(written from a Production point of view)
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Lower Decks, and thus may contain spoilers.
Mariner repurposes Boimler's holodeck program to cast herself as the villain in a "lower decks"-style movie.
On the surface of a planet, a huge statue of a rat alien is toppled by a group of lizard aliens with the help of Ensign Beckett Mariner, who proudly exclaims that they will no longer be subject to "rat oppression". The leader, who is in shackles, protests, saying that the lizard aliens are not oppressed as Mariner claims, and that they're only raised for food. Mariner says that the lizard aliens should be free to do what they want, and tells the rat alien leader that once Captain Carol Freeman arrives, she will only support what Mariner has done, despite her normally being disappointed in Mariner. Freeman beams down, and tells Mariner to stand down. She says that due to the Prime Directive, Starfleet is forbidden to interfere in the politics of the planet, and that they are free to determine their future without their help. Mariner is angered by this, and begins to criticize Freeman's decision. Freeman takes her aside and tells her that she should have brought the issue of the rats eating the lizards to her attention, rather than act on her own accord. Mariner gets even more frustrated with this response, and Freeman warns her that if she weren't her daughter, she would have been kicked off the USS Cerritos. Mariner just continues to argue that because she's her daughter, she treats her like a "bitch" all the time.
Fed up, Freeman tells her that when she gets back to the ship, she will be reporting for therapy. Mariner, who had assumed she'd be going to the brig, is shocked at the order, and angrily says she doesn't need it. Freeman disagrees, saying that Mariner is a loose cannon, and needs professional help. Mariner dreads visiting the ship's counselor, Dr. Migleemo, noting that he's not very good as a counselor and is prone to endless metaphors with food. Freeman ignores her protests, and has Mariner beamed to the Cerritos. As she's beamed away, Mariner angrily shouts out once more that she doesn't need therapy, and Freeman goes to negotiate with the rat alien. She asks if leaving them some food replicators will prevent them from relying on the lizard aliens as food, and the rat alien sarcastically asks if it can replicate nutrient pellets, to which Freeman answers in an annoyed tone that they can.
On the Cerritos, Mariner sits in Dr. Migleemo's office. Migleemo notes that Mariner's file is full of insubordination, and Mariner expresses frustration at being in counseling, preferring to be in the brig. Migleemo says that Freeman wants them to meet weekly, and that he hopes they can find a way to make her into the better officer that Freeman knows Mariner can be. Mariner once more protests that she'd rather be in the brig, and Migleemo says that Mariner needs an outlet for her rage, and suggests attempting to make paella.
On the holodeck, Ensigns D'Vana Tendi and Sam Rutherford are doing some target practice with a hologram of Leonardo da Vinci, while a disgruntled Mariner sits off to the side, when Ensign Brad Boimler walks in and asks if he can use the holodeck to help him prepare for an interview that he has with Freeman later to potentially be selected for a workshop in advanced diplomacy. He loads a program he made, which simulates the entire bridge crew to interview Freeman early so he doesn't make any mistakes for his actual interview. He notes that he loaded over seven years worth of the entire crew's personal logs to get the most accurate portrayal of the crew he could, despite those logs being private. Realizing the portrayal of the crew is near perfect, Mariner gets an idea, and accesses the holodeck's control panel. Boimler begins to protest as Mariner puts in her own parameters for the program, making the entire program play out more like a movie than the tool that Boimler had initially hoped to use. Mariner plans to use this in regards to her own therapy.
The revised program begins to play out as Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta, and opening credits dazzle Rutherford and Tendi, who immediately get excited for Mariner's idea. Boimler once again protests that he doesn't want to do the movie, but is outvoted as Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford walk off to get in costume.
The movie starts, and Boimler falls into Kabba Lake, where Freeman is hydroscooting with her senior staff. They enjoy their time together as Boimler approaches on his own hydroscoot, asking to borrow Freeman for his interview. He asks if she prefers her bridge officers arriving early or staying late, and Freeman says he's asking the wrong questions. At that moment, they get a transmission from Admiral Vassery, and Freeman notes that her vacation is over.
