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Star Trek LD - Season 1 - Episode 10

Star Trek LD - 1x10 - No Small Parts

Originally Aired: 2020-10-7

Synopsis:
The U.S.S. Cerritos encounters a familiar enemy. Tendi helps a struggling recruit find her footing.

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 8.09

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Problems
None

Factoids
- With this episode, Riker has now appeared in five different Star Trek series, six if you count Thomas Riker's appearance on DS9. Troi too has now appeared in five different Star Trek series.
- One of the items in Mariner's hidden contraband was what appeared to be a reference to the real world and often made fun of Remco 1976 Star Trek Space Fun Helmet toy, also known as "Spock's helmet."

Remarkable Scenes
- Freeman to Landru: "Hey! Don't make me paradox you into destroying yourself!"
- Ransom: "It's always weird revisiting planets from the TOS era." Freeman: "TOS?" Ransom: "It's what I call the 2260s. Stands for Those Old Scientists. You know, Spock and Scotty, those guys. Seems like they were stumbling on crazy new aliens every week back then."
- Boimler revealing Mariner's and Freeman's secret in front of everyone.
- The destruction of the Solvang.
- Freeman to Ransom: "Be as hard on her as you always are!" Mariner: "Yeah, be hard on me!" Ransom: "I'm only hard on you when you make me hard!—I mean I'm—I'm not hard right now—I mean I could—I could get hard if I wanted to—but I'm not hard right now—I'm so sorry, you're both great!"
- Mariner to Levy: "You said Wolf 359 was an inside job." Hmm. It kinda was!
- Levy: "Changelings aren't real; the Dominion War didn't happen!"
- The Ransom working out scene.
- The Cerritos under attack by the same ship that destroyed the Solvang and Freeman skillfully avoiding making the same mistake they did.
- The Cerritos' warp nacelle being torn off.
- The Pakled leader: "We want your ship pieces to add to our ship pieces so that we have all the ship pieces!"
- Rutherford's creepy reunion with Badgy.
- The Pakleds boarding the ship.
- Peanut Hamper refusing to go on the mission to sabotage the Pakled ship.
- Shaxs' noble sacrifice.
- The Titan showing up to rescue the Cerritos from more Pakleds.
- Riker: "A Pakled party and I wasn't invited?!"
- Freeman: "Did you know Starfleet considers Beta III a known culture? They have no idea the Betans have regressed. And the Pakleds, well, the Pakleds murdered the entire crew of the Solvang because everyone assumed they were a joke." Mariner: "Yeah, well, that's Starfleet. Good at observing and bad at maintaining."
- Troi: "Jack, I sense you exaggerate your confidence in order to mask an ocean of insecurity."
- Riker: "Hey, how about you buy me a drink? You know, since we're even? Remember? The thing with the aliens where I saved your ass?" Mariner: "We are not even. And we don't use money. What's happened to you man, you used to be sharp!"
- Boimler transferring to the Titan.
- Riker: "Give me warp in the factor of 5, 6, 7, 8..."

My Review
There is so much to love in this wonderfully fitting season finale. We finally get to see the Titan after it was first teased way back in Star Trek X: Nemesis and a couple times on this show as well. Lower Decks is finally committing to its cameos! But we actually get much more than a cameo here. Riker and Troi get more than a mere bit part like we had with Q in Veritas or the DS9 appearance in Cupid's Errant Arrow. Plus it looks like we might end up seeing a lot of the Titan in the next season now that Boimler has transferred there. Could Lower Decks finally subvert the trope of the cool guest starship not sticking around for longer than a couple episodes the way Battlestar Galactica did with the Pegasus? Let's hope!

Speaking of subverting tropes, much of this story's narrative is taking deliberate aim at Star Trek's tendency to boldly go where no one has gone before rather than flesh out what's already there. Only on rare occasions like DS9, Enterprise season 4, parts of the Picard show, or the occasional episode of another series does Star Trek ever revisit a previous alien planet or alien species to deepen them further and build out the lore of the Star Trek universe in a way that plays nicely in the sandbox. The best fiction series build bigger and bigger sandcastles in the sandbox rather than continually starting new sandcastles off to the side or worse knocking over an old sandcastle to build another like Discovery did with its problematic relationship to canon; particularly visual canon.

Not so here. Lower Decks is showing us that its writers are capable of playing in that sandbox quite skillfully, building up and deepening previous episodes like TOS: Return of the Archons in the teaser, TNG: Samaritan Snare with the Pakleds returning as the antagonist of the week, and TNG: The Quality of Life by featuring an exocomp that has advanced even further beyond the sentience Data had proven they had attained in that episode. The Pakleds are in character trying to steal more technology and Peanut Hamper refuses to go on a life-threatening mission just as her predecessors did in their debut episode. Indeed, the exocomps developing enough to be recognized as people who can serve in Starfleet as equals to the rest of the crew delivers quite profoundly on Data's aspirations for them. You've got to wonder how they fared during the synth ban in the Picard show though. If they were all cowardly assholes like Peanut Hamper turned out to be, perhaps not so well!

This episode does more than just lazily reuse previous planets or aliens though, it also serves as a terrific commentary on the importance of reusing and deepening them. The inhabitants of Beta III reverted to worshiping Landru and the Pakleds became much more dangerous because Starfleet never bothered to check in on them often enough. Freeman even discusses this openly throughout the episode, almost as if she's criticizing Star Trek itself. When Freeman talks about the importance of checking up on these places or people more often, it's as though she's asking the writers of Star Trek to resist the temptation to do more "boldly going" and instead do some even bolder deepening of what's already there in the vast Star Trek universe, just waiting to be fleshed out better.

What a treat. We get a surprisingly impressive set of space battles and action scenes for the animated medium plus powerful, insightful, and effective meta commentary about Star Trek itself all wrapped in a neat little bow. One of Star Trek's finest (half) hours.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-12-06 at 12:57pm:
    Shaxs' death put my jaw on the FLOOR. This show is not fooling around! It can't be a coincidence that both LD and TNG have the security chief dying in season 1. Maybe it was an homage to, or even apology for, Yar's meaningless death. Shaxs went out laughing on the best day of his life saving his crew. He is truly with the Prophets now!

    Not only has Riker appeared in many Trek shows now, but he's saved the day in three different season finales. I love it.

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