Two Captains’ Log: Weekly Review of Star Trek: Lower Decks – S3E1

We are back with more Captains Logs of Star Trek. With Lower Decks being back it will be quite some interesting ways of assessing episodes. This week’s season opener, “Grounded,” saw the Cerritos lower deck crew trying to free their captain in Star Trek fashion. Of course, silly hijinks happen and the captain is freed anyway…but by standard operation. Even though it’s now explained, let’s find out if it’s worth watching…

Music

Mr. Daps: “This was immediately one of my favorite episodes in terms of music for Star Trek: Lower Decks. I loved how it connected throughout the episode to Star Trek: First Contact. This was done both through the score and also the songs that were chosen. This made for a VERY enjoyable musical experience while watching the episode.”

Murray: “Music takes some cues from older Star Trek series, which is always some great homages. What was especially a wonderful homage was the use of ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ during the launch of Cochrane’s warp ride. That alone made the music a wonderful feature of the episode.”

Design

Mr. Daps: “This was a fun episode to look at. Just like the music had many callbacks, so did the design. This could be found in the outfits the characters were wearing, the Cerritos in dry dock, EVERYTHING in Bozeman, and a whole lot more. Lower Decks hit it out of the park with its first outing this season in terms of design!”

Murray: “There was a lot happening in this episode for design. Yes, all these are going to be animated, but there is some need of good execution. It might be strange to say, but I really liked the civilian clothing of the lower decks. It all played into other classic characters and I loved those as bits. So hats off to the character design. The design of the dry docked Cerritos was also quite interesting to see as well, so that was another great feature. In all, just some wonderful characterizations and bits of gags in every scene.”

Story

Mr. Daps: “The story for this episode of Lower Decks was exactly what I expected and also exactly what I didn’t expect. At the end of the last season, if you had asked me what would generally happen in the first episode of this season, this is what I would have generally guessed. However, in the first few minutes of the episode, I definitely started wondering if they were setting up a story that would run the entire episode. In the end, this didn’t happen. Instead, it was a very high-impact and fast-moving episode. And honestly, that’s probably a good thing. If this had been a full season story arc, things might have gotten too serious and also a bigger picture Starfleet story, instead of focusing on the true crew found in the lower decks.

There were also lots of nods to other Star Trek found in the story which was awesome at filling in some gaps of other Starfleet officers we have seen through the years. I thought this was a GREAT choice and I hope we see more choices like this made in the future. Maybe next time we can hear Tuvok and Captain Bateson!?”

Murray: “I really enjoyed this as a compact Star Trek movie. What I mean is it was that pulling of the crew back together for a grand adventure. There was a lot of Easter eggs that paid tribute to these ideas seen in other movies and even TNG finale’s “All Good Things.” But, the real kicker was that it didn’t matter. It was not the lower deck’s crew role to save the day, and that fit within this particular series. So, this story was so well crafted to really have the Lower Decks way with a movie plot.”

Hit or Miss?

Mr. Daps: “This is definitely a hit. It did a fantastic job of being completely Star Trek: Lower Decks while also feeling like traditional Star Trek. It fit into the bigger picture and overarching story that has been going on for decades while also being completely its own story. I loved how they balanced these two needs and just continued to move forward. The episode did a wonderful job of wrapping up last season’s cliffhanger while also setting up some new challenges for the Lower Decks crew this season, particularly Mariner. This was a solid start for the season and I can’t wait to see where the show goes!”

Murray: “Big hit. I did like the second season’s episodes, but the first couple were dry last year. This first episode of the season really took it up a notch. It even continued a great deal of fun Next Generation ideas that I didn’t necessarily wonder, but glad I know about now. I loved the rug being pulled out from them at the end. The best aspect is that they resolved the cliffhanger from last season right away. They can get on with some good Lower Decks action right away in the season, and that makes it a great start.”

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