(written from a Production point of view)
The USS Cerritos is dispatched on a mission where it ends up in a sci-fi event resulting in "strange energy," which Commander Ransom inadvertently absorbs.
On the holodeck of the USS Cerritos, Ensign Beckett Mariner is being interrogated in a Cardassian prison. Mariner tells her Cardassian interrogator that in the months that she and her mother, Captain Carol Freeman have been working together, the line between captain and mother has been blurred too much. As she says this, she manages to break free from her restraints and takes the officer hostage, beginning to work her way out of the prison. She passes a hologram of Lieutenant junior grade Brad Boimler who begs her to release him, but she expresses that she is still upset with him for accepting a promotion to the USS Titan without saying goodbye to her, and for just leaving during the middle of her shift. The hologram believes that the real Boimler had his reasons, and wonders if Mariner had perhaps ever intimidated him in the past, but denying this, she tells him to shut up and leaves him behind. Mariner beams aboard the Miranda-class USS MacDuff and blasts her way out of the facility, when her program is interrupted by Ensign Jennifer Sh'reyan, who informs her that Freeman wants to see her in her ready room.
- "Captain's log: The Cerritos is finishing second contact duties on Apergos. On a personal note, my daughter has yet another side mission request. When I agreed to give her more autonomy, I never realized how often I would be catering to her to her whims. It's getting a bit old."
In Freeman's ready room, Mariner asks if she can do one last thing before they leave Apergos. She notes that the capital city is filthy, as the locals have neglected to clean up their waste after their industrial revolution, and requests if she can power-wash a couple buildings with the hope of inspiring everyone to clean up on their own. Freeman says that officially she cannot allow that as Starfleet doesn't prioritize aesthetics, but grants Mariner permission as her mother. The two do not realize that Commander Jack Ransom is in the room, and he reports that the away team is ready for departure. He is visibly annoyed that lately, Freeman has not really been noticing him since Mariner takes up so much of her time. Freeman authorizes the mission and tells Ransom to make sure Mariner has everything she needs, and Mariner mocks him as he leaves angrily.
Mariner goes to her bunk in the crew quarters, wanting to do a personal log about her interaction with Ransom, and meets up with Ensigns D'Vana Tendi and Sam Rutherford. Mariner begins to search Boimler's former bunk, which the three now use for storage, and they all ponder how excited he must be to serve under William T. Riker. As they talk, Rutherford gets a confirmation on his PADD about an upcoming date with Ensign Barnes. Tendi reminds him that he went on a date with Barnes last year and it didn't work out, but Rutherford says that the two have had multiple dates now, and that things are going smoothly, and leaves. Tendi seems concerned that Rutherford's behavior is a bit off, noting that Rutherford never liked pears before, but that he can't stop eating them now. Mariner believes that his recent injury may have impacted his personality, and although she thinks liking pears or not is a non-issue considering what happened to Rutherford, she advises that if Tendi is bothered by him dating Barnes, that she should talk to him. Tendi denies that it does, only that she's worried he may have synthetic memory degradation: a rare condition that affects people with new cybernetic implants. She takes it upon herself to save him.
On Apergos, the Apergosian High Leader is taking his time looking through a list of subspace communication numbers, rejecting most that he sees. Waiting beside him on a park bench, Ransom tries to tell him that the number doesn't matter, but since Apergosians have a deep relationship with numbers, the High Leader wants to find one that will be significant for their people. Needing more options to choose from, Ransom asks Mariner to get him more PADDs, but Mariner declines, saying she's busy with her own objective. Ransom tries to pull rank on her, but Mariner simply replies that Freeman gave her the authority to do what she wanted to do. Steve Stevens happily gives him the PADDs he asked for, but Ransom angrily dismisses him.
Mariner starts to clean soot off one of the walls of a nearby building, revealing an ancient mural of what looks like a whale, and many Apergosians are awestruck, as they never realized that their ancestors made such art. However, Mariner cleans off a sphere at the peak of a rooftop, it's revealed to be a strange orb, which reacts to the sunlight, and builds up a large amount of energy. The energy begins to discharge towards the crowd, and Ransom orders her to get out of there. He runs over to save her, but is struck by one of the beams and knocked out cold.
