(written from a Production point of view)
After a high-profile mission goes awry, Boimler is further plagued with self-doubt when Mariner proves herself to be a more naturally talented sci-fi badass than he. Rutherford quits his job in engineering and explores other departments on the USS Cerritos.
Ensigns Beckett Mariner and D'Vana Tendi are transferring some canisters to storage and discussing plans to visit the lounge when the energy sphere reveals itself and demands them to be supplicant. However, before it can produce an intimidating display of power, Mariner tackles the sphere and squeezing it under her arm in a choke-hold like fashion, tells Tendi to grab one of the canisters they are moving. Tendi feels concerned that the way they're handling a sentient creature is a bit off, but Mariner simply retorts that the sphere is hostile. While the sphere tries to intimidate them, Mariner grabs the empty canister and begins to shove the larger sphere inside.
The sphere immediately protests and promises that it can grant wishes by rearranging air molecules into whatever they desire. Mariner requests a new tricorder that has a purple stripe. The sphere seems overwhelmed by the request as it would use up a lot of power, but when Mariner resumes shoving, he quickly agrees and creates one, the instrument emerging from his mass. Originally around the size of a volleyball, the panting sphere is now about the size of a baseball. Mariner however is unimpressed by the fact that it was created without a power cell, and the sphere reluctantly creates one. With much of the sphere's energy now used up, it's now smaller than a marble.
Thanking the sphere, Mariner and Tendi take the power cell and walk off admiring the new tricorder, leaving the energy sphere in the hall. Captain Carol Freeman is walking down the hall with another officer, discussing a possible catchphrase to say before they go to warp. The tiny energy sphere attacks Freeman in an attempt to kill her, but Freeman doesn't notice the sphere as it crashes harmlessly against her chest and dissipates.
In the repair bay, Mariner shares with Tendi a video of Vice Admiral Gibson falling off a stage during a peace negotiation, when Ensign Brad Boimler walks in, boasting of a new assignment he was just given: an escort mission of piloting Klingon General K'orin to Tulgana IV. He sees this as being rewarded for all the time he logs into the simulator, but Mariner just scoffs that his bar for something rewarding is too low. Boimler just shrugs that he'll be flying to a bustling, exotic planet while Mariner will be stuck on the ship, but Mariner contends that there's nothing more exotic than the repair bay. Boimler leaves, practicing his Klingonese.
Ensign Sam Rutherford then enters the bay through a nearby Jefferies tube, having finished realigning some EPS conduits, a task that took him a week to finish. Tendi is happy he's finished, but Rutherford tells her he's not finished yet, enthusiastically saying that he needs to recalibrate everything, saying he'll be spending another three or four days in the tubes. Tendi seems disappointed by this, saying that she thought the two of them would watch the Trivoli pulsar together at 0800. Tendi seems okay that Rutherford will be busy, but Rutherford decides that since he promised to watch it with her that he will explore new opportunities on the ship so that he won't have to spend so much time in the Jefferies tubes, and that the two can spend more time together. As Tendi doesn't have many friends yet and doing science alone really bums her out, she expresses her excitment, but when she walks off, Rutherford look apprehensive at finding a new career instead of doing what he loves.
Boimler enters the hangar In a dress uniform and approaches the shuttlecraft Yosemite, but when he enters, he is angry to see that Mariner is in the cockpit and has made a mess of her meal of noodle soup all over the controls. Asking what she's doing there, Mariner informs him that she is joining him on his escort run and taking the lead on the mission. Boimler is upset that she doesn't seem to be taking the mission seriously; Mariner assures that she is before she notices that the Yosemite is a new shuttlecraft that has a blast shield and immediately begins playing with the blast shield controls. Unsurprised at Mariner's antics, the two engineers outside making some final checks on the shuttle simply turn back to their work.
In engineering, Rutherford works up the courage to approach Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups and requests a transfer out of engineering. Billups grants his request and says that whichever department he ends up working for will be incredibly lucky to have him.
