"A Few Badgeys More" is a pretty well-balanced episode of Lower Decks' different sensibilities. It manages to advance a main plot that has an adequate amount of tension while also giving us the (tempered) madcap zaniness that is incumbent upon a cartoon outing. It does this by bringing back Badgey, one of the most notable recurring villains on the series, and weaving him into a plot that deals with the Evil AIs while also advancing the Serial Mystery Box of the season — kicked off here by an attack on the Bynars.
The result is good without being great — whatever "great" might actually mean on this series. There aren't a ton of surprises here, but there is some reasonable plot advancement as well as an evolution in the crazy character of Badgey, who, we learn, was rescued by salvagers hoping to make a buck off Federation technology, but got a lot more than they bargained for when Badgey instead took over their ship.
In the B-plot, Boimler and Tendi travel to the Daystrom Institute on Earth where they pick up a couple other AI threads involving Agimus, who claims to know something about the Serial Mystery Box and the attack on the Bynars, and Peanut Hamper, who has been a model prisoner and is up for parole. Naturally, these two are in cahoots to do something sinister, and are using good behavior as their charade — including within Evil AI group therapy, which is a joke that works in animation but would be utterly ridiculous in live action, so kudos for using the medium effectively. (In an amusing detail that pokes fun at reliable cinema conventions, Agimus turns his lights from red to blue to indicate his supposed change from evil to good. "Do you see the blue light?" he asks a rather skeptical Boimler.)
Jeffrey Combs is ingratiating as usual, with Agimus sucking up to anyone where a possible advantage might be gained. But even after successfully taking over Boimler and Tendi's shuttle, he finds that he just misses his friend Peanut Hamper, who didn't show up to the rendezvous point. Even quickly seizing control of a primitive civilization on a nearby planet loses its appeal when the joys can't be shared with his partner in crime. Meanwhile, Peanut Hamper has decided that a life of world domination isn't what she actually wants. She just wants to go back to being with her exocomp family, even if that means a life of routine work.
There's a consistent seriocomic thread running through the episode, which is that these robots, who ostensibly seek galactic domination, deep down just want to be loved. Badgey goes on a rampage and attacks the Cerritos out of rage toward Rutherford, the "father" who neglected him (and ultimately snapped his neck when he turned evil). Rutherford decides to try to appeal to Badgey's good side directly, and sneaks aboard the salvage vessel with Mariner to reason with him. This results in Badgey splitting off the parts of his personality that Rutherford tries to reason with into separate entities (including a version amusingly named "Goodgey" and another one named "Logic-y"), resulting in a version of Badgey that is pure evil ambition. Ultimately, this Badgey taps into a subspace relay that he uses to evolve his AI into ultimate power — which he realizes, once he has it, isn't something he wants to use for domination, but for grander universal understanding. He evolves to a state of ascension — and gets to meet the Ascension Koala. Meanwhile, Goodgey survives, and returns to the Cerritos with his "father."
This synopsis probably sounds insane and unhinged. And sure, it is. But on the wavelength where Lower Decks operates, it makes the exact amount of sense, balancing the sci-fi concepts with the irreverently absurd. It's amusing and worth some chuckles, albeit not hilarious.
The episode also advances the Serial Mystery Box in the background through the information Agimus has regarding the attack on the Bynars. Their ship, and indeed all the ships attacked by the Mystery Vessel, weren't actually destroyed, but merely captured and replaced with debris fields. I'm not sure how Agimus knows this (it might've been explained with a throwaway line, but I missed it and don't have time to circle back) or where this is going, but it at least changes the course of this repetitive serial plot a bit while inching it forward and/or sideways. Meanwhile, any theories that had Badgey behind the Mystery Vessel can officially be declared dead.
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