Mariner and Stevens wake Ransom up as Doctor T'Ana beams down, and examines him. T'Ana notes that Ransom was hit by a large amount of strange energy. She notes that the phenomena is largely unknown, and can have numerous physical effects to anyone exposed to it; such as having parts of the brain unlocked, or even develop god-like powers, referencing Gary Mitchell's own experience with it. Ransom tries to say that he's okay, but his eyes immediately start glowing, and he begins to hover and get extremely hostile. He summons a storm, heals his wounds, and feels his brain unlocking its full potential. T'Ana tries to find the right harmonic frequency to disrupt his power cycle through her medical tricorder, but Ransom's power swells, and he attacks everyone on the ground.
As the crisis continues, the Cerritos is hailed by Admiral Freeman. Captain Freeman takes it in her ready room. Admiral Freeman tells her that her confrontation with the Pakleds really impressed a lot of people at Starfleet, and that if she keeps up the success, she could be in line to be promoted to a capital ship. After the discussion concludes, Freeman returns to the bridge and demands that Mariner get the situation under control.
In the repair bay, Tendi is hooking Rutherford up with multiple medical discs to provide some electroshock therapy. Tendi shocks him numerous times and asks him multiple questions in an effort to test his memory, but after a short period, Rutherford removes the discs, and leaves to repair bay, saying that he's fine. Tendi decides to get more extreme in her approach: she takes out a case and assembles the components of a medical shotgun.
On Apergos, Ransom is still going mad with power. He randomly makes the Apergosian moon disappear because it "displeases" him, and ruins their Museum of Popular Music by twisting it into a corkscrew. Freeman expresses frustration that it was Mariner's deviation from the mission that caused this mess, and Ransom begins to transform various members of the crowd into "Ransomites". Stevens seems eager to be transformed, and Mariner decides she will attack Ransom with the sonic power-washer to end this. Freeman and Mariner argue over how to handle the situation, while T'Ana unsuccessfully tries to subdue Ransom (her hypospray transformed into an ice cream cone) and he erects a large monument to himself using part of a levitated mountain. As Freeman and Mariner argue, Ransom demands them to stop pretending to like each other, and his uniform transforms into a majestic white robe. He declares himself superior to everyone (to which Stevens agrees and starts worshipping him). Mariner tries to emergency transport Ransom to the Cerritos, but he cancels it out with a burst of power that knocks everyone back. Freeman asks T'Ana how Mitchell was dealt with, but she replies that "Kirk smushed him with a boulder." Ransom surges his power more, separates his head from his body, and his head grows tremendously in size before it goes out into space.
Rutherford and Barnes are in the lounge, enjoying their date, and Rutherford seems nervous since his memory is acting up, but Barnes reassures him that she understands what he's going through, since her older sister had a Trill symbiont joined with her, changing her personality. Rutherford asks if it was from the memory of previous hosts, but Barnes says her sister would keep reminding everyone that she was joined. Barnes invites Rutherford to join her and a couple of other girls who work in Cetacean Ops for a swim before he returns to duty, but they are interrupted by Tendi, who tries to shoot Rutherford with medical venom. Tendi introduces herself to Barnes, who promptly excuses herself to change into her swimsuit and hopes to see Rutherford later. Rutherford disarms Tendi then run away as she palms two hyposprays with more medical venom, and tells her that she can't just try and surprise-cure his SMD. Tendi then decides she will need his brain to perform neurosurgery by hand.
Ransom's head confronts the Cerritos in orbit, and Freeman orders evasive maneuvers. While this happens, Ransom's headless body is transforming the capital city into his own version of a utopia. T'Ana suggests boosting Ransom's powers so that they may potentially short out his godliness, but Mariner believes that will only exasperate the problem. Without a better idea, Mariner relays the plan to Freeman, who fires phasers at Ransom's head, but this only results in Ransom's power increasing.
Out of options, Freeman tries to reason with Ransom, and asks why he is doing this. Ransom finally expresses his disdain for her special treatment of Mariner, and how he feels insignificant just because Mariner is her daughter. Freeman offers to let him work with them, but he angrily declines her compromise, and tries to bite the ship.