Back on the Yosemite, Mariner is taking a nap, and Boimler awakens her and tells her that K'orin will be with them momentarily. He asks to do the talking since he's been studying him all day. K'orin then enters the Yosemite. Boimler approaches him and begins to formally greet him, but is interrupted when Mariner leaps at K'orin, suddenly attacking the Klingon. Boimler is terrified as both K'orin and Mariner engage in what appears to be a deadly duel, but both Mariner and K'orin burst out in laughter and K'orin teases Mariner that Starfleet has made her soft. She rebuttals his taunt and the two slap their fists together in greeting. Boimler seems confused by the behavior between the two, but Mariner explains that she and K'orin know each other, having done off-the-books gray ops engagements before. As the Yosemite leaves the hangar, K'orin updates Mariner on his many sexual conquests.
Later on, both Mariner and K'orin are intoxicated on bloodwine and singing loudly. Boimler seems annoyed at their behavior, but when he protests, K'orin tells him to land in "Little Qo'noS" so that he can find some gagh. Boimler refuses, but Mariner orders him to land in the district, much to his displeasure. K'orin and Mariner continue to engage in friendly chatter and K'orin spits out his bloodwine in laughter all over Boimler. Boimler then gets a transmission from Tulgana IV Space Traffic Control and Boimler transmits his confirmation code, while also scolding Mariner and K'orin for their loud behavior. K'orin throws his dagger into the console in response.
When the Yosemite lands in the Klingon District, K'orin has passed out, and both Mariner and Boimler disembark the shuttle. Boimler scolds Mariner for her drinking and the landing in an unsecured district, but Mariner simply retorts that both she and K'orin are blood bonded and that had she not acted the way she had with K'orin, it would have been weird. Mariner also notes that K'orin is a lightweight for a Klingon and that they will find him a hot cup of raktajino, but as soon as she says this, the shuttlecraft takes off, leaving the two of them stranded in the Klingon District. Boimler is furious by this turn of events, but Mariner suggests beaming back to the Cerritos to trigger the shuttlecraft's remote return autopilot. However, Boimler informs her that in the mission brief she mostly skimmed, it stated that Tulgana IV is protected by an ion field that restricts communications and transporters. Boimler begins to speed walk as he tries to track down the shuttle, fearing that they may be in violation of the Khitomer Accords. While Mariner is just as eager to not end up in a penal colony, she teases him about his speed walking, but Boimler tells her that it conserves energy and that Section 31 does the same thing.
Mariner and Boimler track K'orin to a food stand where the Klingon running the stand tells her that she served him. When Boimler asks where he went, the stand owner suspects them of tracking him and grips the mek'leth at her side, but Mariner replies that they merely wish to grovel to him. The owner tells them that he went north to find stronger alcohol; Boimler states that K'orin was already wasted, but at the mek'leth being brandished at him, insists that excessive drinking is not a problem. Mariner and Boimler then start to move to the Andorian district. As they move, they walk past some Kaelons, who give them dirty looks. Boimler explains that Kaelons are notoriously isolationist, before he bumps into a large Taxor and causing the alien to drop a bowl of gagh. He attempts to apologize in the Taxor language after picking up the gagh, but ends up saying something insulting to the Taxor, who immediately attacks Boimler. Unable to hit the Taxor as Boimler informs her that the Federation has a treaty with them, Mariner instead grabs the Taxor's money pouch and pretends to throw it, making the Taxor release Boimler in a panic and run off in that direction.
Back on the Cerritos, Commander Jack Ransom and Rutherford enter the holodeck, where Rutherford will be training for the first time as a member of the command division. He loads up a bridge simulation and gives Rutherford control. Almost immediately, the simulation goes bad as the ship is being drawn into a temporal rift, her shields have been severely weakened, and a warp core breach is imminent. Nervous about what's going on, Rutherford can only order the ship to maintain course, which ends the simulation in failure and a crew casualty rate of 105%. Rutherford questions how he managed to kill more than the entire crew. Ransom advises that in situations like that, Rutherford should employ the Janeway Protocol, and loads up an easier simulation which simply has the ship in the path of a small asteroid. Rutherford orders the Janeway Protocol, which once more results in the ship ending up in peril and all the ship's children being blown into space. Ransom freezes the program, and notes that in thousands of simulations, that outcome has quite literally never happened before, before excitedly saying that they should load up a similar situation on a ship with even more children.
