner Hauze, a collector, since it’s filled with hazardous treasures as well as valuable ones.
Chairman Siggi of the Collector’s Guild goes out of the way to make it clear that he was no friend of Hauze (and that Siggi has a more impressive collection, if you’re curious). After Siggi signs off, Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) asks if Hauze was the one who tried to collect Data, and Freeman replies, “They all tried to collect Data.”
Meanwhile, Counselor Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins) laments that Data just wanted to feel. He’s likely on the bridge to help welcome the brand-new Head of Security for the Cerritos: Lt. Kayshon, the first Tamarian in Starfleet! While Freeman is too concerned about her impending command evaluation to be too concerned about the Collector’s Guild, she assures Ransom that Kayshon can handle it.
Down in the lower decks, our Lower Deckers are discussing the happenings on the bridge. Jet is hitting pretty close to the Federation’s talking points, annoying Mariner. Soon, the conversation turns to Boimler…
The Pakled Party
And we cut to the Titan, which is in battle against the Pakleds! Cool, calm, and collected, Captain William Thomas Riker (Jonathan Frakes) issues orders to Boimler, who complies (but screams as he executes them).
Meanwhile, the rest of the Titan bridge crew is eager to face the challenge. The Titan’s Tactical Officer (Ryan Stanger) celebrates as they successfully repel the Pakleds, but Boimler seems mostly traumatized by the experience.
Darmok and Jalad on the ocean
Back on the Cerritos, the Lower Deckers arrive in the transporter room and meet Lt. Kayshon.
It’s established that Jet has gone out of his way to learn some of the meme-phrases that make up the Tamarian language, causing Mariner to label him the “suck-up at Tanagra.”
The away team beams over to the Collector ship and is greeted by the very rude Siggi amid the Easter Egg filled trophy room. Look, I’m not going to try and list all of the inclusions here, but here are some of my favorites: the Mirror Universe Terran Empire flag, what appears to be NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity, a salt vampire (could be Ransom’s ex girlfriend), what I believe to be a breathing apparatus like the one worn by the Barzan Commander D. Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) in Star Trek: Discovery, and of course, a few crates of Chateau Picard wine.
I can’t wait to hear what everyone else’s favorite Easter Eggs were from this scene!
On the Titan, Captain Riker is briefing his away team. It seems the Pakleds are focused on mining Varuvian Ore. According to the Titan’s First Officer (Vanessa Marshall), it contains material that becomes volatile when vibrated at high frequency. The Tactical Officer chimes in that the Pakleds recently attempted to use it to blow up Starbase 58, causing Boimler to admit that he’s having a hard time keeping up on the Titan’s adventures.
The Titan’s Chief Engineer (Robert Gilbert) wonders if weaponizing Varuvian Ore is above the Pakled’s grade level, and Riker confirms this to be the case – and that’s why Starfleet Command believers there may be a hidden player. The Titan has been dispatched to infiltrate a mining colony on Karzill IV and uncover any clues about the mystery collaborator.
It’s a bunch of good looking people, excited about the challenging battles they’re about to face and more than confident in their abilities to face whatever unexpected twist is around the next corner.
Oh, and Boimler’s there, too.
Temba, his arms open
Back on the Collector’s ship, Siggi makes a casual pass at Rutherford, one of the few cyborgs in Starfleet, assuring Samanthan that he has a top-notch menagerie.
Elsewhere, Tendi speculates that Hauze must have been lonely living alone on the ship, but Kayshon responds that he might have preferred the quiet. That’s when Tendi uncovers what might be the crown jewel of the whole collection: Kahless’ fornication helmet.
Mariner and Jet are still at odds with one another, arguing about how seriously to take the situation, when someone trips the automated defenses. The ship starts to shake as the portrait of Hauze comes alive in holographic form, channeling Dennis Nedry and wagging a finger at the Lower Deckers before accusing them of theft and unjustly attacking them!
In a moment that demonstrates why he’s been given the title of Head of Security, Kayshon dives in front of the beams fired from Hauze’s eyes. Kayshon hovers above the ground and then transforms into a puppet.
Before the Lower Deckers can deal with that, flying orbs attack them, and some of the hanging cages fall, breaking all around them (and presumably ruining some very nice artifacts). Many of the displays begin to become weapons, and calling for help from the Cerritos is fruitless – the automated defenses are blocking comms.