Tendi corners Rutherford in a corridor, and he activates a force field to prevent Tendi from getting any closer. Tendi begs him to let her save him, saying that they are best friends and that they have to trust each other, and Rutherford angrily says that maybe they shouldn't be friends. Shaken by this, Tendi confesses to Rutherford that he doesn't have SMD, much to his shock and confusion.
Ransom continues his assault on the Cerritos, and Mariner suggests using photon torpedoes, to which Freeman declines. Mariner angrily says that she thought they were partners. They realize that constantly working together has actually been a bit tiring, and they cannot stand the conflicts they have so often with each other. Angered at their realization, Ransom once more attacks the ship, fully intent on destroying them.
As Ransom continues his attack on the Cerritos, Tendi confesses to Rutherford that while he doesn't have SMD, she believes there is something wrong with him. Rutherford asks her why she was so intent on her actions, and Tendi replies that she was scared that with his opinions changing on so many things, he wouldn't see her as his friend anymore, and regrets her actions. Seeing that she tackled an emotional problem with scientific experimentation, he deactivates the force field and says that he would have done the same thing. He reassures her that even with the new implant, he was never going to stop being her friend, and they embrace each other in reconciliation. As they hug, Tendi asks Rutherford not to date Barnes.
Outside the Cerritos, Ransom grows some hands, and grabs the ship, intent on crushing it. Mariner once more tells Freeman to fire the torpedoes, while T'Ana goes to find a boulder to crush Ransom with. Freeman however says that she will no longer attack her friend, and has the weapons power down. She admits that she and Mariner haven't been honest with one another, and that it was unfair that Ransom got caught in the middle. She tells him that he's a great officer, and says she shouldn't have taken him for granted. As she says this, Ransom's power diminishes. Realizing that her praise helped the situation, Freeman tries to keep giving him compliments. Mariner however says that she can't keep appealing to his ego, but Freeman tells her to stand down. She once more compliments Ransom, and he responds that he should be captain instead of Freeman. She however rejects his demand, causing him to attack the ship again. However, in the middle of his attack, Ransom is suddenly halted. Ransom tries to attack again, but is interrupted by an unknown force, causing his severed head to return to the planet, much to the confusion of the Cerritos crew.
On Apergos, Mariner is aggressively kicking Ransom's headless body in the crotch multiple times, the Apergosian High Leader wincing with each strike. Ransom's head returns to his body, and his powers diminish severely after vomiting a rainbow-colored liquid. Coming to his senses, Ransom asks Mariner what happened, and she tells him that he tried to eat the Cerritos, and that she was forced to attack him to stop him. Ransom apologizes, saying that it was his ego that had made him turn into a monster, but as he says this, the powers start to return and Mariner kicks him again: he painfully thanks her. Also apologizing to Ransom, she does this multiple times as the powers threaten to re-emerge in him. Having found a boulder, T'Ana uses a forklift to drop it on Ransom, which finally causes everything to return to normal, and all the changes Ransom made revert when he falls unconscious. The Apergosian High Leader gives a PADD to Mariner, saying he picked a number and begs them to leave. Stevens laments Ransom's injured body beneath the boulder as Apergosians continue to return to normal.
Later, in the Cerritos sickbay, Ransom apologizes to Freeman for his behavior, and Freeman tells him to just focus on his recovery, as she needs him. After she leaves, Stevens excitedly sits down and begins to read him "Nightingale Woman", to Ransom's appreciation.
In Freeman's ready room, Mariner is happy to hear that Ransom will make a full recovery. She also says that while it was nice to work closely with her mother for a time, she believes they work better apart. Freeman agrees, and says that while she is proud of her, she can't stand sharing command with her, and they agree that moving forward, they will only do some side-missions together. Knowing that there's a security team outside the ready room waiting to take her to the brig, Mariner tells Freeman that she loves her, and will continue to do what she wants.
In the brig, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford are socializing with one another, and Tendi tells Mariner that she and Rutherford worked together and were successful in reverting one of his synaptic pathways, causing him to dislike pears again. With things back to normal, the three note how the only thing missing is Boimler, who must be having the time of his life on the Titan, a much cooler ship than theirs, and under Riker's command. Mariner concedes that she can't blame Boimler for taking the transfer.
