Lower Decks’ “Room For Growth” in Review
Opening with Captain Freeman being possessed (for apparently, like, the third time) by an ancient mask and changing the ship into an ancient temple, episode four appropriately continues the process of giving the regulars some character growth and development. This week, Bold Boimler continues his new path of saying “yes” to things, and Tendi continues to explore new things.
The Engineering team are stressed out and overworked, trying to get rid of all the vines and carvings (and return the ship to normal spec, instead of ancient temple). Freeman – cured but annoyed – insists that they, including Rutherford, all visit the Dove, a spa ship (yes, you read that right; it’s not a typo) to be relaxed and have their stress levels returned to normal by the staff, under a female Edosian guru (the same species as Lieutenant Arex from Star Trek: The Animated Series). Mud baths, play rooms with puppies and kittens, and so forth are all involved in the treatment.
Meanwhile, Mariner, Boimler, and Tendi are keen to get in on the lottery to take over some unused officers’ quarters on Deck One while their inhabitants are away. Tendi overhears members of their rival group, Delta shift, plotting to hack the lottery. Soon, a race begins, to get to the appropriate computer console and get their hack in first.
Beta shift, meanwhile, find themselves in T’Ana’s holodeck sex/bank robbery fetish program, which is absolutely the highlight of the episode. Who doesn’t love T’Ana?
Soon, they’re trudging through a hallucinogenic swamp under the hydroponics bay, giving Tendi a good highlight too. Bold Boimler then gets his turn, as the king of antigravity in the low-gravity housing for the main deflector.
Aboard the Dove, Freeman grows increasingly frustrated as the engineers not only keep finding things to repair, but try to engineer ways around the relaxation treatments. She’s finally pushed into an untreatable rage by the engineers engineering ways to avoid being de-stressed, though Rutherford then realises a solution.
Beta shift meanwhile rendezvous with Delta shift, who have had an equally bad journey. The two teams seem to be bonding, but Delta shift immediately betray Beta shift.
With Rutherford having explained that fixing things is what de-stresses the Engineering team, they’ve built a machine to de-stress Freeman in ten seconds flat. The Edosian guru, now stressed about the machine and the risk that it could lead to the spa staff being out of a job, demands that the machine be ejected from the spa ship as soon as Freeman has gone.
Fortunately, Bold Boimler finds another way through to the computer console, where Beta shift discover there is only one room available, on Deck Four, instead of four rooms on Deck One. The team decide to leave it to Delta shift, to break up their friendship as they argue over who gets the room. Boimler and Mariner have not thought this through… Finally discovering that all of Delta shift simply moved into the one available room (to use it as their private party room), our heroes are a bit dismayed, to say the least.
The audience, hopefully, will not be disappointed by this episode – it’s a good script with good lines for everyone, and two equally amusing and solid story strands. There’s also something really cool about having an Edosian as the main guest character, and there are plenty of the usual continuity references and suchlike. Tendi continues to be more of a breakout character this season, and T’Ana has always been a total scene stealer. We’re also seeing the beginnings of a story arc for the season, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. As it is, another good one this week. Hurrah!
David A McIntee is a writer and historian who has written for properties such as Doctor Who, Star Wars, Final Destination, and Stargate, as well as having written several adventures in the Star Trek franchise for Pocket Books. He has contributed many pieces to the magazines Star Trek Explorer (née Star Trek Magazine) and Star Trek Communicator, as well as having written nonfiction books about Star Trek: Voyager.