In an interview for the New York Comic Con, Mike McMahan mentioned that he looked at each episode of their version, which meant they are much quicker and funnier but retain the basic idea from the past shows. In “Cupid’s Errant Arrow,” we get to see a version of both the “parasite” and “love that cannot happen” episodes. 

Parasites are those nasty bugs we can’t seem to detect until it’s too late. Like in the TOS episode “The Man Trap” or in the TNG show “Conspiracy.” Eventually, the crew learns what his happening, but not after a bunch of people die.

STARDATE: 57538.9

NOTE: This is the first episode of Lower Decks to not feature a cold open, which is a little bit of the show that comes up before the opening credits.

From his personal log, Ensign Boimler shared that the Cerritos is in orbit at Mixtus III. The cow must help the natives with an unstable moon that needs to be destroyed. They were supporting the U.S.S. Vancouver (NCC-70492), which was. Parliament-class ship that focuses on “complex, large-scale engineering projects.”

The U.S.S. Vancouver (NCC-70492). Courtesy of CBS
The U.S.S. Vancouver (NCC-70492). Courtesy of CBS

Freeman and Ransom got a tour from the Vancouver’s captain, who seemed arrogant and bragged about her position and ship. She informed Freeman that they may delay the work on the moon because of squabbling natives.

When we met the fish-like aliens, they were squabbling, and it was hilarious, like listening to an argument at George Costanza’s house. New York accents all over. 

Later, we learn that Boimler will soon spend some time with his girlfriend, Lt. Barbara Brinson, who is stationed aboard the Vancouver. Mariner was convinced that Barbara would end up being a holodeck character. Boimler disagreed.

“Oh, she’s as real as a hopped-up Q on Captain Picard Day!” he told Mariner. 

The third story of this episode began when Rutherford and Tendi worked on some electronics aboard the Cerritos. Rutherford noted that all ships in the fleet had their own distinct smell. 

“I think the Cerritos smells like toasting marshmallows on a cool night,” said Rutherford.  

Tendi and Rutherford gushed over the new tech aboard the Vancouver, including T-88s, a new kind of diagnostic scanner.

“Oh, she’s as real as a hopped-up Q on Captain Picard Day!” he told Mariner. 

Later, the four Lower Deckers flew the Yosemite shuttle over to the Vancouver on a supply run. Tendi and Rutherford scoffed when Mariner said that ship was essentially the same as the Cerritos. Boimler walked out wit flowers and a teddy bear, presumably gifts for his girlfriend.

NOTE: The teddy bear wore a Geordi-style VISOR. Funny!

Barb (voiced by Gillian Jacobs) finally showed up and ran to greet Boimler. Mariner stood, stunned, and asked the computer to “end program.” After smooching, she introduced herself to Mariner, and she gave them a tour of the ship.

As they walked, she told a story of how she saved the Vancouver when it was trapped back in time in 1920s Chicago (a reference to the TOS episode, “A Piece of the Action”). Barbara said she’d swore off long-distance relationships, but she met “this goofball” on Vendi last month. 

Barb, Boimler, and Mariner. Courtesy of CBS
Barb, Boimler, and Mariner. Courtesy of CBS

“He radiates primal confidence,” said Barb. “I’m sure you’ve felt it.”

“No, I try not to feel anything around Brad,” Mariner said. FUNNY!

Just then, a muscular officer named Jet walked up and grabbed Barb up into the air. They used to date, and they’d be working together on the Vancouver. Because of the alien politics, Barb and Jet would have to recalibrate some equipment, and she would not be able to have lunch with Boimler. He was upset, but Barb seemed not to notice.

“He’s nothing compared to my Bradward,” said Barb. Mariner loved that name. Boimler and Barb kissed good-bye. Mariner admitted that she was real, and she was “great.”

“A little too great!” she said.

Tendi and Rutherford met with Ron Docent, who gave them their assignments aboard the Vancouver, and each a T-88 to use. He said that whoever finished first could keep their T-88. Tendi punched Docent to make sure he was not part of a dream. 

Meanwhile, Mariner and Boimler worried. 

“I’ve got a bad feeling about Barb,” said Mariner.

“I know!” said Boimler. “I can’t believe she used to date, Jet! That guy’s like a Kirk sundae with Trip Tucker sprinkles.”

FUNNY!

