review masthead image

Star Trek: Lower Decks S3E03 Review: “Mining the Mind’s Mines”

Plot

Federation scientists had established an outpost on a planet they thought uninhabited, until silicate-based people called the Scrubble started turning them to stone. The USS Hood answered the distress call and has already sorted out the crisis.

The Cerritos and another ship, the Carlsbad, handle cleanup and relocation duties for the outpost. While the captains finalize an agreement between the two factions, Boimler, Mariner, and Rutherford are ordered to collect and contain psychic mines on the surface. The mines conjure fantasy phantoms that turn people to stone when touched.

The gang makes friendly advances toward the detail from the Carlsbad, which are rudely rebuffed. Not wanting people to gossip that the Cerritos is a bunch of losers, they decide to rush their work and show up the rude crew. Lt. Stevens knocks over the containment capsule, breaking several orbs. Now they summon nightmares!

The away teams retreat to a cave, sealing the entrance with phaser fire. They all have a chat, and the rude crew has changed its tune. Suddenly they think the Cerritos lower-deckers are rad! This didn’t work for me. The crews’ first meeting was clear. Not a lot of gray area. They definitely implied the Cerritos was shamefully undisciplined.

Mariner: It’s gonna be a slog today. If you guys get sick of dismantling the station, we could always switch it up.
Young: Hey Cor’dee, is “switching it up” in our mission parameters?
Cor’dee: It is not. And why are we wasting time with all this talk?
Mariner: Uh, well, I just —
Kearns: Look, we’ve heard how you do things on the Cerritos. We’re not here to screw around.

That was not a misunderstanding. Anyway, after the reconciliation, they notice the nightmares are sporting odd details drawn from other parts of the mind. Rutherford’s tricorder picks up some power readings, which lead to a hidden chamber full of Federation technology. It’s a trick to steal Federation secrets!

Meanwhile, Tendi meets her advisor for senior science officer training. Unfortunately, it’s Dr. Migleemo, a silly person with little guidance to offer. Paul F. Tompkins gives a delightful performance. “Do help yourself to some of these Corvarian sludge worms. They are exquisitely charred!” He assigns her to be science advisor to Captain Freeman for the day. After two unsuccessful attempts to get the captain’s attention, Tendi returns to sick bay. Dr. T’Ana gives her the advice and encouragement she needs. She returns to the negotiations just as the away teams arrive to report what they discovered. Confusion and denials fly until Tendi smashes the ceremonial gift, revealing a recording device inside. Plot foiled, good guys win!

Characters

Tendi tends to be too timid. In this ep, she learns to be more assertive with command personnel on scientific matters. I wish this had been the main plot or even a whole episode. This theme is rich with potential comedy, as Starfleet officers have long history of ignoring sound scientific advice.

Rutherford’s and Boimler’s fantasies were solid jokes about established traits, but Mariner’s shows that her feelings about commitment are changing. She’s been casually dating Jennifer, whose fantasy doppelganger coos, “I am into labels. I’m fine with being your hot Andorian girlfriend!” Mariner blushes furiously. But the nightmare version (who is somehow an Andorian werewolf?) wants to settle down ASAP, get old and boring, and grow orchids together.

The away team maybe grew just a little. They could stand to be less insecure and a lot more careful with dangerous artifacts.

Gags

  • “I’m off to find out who my senior science officer mentor is. Wish me luck! Wait, no. Wish me facts.”
  • “Is this a mission briefing or a stand-up routine?”
  • “Let’s see, foreword by Ambassador Spock. Hmm, not bad. Vulcan stuff, Vulcan stuff… Vulcan stuff. I tell you what, it would have been logical to find an editor!”
  • “Did you see that? She’s rubbing it in. No, I’m the one who rubs. I rub!”
  • “Come with me. We could increase gravimetric power limits all. night. long.” (All of Leah Brahms’ engineer come-ons were gold.)
  • “I think these broken rocks are reading our nightmares!” “But I don’t like my nightmares!”
  • Cerritos, come in. Augh, of course. It’s not a real day in Starfleet till comms get blocked.”
  • “I said, ‘Okay, Doc. If I was brain-dead for ten minutes, then how come I saw a koala sitting on a black mountai’ — Wait, where you going?”