The episode Terminal Provocations would probably not have been made if Gene Roddenberry was still around. This one features a crew member who is just terrible, and not by accident or anything like what happened in the TOS episode “Court Martial.” This guy (Fletcher) is just a terrible, lazy person.
And we also get to see what happens when the holodeck gets perverted into something terrible. I … uh … just realized that I used the word “terrible” to describe this show three times already.
We join team Lower Decks as they were relaxing at their bunks. Boimler said that sometimes he hummed the sounds of starships to calm himself down. Mariner mocked his sounds, and a bunch of others jumped in to share their versions of ships. Rutherford even made his version of the U.S.S. Voyager. Fun!
Commander Ransom walked by, heard them making the noise, and immediately thought that something was off. He broke out the phaser and ordered them all on the ground. He even jumped on poor Boimler, who squealed.
I’d feel sorry for Boimler if it wasn’t so hilarious.
On the bridge, Shaxs shared that the Cerritos was at a standoff with Drookmani scavengers over some old Starfleet wreckage. The Drookmani captain (J.G. Hertzler) claimed it, while Captain Freeman said they could give them only a finder’s fee.
NOTE: Trek fans should recognize the name J.G. Hertzler, as he portrayed Klingon General Martok on Deep Space Nine.
The Drookmani ship locked onto some junk with their tractor beam, so Freeman ordered that the Cerritos use its tractor beam to counter. As Shaxs advised immediate attack, Freeman ordered yellow alert and promised that they were ready.
In the mess hall, Fletcher chugged cantaloupe puree as the crew chanted his name. Mariner knocked into Dr. T’Ana, who was eating nachos.
“Do you know how hard it is to get cheese out of fur in a sonic shower?” the doctor screeched. Funny!
Mariner tried to apologize, but the doctor told her that if Mariner wanted to goof around, she should transfer to Starbase 80. Everyone gasped!
NOTE: This is super-funny because it implies that Starbase 80 is some kind of backwater, terrible assignment. Even in the utopia of the 24th Century, there are crappy places to work.
Just as Mariner was about to argue back, Fletcher (voiced by Tim Robinson) stepped in to calm T’Ana down by giving her a warm towel and some new nachos. Boimler said that Fletcher was great at this sort of thing. Fletcher noted that some Nausicans “tried to eat [Boimler’s] heart,” and he stopped it from happening.
NOTE: FUNNY! This references the TNG episode “Tapestry,” when Picard was stabbed in the heart by Nausicans at the Academy.
As Mariner, Boimler, and Fletcher walked out, Rutherford and Tendi discussed what might be in the debris floating in space. They speculated for a while (Tendi hoped they would find the original “clamshell” communicators). Still, Rutherford said that he thought they’d have to spacewalk to bring it all aboard the ship.
Tendi freaked out, confessing that she’d never finished her spacewalking unit back at the Academy. Tendi said that she must have passed thanks to a clerical error.
“Spacewalking is easy!” said Rutherford. “You just float and magnet! Float and magnet!”
She was not convinced. Rutherford said that he’d been working on a new holodeck program, which they could use to get her up to speed. Tendi said that she should have thought of the holodeck sooner.
“Yeah, it’s not just for hanging out with Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood and Sigmund Freud and Cyrano de Bergerac and Einstein and da Vinci and Stephen Hawking and Socrates,” he told her.
“Spacewalking is easy!” said Rutherford. “You just float and magnet! Float and magnet!”
NOTE: Those are all hilarious references to TNG episodes where the crew did hang out with all of those characters.
Meanwhile, Mariner and Boimler were hard at work, replacing some isolinear chips. Mariner complained that they’d never make it to the Chu Chu Dance at the rate they were going. They both wanted to go. Fletcher heard this and said that he would finish up the work to go to the dance.
Show creator Mike McMahan said on Twitter that Fletcher was like the old TNG character, Barklay, a known bumbler and super-awkward dude (first seen on the episode “The Nth Degree”).
“Fletcher’s having a hard time fitting in,” said McMahan. “But unlike Barklay, it’s because Fletcher’s a jackass.”
In the holodeck, Rutherford fired up his simulator to show Tendi how to conduct her spacewalking lesson. He brought up a character as part of the program named “Badgey,” a virtual tutor.
They started the training and appeared to be floating in space. Tendi activated her magnetic boots, and they pulled her to Rutherford awkwardly. Badgey (voiced by Jack McBrayer) appeared and started to run the simulator with the space junk, but got stuck. Rutherford kicked him to restart, and it worked. As they rocketed away to start the training, ominous music played, and the camera zoomed in on Badgey. Oh no!
Later, Mariner and Boimler left the Chu Chu party, they agreed that sometimes they can both “not be annoying.” Soon they found Fletcher passed out on the floor, saying that someone phasered him from behind as he worked on the core. Boimler discovered that parts of the shield array were missing, which was an essential part of how they heal after damage.
They agreed to work together to figure this out. They immediately blamed “Delta Shift.”
NOTE: This is funny because Mariner referenced Delta Shift before (in “Temporal Edict”), but it also reminds me of Freddie on the old show A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. In that series, Freddie blamed a character named “Red Herring” for anything that was not quite right. It was funny then, and it’s funny now.
