Star Trek Lower Decks Where Pleasant Fountains Lie Recap: Jeffrey Combs
A ton of Star Trek: Lower Decks has been about using typical setups and premises from collection past and reframing them or poking holes with loving entertaining. So it’s unusual to see the sequence riff on not 1, but two enjoyment stalwarts of the earlier and not really play them for laughs—even if it still employs them to strengthen the bonds involving its people.
“Where Pleasant Fountains Lie” at the time yet again splits its storytelling into its common structure of placing Rutherford and Tendi, and then Boimler and Mariner, through two distinct homages to typical Trek episode archetypes (attention-grabbing for an episode about comfort and ease zones, but we’ll get to that later). The initial, for Tendi and Rutherford—the latter in particular—is a riff on a much a lot more hyperspecific Trek gag: the idea of a highly state-of-the-art race whose know-how and civilization just so transpire to glance like people ren truthful costumes currently in the studio’s costume departments that you could borrow for a couple of weeks. In this circumstance, it will come with an interesting twist on a very little-explored character, Paul Scheer’s Main Engineer Billups, who, it turns out, remaining a daily life of royalty—and royal bloodline continuation, a lot more specifically—on his homeworld to be a part of Starfleet. As his mom, Queen Billups (herself a riff on Troi’s extravagant mom Lwaxana, albeit with a lot less of Majel Barrett’s camp allure), and her royal flagship appear knocking on the USS Cerritos’ doorway for maintenance and refit requests, the chief drags Rutherford into the strangely intercourse-obsessed lifestyle of his former society.
It’s a weird mishmash of all all those basic “period” civilizations that Trek has been fascinated by, regardless of whether it’s wild gods like Trelane or the Q, who just occurred to appear like cosplayers as a way to clarify themselves to “lesser” races, Holodeck programs like Voyager’s Honest Haven, or actually technologically regressed societies like TNG’s, uh… not particularly good colonists of Bringloid V. But it also plays into a different long-operating side of Trek a minor far more delicate than most Lessen Decks jokes: the series’ fascination with the interplay of intercourse, sexuality, and in a lot of approaches, heteronormativity in a supposedly utopian long run.
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It turns out Billups’ mother has spent her lifetime because her son left for Federation service desperately making an attempt to get him laid—and not for the reason that Billups himself has a issue executing the deed. In truth, he’s willingly celibate. The backward policies of his folks involve the up coming in line dropping their virginity in purchase to ascend to the throne. Really should Billups ever fornicate, that signifies he’s announced his intent to sire an heir and grow to be king. Like other episodes this year, this all comes down to have confidence in between the people today closest to you. Rutherford is dragged into the awkward track and dance of Billups’ testy partnership with his mother, as the latter keeps hoping to trick him into sexual intercourse so he can take her place, even though the previous is significantly annoyed that his household and even his people have in essence disregarded the pride he usually takes in his duty and life’s do the job as a Starfleet engineer for the reason that it is not what is envisioned of him.
It is the exact same for Rutherford and Tendi also following she pushes him to go on the assignment with Billups in the initially place—attempting to support her pal overcome his lingering assurance troubles and split out of his comfort zone. But the transfer backfires when Rutherford and Billups’ mother are seemingly killed in an accidental programs overload, only for it to be uncovered that it is just the most recent in the Queen’s line of (horrifyingly drastic) tries to get her son a one-way wormhole to the Bone Zone. It is all about trust in the men and women about you, one thing Billups and the Queen just really don’t have—but Tendi and Rutherford do, and are equipped to expose the plot in time to hold the chief where by his coronary heart desires to be: by a warp main, relatively than in a threesome.
Believe in is the matter of the day in Boimler and Mariner’s arc, as effectively. Tasked with escorting But Another Star Trek Evil Computer system to the Daystrom Institute for containment—Agimus, a pleasant change from Trek legend and male of a million faces Jeffrey Combs—Boimler finds himself reassigned from a much more significant-profile away mission to assistance Mariner with the busywork. It is some thing that puts a little bit of a dent into the romance they’ve reforged over the course of this period. Items get even worse when, as with all great shuttlecraft-centered absent missions, there is an emergency crash landing, and out of the blue the duo come across on their own on a planet with minimal in the way of sustenance. There is no daily life beyond a number of roaming wild animals and tiny opportunity for acquiring a distress sign out, in addition that evil computer that just actually desires to be plugged into any socket it can get its cables on. Dehydrated, exhausted, afraid, and seemingly only able to replicate black licorice for food items, Boimler and Mariner’s partnership is actually set to the examination, and virtually torn apart when Agimus manages to expose that Mariner is who bought Boimler reassigned, believing he was not prepared for these kinds of a unsafe mission in spite of his recurring talk of his time aboard the Titan.
It’s a great conflict and goes to show that the operate these two have manufactured so far in closing up the rift among them is ongoing do the job, and not solved even when they make terrific strides toward staying near as soon as more. But it is manufactured even far better when, having seemingly resolved to cast his lot in with Agimus and use the evil computer’s power to hijack a even now-performing wrecked ship to get off-earth, it’s unveiled that Boimler created at minimum some of his animus with Mariner to persuade the rogue AI he was on his aspect. He only ends up allowing the laptop or computer ability a distress beacon, fairly than the ship itself, but a lot more importantly, Boimler goes a very long way in demonstrating how much trust has been restored between himself and Mariner—what she did to him was not neat, but he understands her intentions have been properly-put. That, and he’s come a extensive way himself to be in a position to convincingly show up to Agimus like he’d turned on her in the initially put, so the have faith in is not just a make any difference of him inserting it again in her, but trust in himself to get the work completed, like any good Starfleet officer.
It’s that aspect that will make “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie” a lot more than the sum of its pointed franchise referencing parts. By building in these times of trust in between our heroes, bringing collectively a period that has turn out to be a great deal extra character-centered and introspective than it seemingly may well have 1st permit on, Reduced Decks is obtaining a heart for itself that’s larger than just its adore for the idea of what Star Trek is, and how foolish and enjoyment that strategy can be in the 1st place. And as the series goes on to bigger factors, that is an essential stage on a street we just cannot hold out to see the collection vacation even further on.
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