On Douglas Station, Vassery apologizes for bringing Freeman in on such short notice, but Freeman is undeterred and asks how they can help. Vassery briefs them on an odd message they picked up from the leaders of Idlocana VI in which they were thanked for a wonderful second contact with the crew of the USS San Clemente. What is strange about this, however, is that Starfleet does not have a ship registered with that name, noting that whoever made second contact with the planet wasn't with Starfleet. Boimler is intrigued with the mystery. Vassery orders Freeman and the Cerritos to get him some intel on this contact, then get out, and orders Freeman not to divert from the plan. Freeman notes that the recent upgrades to the Cerritos will make them more than up for the task.
Boimler, Freeman, and the rest of the senior staff take a shuttlecraft to the Cerritos, and are all mesmerized by the beauty of the ship. Freeman notes that seeing the ship like this never fails to take her breath away, and Boimler compares her to a handsome lady, a comparison that Freeman agrees with. The sight even moves Chief Engineer Andy Billups to tears.
The Cerritos arrives at Idlocana VI, and Boimler informs Freeman that the planet's selenium rings are disrupting the ship's sensors. Shaxs then detects a hostile ship decloaking and Freeman orders for the shields to be raised. At that time, a vessel which appears to be a an advanced Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaks, and hails the Cerritos. On-screen, Mariner is seen in the attire of a space marauder. She introduces herself to the bridge crew as "Vindicta: vengeance personified", playing her role in an over-the-top maniacal persona. She also introduces her henchmen, played by Tendi and Rutherford: Tendi is playing herself as a stereotypical Orion warrior queen with a deep heritage of piracy, and Rutherford is playing a cyborg named Bionic 5. What would have been Boimler's role is instead being played by someone named Shempo, who is little more than a submissive version of Boimler.
Freeman asks why Vindicta is posing as Starfleet, and Mariner angrily replies that Freeman is nothing but a propped-up errand girl for Starfleet. Freeman attempts to negotiate, but as she does, Shempo brings Mariner some tea, only for Mariner to spit it out since he actually brought her coffee, and she vaporizes him, to the shock of the bridge crew. Freeman realizes that Vindicta is insane, and Vindicta begins to quote The Tempest, which confuses the bridge crew until they realize that they are actually watching a recorded message.
Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford have actually managed to board the Cerritos, and Mariner begins to kill every member she can see in an excited bloodlust. She demands for someone to bring her Freeman, and vaporizes anyone who refuses. While she goes about this, Tendi and Rutherford take further fascination in the amount of detail that Boimler put into the crew of the Cerritos. Rutherford then realizes that Billups is likely in the program. Realizing that anything he says to Billups won't have any future consequences here, he eagerly runs off to go find him. Mariner tries to get Tendi to have a little fun in her role and to take some slaves, but Tendi appears uncomfortable with the stereotype. Before she can voice this protest, though, Mariner continues to vaporize multiple crew members.
Ransom appears to confront her. Mariner taunts him, and Ransom asks if she can live up to her talk, before he is shot by her phaser and mortally wounded. As he lays dying, Boimler asks Ransom what Freeman's favorite cookie is, hoping to earn favor with Freeman by baking her some cookies. Ransom notes the approach as being smart, but warns Boimler that Freeman has an allergy. Before he can note what ingredient Freeman is allergic to, however, Mariner vaporizes him.
In engineering, Billups rallies his crew just as Rutherford enters the room. The crew fires at him and a phaser shot ruptures a hydron line, forcing the engineering crew to evacuate. Billups and Rutherford are trapped in the room and Rutherford approaches Billups, telling him that he's been meaning to say something for a long time. His threatening tone, however, is suddenly replaced by one of reverence, and he calls Billups the best engineer in Starfleet. As hydron levels reach critical, Billups and Rutherford begin to work together to bypass the indacontrols and suppress the satievents, in order to create a makeshift rudimentary plasma filter. Billups is surprised at Rutherford's expertise, and comments that for a space marauder, he's very good with a starship.
Tendi and Mariner confront Shaxs in the mess hall, and Mariner uses a severed Borg drone's head to create a force field, which blocks Shaxs's phaser fire. She then throws the head at Shaxs, and it explodes, killing Shaxs. Tendi is mortified by the scene, and as Mariner tries to give her Shaxs' earring, she begins to question Mariner's actions. Mariner once more says that Tendi's role is of a stereotypical Orion pirate, and Tendi angrily downplays the stereotype, saying that many Orions have moved away from piracy. Mariner sarcastically apologizes and invites her to go help torture the "cat doctor", which Tendi angrily says she won't do. Tendi believes that Mariner is enjoying this whole scenario way too much and that despite the holodeck being fantasy, this is not healthy for Mariner. She asks if they can stop, but Mariner refuses, saying it feels good, inviting Tendi to help her kill Freeman. Tendi angrily dismisses herself, saying that Mariner is not herself, and walks out of the holodeck.
