Lower Decks Season 2 Finale Feels Like A Classic Episode
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Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2 Finale Feels Like A Classic Episode

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BY October 18, 2021

Just like last week’s episode of Star Trek: Lower DecksThree Ships,” the season 2 finale is not just a good episode of this show but an adventure worthy of the live-action series. The first episode this year, “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” really set the tone for the increase in quality of the series. Last year it was a funny send-up of Star Trek. This year? It’s a Star Trek series that just happens to be funny and referential to other parts of the franchise. Even with all the double-crossers, scammers, and self-important jackasses in the cast, the Lower Decks crew is 100 percent Starfleet. The new era of Trek was plagued by some fans saying the new shows didn’t feel like Star Trek. But, Star Trek: Lower Decks is the most “Trek” of all the series, and the season 2 finale proves this.

While each episode is practically littered with references to old Trek, the only one that sticks out in my memory is the inclusion of cetacean crew members. In some episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, oblique references were made to dolphin crew, known as “Cetacean Ops.” Otherwise, the season finale of Lower Decks focuses mostly on its own characters and building its own lore. There is a payoff the Pakled trouble that started in the first season finale. And the season ends on a cliffhanger, giving fans something to think and worry about until season 3 debuts sometime next year.

Ultimately, the season 2 finale wraps up what is an incredible season for Star Trek: Lower Decks. Any character issues or story troubles we can nitpick about in the first season have been paid off in ways that fans could argue were intentional from the get-go.

Spoilers to follow.

“First First Contact” Is a Bait-and-Switch of the Best Kind

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 finale episode"First First Contact" -- Epi#210 Image via CBS Interactive

From the title of the episode, “First First Contact,” we expect to see the Cerritos crew screwing up a momentous Starfleet event. Naturally, the crew is very excited about taking part in the occasion. We also learn that Dawnn Lewis’ Captain Freeman is set to be promoted to a larger ship, but she’ll have to leave the whole crew behind. Then, things go sideways in a very unexpected way. The Starfleet vessel leading the first contact, an Excelsior-class ship called the USS Archimedes, is struck by a sci-fi explosion that shut down all of its power, sending it on a collision course with the planet. If the ship makes planetfall, it would be an extinction-level-event. (And not the good kind.)

Thus, much of the episode becomes about the crew of the Cerritos disassembling the ship (again, for sci-fi reasons) so they can rescue the Archimedes. It’s actually quite a remarkably bit of narrative irony, because much of the emotional journey of the episode is about how much the crew loves the ship. Yet, they spend most of the episode dismantling it. Not only this, but the characters also continue to grow. For example, after the episode where Boimler saves Mariner, Tawney Newsome’s character could’ve held a grudge. In fact, it seems like it would fit her character from season 1. Yet, instead, she’s becoming more and more a part of the crew. She likes working with her mother, respects her friends, and, in this episode, is saved by a fellow ensign she thought had a problem with her. The storytellers mine these relationships for more than just comedy.

Where Star Trek: Lower Decks Goes from the Season 2 Finale in the Season 3 Premiere

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 finale episode "First First Contact" -- Epi#210 Image via CBS Interactive

The season 2 finale gave us our first Star Trek: Lower Decks cliffhanger. Captain Freeman, fresh off saving the Archimedes and leading the first contact, is not promoted but arrested. It seems that while occupied with the first contact mission, the Klingons from “Three Ships” have attacked the Pakled homeworld and framed Captain Freeman for it. It’s unclear what’s going happen next year, but there may be a new captain. If this is how the first season ended, I’d suspect that it would be resolved in the first few minutes of the next premiere. Yet, given how much more complex the storytelling became in Star Trek: Lower Decks in its second season, I honestly don’t know what to expect.

Star Trek Lower Decks Season 2 finale episode "First First Contact" -- Epi#210 Image via CBS Interactive

Star Trek: Lower Decks is currently streaming on Paramount+.

What did you think of the finale or all of season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Every season of Star Trek: Lower Decks is now streaming exclusively on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

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Featured image via CBS Interactive.

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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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