Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Mining


There’s something to be said for the value of perspective-taking. Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3 provides a multitude of angles on various issues when the USS Carlsbad teams up with the Cerritos crew.

Our intrepid Lower Decks heroes are stunned to learn they have a reputation, and Tendi is forced to pivot her expectations to accommodate Dr. Migleemo’s unorthodox approach to mentoring.

Meanwhile, Freeman and Maier’s preconceptions about each other blind them to a nearly catastrophic information breach orchestrated by the Scrubble-scientist conspirators.

Broken Rocks - Star Trek: Lower Decks

It’s an awfully clever thematic execution.

My favorite instance of perspective is Dr. T’Ana’s giving Tendi her pep talk about being ready to fail in pursuit of success, all the while prepping a patient for amputation.

T'Ana's Bedside Manner - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

I love it because T’Ana is the most bristly, curmudgeonly, nearly-feral member of the crew, but she’s the only one Tendi would believe when she tells her she’s capable of becoming a senior bridge officer. And she knows it.

In reluctantly giving Tendi that proverbial shake to reset her perspective, T’Ana’s moment of encouragement gives us a new angle on the doctor’s personality and secret warm fuzzy underbelly.

Tendi: I just don’t know if I’m cut out to be a Science Officer. I can’t get the captain to listen to me.
T’Ana: Okay, guess we’re doing this. Tendi, of course you’re cut out for it. That’s why I recommended you.
Tendi: Then why am I blowing it? All my studying hasn’t helped at all.
T’Ana: No, no, studying is good. But in real life, there’s going to be times when you need to make a mess of things before you can fix them.

Tendi’s respect for the doctor is in keeping with the Orion’s superfluously optimistic and enthusiastic nature. They seem like a diametrically-opposed pairing, yet T’Ana recognizes Tendi’s ability to become a great science officer while Tendi worships T’Ana’s expertise.

Migleemo may be ridiculously blind to where his trainee’s allegiances lie, but he’ll probably prove to be Tendi’s greatest test in completing her training.

Tendi: Just so you know, I’ve been studying super hard. Microbiology, Xenobiology, Astrobiology…
Migleemo: There really are a lot of Sciences, aren’t there? Too many, if you ask me.
Tendi: Seems like the proper amount.

It’s interesting to note that it’s only when Tendi taps into her inner T’Ana and cracks the totem in front of the captains that she manages to achieve Migleemo’s goal for her.

Excited Tendi - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

While the Lower Decks will never seem quite right if Tendi were to be promoted, I can’t help but cheer for the chipper little green geek.

Staying with the ship plot for the moment, it’s funny that Maier and Freeman’s encounter is so contentious that Ransom has to play peacemaker, considering how riled up he was at the briefing when discussing how Federation scientists aren’t Starfleet.

Ransom: Once again, we’re cleaning up a mess for a bunch of outpost scientists. You know why these guys are always getting eaten, disappearing, or getting eggs laid in their chest?
Mariner: Because they’re working on the frontier?
Ransom: Because they’re weirdos!

In hindsight, it’s very elegant foreshadowing.

Of course, Freeman’s perspective is filtered by her perception that Maier’s still wet behind the ears, and Maier is a little puffed-up in the face of the more experienced and decorated Freeman.

Captain’s egos, am I right?

Ransom Brokering Peace - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

I wonder if every Cali-class ship collaboration ends up being a pissing contest or if the Cerritos Lower Decks’ reputation just ruffles everyone’s feathers.

Or maybe, in general, the Cali-class crews have difficulty making friends and influencing people? They serve on Cali-class ships until they show they don’t immediately antagonize newcomers?

Mariner: A sidecar? Even in your fantasy, you’re not driving?
Boimler: Driving’s scary. I’m a natural passenger.

I like that there isn’t a direct parallel between the Carlsbad and Cerritos teams. Too often, there’s an assumption that every team has the same types of members.

Where Kearns initially seemed to be Mariner-like in giving direction, she turns out to be just as awkward as Boimler.

Lower Decks Interactions - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

Based on divisions, that would make Ensign Young the Carlsbad version of Boimler, and there’s no indication there’s any resemblance. And Cor’Dee is definitely no Rutherford.

So it would be interesting for them to team up again as it appears that the Carlsbad Lower Decks crew is more than just a low-grade copy of our team.

Boimler: I think these broken rocks are reading our nightmares!
Rutherford: But I don’t like my nightmares!

Putting aside the initial animosity between the ship crews bred from a misunderstanding and personal insecurities, the Jengus IV mission is both ridiculous and intriguing.

The concept of psychic mines is incredible in their potential. This could be a game-changer for espionage circles. If Kurtzman and Company are paying attention, this tech should be a significant plot tool in the Section 31 series.

I started to wonder how Stevens’s body was reconstituted, but that led me back to Shaxs’s resurrection, and as we know, that way lies madness.

Mariner and Stevens in a Pickle - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

That being said, if Stevens could be reconstituted, all those scientists should be salvageable, too, right?

One would think that with all those scientists around, someone would’ve warned someone about the dangers of breaking open the rocks.

Also, shouldn’t they have been able to program some Dot-7s to clean up those rocks instead of sending crew members susceptible to the psychic fantasy visions?

Boimler: I think these broken rocks are reading our nightmares!
Rutherford: But I don’t like my nightmares!

Even being forewarned about the potentially deadly hallucinations, it’s hard to believe Boimler could resist jumping into that Admiral’s sidecar for long and sneaking Jennifer into the mix as Mariner’s distracting fantasy is a chef’s kiss of in-story reveals.

Aww, it’s nice to see you with a girlfriend instead of destroying everything in your path.


It occurs to me that when Stevens wanders off into the mine-infested landscape, he probably fights off many inappropriately-friendly Ransoms before returning to trigger the big oops. *shudder*

Double Lower Decks - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 3

In any case — despite not bringing in T’Lyn or Ma’ah as outsider perspectives on our Cerritos team — it’s a lot of fun to get a sense of what the other Cali-class ships think of the Cerritos.

For Captain Maier and his lower decks to be so nervous to be working with Freeman et al., it’s affirming for our little second contact ship that their adventures have not gone unnoticed.

You’re going to be a great officer on the bridge one day, but you’re going to have to risk screwing things up to get there.


What did you think, Fanatics? Was there a fantasy you were hoping to see actualized?

Will the Carlsbad return for an encore? What about an exchange program between lower decks?

Hit our comments below with your wishlist. Maybe the psychic mines will make it come true!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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