Mariner said that when a Starfleet relationship seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Brad asked if Mariner thought Barb was cheating on him. Mariner said:

“No! I think she’s a secret alien who’s gonna eat you!” said Mariner. “Or a Romulan spy, or a salt succubus, or an android, or a changeling, or one of those sexy people in rompers who murders you for going on the grass!”

Boimler got upset with Mariner, saying that she thought all of this just because Barb was dating him. Mariner said that this was not true and that she’d seen stuff, mainly when serving on the Quito.

Ahhh... the good ol’ days aboard the U.S.S. Quito. Courtesy of CBS
Ahhh… the good ol’ days aboard the U.S.S. Quito. Courtesy of CBS

We see Mariner’s flashback scene talking with two others about the Enterprise, Data, Lor, and the Borg. A nice touch here was that the three were wearing DS9-era uniforms. Anyhow, as they talked, one of them turned into a Harvongian shape-changer and ate the other.

Yuck! In the present, Mariner said that Boimler would not leave her site. But Brad said that every second Barb spent with Jet “puts me closer to losing her!”

Freeman was trying to broker a deal between the alien factions to get on with the moon destruction. She was able to please everyone, except for the final alien who complained about the pollution that is blocked by the moon. Freeman said that they were “Starfleet… figuring out impossible problems is what we do.”

In a meeting with Jet, Barb, and some other folks, they prepared for possible other moon options. Boimler walked in and disrupted the meeting. He was followed by Mariner, who used a tricorder to emit a high-frequency noise (which was designed to disrupt Barb’s positronic brain, in case she was an android). Barb asked them both to leave. 

In some access tubes, Rutherford and Tendi worked away with their T-88s. They started competing on the number of diagnostics completed. Rutherford used his implants to speed himself up. 

In their grungy lower decks workspace, Mariner used a corkboard, yarn, photos, and tacks to create a wall of relationships. She was trying to figure out who Barb really was.

“So, Barb’s not a Dauphin, I haven’t ruled her out as a surgically altered Cardassian spy, or a transporter clone or — a Suliban!” said Mariner.

The Cerritos has yard, cork board, and a printer on board ready for Mariner’s crazy. Courtesy of CBS
The Cerritos has yard, cork board, and a printer on board ready for Mariner’s crazy. Courtesy of CBS

NOTE: Wow! Everything she just said here is basically a callback to an earlier edition of Trek. Major props for bringing in the Star Trek: Enterprise reference too!

Boimler got upset, saying that Barb was none of those things. He was still freaking over the possibility of Barb hooking up with Jet. So he asked the computer to create him the coolest outfit, based on what the coolest people ever wore. We have a complete analysis of that get-up here

In the new duds, Boimler went to the mess hall to be cool. He made a fool of himself instead and spilled an entire beer on Barb. Mariner snuck up from behind and cut a piece of Barb’s hair, and blamed it on a passing crewman. Barb left in a huff but asked Jet to escort her back to work.

After they left, Mariner said that she was pretty sure that Barb was a reptoid, and soon she’d stab Boimler with her retold tail to spawn. Boimler left. Mariner chased after him.

Boimler went looking for Barb, to possibly apologize and make up for what happened. He walked into the shuttle bay with his Geordi bear and flowers but stopped suddenly when he heard Jet and Barb making suspicious noises. He thought they were being intimate, so he burst into the shuttle and confronted them. Instead of sex, Barb and Jet were trying to install some equipment. 

Barb grabbed Boimler by the arm and dragged him into the shuttle bay.

Boimler caught Barb and Jet — working! Courtesy of CBS
Boimler caught Barb and Jet — working! Courtesy of CBS

“You have been a jerko all day, and now you accuse me of cheating?” she said. Boimler apologized but said that she was too good for him and ought to be with a guy like Jet. She explained that she fell for Brad because of the way he is.

“A sweet, nervous, dainty-hipped nugget,” said Barb as she pinched his cheek. She asked him to start the day over. As Boimler and Barb kissed, Mariner ran up screaming.

“Watch out for the tail!” said Mariner, and she pulled down Barb’s pants. Everyone gasped to see … pink underwear, and not a reptoid tail. Barb pulled up her pants and yelled at Mariner.

“Where’s your tail?” Mariner said. “Reptoids implant with a barbed tail — her name is BARB!”

Boimler scolded Mariner, and then Barb got a call from Commander Ransom. He ordered her to pilot one of the platforms designed to assist in the moon operation. She invited Boimler to join her, and he agreed. 