Meanwhile, the Titan is in combat with numerous Pakled battle harpies, and headed right for an anomaly. On the bridge, Boimler is terrified, and confused at Riker's jazz terminology. Boimler reports that the Pakleds have them surrounded, and Riker has the ship head into the anomaly, and the crew undergoes gluonic disruption. As Boimler screams in terror, Riker proclaims how much he loves his job.
"Oh my God, Mariner, you gotta get me out of here. They keep showing me lights!"
- - Boimler (hologram)
"Does that make me a bad person?"
"You are an extremely bad person!"
"Wow. You are nasty. Words can hurt as much as torture equipment."
- - Mariner and Cardassian Interrogator (hologram), before beaming to the USS MacDuff
"Computer, pause program. What do you want, Jennifer?"
"Ugh, what are you doing?"
"Cardio. Plus a little strength training."
"So you work out by staging Cardassian prison breaks?"
"Yeah. What do you do?"
"Wow, how unique!"
- - Jennifer and Mariner
"What are you - Why are you squatting?! We're going to die! Stop that!"
"I can't. It's leg day!"
- - Cardassian Interrogator (hologram) and Mariner
"Humanity has a complicated relationship with organized religion."
"Well, strange energies doesn't. Ever hear of Gary Mitchell? It got real weird, real fast."
- - Freeman and T'Ana
"Captain, there's a giant head approaching the ship."
- - Casey
"Full stop, mister. This my ship!"
- - Freeman
"Mariner? What was I doing?"
"You were trying to eat the ship, sir. I had to apply concentrated force to your neutral zone."
- - Ransom and Mariner
"Love you, Mom."
"Love you, too. Never disobey me again!"
"I do what I want!"
- - Mariner and Freeman, as the former is taken to the brig
"I hate pears again! They're so mealy and bland. *bleep* pears!"
- - Rutherford
"Red alert! I'm starting to think this jam session's got too many licks and not enough comp!"
"WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!"
- - Riker and Boimler
"I LOVE MY JOB!"
- - Riker, as he experiences gluonic disruption
- The character of Shaxs does not appear, as he died in "No Small Parts". Fred Tatasciore voiced the holographic Cardassian male guards in this episode.
- Although there is no official stardate within the episode itself, a log by Ransom on the "Star Trek Logs" Instagram account dated the episode to Stardate 57995.8. 
- Mariner's line about how the crew is not suppose to have interpersonal conflict is a reference to Gene Roddenberry's infamous rule that there couldn't be any conflict between the main characters and that all drama had to come from outside forces.
Links and references
- Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner
- Jack Quaid as
- 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 Cardassian guard holograms
- Gillian Vigman as T'Ana
Special guest star
- Eric Bauza as Cerritos conn officer
- Neil Casey as Casey
- Phil LaMarr as Freeman
- Lauren Lapkus as Jennifer Sh'reyan
- Jessica McKenna as Barnes
- Nolan North
- Randall Park as Apergosian High Leader
- Missi Pyle as Cardassian interrogator hologram
- Ben Rodgers as Steve Stevens
- Unknown performers as
- Gary Mitchell (image on viewscreen)
- Apergos inhabitants
- Antaran security officer
- Cardassian guard holograms
- Human bar staff 2
- Titan alien first officer
- Titan chief engineer
- Titan operations ensign
- Titan tactical officer
2380; access protocol; admiral; aesthetics; Ancient Ones; "and how"; Andorian; anomaly; ant; anti-grav sled; Apergos; Apergosian; Apergosian sea creatures; Apergosian shuttle (unnamed); asteroid; asteroid field; autonomy; away team; Bajoran interceptor (unnamed); bandolier; Barnes' sister; Barnes' sister's symbiont; bat'leth; beaming; "behind her back"; bench; bi's; Bitrus Expanse; boat; Bolian; book (paper book); boulder; brain; brig; building; bunk; "by hand"; Caitian; California-class; capital city (unnamed); capital ship; captain; captain's log; Cardassian; Cardassian detention center; Cardassian phase-disruptor pistol; cardio; "Carol Bear"; Cerritos, USS; Cetacean Ops; Cetacean Ops officers; chair (folding chair); chili; "cluing her in"; cognitive