On Tulgana IV, Boimler is bummed that his encounter with the Taxor went as badly as it did. Mariner suggests that maybe he should learn by doing rather than just studying, but Boimler simply concludes that he only needs to study harder. Mariner leaves to use the restroom, and get some more intel on K'orin, and Boimler is approached by a woman who is scantily clad in red. She begins to seduce Boimler, who tries to resist, but finds her approaches near irresistible, with her being able to sense his desire, and knows he has a fondness for Jamaharon. She is about to kiss him, but suddenly, the two are sprayed with a waterhose by Mariner. Mariner identifies the woman as an Anabaj, and that had they kissed, she would have laid eggs in his throat. Mariner drives off the Anabaj with another burst of water when the alien tries embarrassing Boimler, but Mariner does complement the woman on her sarong, and tells Boimler about that she once dated a Anabaj to make her mother angry. She also adds she heard an Andorian say that K'orin was in a bar down the road, and the two run towards it.
Rutherford meanwhile has decided to explore the sciences division, and is in sickbay with Dr. T'Ana, and Tendi working as a nurse. T'Ana compliments his work on a patient's endocrine system, which he says that the body isn't so different to engineering systems. T'Ana then tells Rutherford to keep the patient distracted, while she and Tendi go to operate on another crew member. Rutherford begins to chat with the patient, and informs him that his implant says there's only a small chance that he will die. However, this distresses the patient and with T'Ana ordering him to calm the man down, Rutherford suggests thinking about work and the warp core, but the patient agitatedly states his injury was from being burned in the core. The shocked Rutherford can't help wondering how the patient didn't die from dilithium burns; T'Ana quickly orders him away and has Tendi take over. T'Ana takes Rutherford aside and dismisses him, saying that without any bedside manner, he may as well be in security.
Rutherford then enters a training room with chief of security, Shaxs. Placing the ensign in the middle of a combat ring, Shaxs loads up Combat Simulation Smorgasborg, a battle simulation involving 12 Borg drones. Rutherford is taken aback as he doesn't know how to fight, but he tries checking if his implant has something that will help, and it begins to develop a combat strategy. Rutherford then begins to effortlessly take down each and every drone in the simulation, only being struck once. Shaxs is astounded by the spectacle as he only uses that simulation to teach trainees how to deal with defeat, and tells Rutherford that he's a natural-born warrior.
Back on Tulgana IV, Mariner and Boimler have reached the Andorian district, and Mariner warns Boimler that Andorians don't mess around. Boimler retorts that he knows about Andorians as they're Federation founding members. They are interrupted by a bar fight in which two Andorians seem to be beating up an elderly Andorian. Before Mariner can stop him, Boimler rushes to rescue the man, and stuns one of the attacking Andorians. However, the Andorians angrily explain that the "elder" they were attacking is actually a Vendorian shapeshifter that was guilty of theft. The Vendorian escapes, which angers the Andorians in the establishment, and they accuse Boimler of working with the shapeshifter. This results in the beginning of a bar fight. Boimler tries to settle things down, saying that the fight is in violation of the Tulganen Neutrality Pact, but he is knocked to the floor, and an Andorian charges him with a bar stool.
Before the Andorian can attack Boimler, Mariner subdues him and discharges her phaser into the air multiple times to quell the bar fight. She then buys everyone five rounds with the Taxor's money pouch that she still has, which pleases everyone in the bar. Boimler, seeing how well Mariner handled the bar fight, walks out of the bar in dismay. Mariner joins him in an alley, disappointed that they just missed K'orin, but Boimler doesn't seem to care anymore. He begins to doubt his abilities as an officer, noting that Mariner has always been one step ahead of him and known what to do. Mariner tries to console him that everybody has a bad day, but Boimler seems upset that all his studying amounted to nothing and notes that he's never seen Mariner study, yet she seems to know so much more than he does. Mariner reminds him that she's more experienced as an officer and has just picked up a lot of her expertise along the way, but Boimler doubts his abilities and wonders if he's even cut out for Starfleet. Mariner assures him that Starfleet doesn't just need people like her but that they need people who study like Boimler, but Boimler says that once they return to the Cerritos he will resign his commission, and he tears off his combadge and casts it aside, to Mariner's dismay.
