In Kayshon, His Eyes Open, Star Trek: Lower Decks Makes A New Friend
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In Kayshon, His Eyes Open, Star Trek Lower Decks Brings Back Classic Species

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BY August 18, 2021

One of the best things about Star Trek: Lower Decks is that they have no problem making their characters fans of the previous shows. Okay, okay, they are technically just fans of the world they live in. Nonetheless, this allows the characters to be as informed about the universe as your biggest Trekker or Trekkie. In the newest episode, Kayshon, His Eyes Open, introduces Lt. Kayshon, from the Tamarian species last seen in the classic The Next Generation episode Darmok. This species, as we all know, speaks only in metaphor. Luckily, the universal translators still mostly work and thus he speaks in regular-old English for most of the episode. Yet, this character is a bit of a red herring. This episode is all about Ensign Boimler fitting in with Captain Riker and his crew, while the USS Cerritos crew tries to deal with the absence of their friend.

Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc.

With Kayshon, His Eyes Open, Star Trek Lower Decks shows off a little in what is, in my opinion, their most tightly-written episode. The jokes are punchy, the situations equally thrilling and silly, and ultimately it brings the series back to the status quo of last season. On the Cerritos, Mariner and the gang partner with Kayshon and new arrival Jet are assigned to catalog the contents of a space station. Naturally, hijinks ensue. What follows is an interesting meditation on how well the brash, impulsive Star Trek heroes really are as leaders. Speaking of brash, impulsive leaders, Boimler is part of an operation on the USS Titan to free a mining colony. His story also fits with that theme, reminding his crewmates what Starfleet is really about.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Is Finding Its Space Legs

Star-Trek-Lower-Decks-Kayshon-His-Eyes-Open-Season-2-Darmok- Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc.

The last season of Star Trek: Lower Decks was good, but it was strange. Some of the character portrayals felt too one-dimensional and some of the jokes fell flat. Yet, what was always clear is how deeply into Trek lore one must be in order to get all of the gags and references. So far, in the two episodes we’ve gotten in Lower Decks season 2, each one has maintained it’s utter goofiness while still deepening our understanding of the characters. Specifically, the rudderless Mariner is the most improved player on the cast. In focusing on her trouble dealing with Boimler’s absence, she’s humanized in a way she wasn’t last season.

Similarly, Boimler is shown having a reckoning with his Trek uber-fandom. Finally on the front lines with Starfleet’s biggest cowboy, he spends most of his time being terrified. The episode shows him to be a very capable officer, and one who bonded with the crew of the Titan. Nonetheless, episode shows him heading back to the Cerritos (with yet another deep-cut Trek plot device). The Boimler and Mariner relationship is the heart of the series. Yet, while last season it was mostly a source of comedy, in season 2 it seems like Lower Decks is finally ready to let it be the emotional center as well.

Now, Star Trek: Lower Decks is a comedy show, and Kayshon, His Eyes Opens delivers in that respect. Yet, the series is maturing to the point where there can be really effective emotional stories under the humor. What I am most excited for going forward in season 2, is how Star Trek: Lower Decks will grow the relationships of Boimler and Mariner, along with Ensigns Tendi and Rutherford. Though, the latter one does seem clearly headed towards romance, I suspect that the Mariner and Boimler relationship will not be so simple. But at least it will be funny.

Star Trek: Lower Decks debuts new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

What do you think? Did you enjoy Kayshon, His Eyes Open? What are you looking forward to most in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2? Tell us in the comments below.

Featured image via PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc.

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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