Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Temporal Edict

Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3
Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 /

Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 introduces the Boimler Effect.

By now, we’ve become used to the format of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Each episode opens with one funny scene that provides insight into ship life before the episodic plot kicks in. Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 begins with Talent Night.

Several Star Trek shows have included this bonding exercise, giving the actors the opportunity to spread their wings by singing and dancing. This show is different. Boimler has been hogging the stage with his musical odes to his mother; it’s apparent he has some issues. We’re not clear whether Boimler’s mother passed away when he was young, or if they are estranged. Perhaps Boimler has never known his mother.

Anyway, his attempt at an encore is interrupted by Mariner who plays heavy metal. Her bass is so low and loud that it ends up reverberating the entire ship and is even heard by the Klingon ambassador who Captain Freeman is negotiating with.

The Captain sends Shaxs to shut down the music. By the time Shaxs reaches the stage, Mariner has completed her set and Boimler has returned. Shaxs immediately chastises Boimler for being too loud. And Boimler, being the suck-up that he is, apologizes. That man is the worst!

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Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 – Shut Up, Boimler

Now that the opening scene has established just what a doormat Boimler is when it comes to his commanding officers, let’s find out how low he can go. While calibrating the brig sensors, newcomer Tendi learns about ‘buffer time’ – overexaggerating the time needed to complete a job so that you can chill and hang out in between tasks.

We’ve all been guilty of this in real life, especially people working in agencies. You never bill a client for the actual time you can finish the job. The Lower Decks have been taking advantage of senior officers’ complete lack of knowledge about how long tasks take to complete. Until now.

While Mariner and the others are enjoying margaritas in the brig, Captain Freeman learns something unfortunate. A Cardassian negotiation she had been preparing for has been moved to Vulcan, and the Cerritos has been reassigned to offer gifts to the Gelrakians.

Freeman is incensed by the disrespect. Starfleet thinks of the Cerritos as a joke. To make matters worse, Freeman sees her crew procrastinating instead of working and overhears the phrase ‘buffer time’. When she’s stuck in the elevator with Boimler, he lets slip that he ‘skipped buffer time’. Now the Captain needs to know what this is all about.

Boimler blabs and the entire ship is given a new mandate – every task must be completed within the time allotted by the higher-ups. While Rutherford is positive the work can be done, we soon see the crew at the end of their tether.

Without the time to relax and recoup, the entire crew is overtired and stressed. They’re on edge, snapping at each other, making mistakes. The only person thriving is… Boimler. He not only finishes all his tasks but keeps taking on more!

Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 – The Wrong Gift

Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3
Jerry O’Connell as Commander Jack Ransom on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 /

While the lower decks are losing their minds, Mariner joins Number One, Jack Ransom, for the away mission to gift the Gelrakians. They’re sticklers for crystals, which Ensign Vendome, a Bolian, has carried with him in a box.

Ransom is a complete windbag, talking up his previous exploits and sharing way too much information about his previous romances. Mariner can’t stand him, and he can’t stand Mariner.

If you thought the away team had left the micromanaging on the Cerritos, you’re wrong. Ransom gets after Mariner for keeping her sleeves rolled up. Do you think he would have noticed that if he did some actual work?

Once they land, Ransom asks Vendome to offer the Gelrakians a crystal, but to his horror, inside the box is a piece of wood. Overtired Vendome picked up the wrong box. This is a grave insult to the Gelrakians. They capture the away team and threaten them.

Between Ransom and Mariner, one of them must battle the local warrior Vindor – if they win, the team can leave; if they lose, not only will Vindor kill the loser, but the rest of the away team will be squished by a giant crystal.

With this ultimatum, both Ransom and Mariner rush to volunteer. Yes, both have a hero complex. Mariner tries to convince Ransom that she’s the better fighter; she even has the scars from previous battles to prove it. Just when it seems that Ransom is giving in, he stabs Mariner in the foot and enters the arena.

Mariner is very attracted to Ransom breaking the rules and ripping his shirt off to flaunt his giant abs. Ransom makes quick work of Vindor, allowing the team to leave.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 – The Invasion

Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom speaking to an alien on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3
Jerry O’Connell as Commander Jack Ransom speaking to an alien on Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 /

While the Gelrakians watch the fight on the planet, they send an armada to board the Cerritos. Freeman, also tired from following the new ‘temporal edict’, watches as her ship is invaded. She commands her crew to continue their work and reach their deadlines. This allows the aliens to wreak havoc on the ship.

Before Freeman knows it, most of the systems are down because the crew are messing up the ship, the bridge crew are unconscious, and the aliens are breaking in. Finally, Boimler finds the Captain and reminds her that while she’s a great captain, she needs to have faith in her crew’s ability to manage themselves.

Freeman agrees; she reinstalls buffer time and allows the crew to use their own discretion to get rid of the aliens. Newly independent, the crew beat back the invaders and save the ship.

The away team returns to the Cerritos and offers the real gift to the aliens. Back on the ship, it seems that Ransom and Mariner have a healthy new respect for each other, but then he throws her in the brig for disobeying his order to roll down her sleeves. Funnily enough, Mariner claims to love the brig and valiantly fights the officers dragging her away. He finds that ‘hot’.

Freeman is so impressed by Boimler’s encouraging words that saved the day, she institutes a new rule, the ‘Boimler Effect’. According to this rule, all crew are encouraged to think for themselves and not blindly follow rules and commands. This is the very opposite of how Boimler works and he is horrified.

The rest of the lower decks joke that the new rule will be forgotten, but in the far future, young Starfleet cadets are taught about this important rule and how it was named after the laziest crew member in all of Starfleet. Oh no! That will be Boimler’s legacy, poor guy. The far future also considers Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Chief O’ Brien to be a significant figure in history, but why?

Star Trek: Lower Decks Episode 3 – Final Thoughts

I can’t get over how hilarious Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 3 was. The fact that the writers humorously tackled an issue that many people face is a credit to them. Micromanagement is a real problem in workplaces around the world and it stems from insecurities in leadership. It also hampers productivity. This episode touches on both aspects.

I hope Captain Freeman grows out of her obvious lack of confidence regarding her ship and her crew’s mandate. It’s not easy being second best, but the Cerritos is much more than they give themselves credit for.

Star Trek: Lower Decks could easily be a mindless laugh riot, but the best humor rises from addressing real issues. I think a lot of people will resonate with the struggles of the crew in this episode, and at the same time really wish they could be as productive Boimler 24×7.

I’m not sure about the pairing of Mariner and Ransom. Starfleet doesn’t allow fraternizing among colleagues, especially not between senior officers and subordinates. If the writers follow through with the pairing, I hope they address the issues with a relationship like that.

Next. Episodes to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager. dark

After watching Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 3, do you have a favorite character? Let us know in the comments below.

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are available every Thursday on CBS All Access.