Warp Factor Trek

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The USS Cerritos is engaged with a Romulan ship from which the Melponar triplets steal a time-folding device, the Chronogami. As the ship is about to be destroyed, Captain Freeman starts giving the order to abandon ship. But just in time, they’re rescued by the Sovereign-class USS Wayfarer, under the command of the heroic Captain Bucephalus Dagger… who is actually Boimler. His holodeck adventure is interrupted by a call to attend Ransom.

We return to the USS Cerritos with a sequel on three levels. Firstly, the episode is a follow-up to Season 1’s “Crisis Point”, in which Mariner created a Lower Decks movie for the holodeck. This week, Boimler has used her original programming to create a sequel holodeck movie, though the regulars have some debate about whether it’s a true sequel or a spin-off. Mariner wonders if the plot will create alternate movies with younger actors in their roles.

While Boimler promises plenty of hot action before he answers Ransom’s call, he’s detached when he returns. In this holodeck sequel, they will have to time travel to prevent the Romulans from erasing the Federation from history. They begin at a Regula I-like Starfleet temporal laboratory on Europa and then journey to Tatasciore IX (named after cast member Fred).

Tendi, Mariner, Rutherford, Boimler, Ransom, Shaxs, T’Ana and Freeman visit Doctor Helena Gibson at the Europa temporal laboratory (Paramount+)

Mariner criticises Boimler’s tendecy to make up words. It’s all coming thick and fast in the dialogue, and Mariner is annoyed that Boimler is off looking for the meaning of life from randomly generated background characters, instead of joining in the thrills and chases. So, she leaves him to it.

Tendi is likewise irritated with Rutherford for not taking the adventure more seriously (such as nipping out of the holodeck for lunch during time-folding). They’re accompanying holographic Freeman, T’Ana and Shaxs through time, chasing the Romulans and visiting the Great Algae Crisis at a Starfleet research centre.

On the real Cerritos, meanwhile, Mariner is receiving a respectable job appraisal from Ransom. He’s surprised that Boimler hasn’t told her that his transporter clone, William (from Season 2), has just died. She realises that’s why Boimler has been acting so strangely. This new William plot thread creates the episode’s third level of sequel.

Back on the holodeck, Rutherford, T’Ana, Shaxs, Tendi, Freeman, and Ransom end up in 1980s Australia. The group is confronted by some 20th Century punks.

Tendi, Shaxs, T’Ana, Rutherford, Ransom and Freeman encounter a group of punks (Paramount+)

Shaxs and Rutherford deal with these assailants. One is dressed as Star Trek IV‘s ghetto-blaster punk, but the others give the appearance of the villain from Commando. Eventually, it is Tendi’s group that recovers the Chronogami.

Elsewhere in the holoprogram, Mariner helps Boimler find “Ki-ty-ha” on the third moon of the planet Shatanari. It’s a volcanic world with a giant rock-man, who speaks only in inspirational but cheesy quotes, and a plaque about Kitty Hawk, the location of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Boimler then has a Nexus meeting with Sulu, who has taken over Kirk’s ranch.

Boimler has a Nexus meetup with Sulu (or is it a dream?), and there’s hope for William… (Paramount+)

By the end of the episode, Boimler has come to terms with his life’s meaning, or lack thereof. However, he doesn’t know that William is actually still alive, aboard a Section 31 Defiant-class ship…

Rating: 5/5

If such a thing is possible, this episode stuffs in even more Trek movie references, logos, effects, musical cues, and snarky movie-referential dialogue than the “Part 1” original did in Season 1. The visuals are also more colourful. There’s the Europa station, a cycle and dune-buggy chase, rock-men, a Nemesis-era Romulan warbird, and much more. The music is impressive throughout the episode, echoing melodies from several of the movies, as well as from Lower Decks itself.

Whether as an ongoing development in the show, a sequel to one of the show’s classic episodes, a riff on the movies, or a play at gamers who get bogged down in side-quests, this is a winner on all fronts. It’s another hit from this half of the season.

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