Mariner turned to leave but stepped on a green husk of some kind. She scanned it with her tricorder and ran.

“I wasn’t wrong,” she said. “Barb’s a parasite!”

As she ran through the corridors, she pushed personnel out of the way, including an Andorian female.

“Move, Jennifer!” she said as she shoved the Andorian. FUNNY!

As she ran through the hall, she passed Rutherford and Tendi, who were struggling with each other. They were racing to Docent’s office to be “first” and claim their T-88. Docent walked in and said they were ‘both’ first, and they were both getting a T-88 — since they were going to be transferring to the Vancouver.

Mariner learned that Boimler and Barb had already left the ship and were on Platform Ship Gamma. She tried to trick the transporter chief to beam her directly to the platform ship, but he did not believe her and denied her request. She then put on a spacesuit and floated out to the platform ship.

When she got into the ship, Bradward was sitting at the command console — naked. YIKES! They both screamed. Boimler told her to leave, as it was his time with Barb. Mariner showed him the parasite husk, saying that Barb was some sort of parasite. Boimler grew angrier. 

“You’d rather make a fake husk than admit that you were wrong?” he said. “It has been a long time since I took a lover, let along a lover like Barb. I am staying here and making love to my lover!”

The beautiful artwork from the team at Titmouse. Courtesy of CBS
The beautiful artwork from the team at Titmouse. Courtesy of CBS

“Oh, please stop saying ‘lover’!” Mariner yelled.

The platform’s computer said the ship was reaching critical altitude, and the craft shifted. Boimler lost his balance and fell. He was knocked unconscious. Barb walked in, and Mariner looked up.

“Stay away from him!” they said to each other.

On the Cerritos, Tendi, and Rutherford sulked and agreed that they needed to stay aboard their ship to keep it together. They went back to Docent, and he yelled at them. Before he hit the button to submit the transfer order, Tendi knocked the PADD out of his hand. She and Rutherford tossed it back and forth to keep him from touching it. They grabbed the PADD and ran away, but Docent chased.

On the bridge, the final alien holdout, who was preventing the moon operation from moving forward, yelled at Freeman. He cited the Prime Directive, which Freeman said did not apply in this situation. He told Freeman that the impact of the moon’s destruction would require “both of us” to move.

“How many people are in your civilization?” asked Freeman.

“Me and my wife!” said the Mixtusian. 

“Implode the moon,” Freeman ordered. 

On Platform Gamma, Mariner and Barb had a fantastic one-on-one battle. You’ve just got to watch it. And the music here was just incredible. Hats off (again) to Chris Westlake for the score. Barb finally beat Mariner.

“This isn’t over,” said Mariner. She then started saying that Boimler would eventually figure out that Barb was a parasite.

“Hell, on Sendu IV, it took him a week to realize that he was peeing in their species’ sinks and not their toilets, but he gets there eventually,” said Mariner.

Barb said that Boimler told her that same story, only that it was about someone else. Then the two women started sharing Boimler stories while he was still knocked out. They wound up becoming friends, and Barb let Mariner scan her, to be sure. 

Mariner apologized, saying that she thought that Barb was a parasite, but she was actually a human. Then the tricorder beeped again, noting that there was a parasite detected. 

Docent cornered Tendi and Rutherford in a turbolft with a phaser. He shot Rutherford, and Tendi read the transfer orders. Docent and admitted that he wanted off the Vancouver. He said the pressure was too high, working on a prestigious ship, and he wanted to work on the Cerritos instead. 

“Hell, on Sendu IV, it took him a week to realize that he was peeing in their species’ sinks and not their toilets, but he gets there eventually,” said Mariner.

He groveled, cried, and hugged Rutherford’s legs.

“I don’t want to be epic anymore!” he said. He stood up. “I’m sorry I phasered you. This is not Ron Emmanuel Docent, Jr.”

NOTE: I was puzzled by this, as the former mayor of Chicago is named Rahm Emanuel, which is very close to Ron Emmanuel Docent, Jr. Perhaps it is just a coincidence. But, knowing that Lower Decks is the home of Easter Eggs and references, I think there must be some connection. I just don’t know what it is. 

Anyhow, Rutherford used his implant to record the whole thing. After Docent deleted the orders, Rutherford asked for a few T-88s. Docent refused at first, but Rutherford told him how he’d recorded everything. Docent agreed.