They confronted the Delta Shift team in the bunk area, and things were very tense. Mariner told them that she didn’t like seeing them and knew they should not be awake at the same time.
“Oh damn,” said one of the Delta Shift crew. “This must be Beta Shift’s version of a badass!”
Fletcher stepped up and threatened that guy, but Mariner stopped him and apologized. Fletcher then asked about the core, and Delta Shift said they didn’t know anything about it, and told them to leave. Fletcher threatened them again, but they realized that Mariner, Boimler, and Delta Shift were all at the Chu Chu dance party.
Their conversation stopped when the Cerritos was rocked from outside. On the bridge, Shaxs reported that the Drookmani were using their tractor beam to hurl objects. He also noted that the shields were not regenerating as they should, and asked permission to destroy the enemy.
Freeman ignored him. “We have to find a way to end this peacefully!” she said. “We’re Starfleet, damn it!”
The Drookmani launched another piece of debris at the Cerritos, which messed up something with the power. This disruption rippled through the ship and affected the safety protocols on the holodeck. Rutherford tried to end program, but it wouldn’t. Badgey started to attack aggressively.
“We have to find a way to end this peacefully!” she said. “We’re Starfleet, damn it!”
The rest of Badgey’s interactions with Rutherford and Tendi were reminiscent of any number of horror films. He chased them through space, through a market on Bajor, up the side of a mountain, and through the snow. All the while, Badgey was killing and threatening to “wear their skin.”
I felt like this was just too much. The writers were doing the Lower Decks version of the TNG episode, “Ship in a Bottle,” when Professor Moriarty (of Sherlock Holmes) takes control of the Enterprise. But Badgey was more like Hannibal Lecter than a computer glitch.
On the bridge, Freeman ordered evasive maneuver “Sulu-Alpha,” to avoid the junk flying at her ship. She tried to negotiate with the Drookmani captain, but he cursed at her and continued to hurl debris.
As they walked, Fletcher said that the Drookmani probably were the ones who attacked him. Mariner and Boimler looked at each other. Boimler said they needed to scan the ship for intruders before telling Freeman about alien intruders.
They ran to their bunks to get their tricorders, and Boimler found the core on Fletcher’s bunk. He cried and admitted that he “screwed up.” He told how he hooked the core up to a helmet (which he wore) to “make him smart.”
NOTE: Very much like how Barklay integrated with the computer of the Enterprise on “The Nth Degree.”
But this didn’t work for Fletcher and made up a whole story to cover. Boimler yelled at him, and Mariner apologized. But the core came to life and started attacking, like a glowing spider. Boimler and Mariner were swept up by the core-monster and told Fletcher to call security. Instead, Fletcher attacked the monster and forced them to help him, or he would say that it was all their idea.
Fletcher said that Mariner broke the rules all the time, and this was no different. She said that she broke only stupid rules and never put anyone in danger, the one exception being Boimler. They tried to corral the monster, but as it encountered more “stuff,” it grew bigger.
Rather than help, Fletcher suggested that they blame the monster on a Q. Mariner and Boimler tied him up and dragged the beast down the corridor, but it eventually escaped. They forced it into an airlock, and it drifted toward the Drookmani ship and started to tear it apart.
At that moment, Freeman ordered Shaxs to fire at the Drookmani, but when he tried, the weapons systems were down. Just then, Ransom pointed out that the monster was destroying the Drookmani ship.
“We did it!” Shaxs yelled and kissed Dr. T’Ana. WHOA!
Afterward, Ransom confronted Fletcher, Mariner, and Boimler on the monster, the missing core, and the unauthorized “airlock ejection.” The scene cut to a party in Fletcher’s honor, and we learn that it’s a celebration for his “brilliant improvisation.” Ransom said that Fletcher earned a promotion and would be transferred to the U.S.S. Titan.
NOTE: That ship, at this time in Starfleet history, is commanded by Captain William T. Riker. Could that mean that at some point, Jonathan Frakes will lend his voice to Lower Decks and appear as Riker? That would be nice!
Boimler pouted that Fletcher got promoted up and out. But he thought that this would be good for him.
“It might just make him a better man,” Boimler thought.
SIX DAYS LATER:
Fletcher contacted Mariner and Boimler to report that he’d been fired from the Titan for putting trash in the warp core. He tried to get them to talk to the Cerritos staff to return to his old post, but they ended the transmission.
“I’d rather work with a dozen of you than one Fletcher,” said Boimler to Mariner. She thanked him, but then ran off with keys to the Captain’s Yacht, which she signed out in Boimler’s name. He chased after her.
TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:
You know, this was the first one I didn’t really like. I think Badgey was too violent and did too many gruesome things. I didn’t like Fletcher either, and wonder if there will be more Lower Decks shows which he’ll pop up in. I hope not.
Badgey did and said things better left to Jack Quaid’s other hit show — The Boys. In my opinion, they could have left out that third part of the story and focused on the Drookmani situation and Fletcher.
RATING: 2 out of 5