Back on the Cerritos, Shaxs introduces Rutherford to the rest of security, but as Shaxs gives a speech about Rutherford's admission into security, Rutherford notices an engineer crawling out of a nearby Jefferies tube entrance and remembers his true calling. Realizing that his love of duty has always been in engineering, he requests permission to return to his old department, and Shaxs and the rest of security cheer on his decision as he's being, as Shaxs states, true to himself.
Back on Tulgana IV, Mariner is trying to motivate Boimler into locating K'orin with her when they are suddenly confronted by a Ferengi in archaic clothing. He notes that the two look like they are in need of transport and Boimler declines, but Mariner seems optimistic. Boimler warns her that Ferengi are not trustworthy, but Mariner doesn't seem to realize that the alien is a Ferengi at all, and confuses him with a Bolian. Boimler warns her that the Ferengi probably only wants to mug them, but Mariner doesn't listen. As Mariner begins to follow the Ferengi, Boimler asks the Ferengi what the landing code for his transport is, noting that Tulganan security requires all shuttlecraft to provide a secure landing code. The Ferengi, realizing he can't fool Boimler, pulls out a knife and demands they hand over their profit. Boimler draws Mariner's phaser and shoots the blade out of the Ferengi's hand, and the Ferengi runs away. Motivated by his victory, Boimler suddenly sees the Yosemite, which conveniently is parked on the steps of the Federation Embassy, covered in citations. Ignoring the citations as the authorities can't send Mariner a bill in space, they find the passed out K'orin inside, having drunk the rest of the bloodwine that was left inside. Mariner and Boimler drag him out and leave him by the front door, where an annoyed lieutenant finds him just as he drunkenly wakes up. She opens a comm channel to request that someone let the Cerritos know that they've finally found K'orin, noting that he is just in time for the peace accords.
Mariner and Boimler leave Tulgana IV and the two laugh off the misadventure they just had as they make their way back to the Cerritos at full speed so they can return on time. Mariner gives back Boimler's discarded combadge, and seems flustered that she didn't recognize a Ferengi, asking that the mistake be kept a secret. Boimler promises to keep the incident between them.
Later, Boimler is laughing with the rest of the crew in the lounge about the incident as Mariner listens unamused. Mariner excuses herself and secretly smirks as Boimler continues to revel in what happened.
Tendi and Rutherford are sitting at the bar, and Rutherford apologizes to Tendi that he was unable to find another position on the Cerritos and that with him needing to be in the Jefferies tubes again, he won't be able to watch the pulsar with her as he'd promised. Tendi however offers to go into the tubes with him and watch the pulsar with her PADD, noting that she just wanted company when watching it.
Down in the crew quarters, Mariner contacts the Ferengi that confronted them earlier, now wearing regular modern clothes and a monocle, who turns out to be a friend of hers named Quimp that owed her a favor. Having asked him to take part in a bit of subterfuge to help Boimler feel motivated again, she informs him that he played his part of the mugger perfectly and thanks him for helping her out. Mariner asks how Quimp's wife is doing as the Trivoli pulsar shines outside the hall window.
Down in the Jefferies tubes, Tendi is watching the pulsar on her PADD as Rutherford works on the ship's systems, and they sit close to each other, enjoying each other's company.
"I really got to think of something cool to say when we're going to warp. Something like 'It's warp time!' What do you think of that? Is that good for you?"
- - Carol Freeman
"I'm your copilot?! You're taking on more work just to bug me?"
"Calm down, man. We can't have you co-flying angry. I need you co-calm."