Back on the platform ship, Barb looked over Boimler and found that he had a small, green parasite hiding in his hair. It looked like a green, crabby insect. When she pulled it from Boimler’s scalp, it was saying “lover!” over and over.

They got the parasite into a jar, and it said (in English) the same ‘lover’ things that Boimler was saying to Barb earlier. 

“Apparently, this species reproduces by making their host chemically irresistible to potential mates,” said Barb, after reading about the parasite on the ship’s computer. They figured that Boimler must have picked up the parasite right before he met Barb. 

“Wait! So are you saying that you only liked me because of the parasite?” Boimler whined.

Barb said that was not the case… but then she dumped Brad and left. She wanted to pour all her energies into her work and studying this new parasite. Mariner said that Boimler would find someone that liked him without having “a googa” attached to his skull. 

Tendi and Rutherford. It must have been like Halloween for these two. Courtesy of CBS
Tendi and Rutherford. It must have been like Halloween for these two. Courtesy of CBS

Barb came back for a second to remind Mariner of the M’tari tournament that they both wanted to attend. Mariner told Boimler that she and Barb bonded while he was knocked out. 

“Over what?” Boimler asked.

“Nothing. Just girl stuff,” she said.

Tendi and Rutherford agreed that they were happy aboard the Cerritos. Turns out, they both stole a bunch of T-88s. 

“This is why we’re friends,” said Tendi.

TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:

“Cupid’s Errant Arrow” was quite funny! Very entertaining. Sometimes I wish we had more time to learn more about things featured, like the name of the captain of the Vancouver. She was pretty snobby but worth knowing more about, in my opinion. 

We have hints of a Boimler/Mariner relationship that maybe, could happen. But the more likely thing that will probably happen is the Tendi/Rutherford pairing. They seem to get along very nicely and have a lot in common. Are 26-minute episodes enough to create a romance around? Possibly…

I also must note that I really like the artistic style of the backgrounds and paintings that make up the worlds of each episode. The planets the Cerritos visits are so colorful. Even though this is a comedy, it makes me still wish that humanity could visit other worlds and meet new beings. Sigh. 

RATING: 4 out of 5

CREDITS

STARRING

Tawny Newsome
Jack Quaid
Noël Wells
Eugene Cordero
Dawnn Lewis
Jerry O’Connell
Fred Tatasciore
Gillian Vigman

GUEST CAST
Gillian Jacobs
Matt Walsh
Marcus Henderson
Kari Wahlgren
Lauren Tom
Eric Bauza
Nolan North

Music and Theme by … Chris Westlake

Original Star Trek theme by … Alexander Courage

Based upon “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry

Created by Mike McMahan

Executive Producers … Alex Kurtzman, Mike McMahan, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Eugene Roddenberry & Trevor Roth

Co-Executive Producer … Aaron Baiers, Chris Kula,

Supervising Producers … Chris Prynoski, Shannon Prynoski, Ban Kalina,

Producers … Dave Ihlenfeld & David Wright

Co-Producers … Robyn Johnson, Brad Winters

Edited by … Todd Raleigh

Supervising Director … Juno Lee

Line Producer … Benjamin Kaltenecker

Written by … Ben Joseph

Directed by … Kim Arndt

Executive Story Editors … John Cochran, Ben Joseph, Ann Kim
Story Editors … Ben Rodgers, M. Willis
Staff Writer … Garrick Bernard

Casting by …Ruth Lambert, C.S.A., Robert McGee, C.S.A.
Art Directors … Antonio Canobbio, Khang Lee

Animation Produced by … Titmouse, Inc.

Supervising producer for Titmouse Canada … Jennifer Ray
Line Producer … Melissa Beery
Production Manager … Megan Trevino
Writers Assistant … Ben M. Waller
Writers Production Assistant … Kayla Pavia

Production Coordinators … Zoey Boyadjian, Jeffrey New, Serena Ng, Claire O’Malley, Vyvy Tran, Adam Wilson

Storyboard Artists … Dante Buford, Kat Ruzics, Fabien Tong
Storyboard Revisionists … Ross Bradley, Marvin Britt, Will Heff, Derek Lamastus, Gary Ye

Character Designers … Zan Czyzewski, Stephanie Liaw, Marisa Livingston, Alexandre Pelletier

Assistant Character Designers … Robby Cook, Erica Feld, Michael Magilo

Color Designers … Angela V. Llerena, Oliva Pecini

Prop Designer … Shay Lurie

Background Designers … Howard Chen, Joseph Martinez, Kip Noschese, Sunny Shah, Kirk Shinmoto, Mark Taihei, Bobby Walker,

