With the engineering staff exhausted from working around the clock to repair damage to the ship caused by Freeman's recent mask-based alien takeover (unlike in TNG's "Masks," the ship is not magically transformed back after having been turned into a museum), the captain orders downtime. The Cerritos arrives at the Dove, a Federation spa facility where the patrons are issued color-coded stress-detecting bracelets and ordered to relax using amenities such as the massage parlor or the (admittedly adorable) puppy play room. (The spa manager says they also have a kitten room if you are one of the "deviants" who are into such things.)
Meanwhile, Tendi overhears the Lower Deckers on the delta shift conspiring to gain access to the system where they can rig the computerized lottery for the much-coveted Deck 1 quarter assignments. So our beta-shift Lower Deckers decide to try to beat them to the punch. This results in them crawling through the bowels of the ship and encountering unexpected obstacles in an episodic string of scene-based gags. Examples include hallucinating from the plant-based growth beneath the botany lab, and ending up in the low-gravity field in the deflector dish, just before it gets activated and becomes a massive centrifuge.
Easily the best of these vignettes is their walking into the middle of a holodeck program (a black-and-white noir-era bank heist) being played through by T'Ana and Shaxs, who are using the crime and violence as a kinky turn-on (okay, it's mostly T'Ana) in what is revealed as a bizarre and rather intense affair.
Eventually the Lower Deckers run into the delta shift and the two teams bond over the absurdities of their boss, Commander Ransom. The camaraderie is short-lived, however, as the delta shifters spring at the opportunity to double-cross their new friends and complete the mission.
Back aboard the Dove, none of the engineering staff is resting, because they're addicted to work and keep working when they're supposed to be relaxing. There's a social commentary about work that could be made here somewhere, but the story doesn't really make the effort and simply plays the gag as Freeman's crew not being able to help themselves, and so Freeman gets overly stressed about the fact that her crew won't de-stress. Ultimately, the engineers work to create a device that's able to de-stress their captain in 10 seconds flat. It's a magical fix that would put the Dove facility out of business, so of course the spa manager wants it disposed of immediately.
"Room for Growth" is the epitome of zero-stakes hangout time, employing basic cartoon logic as a matter of storytelling. In that vein, it's ... I dunno, almost okay-ish, I guess? It's pleasant enough, with a few chuckles, but no real inspiration or big laughs. I see the value of just hanging out with your friends, but I'm gonna need more to chew on than this, either in the form of better character insights or some sort of an actual plot or spark of inspiration. This episode's title is way too self-descriptive, and I realize that's a punchline that writes itself.
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