Mariner enters the bridge and kills the remaining bridge crew, confronting Freeman. Freeman says that she won't take her ship, and Mariner simply says that she doesn't want the Cerritos, she just wants Freeman to stop treating her like the bad guy (despite the fact that she is playing the bad guy in the movie). Mariner asks why Freeman never sides with her, to which Freeman says that she doesn't even know Mariner. Freeman calls her crazy, only for Mariner to blow up her own ship in response. The explosion knocks the Cerritos out of orbit, and the Cerritos plummets into the atmosphere of Idlocana VI, crashing into the surface of the planet.
Recovering from the crash, Freeman orders a complete evacuation of any surviving crew on the Cerritos, and says that she will keep ship functions online for as long as possible. As she wishes the crew well, Mariner confronts her and taunts her for faking her loving captain role, to which Freeman angrily says she is not faking.
In engineering, Rutherford checks on Billups, and Billups expresses worry about the crew. Rutherford assures him that the rest of the crew survived, since before the ship crashed, Rutherford managed to initiate a rapidly repeating emergency transport sequence which beamed the entire crew from the ship. Billups is astonished by this, since it shouldn't be possible, but Rutherford simply says that since they're in a movie, anything is possible.
Mariner and Freeman fight in the bridge wreckage, and while Freeman (still only seeing Mariner as her Vindicta role), tries to reason with her, Mariner begins to pour her frustration on Freeman for how she's treated her since she was a child. Freeman begins to scale the bridge in an attempt to escape Mariner, but finds herself trapped on a catwalk. Mariner grabs a severed pipe nearby, and prepares to stab Freeman, when Mariner's hologram enters the wreckage of the bridge, and saves Freeman. While Mariner expresses frustration that Boimler went through her logs to simulate Mariner as well, Mariner's hologram beams Freeman away, and confronts Mariner. As they begin to fight, the hologram appears surprised that Mariner seems to know all her fighting techniques. Mariner begins to let even more frustration out as she says that she knows that the hologram used to dress up as Toby Targ every Halloween, and that she actually secretly loves the warp core. Mariner also accuses the hologram that she only breaks rules because she knows that is what the crew expects her to do, saying that if she really were a badass, that she'd do the hard thing and be a good officer, saying that she has only herself to blame for the crew seeing her as a villain.
On the surface of Idlocana VI, the crew of the Cerritos is recovering from the crash, and Billups approaches Rutherford. He notes that despite being a psychotic space marauder, he's a friend in Billup's eyes. They embrace, and Rutherford confesses that Billups is the only one who can see past his mask, knowing that deep down, he just wants to do his job in engineering. Billups then asks if he wants to run off with him to get their own ship where they could do repair work and maintenance on their own time, to which Rutherford accepts. He and Billups walk off, hand in hand, and T'Ana wishes them the best.
Boimler approaches Freeman with a platter of chocolate chip cookies, hoping he'd know if she'd like them before giving them to her in real life. Lieutenant Jet sees this, and knows that Freeman is allergic to chocolate, and subdues Boimler, thinking him to be an assassin. Freeman commends Jet, and while Boimler tries to interview Freeman more, Jet just accuses him of playing mind games with the captain. Freeman orders for Jet to get rid of Boimler, as Boimler asks desperately how he can find favor like Jet as well.
Back on the Cerritos, Mariner continues to fight her hologram before her hologram tells her that despite knowing so much about her, she missed one important thing. While Mariner hates protocol, she doesn't hate the Cerritos, or her crew. She says she works with her best friends, and that she would do anything for Freeman, since she's her mother. Mariner disagrees with this, and says that she complains about Freeman nonstop. The hologram notes that while Freeman is the captain, and while she could be a "pain in the ass" to her, if Freeman kicked her off the Cerritos, she would quit her life in Starfleet, and that Freeman looks out for her as a mom would. Mariner angrily rebukes that Mariner only cares about herself, and the hologram replies in return that if that were true, She wouldn't have kept fighting her to distract her long enough for the crew to evacuate in time before the ship self-destructs. Mariner is taken aback by this as the timer runs out, and the Cerritos explodes.