Background Painters … Richard Chang, Yudi Chen, Crystal Yoori Son

Background Layout Supervisor … Ivan Louey

Production Paint Supervisor … Heather Arm

BG Layout Artists … Guanyu Cheng, Francis Dooley, Adrienne Iu, Nicolas Ky, Seonkyu Lee, Ben Szabo, Evan Terlesky, Robert Zukiwsky

BG Paint Artists … Kat Brechtel, Breanna Cheek, Vincent Cosenzo, Ivy Chu, Anka Do, Hayley Kallberg, Reina Kanemitsu, Tai Marie

Animation Director … Bel Oh

ANIMATORS

Alyssa Alvarado
J. Alan Baker
Marie Beaudoin
Jhonny Bezerra Gomes
Tico Bolpas
Joao Henrique Brum
Angela Cheng
Jesus Colon
Danial Darabi
Maureine Good
Emily Gossmann
Michelle Ikemoto
Mack Johnson
Addison Johnston
Cassandra Lau
Emiliane Leduc
Margaret Lee Chuy
Alison McLeod
Felipe Molica
Tommy Levi Morenos
Braden Poirier
Leah Reddington
Liz Syrnick
Carlos Rossell
Afshin Sabouki
Jazmine Valickis
Steve Vitale
Daisy Wang
Austen Williams
Riley Windrum
Karen Wood
Lisa Yan
Cindy Shaw
Yie Tong

FX ANIMATORS
Michael Chan
Naoki Araiza Tokumasu

Post Supervising Director … Barry J. Kelly

Composite Lead … Matt Gilligan

CG Generalist … Allan Douglas Parker

CG Modeller … Brad Kotris

COMPOSITORS
Jerome Au
Jordan Barnes-Crouse
Edward J. Chichik
Scott Coleman
Gilad Gamliel
Matt Gilligan
Steve Kellener
Marcela Mac
Nicolas Mermet
Eddie D. Moreno Iii

Retake Animators … Jesus Colon, Robby Cook, Cassandra Lau, Riley Windrum

Retake Background Painter … Heather Arm, Ivan Louey, Pablo Rivera

Scene Set Up … Mike Gilbert, Louise Leung
Builds Supervisor … Travis Wall
Animation Builds Team … Andrea Carroll, Tommy Ho, Jessica Yang

Animatic Editor … Felipe Salazar
Assistant Picture Editors … Jason Albrecht, Paul Mazzotta
Dialog Editor … Paul Mazzotta

HR Director … Sharon O’Donnell
HR Manager … Peggy Liu
HRR Coordinator … Debbie Lemus
Financial Controllers … Rod Akizuki, Jason Lucas
Production Accountant … Richard Honig
IT Director … Steve Wolstrup
IT Support … Merrel Davis, Michael Douglas, Kashan Khan, Hani Sadjadi, Vanessa Tumlos

Assistant to A. Kurtzman … Monica Shapiro, Aviel Mann Ballo
Assistant to M. Mcmahan … May Darmon
Assistant to H. Kadin … Claire Mathiot
Assistent to K. Krentz … Joe Barrasas
Assistdrt to A. Baiers … Maggie McFarren
Assistant to C. Prynoski … Becky Bellavia
Assistdht to B. Kallna … Alyssaa Feller
Assistant to A.Canobbio … Meagan Washington
Consultant … David Mack

Music Editor … Amber Funk
Scoring Mixer … Oren Hadar
Orchestrators … Jim Honeyman, Gary K. Thomas, Carl Johnson
Scoring Assistants … Maria Vertiz, Matthew Bobb
Music Librarian … Rob Skinell

SFX Editors … Jeff Halbert, James Singleton
Foley Editor … Michael Britt
Production Sound Services … LA Studios
Post Production Sound Services … Margarita Mix Hollywood
Re-Recording Mixer … Conrad Pinon
Supervising Sound Editor … James Lucero
Recording Engineers … Chris Cirino, Bobby Garza
ADR Mixer … James A. Moore, Mike Greenberg

The persons and events in the program are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons or events is unintentional

Copyright © MMXX CBS STUDIOS INC. All Rights Reserved This program Is protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result In civil liability and criminal prosecution.

STAR TREK® and STAR TREK: Lower Decks™ Is a Trademark of CBS STUDIOS INC