When a scientist at a research station on an alien world inhabited by stone-like people (the "Scrubble") is tempted by his greatest fantasy (his hot seventh-grade teacher) and turned into stone by a magical telepathic artifact, the Cerritos crew comes in to clean up the artifacts before they can do any more accidental harm.
The Lower Deckers are on the case, and while they do the cleanup, they have to deal with hallucinations created by the artifacts which reveal their deepest fantasies. They must avoid temptation lest they be turned into stone — while also competing against the USS Carlsbad's Lower Deckers, whom they are assigned to work with, and whom they assume regard them as a bunch of screw-ups.
The biggest problem with "Mining the Mind's Mines" is its utter lack of imagination. A story that uses the Trekkian staple of the fantasy world showing the crew false images could've been used to reveal interesting things about the characters, or at least use the fantasies to drive some clever comedy. Instead, we get a bunch of surprisingly obvious jokes and "zany" cartoon action.
Rutherford's fantasy is Leah Brahms, which is a yawn-worthy obligatory TNG reference. Boimler's fantasy is being the safe passenger-seat-riding sidekick to an awesome leader (what happened to Bold Boimler?), which is far too obvious. Mariner's fantasy is revealed to be her Andorian sorta-girlfriend Jennifer ("We're just hanging out!"), which I guess is the most interesting of the three because it's actually a specific thing about one of the characters, but still just a shrug. This all eventually devolves into a jumble of manic action (a giant Jennifer monster, clowns with bat'leths for arms, etc.) which is definitely a thing that Lower Decks does, but is among the things about this series that does the least for me.
Meanwhile, aboard the Cerritos, Tendi is assigned to be mentored by professorial birdman Dr. Migleemo (Paul F. Thompkins) for senior science officer training, but finds that the pragmatic Dr. T'Ana does a far better job without even trying. There's also a brewing feud between young hotshot Captain Maier versus "experienced" (i.e., old) Captain Freeman. This eventually becomes a big shouting match in the conference room as various plot things are uncovered. Loud, yes. Funny or inspired, no.
It turns out the Carlsbad Lower Deckers don't actually think the Cerritos Lower Deckers are a bunch of laughingstocks, but rather "the coolest." And it turns out the alien mind-reading artifacts are actually part of a big phishing scheme (a clever usage of a Trekkian staple in service of referencing a 21st-century issue) done in collusion with the Federation researchers. The plot here ties together surprisingly neatly, but on the whole this is pretty weak sauce that wastes a promising premise, and the least of the entries in the season so far.
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