Boimler is thrown off a cliff by Jet as the program ends, and leaves the three ensigns in the holodeck. Mariner is flustered by what happened, realizing that she lost to herself. But as she thinks about it, she realizes that she really does enjoy working on the ship, and that therapy actually works.
Later, in the officers' lounge, Mariner admits to Rutherford that the program was more therapeutic for her than she thought it would be, realizing that she worked through a lot of personal problems in the program. Rutherford admits that he feels good too, and only wishes he could admit what he said to Billups in the program to the real Billups. Mariner encourages him to, since he is also in the lounge, but Rutherford declines, saying that Billups is too much of a "stone-cold badass". Tendi approaches them, and Mariner offers her a sincere apology for how she treated her. Tendi accepts the apology, and admits that while there are many Orions out there who take to piracy, she is happy she's not among them, and is happy she chose a career in Starfleet. Tendi then invites Mariner to go and look at the warp core with her, to which Mariner calls lame, but happily accepts the invite, and Rutherford joins them.
Freeman sees the three of them in the corridor, and approaches them. Mariner approaches her, and offers a sincere apology to her, saying that she was out of line on the planet, and thanks Freeman for looking out for her. This dumbfounds Freeman to the point of going to Migleemo's office to ask him what she said to him. Migleemo however says that their session was confidential, and that he can't reveal anything to her. Freeman expresses frustration that she has a right to know, but Migleemo simply says she's being a pineapple, to which Freeman angrily kicks over Migleemo's table and demands him to stop using food metaphors.
Boimler returns to the holodeck, and resumes the program, hoping to get the last bit of info he needs for his evaluation. The program resumes, in the middle of an eulogy being given by Freeman about Mariner. She reveals that Mariner was her daughter, and that she was privileged to be her mother. This revelation astonishes Boimler. Freeman continues that they kept the relationship between Freeman and Mariner a secret, and that anyone who would have found out, likely would have faced a court martial and expulsion from Starfleet. Boimler is taken aback by this so much, and ends the program as Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford stop by to invite him to join them at the warp core. Mariner sees that he's very flustered, but he says that everything is alright. Mariner then wishes him luck with his interview with Freeman, and walks off.
In Freeman's ready room, Boimler begins his interview. Freeman asks where he sees himself negotiating peace in five years, and Boimler struggles to give an answer. Freeman tells him to relax and say the first thing that comes to mind, causing him to blurt out Mariner's name. Freeman asks what about Mariner, and Boimler tries to recover, saying that he finds her hot, before changing that he finds her nasty. Unable to recover, he runs out of the ready room shrieking in fear. Freeman simply looks at her PADD and notes that Boimler obviously didn't prepare for the interview.
On the holodeck, Mariner's movie reaches the closing scene with Vindicta rising out of the casing of a photon torpedo, vowing revenge. However, she is immediately shot dead by Leonardo da Vinci, who winks to the audience.
The closing credits start with the signatures of Rutherford, Tendi, Mariner, and Boimler being written onscreen.
"Screw the Prime Directive!"
- - Beckett Mariner
"Nice shot, da Vinci!"
- - D'Vana Tendi and Leonardo da Vinci (hologram), during target practice
"They'll respond exactly the way they would in real life."
"Ah. Hey buddy, how's it going?"
"Don't talk to me, I'm pissed off!"
"Whoa! Amazing! We had that exact same conversation an hour ago."
- - Brad Boimler, Sam Rutherford, and Shaxs (hologram)
"Ooh, nice font."
- - Rutherford, during the opening credits of Mariner's movie
"I don't wanna do a movie!"
"That's okay. You were kind of a Xon, to be honest. You probably weren't gonna make the final cut."
- - Boimler and Mariner
"If this was actually happening, they'd send the Enterprise. But, you know. Artistic license."
- - Boimler
"She never fails to take my breath away."
"I wish I could kiss her and squeeze her."
"Uh, uh, the Cerritos is a handsome lady."
"You're damn right about that, Boimler."
- - Freeman (hologram) and Boimler, on the beauty of the Cerritos
"Captain, we're ready for your command."
"Mmm, time to take this puppy off its leash. Warp me!"
- - Jack Ransom (hologram) and Carol Freeman (hologram), about to go to warp
"I am Vindicta, vengeance personified. At last, Freeman, I will bathe in your blood."
- - Mariner, as Vindicta
"I'm Shempo! I was supposed to be played by Boimler!"
