Star Trek: Lower Decks

"Moist Vessel"

3 stars

Air date: 8/27/2020
Written by Ann Kim
Directed by Barry J. Kelly

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

While investigating a dead relic generation ship, Mariner offends another Starfleet captain during a briefing by yawning loudly and being generally disrespectful, leading Freeman to go on a renewed effort to get Mariner to either change her behavior or resign from Starfleet. When it becomes clear Mariner has no intention to do either, Freeman ups the ante by first assigning Mariner to the worst lowly grunt work, and, when that doesn't work, promotes her to lieutenant and makes her a member of the senior staff.

"Moist Vessel" is the first episode of Lower Decks that I actually laughed at. Mariner is a jerk, and the way she skates by doing the bare minimum while pissing everyone off is something that couldn't continue to go on unaddressed. Knocking her down a peg and crushing her spirit prove to be both satisfying and intriguing, because we get to see a different, more grounded side of the character. She's beaten down into a sort of silenced submission by being forced to take on real responsibilities, play poker with the senior crew, and attend conferences where they talk about new furniture. Naturally, these are all the things Boimler ever wanted, so he's insanely jealous.

Meanwhile, Tendi tries to connect with a fellow crew member, Lt. O'Connor, who is on a spiritual mission to "ascend" to a new plane of existence. (The Traveler is explicitly mentioned as one example of what O'Connor hopes to achieve.) This also works as comedy with Tendi initially embarrassing herself by inadvertently trampling O'Connor's spiritual enclave. Later, there's a great payoff when it turns out O'Connor actually does reach ascension just when we thought he was all self-aggrandizement and hot air. In a darkly comic twist, we see that ascending to something beyond your mortal coil is considerably less pleasant and enlightening than it might've been cracked up to be — and indeed is probably not much different than being violently killed (provided you believe in an afterlife). The absurdity with the koala is a nice bizarro touch. Finally, this show reveals some creatively weird impulses.

This episode also works better as an adventure when the sci-fi properties of the generation vessel are turned loose on the Cerritos and begin terraforming the ship and endangering the crew. This is the highest-stakes episode of this series so far, with some imaginative animation, and the increased jeopardy actually manages to make things more engaging and seem like it's about something — especially when Mariner and her mother are forced to go trudging through the transformed ship together and deal with each other. This isn't anything groundbreaking, but it works as comedy and sci-fi adventure and is the first episode of this series I can recommend.

Previous episode: Temporal Edict
Next episode: Cupid's Errant Arrow

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12 comments on this post

Cody B
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Just watched the fourth episode and I do think it’s the best so far. Still nothing to write home about considering the series is filler this was a decent episode. There seemed to also be something different in the animation style. I don’t know enough about animation to say exactly but there is a clear difference in look from the other three episodes
CaptainMercer
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 5:42am (UTC -5)
@Cody B
It seems that in episode 4 there were more shots where they were trying to "light" the characters and give them a hue on the edges of their faces due to external light. This is a terrible idea with flatly drawn characters
Cody B
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -5)
@CaptainMercer

Yep I see what you’re saying. They played with the appearance of lighting more in this episode like when they are playing cards it’s dark and light is casted different places and then in another scene they make it very bright like doctors office when they are in a big room with fluorescent overhead ceiling lights. Also they did some pseudo 3d cgi effects a few times in this episode. Even the ship monitors look like rendered images or something
Yanks
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
EP 4: "Moist Vessel"

SensOrs... lol (channeling Spock and Tuvok)

Best episode yet in my book.

I didn't have any issues with the animation.

We don't get to see Mariner inthe brig at all?

I actually laughed out loud a couple times at the end when Mom and daughter were getting their medal.

Under the umbrella of -everything is exaggerated-, this episode was fun.

I liked the "Genisis" ship... pretty cool. I liked the Star Trek story here.

The ENS Tendi story was revealing for the character... the ascension made me think of Star Gate (like the opening theme music does). She messes up someone's ascension thingy, then through surviving the idiot repercussions of the Tellerite Captain's actions, she figures out she just wants to be liked. I wasn't expecting him to actually ascend though.

I enjoyed Captain Feeman and "LT" Mariner working together to get through the same situation. They both come to the realization that they CAN work together.

I still think this show makes the Captain out to be an idiot. I think Ransom knows that.

The bit at the end when they get their medals was the funniest part of the show thus far IMO. I also liked how Mariner and the Captain were saying the same thing, the difference being the Captain was trying to respect the ADM's rank and position where Mariner has no filter.

3 stars from me.
Marlboro
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Best episode of "Ow! My Balls!" yet!
Perin
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
"sen-sors"

Hmmph.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcJRsF5faug&t=328
CaptainMercer
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B yea.. exactly.. but these kind of designs (which I personally don't care for, but that is just me) don't seem to lend itself the experimentation you are talking about.

If the show was live action, and they could actually LIGHT the characters.. as well as pace the dialogue better, I might actually enjoy it. Most of the stories, while they are B plot level TNG stuff, is at least sound and somewhat funny for the fans
MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
I don't care about logic or drama or story really. Those things can always be thrown out to play a joke up.

What I take issue with, is that I don't find any of this funny. Plots that require everyone to be a moron, at whatever time the script calls for them to be a moron, don't make me laugh.

I'm more of a fan of absurd satire, than rapid fire nonsense.
BRIAN
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Show is actually OK i think this is the first Kirtzman show I can actually enjoy and seems vaguely star trek. Making the man girl Mariner a Rick ripoff was a horrible idea though. Just doesnt work for multiple reasons. Its basically an Orville ripoff.which is rly odd to say. I kind of wish they would try less hard to be funny tbh.Less jokes and more low key humor might work better
Kyle
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
I'm conflicted about Lower Decks. Like many of you, I am not a fan of Mariner, and if the recurring jokes are all Mariner saving or being smarter than Boimler, I'm not going to be able to tolerate it long.

I do like Boimler on his own, and I do like Tendi and Rutherford, and that I already know Tendi's name means that the writers are doing something better than say ENT's writers did for Travis Mayweather.

I also like some of the gags, etc. And I think it does feel Trekky.

But it is missing something. Maybe it is just too fast paced for me, or perhaps I'm still getting used to Federation Officers who aren't quite acting like Federation officers. We've always had Barclay's though.

To compare my opinions: I don't mind Discovery, it just doesn't feel like Star Trek to me. Picard I feel started out well and ended poorly, but I did have a few moments of joy, especially in Nepenthe and with the arrival of the Zheng He (though I knew it was coming; not that specific ship but you know - sorry I don't know the spoiler rule on here). They just don't feel Trekky. Too movie like and cinematic, and not enough character study, or philosophy/ethics like the others had? I like that Star Trek made me think.

I don't mind a non-thinking Star Trek animated comedy. And this show does have its redeeming qualities, but it is missing that special something.

I'll see where it goes.
Brandon
Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Apparently all our heroes throughout each series were actually supposed to be pursuing knowledge of a giant koala and everything else was a waste of time.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Wait... What? Knowledge of a giant koala?

I ain't gonna lie: you managed to grab my interest.

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