It’s up to the Lower Deckers to escape – and to protect the puppet version of Kayshon, who can no longer defend himself. They escape one display room and analyze a map of the ship in the hallway, with Mariner concocting an off-the-cuff plan that would see them traveling to the engine room and disabling the systems there…
But Jet has another idea, once again reminding Mariner that Boimler is gone. He suggests they use an alternate route that will avoid danger. Mariner is outraged at someone else taking the lead, and even more outraged when Rutherford, Tendi, and Siggi all agree with him, noting that it’s closer to Starfleet protocol anyway.
Elsewhere, Boimler and the rest of the Titan away team are traveling down to Karzill IV via the shuttlecraft Coltrane (while all of the Cerritos shuttles are named after California locations, all the Titan shuttles are named after jazz legends).
The Titan’s Chief Engineer reflects that Riker must have been disappointed to remain on the ship instead of putting boots on the ground. The Tactical Officer notes that Riker must have been so bored on the Enterprise, which the First Officer notes had five daycares. This causes Boimler to become slightly outraged.
“Are you talking about the D? The flagship?” he asks. “They traveled to different dimensions. They fought the Borg. They insurrected!”
“They had regular string quartets,” counters the First Officer, and the good-looking Titan command team laughs. Bradward’s heart is broken.
Zinda, his eyes red
On the Cerritos, Captain Freeman is getting frustrated. She reveals that her evaluation from Starfleet Command said that she was a micromanager (see also: season one episode three, “Temporal Edict”). In order to improve herself, Freeman will have to show more trust in her subordinates, which she does by leaving Kayshon, an accomplished officer, to his own devices…
Which is a shame considering Kayshon is currently a literal puppet. We cut to the Lower Deckers, who are surviving a series of traps on Hauze’s ship… but only barely.
Finally, they arrive in a room filled with skeletons… including the bones of the giant Spock created on Phylos in Star Trek: The Animated Series season one episode seven, “The Infinite Vulcan.”
The Lower Deckers confront Siggi for abandoning them in the previous room, and he drops Kahless’ sex helmet. It seems he stole the object that triggered the automated defenses!
Siggi is unrepentant… and consistent in his selfishness and obliviousness to traps. He steps through a laser that drops the whole Spock 2 skeleton right on top of him… with the giant skull falling to emphasize that he’s dead regardless of the fact that he was wearing the fornication helmet.
The Lower Deckers resign themselves to going up and over the Spock 2 bones. Jet and Mariner continue to argue, with Jet saying that it isn’t fair for Mariner to put Tendi and Rutherford in danger. Mariner accuses Jet of not really caring about Tendi and Rutherford, but only using them in order to validate his own sense of himself as a leader and hero.
But that’s when one of the hovering automated vacuums brushes up against her. Mariner at first dismisses it as a harmless annoyance… but it soon becomes clear that the cleaning equipment may be more dangerous than it first appeared: they’re gonna suck them to death!
The Lower Deckers flee into one of the displays, one that is centered on Excalbia, seizing bones to use as weapons and using them to build a makeshift barricade.
Karzill IV Mining Colony
On Karzill IV, the Titan away team has infiltrated the miners. The Pakleds have seized control of the mine, asserting their strength as they move their prisoners. Boimler attempts to bond with one of the miners, but his privilege makes it obvious that he’s Starfleet (regardless of his carefully constructed backstory).
They spot a nearby Pakled and attempt to incapacitate him so they can move further into the mine… but it isn’t a Pakled, it’s just a pile of snacks covered by a Pakled uniform. Unfortunately, this alerts the Pakleds to their presence… and they’re enraged that the interlopers are after their snacks!
The Titan away team falls back into a mine tunnel…
Suck Us to Death
Meanwhile, on the Collector’s ship, Mariner and Jet continue to argue. They both accuse one another of putting on an act: Jet pretends to be the perfect Starfleet officer, while Mariner pretends to be a renegade hero. However, they finally realize that while they each work in different ways, they are each just working in the way they work best – and it’s unfair for one of them to impose their own standards on the other.
Soon, they’ve found common ground by making fun of Ransom and Stevens (they both deserve it).