"Okay, come on. I don't sound like that."
"I love my captain and I don't want to be doing this!"
"All right, that's not too far off."
- - Shempo and Boimler
- - Shaxs (hologram)
"Oh, when are you going to give up the 'loving captain' act?"
"It's not an act! I'm overflowing with love and affection!"
"Oh, shut up!"
"You shut up!"
- - Mariner and Freeman (hologram)
"I initiated a rapid repeating emergency transport sequence and beamed the entire crew before we crashed."
"What? But that's not possible!"
"No, it's a movie. You can beam whatever you want. You can do all sorts of beaming stuff in a movie."
- - Rutherford and Andy Billups (hologram)
"Get off my mom, you bitch!"
- - Mariner (hologram)
"Godspeed, you crazy *bleep*s."
- - T'Ana (hologram), as Rutherford and Billups walk off
"Um, so do you wanna go maybe sit and look at the warp core with me?"
"Wow, so lame! Yes, let's do it."
"We talking warp core? Ooh baby, I'm in!"
- - Tendi, Mariner, and Rutherford
"What did she tell you?"
"Captain, you know I can't share what your crew tells me. That would be a real ethical pickle."
"What?! If she's planning something, I have a right to know!"
"Carol, you're being a pineapple, right now."
"Ugh! Stop referencing foods!"
- - Freeman and Migleemo, over Mariner's sudden change in character
- This episode features parallels to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hollow Pursuits", as well as several of the Star Trek films.
- The flyby that the bridge crew does with Cerritos is similar in nature to the flyby that James T. Kirk and Montgomery Scott do with the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- The musical score during the flyby evokes the main theme of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The lens flare, the ship breaking frame and "all sorts of beaming stuff" from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.
- The signatures of the participants of the program appearing at the end is similar to the signatures of the cast of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country appearing at the end of that film.
- The photon tube in the middle of a forest is similar to after Spock's burial tube soft landed on Genesis at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The crash landing of the Cerritos resembles those of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek Generations and of the Enterprise in Star Trek Beyond.
- Mariner quoting The Tempest as "Vindicta" is similar to General Chang frequently quoting Shakespeare in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Khan Noonien Singh quoting Moby Dick in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The warp effect title sequence for the simulation resembles that of Star Trek: The Next Generation for its fifth season.
- Mariner compares Boimler's role in her movie to Xon, noting that his role likely wouldn't make the final cut. The character of Xon was originally supposed to have a significant role in the canceled project, Star Trek: Phase II, but did not survive its transformation to Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Xon was eventually referenced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- When Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta starts, the aspect ratio of the episode changes to reflect that often seen in a movie. The aspect ratio is limited to the holodeck itself, as seen when Tendi exits the program later on. There is also a "film grain" effect added to the scenes in the holodeck.
- This Episode is about a minute longer than other episodes of the show. Mike McMahan requested an additional minute of animation for the scene in which the crew inspects the Cerritos in space dock as a reference to a similar scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The network agreed but refused another request by McMahan to release a movie-lenght version of the episode where the said scene would be stretched to a two hour duration (Mission Log Supplemental 62, Time Index 13:15).
- Although Lt. Commander Andy Billups does appear in the episode, he does not have any dialogue. Paul Scheer does voice the holographic duplicate of Lt. Commander Billups.
- Jack Ransom, Shaxs, and T'Ana do not appear in the episode, but their holographic duplicates are featured within Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta.
- This episode confirms that Carol Freeman and Beckett Mariner's status as mother and daughter is kept a secret from the rest of the crew.
Links and references
- Tawny Newsome as
- Beckett Mariner
- Beckett Mariner hologram
- Vindicta hologram
- Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler
- Noël Wells as D'Vana Tendi
- Eugene Cordero as
- Dawnn Lewis as
- Carol Freeman
- Carol Freeman hologram
- Jerry O'Connell as Jack Ransom (hologram)
- Fred Tatasciore as
- Gillian Vigman as T'Ana (hologram)
- Paul Scheer as Andy Billups hologram
- Paul F. Tompkins as Migleemo
- Ben Rodgers
- Gabrielle Ruiz as Lemonts (hologram)
- Gary Cole as Leonardo da Vinci
- Nolan North
- Marcus Henderson as Jet (hologram)
- Unknown performers as
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|Star Trek: Lower Decks
"No Small Parts"