Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “Moist Vessel”

“You know, I get what you’re trying to do here, and it is sick.”

The Cerritos is on some yadda-yadda mission* involving a generational ship that terraforms (essentially transforms a planet so that it can support human life or some such equivalent) from substances organically produced on board. This is a joint venture with the Merced, commanded by Tellarite Captain Durango (Durango must mean “stud” in Tellarite). Both ships are to tow the ship to an uninhabited world.

The crew of the generational ship appears to have been mummified, which seems strange given there is no reason to even have a crew on the ship unless it was to later reveal them coming back to life, but they never do. That’s about as much story as we get before the final eight minutes of the episode. Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) hates her daughter, Beckett (Tawny Newsome) so much she promotes her to Lieutenant in an effort to preoccupy her with so many pedestrian senior officer assignments that she’ll eventually ask for a transfer.

I don’t understand her logic, but I’ll go with it. I also don’t understand why, with the promotion, Beckett gets a brand new yellow uniform. I thought the colors were to designate different departments: yellow for engineering, blue for sciences, red for command. Meanwhile, Boimler (Jack Quaid) is infuriated that Beckett has been promoted over him for no reason (like how Paris was promoted, demoted, and promoted again over Harry Kim—I’m pretty sure I mentioned that before) so he tries to emulate Mariner’s methods, but that only gets him in trouble, of course.

I really don’t care about any of this. The generational “living” ship is far more interesting and would’ve been an incredible premise for any other show, but here, we have to be goofy. In a third subplot, D’Vana (Noël Wells) is excited to watch her fellow crewmate, O’Connor (Haley Joel Osment) “ascend” (I guess reach a higher plane of existence like Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1), but she inadvertently thwarts his efforts when she messes up his colored sand mandala.

Captain Durango decides to make it a race with the tractor beams anchoring the generational ship. He puts the proverbial pedal to the metal, but the organic fluid from the ship travels into both the Cerritos and the Merced, causing all kinds of panic as lifeforms take over both ships. Beckett and her mother must work together to eradicate the lifeforms before the Cerritos is destroyed. Boy, that was hard! This is my 100th Star Trek review for Second Union, but this episode was the hardest to follow!**

Star Trek, in all its forms, always embraced comedy, but the humor came more from situations than wacky, insufferable characters (excluding Harry Mudd, Cyrano Jones, or Lwaxana Troi, of course), and that’s where Lower Decks trucks. It doesn’t work. Rather than mine levity from the idea of a bio-mechanical terraforming ship, we’re treated to agonizing joke after joke on the Cerritos. I think the funniest bit was watching O’Connor “ascend,” which turns out to be an excruciatingly painful process and not the song of poetry often depicted in similar situations.

*As with the previous episodes of Lower Decks, the missions are inconsequential and have nothing to do with the story as a whole. This is yet another thing I don’t understand. In science fiction, and particularly in Star Trek, story is king. The plot is the hero. Because we’re dealing with a crew of self-absorbed, self-obsessed neurotics (reflection of the times?), the story takes a backseat to the characters.

**Thank you to my readers.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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