Mariner’s aversion to responsibility comes up again in “Much Ado About Boimler”, as a reunion with an old friend prompts an adventure.
This recap of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 1, episode 7, “Much Ado About Boimler”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 7, “Much Ado About Boimler”, isn’t as much about Boimler as the title implies. He’s there, sure, but he mostly occupies – in phase form – a B-plot involving the shady Division 14; the whole thing plays like a menagerie of weird Trek-y delights, but it’s far from the focus of the episode.
That honor falls, as usual, to Mariner. The weakest aspect of this installment is that it’s reiterating an aspect of her character that we’ve seen before – the idea she’s more than capable of being a highly successful Starfleet officer, but she simply isn’t interested in being one. It does take a different form, though, and while it isn’t the funniest set up – by design, I think – it is entertaining. It fact, it could quite easily pass as a straight-up dramatic episode with some comedic elements.
That setup finds the upper deck crew of the USS Cerritos on an away mission while a temporary captain, Amina Ramsey (Toks Olagundoye), fills in. Amina, it turns out, is one of Mariner’s former classmates and besties, though their careers have obviously diverged quite rapidly since then. Because of their friendship, Mariner is temporarily promoted to First Officer, which leads her to act like a useless dope for most of the episode so that Amina isn’t compelled to promote her full-time.
Again, this isn’t a new idea for Mariner’s character. But the context of friendship in Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 7 makes it feel fresher; we know why she didn’t want to work alongside her mother – who would, really? – but it’s less obvious why she wouldn’t want to work alongside someone she obviously likes and respects. This puzzles Amina, too. She has always recognized Mariner’s top-of-her-class excellence, and can’t quite fathom why she hasn’t excelled to the same kind of high-ranking posting as she has.
“Much Ado About Boimler” doesn’t really provide an answer to that question; Lower Decks still doesn’t seem interested in tipping its hand about the exact source of Mariner’s aversion to responsibility. This chapter is smart, though, to wrap up this internal conflict in a pretty straight, fun, and very Trek-y adventure. It might not be as outright funny as usual, but it works just as well, and it’s still riffing on the usual tropes and trappings of Star Trek as a franchise.
At this stage of the season, it’s probably a smart move, and in fairness, a lot of the slapstick weirdness is accounted for in the Division 14 business, especially with Tendi’s genetically-engineered dog, The Dog. But it’s nice to see Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 7 play a bit straighter than usual and tell a more coherent story. The most common mistake that animated sitcoms in a post-Rick and Morty world tend to make is flouting conventional storytelling. Here, “Much Ado About Boimler” sticks to the basics, while also giving its most interesting character more time in the spotlight.
Thanks for reading our recap of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 1, episode 7, “Much Ado About Boimler”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.