But that’s when they realize the solution to their problem: neither of them should be in charge. They turn to Rutherford and Tendi and ask for their advice, and while they at first demure, soon Tendi comes up with an ingenious solution using Excalbian bones, based on her medical knowledge! Combined with Rutherford’s knowledge of the engineering sub-conduits, the pair is able to concoct an effective, easy solution to their seemingly insurmountable problem.
The only reason they didn’t say anything before was because Mariner and Jet had been in charge.
In Dubious Battle
On Karzill IV, the Titan away team is fleeing from the Pakleds. They hole up in a cavern and turn their phasers on the door to buy themselves some time.
The away team requests emergency transport to the Titan, but there’s some kind of distortion field. The Engineering Officer concludes that the Varuvian explosion caused an ion cloud that has made transportation impossible. Riker tells them that they’ll figure it out, but the Pakleds are almost inside, and the Titan away team resigns themselves to “boldly going”… to their death.
But when they ask Boimler to join them, he says he didn’t join Starfleet for phaser battles, he joined for exploration and peaceful diplomacy. He celebrates Starfleet string quartets, performing in plays, and weird science like meeting identical transporter clones (be careful what you wish for, Bradward).
But the message gets through to the Titan away team, who must admit that while the D may not have as many high-octane adventures, it’s still Starfleet. The Titan away team each reflect on their more pedestrian reasons for joining Starfleet before coming around to Boimler’s way of seeing things.
But that’s when the whole “Thomas Riker” thing gives Boimler an idea…
Kayshon, when he became a puppet
Back on the Collector’s ship, the Lower Deckers break into the wall and begin working their way to the escape pods.
On the Cerritos, Ransom tells Freeman it’s okay if she wants to check in on the team. That’s when they identify the approaching escape pods, and Rutherford and Tendi appear on the view screen.
Tendi holds up the hand puppet version of Kayshon… and Freeman vows never to be a hands-off Captain again.
Shaka, when the walls fell
On Karzill IV, the Pakleds have entered the chamber! Riker order the away team be beamed out, and Boimler’s Thomas Riker-inspired efforts mean the Titan’s First Officer, Tactical Officer, and Chief Engineer are successfully beamed to the Luna-class starship’s transporter room.
But when they attempt to teleport Bradward, something goes wrong! Riker won’t take “no” for an answer, and a second containment beam is used to successfully beam Boimler back to the ship. But before the Titan can jump to warp, a shuttle craft is detected!
They beam the shuttle pilot over… and it’s also Boimler! A copy of him got transported out, but the original still exists.
“I’ve heard this tune before,” declares Riker. “Let’s hear it for the Boimlers!”
Later, Riker is debriefing the two Boimlers. He explains that Starfleet Command feels the Titan’s missions are too complex to add the additional complication of a transporter clone, and so one of them will be forced to take a demotion and return to the Cerritos.
As one of the Boimlers steps forward, the other stays back, accepting his position on the Titan and maintaining his rank. As Bradward leaves, we hear the transporter clone select the name “William” for himself…
But as Bradward leaves, he discovers that he has earned the respect of the Titan command crew.
Arnock, at the race of Natara
On the Cerritos, Dr. T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) says that it isn’t her first “guy got turned into a doll” before fending off Dr. Migleemo, who muses that the Kayshon puppet could be therapeutically useful.
Later, in the bar, the Lower Deckers are enjoying some delicious street corn (don’t forget, the Cerritos is a California-class vessel, and they have the best Mexican food in the fleet).
It seems as though Jet has been finally accepted into the crew of Lower Deckers… but that’s when Boimler returns. Boimler admits that he got transporter cloned and Rutherford says “pay up” to Tendi, who forks over a strip of Latinum. Tendi asks Rutherford how he knew that’s what would happen, and he says, “It just seems like a Boimler thing to happen,” which, totally.
Mariner quickly accepts Boimler back into the fold, but there’s no space for Jet anymore… and he dejectedly leaves the four reunited Lower Deckers to their own conversation (which is mostly Bradward explaining how the Titan is pure New Trek).
Elsewhere in the bar, we see Kayshon, returned to normal and striking out after using a Tamarian line on one of his crewmates.
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