change; combadge; commander; communication; communication array; comp; computer; concentrated force; constituent; Corridor 755; cortex; crying; cybernetic implant (implant); cyborg; "damn it"; Danube-class (unnamed); date; daughter; Delta Flyer-type (unnamed); dendrites; detention center; disks (electrical shock disk); doctor (aka "doc"); duties; eating; ego; electrical phenomenon; emergency transport; energies; ensign; evasive action; excruciator; exercise ball; exercise bike; experiences; eyes; Federation; "feel the burn"; feet; football; force field; forklift; free weight; freezing; friend (best friend); "from now on"; *bleep*; "full stop"; Galor-class (unnamed 1, unnamed 2); girls (lady); gluonic disruption; god-like (aka godliness); goggles; grabbing; grandchildren; guard; guitar; gym equipment; hair; hands; harmonic frequency; hate; "having the time of his life"; head; hell; hiccups; Hideki-class (unnamed); High Leader; High Leader's ex-girlfriend; hippocampus; "hit [it] with everything you've got"; holodeck; hologram; holographic duplicate; hormonal overdrive; hovering; Humanity; hypospray; "I've got this"; ice cream cone; idea; "in the first place"; industrial revolution; interpersonal conflict; jam session; Jem'Hadar fighter (unnamed); job (position); juice (root juice); "jump to conclusions"; "just the way you like"; kicking; Kirk, James T.; lab coat; lamppost; "landed us here"; laser scalpel; leg day; licks; lie; lieutenant; lieutenant commander; lieutenant junior grade; life; lights; lion; "losing my mind"; LSD; "lucky for us"; Luna-class; lunch; lying; MacDuff, USS; Maintenance Hatch 70; manacles; mask (gratitude mask); medical; medical shotgun; medical tricorder; medical venom; memory; mentor; methods; Miranda-class; mission (side mission); mission parameters; mister; modular shelter; monster; months; moon (unnamed); mortals; mother (aka mom, mommy); Museum of Popular Music; name; nano-suturing; Napean; neural pathways; neuro-medical procedures; neurons; neutral zone; "Nightingale Woman"; "no biggie"; nose; "[not] that big of a deal"; nudity; number (digits); number one; "off-the-book"; officer; "oh god" (aka "oh my god"); "Okeydokey"; olfactory differences; opinion; optical examination tool; options; orders; organized religion; Orion; PADD; pain; Pakled battle harpy (unnamed); Pakleds; parent; partners; pear; people; percent; person; personal log; phasers; photon torpedoes (torpedoes); pilot; pitcher; power; power cycle; power-wash; power-washer; power-washer dock; power-washing; powers; prison breaks; program; promotion; public spaces; race; Ransomite; reading; ready room; record; red alert; reflex hammer-like tool; request; responsibility; riddle; Romulan language; Romulan whiskey; room; Salty Dog; science; second contact; "seem[s] to happen a lot these days"; Sequoia; shields; shift; ship; shooting; "shooting from the hip"; "shut up"; sickbay; sidekick; sir; sister; six twins; six twins' parents; skull; Snipe-class (unnamed); soot; speed bag stand; spy; squatting; stair stepper; Starfleet; Starfleet insignia; Starfleet uniform (2250s-early 2270s); Starfleet uniform (2370s-early 2380s); Starfleet uniform (early 2380s); strange energy; strength training; "stuff"; subspace communication number (aka communications number, subspace number); swimming; swimsuit; symbiont; synthetic memory degradation (aka SMD); system (unnamed); T88; tactician; "take matters into my own [hands]"; taste; telepathy; telescope; test; thing; thoughts; three-dimensional chess; Titan, USS; torture; torture equipment (Cardassian torture implements); treadmill; tri's; tricorder; Trill; trinket; "tune it out"; twins; Type 6A shuttlecraft (unnamed); Tzutchian gong; "under control"; "unhand me"; "unlocking its full potential"; utopia; viewscreen; voltage; vomiting; Vornilians; weapons; wedding ring; weight machine; "whatever"; words; work; year; yelling; yoga
- "Strange Energies" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Lower Decks "Strange Energies"" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
"No Small Parts"
|Star Trek: Lower Decks
"Kayshon, His Eyes Open"