- - Brad Boimler and Beckett Mariner
"Ooh, this is the new shuttle with blast shield! Yeeah! It's a blast shield, it's a blast shield. And it comes down, and it goes up. Blast shield!"
- - Mariner
"Ok, that was a rough start. FYI, in situations like that try employing the "Janeway" protocol."
"Got it. And what’s that?"
- - Jack Ransom and Sam Rutherford
"In thousands of simulations, that's literally never happened before. Let's try another one, on a ship with even MORE children!"
- - Ransom, after Rutherford spectacularly fails Command Trainer 4
"I've never even heard of an Anabaj. How did you know?"
"Affinity for red, drawn to the weak minded, plus I kinda dated one once, but only to make my mom mad."
- - Boimler and Mariner
"Take your mind off this! Uh, think about work. Think about the warp core."
"I got burned in the warp core!"
"Those are dilithium burns?! How are you still alive, man? You should be dead!"
- - Rutherford and a Patient, as Rutherford tries to keep the patient distracted
"Give me your profit!"
- - Quimp
- 22 July 2020: Title publicly revealed 
- 6 August 2020: Footage from this episode's teaser revealed on The Ready Room
- 13 August 2020: Premiere date on CBS All Access
- This was the first episode in the entire franchise in which a character is seen wearing uniforms of all three division colors within a single episode: in this case Ensign Sam Rutherford, as he transfers from engineering gold, command red, medical blue, then back to gold for both his brief stint in the security team and back to engineering.
- This episode featured the first appearance of several previously encountered species not seen in many years, including the Ferengi, last seen in ENT: "Acquisition", a Lurian, last seen in DS9: "What You Leave Behind", an Ariolo (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), the Arcturians (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and a Vendorian, which first and last appeared nearly five decades ago in TAS: "The Survivor".
- In her sleep, Beckett Mariner says "Buried alive. Marooned for eternity." which is what Khan Noonien Singh said when he left James T. Kirk marooned on Regula, as Kirk had supposedly done to Khan on Ceti Alpha V. She also sleepily mutters "moons of Nibia", which was a reference to Khan saying that he would chase Kirk "'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames" before giving up his mission of vengeance against Kirk. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
- Keith R.A. DeCandido commented: "I got to the end of ["Envoys"] feeling pleased and happy, which I’m pretty sure is what the script was going for. It reminded me favorably of the DS9 episode "In the Cards" in which Jake and Nog do a series of cascading favors for various crew members in order to obtain a Willie Mays baseball card that Jake wants to give to his father. The end result was that everyone on the station was happier than they were when the episode started. Now, "Envoys" isn’t anywhere near that, well, high-stakes. "In the Cards", after all, was the final episode before the Dominion War kicked in, but it worked as a palate-cleanser prior to that, and also a reminder that the future of Star Trek is, at its heart, a place where things are better than they are now." 
Links and references
- Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner
- Jack Quaid as Bradward Boimler
- Noël Wells as D'Vana Tendi
- Eugene Cordero as Sam Rutherford
- Dawnn Lewis as Carol Freeman
- Jerry O'Connell as Jack Ransom
- Fred Tatasciore as Shaxs
- Gillian Vigman as T'Ana
- Jess Harnell as
- Tom Kenny as
- Kari Wahlgren as Anabaj female
- Jessica McKenna as
- Ryan Ridley as an injured Bajoran crew member
- Paul Scheer as Andy Billups
- Unknown performers as
- Alien operations officer hologram
- Andorian bar humanoids
- Antaran ensign
- Aurelian shopper
- Borg drone holograms
- Crewmembers in the bar
- Engineering crew
- Kaelon customer
- Kaelon shopkeeper
- Klingon customer
- Lurian bar patron
- Lurian shopper
- Operations lieutenant
- Operations staff
- Security team
- Sleeping crewmembers
- Taxor shopper 1
- Taxor shopper 2
- Taxor shopper 3
- Taxor shopper 4
- Two Evora
- Two Vulcans
- Vendorian thief
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|Star Trek: Lower Decks