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Star Trek: Lower Decks S3E10 Review: “The Stars at Night”

Cali Class Gets a Bad Rap

The Cerritos is docked for repairs after battling the Breen. Starfleet Command summons Captain Freeman and chews her out for the failure of Project Swing By. They intend to decommission all California-class starships and replace them with Admiral Buenamigo’s automated Texas-class vessels. Freeman points out that the Texas class hasn’t even been tested, while the Cerritos and her sister ships have been doing solid work for years.

The brass don’t listen. Their decision is spectacularly ill-considered. It struck me as a false note. Starfleet Command can be stubborn and out of touch, but they’re not usually reckless. However, it sets high stakes for the episode.

Freeman: I’m fighting this. And I don’t want my crew hearing anything until I’ve had my say.
Boimler: Guys! Guys! Hans just told me that the Phylosian in Tactical’s girlfriend’s vedek heard that Starfleet Command is shuttering the Cali class and replacing it with drones!
Tendi: Who’s Hans?
Boimler: You know, towel guy.
Tendi: [gasps] The gossip king? He’s never been wrong!

On the ship, Boimler and Tendi gossip about the bad news. Rutherford is distracted by the sexy specs of the Texas class. Boims does impressions of the officers. Shaxs walks in while he’s being roasted and leaves in tears. Boimler follows, desperate to make amends. Tendi and Rutherford miss Mariner and feel bad about not being more supportive.

Pitfall with Ferengi

Beckett’s having a blast. Carrying an ancient idol, she swings across several chasms, trading taunts with the grave-robbers who chase her. Petra beams her up to their little ship, and they warp away to the next adventure. Mariner loves the freedom of her new gig. But when she asks who’s paying for everything, Petra evades the question.

The Test

Captain Freeman challenges Admiral Buenamigo to a mission test, a timed and judged series of tasks, the Cerritos versus the Aledo.

First stop, upgrading facilities on Galardon. The humanoids work fast, but the Aledo is hot on their heels. It can beam down prefabricated structures.

Second, installing an outpost on LT-358, an uninhabited planet. Tendi’s tricorder indicates there might be living microbes in the soil. She tells Ransom, and he the captain. All agree they have to stop construction to check it out, otherwise they risk violating the prime directive. More thorough scans show there’s no life present after all, and they finish building the outpost.

Third, a supply run to Ockmenic IX, “one of those Brigadoon-type planets that only phases into our dimension for a couple hours a year.” The Aledo makes the delivery. The Cerritos arrives too late. They lose the challenge.

Bad Admiral (Badmiral)

Commiserating in the bar, Tendi blames herself for holding up the mission. Boimler and Rutherford (who’s still poring over the Texas-class code) assure her she did right. Captain Freeman overhears Tendi ask why, if it was the right thing, the Aledo didn’t do the same.

Freeman calls Admiral Buenamigo and confronts him. His ship won by ignoring the prime directive, which proves the Texas class isn’t yet fit for duty. Rutherford bursts in to tell Freeman what he just figured out, that the Texas-class AI is built on his code, the same code he used for the murderous Badgey, and that Admiral Buenamigo ordered his memories erased to cover it up. The admiral further confesses that he’d been setting up the Cerritos to fail. He knew the Breen were on Brekka, and he put the crew’s life in danger so the Aledo could swoop in dramatically to save them.

They have tons of dirt on him now. Buenamigo authorizes fully autonomous mode for the drone ship and orders it to destroy the Cerritos. The Aledo disobeys. It immediately kills Buenamigo, blowing up his office with phaser fire. It activates two more drones, the Dallas and Corpus Christi, and the three run amok, blasting the space station.

Return of the Prodigal Daughter

Mariner plans to do some snooping while Petra is off the ship. Petra returns and catches her, but tells her to go right ahead. Their mysterious benefactor isn’t sinister at all. It’s that big archaeology nerd, Admiral Picard.

Mariner realizes that she wanted a reason to return to Starfleet. Petra tells her the Cerritos is in trouble. Mariner wants to go help her friends. Petra says it’s hopeless. After a brief argument, she relents, and they warp towards the battle.

The USS Van Citters arrives to help fight the drones, which focus fire on the new threat. Before they can destroy the allied vessel, Freeman baits the AI, showing that Rutherford is aboard. The Cerritos flees at top speed, and the Texas-class ships pursue.

With Boimler’s support, the captain approves Lieutenant Shaxs’ plan, and also his lifelong dream, to eject the warp core. The core’s explosion destroys two drones, but the Aledo survives. It hammers the Cerritos until Mariner shows up with reinforcements: all the California-class starships in the fleet! Together, they easily blast the shit out of the Aledo.

“All’s Well That, You Know, Turns Out Fine.”

Mariner returns to the Cerritos. Her friends apologize for not having her back, and she forgives them.

Migleemo compliments Tendi’s performance under pressure. Another senior science officer trainee has been transferred to the ship, the Vulcan T’Lynn. Tendi is psyched, T’Lynn reserved. Shaxs thanks Boimler for his support, saying he’s in the bear pack now.

Mariner and Freeman make up.


  • [Boimler imitates Shaxs] “Hey, Baby Bear. The only thing I’ll miss is being able to eject the warp core. I talk about Prophets even more than a Ferengi.”
  • “Damn you, Starfleet!” “Well, nice try, but I’m not Starfleet.” “You’re still a filthy hu-mon!” “You got me there.”
  • “I want to see Commander Data–level work, people. Those isolinear chips better be a blur!”
  • [Ransom explains the Riker Maneuver] “You need to sit? Cross your leg over the back of it and slam down. Command that chair!”
  • “Rutherford, toss me the scanner that looks like a phase discriminator.”
  • “Admiral Picard? No way!” “Yes way. The guild has a huge endowment from Jean-Luc. That guy loves mummies even more than you.” “Aw, I was hoping for a Romulan or at least a Xindi cabal.”
  • “Arnak, on the night of his joining.”
  • “You gave me everything I ever asked for. You’re in the bear pack now.” “Are you my bridge buddy?” “Absolutely, Baby Bear.” “Aww, bears!”