Three drunk and lascivious Betazoid diplomats (all women over 50, naturally) are being transported by the Cerritos to Risa. Their telepathic/empathic projections cause the entire crew to "get their party on," resulting in drunken excess and rowdiness that occurs in the background of a lot of shots in Ten Forward, or whatever the bar on this ship is called. Eventually, the partying reaches a fever pitch that Freeman finds unacceptable. When she tries to shut it down, the Betazoids revolt, turning the episode into a classic Ship Takeover Plot. The lunacy is set against the character backdrop of T'Lyn — unhappy aboard the Cerritos — trying to send a message to her former captain, hoping to return to the Vulcan ship she was banished from.
The truest, and best, exchange in the episode comes when Mariner exclaims, "Why am I yelling?" and T'Lyn dryly responds, "This crew is always weird and yelling." (At least there's a moment of self-awareness here.) There's indeed a lot of yelling in "Empathological Fallacies," which exhibits the worst of Lower Decks' first-season tendencies, with the volume and madcap excess turned up to 11 and drowning out any tempered sensibility or worthwhile plot. It's brazenly overconfident for an episode with such tepid "jokes."
The plot doesn't even try to make sense. When confronted over being the alleged cause of the telepathically induced emotional turmoil aboard the ship, the Betazoids — who are actually agents of Betazed's intelligence service for some reason — decide not only to seize control of the bridge by force, but to pilot the ship through the Romulan neutral zone in their quest to return to Betazed to resolve the dispute.
This engineered crisis is lazy even for this unserious series. The questionable-at-best geography of traveling through the neutral zone to leave and then re-enter Federation space is dumb enough. But to have these "intelligence operatives" break Federation treaty out of some inexplicable haste is so many steps beyond stupid that it doesn't even work on the cheap comic terms conjured up here.
In the B-story — which goes on in the background far longer than it should've given the crisis on the bridge — Boimler hangs out with Shaxs' security team below decks. The "joke" here is that the security officers have so much downtime (slam poetry, puzzles, card games) when they're not doing kick-ass Security Things. But even that joke is not really the joke here, since the story contradicts it in the interest of giving the security team some soft-skill duties beyond kicking ass (admittedly, not a bad idea); they're merely indulging Boimler so he can relax. Yawn.
The saving grace here is T'Lyn, who is actually the cause of all the telepathically induced craziness. She's maybe suffering from early-onset Bendii Syndrome (um, isn't that serious and eventually fatal, like in "Sarek," which this episode name-checks?) and projecting emotions everywhere. The Betazoids are actually red herrings. It's all about T'Lyn and her lack of self-purpose on the ship. But she finds it through Mariner telling her how valued she is here, and how her old captain should eff off already. I guess I can support this show's desire to highlight a character core in each episode. But aside from that kernel, this episode is an obnoxious mess that does not work at all.
Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.