The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Lower Decks

It’s time for crew evaluations, and the junior officers are all eager for that elusive promotion. But whilst Ensigns Taurik, Sito Jaxa, Sam Lavelle and Alyssa Ogawa speculate on their futures, the senior officers are busy organising a covert mission.

I actually really like this episode, but having noticed the theme of ‘show past its prime’ tropes during this rewatch, I have to admit that it’s a very final season thing to have an episode where the main characters are seen through the eyes of their juniors. Nonetheless, this is a decent episode, which pulls together quite a predictable plot, but makes it enjoyable throughout. It’s nice to see that there are other people on the Enterprise who occasionally do some work, and touches like the parallel senior/junior poker games are well done.

The junior officers

  • Sam Lavelle is Riker’s junior, and probably the most annoying of the four. His eagerness to please is cringeworthy, whilst in all respects he’s a typical brash young male. In many stories he’d be the hero, but even though he gets a promotion at the end, he’s actually the least competent of the quarter.
  • Sito Jaxa is Worf’s junior, and was last seen covering up the truth in The First Duty. She’s now a good officer, but one who has to learn to stand up for herself. Unfortunately, she does not survive the events of the episode.
  • Alyssa Ogawa is well-known as Crusher’s nurse, and in this episode she gains both a promotion and a fiancé.
  • Taurik is Geordi’s junior. His Vulcan logic and tendency to improvise and ask questions instead of mindlessly following orders sometimes put him at odds with his boss.

Notes and nitpicks

  • Although we’re led to believe that Sito is chosen for the Cardassian mission because she can act the part of a Bajoran prisoner, couldn’t they have chosen anyone and had them surgically altered to appear Bajoran? In which case, maybe they chose Sito because she’s expendable.
  • Since Guinan isn’t in this season, Ten Forward’s bartender for this episode is a man named Ben. Ben appears to be good friends with everyone, despite the fact that he’s never been seen or mentioned before.
  • Isn’t it highly unprofessional of Riker and Troi to be discussing crew evaluations in Ten Forward, where anyone can overhear them? Sito and Lavelle should never have known they were up for the same job.
  • Alyssa shouldn’t have even admitted that she knew something she couldn’t tell Sam – what happen to “neither confirm nor deny”?
  • If Taurik figuring out what they were really doing to the shuttle was a big deal, why not get someone else to do the work?

Summary – Lower Decks: It might be a trope, but it’s done well. Now, let’s all give ourselves a promotion.

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