When the crew comes to the assistance of a planet (whose society considers health and wellness a top priority) to help them repair one of their
space elevators orbital lifts, Ransom assigns himself and Mariner to complete the engineering job while sending the engineers (Rutherford and Billups) to the planet surface to carry out the diplomatic mission.
Meanwhile, aboard the Cerritos, the normally risk-averse Boimler learns that a considerably less cautious peer has had a meteoric rise to become a captain, which makes Boimler think he should take more risks in his professional life in an effort to become "Bold Boimler," leading him to say yes to any opportunity presented to him (like Jim Carey in that movie Yes Man). This quickly goes too far: Boimler agrees to be hunted by a hulking sharp-angled alien aboard the ship, who pulls out various stabbing weapons and informs his new "prey" that the hunt begins in an hour. Comic mayhem ensues.
"The Least Dangerous Game" is an improvement over the season premiere, offering up a solidly entertaining, well-paced entry that works as low-stakes characterization as well as agreeable, albeit not hilarious, comedy. The Boimler plot is so perfectly Boimler, and the Mariner plot is so perfectly Mariner. Boimler hates not over-achieving, and Mariner hates wasting her time on drudgery.
While at first Ransom looks like an idiot for swapping the assignments (he and Mariner fail miserably at trying to make the repairs, and the engineers hopelessly botch the diplomatic mission), there's a method to his madness, which is to push Mariner to the breaking point of frustration in a baiting test of her penchant for insubordination and going rogue. This becomes clear right after she has, indeed, gone rogue to save the day against orders by making an atmospheric dive, just moments before she realizes the whole thing is Ransom's elaborate setup. So she has to abort the dive and climb back up the
space elevator orbital lift before Ransom finds out.
"The Least Dangerous Game" has some amusing gags, like the opening D&D-like game of "Bat'leths & Blhnuchs" (a freemium Ferengi version, with various expansion pack upsells), featuring Martok as the game master within an interactive video. (This raises the question of when we might see the real Martok on this show, since he should be leading the Klingon Empire in this time frame.) Or Ransom essentially watching YouTube videos to figure out how to make repairs. Or even, in perhaps the most predictable development, the idea that Boimler's hunt is "catch and release," with an alien predator who just wants a good selfie. Or Mariner's line commenting on the alien society: "Wow, a psychic baby, evil computer, and a volcano. Ever hear of overkill?" Or Ransom saving the day in a moment he was specifically destined for. Or the throwaway gag that's possibly my favorite: the idea that the space elevator features stairs, ladders ... and a climbing wall.
Look, there's nothing "significant" here. This is the very definition of "slight." But slight is what "The Least Dangerous Game," right down to its title, is trying to do, and it does so with a confidently effortless charm.
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