Lower Decks Season 4 Ep 3 is the third chapter of the fourth season of an American adult animated science fiction television series created by Mike McMahan for the streaming service CBS All Access (later rebranded as Paramount+). It is the ninth Star Trek series and debuted in 2020 as part of executive producer Alex Kurtzman’s expanded Star Trek Universe. The franchise’s first animated series since Star Trek: The Animated Series concluded in 1974 and also its first comedy, Lower Decks follows the low-ranking support crew of the starship Cerritos in the 24th century.
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Entitled “In the Cradle of Vexilon”, Lower Decks Season 4 Ep 3 explores a couple of common tropes found in Star Trek and/or TV sitcoms. First, we have the environmental computer Vexilon on Corazonia, which does not harbour desires of world domination but is simply in need of maintenance, with hilarious outcomes! Second, related to this scenario we have Boimler unable to let go in his first command mission. Third, back on the Cerritos, newly commissioned officers Mariner, Tendi and Rutherford are confused about whether their assignment is a routine job or a means of hazing by a superior officer.
Lower Decks Season 4 Ep 3 exploits its three situations for full comic effect. Captain Freeman’s encounter with Vexilon is a brilliant satire of computer maintenance albeit on a worldwide scale. Boimler’s motivations seem less convincing though. No doubt that he is fully anxious about putting his former colleagues, now subordinates at risk, but it seems odd for Boimler to take on the entire task by himself, as that seems counter-intuitive. Presumably, we are supposed to find that kind of behaviour amusing. Same goes for the final scenario – moments of grinning but no full guffaws were generated. Not really.
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