Movie Review - Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4

Our favourite Lower Deckers are on their way up! Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 reintroduces the crew of the USS Cerritos, and promotions await the ensigns of Starfleet’s most turbulent California class ship. The series begins immediately after Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) take a trip to the past (and live-action!) in Strange New Worlds’ special crossover episode. While viewers who haven’t watched that episode will not be missing any key background for Lower Decks Season 4, Mariner and Boimler’s bond is strengthened as a result.

Season 4 of Star Trek: Lower Decks is a wonderful trip, with each episode finding new ways to inject humour and emotion into the galaxy. The adult animated series, set in the 2380s, lies smack dab in the middle of one of Star Trek’s most cherished periods, allowing the crew of the Cerritos to run into some recognisable people on their wild and funny escapades. Season 4 of Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine will pay tribute to some of the most memorable moments from both series.

Even Enterprise enthusiasts may see a reference or two in future episodes, while Lower Decks’ ties to The Next Generation have been woven into the fabric since its start. Aside from its nods to the franchise’s common world, Season 4 of Lower Decks stands on its own, blending the best of what Star Trek stands for in a way that will have fans laughing and crying in the span of half an hour.

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Lower Decks also stars Noel Wells, Eugene Cordero, Gabrielle Ruiz, Dawnn Lewis, Jerry O’Connell, Gillian Vigman, and Fred Tatasciore in addition to Newsome and Quaid. Each of these performers gets to show off their comic chops with really fantastic line delivery that fans will remember for days following each episode.

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While we can’t say who they are, Season 4 has some extremely excellent guest performers who will no doubt delight comedy lovers in particular! Lower Decks Season 4’s brilliant creative team, led by creator and showrunner Mike McMahan and supervising director Barry J. Kelly, continues to develop a wildly amusing and warmly welcome comedy.

Lower Decks establishes a running humour tied to a mystery that runs throughout the remainder of the season early in the season. Lower Decks makes the most of its sitcom-length schedule by offering an endlessly fascinating mixture of episodic escapades and a mystery that will have viewers anxiously awaiting the next episode week after week.

Screenshot 118With this plotline in particular, the series’ authors and animators are going above and beyond to explore areas of the property that no fan has ever seen before. And, as each joke builds on the previous one, viewers will appreciate how cleverly this series keeps pushing the bounds of what the Star Trek universe looks like.

While they won’t stay ensigns forever, all four of the beta-shift besties’ connections are stronger than ever in Lower Decks Season 4, and Vulcan newbie T’Lyn is a welcome addition to the group. While Mariner and Boimler are clearly prominent, Season 4 invests in various intriguing interactions within the group.

Mariner has some spectacular adventures with D’Vana Tendi and T’Lyn while feuding with First Officer Jack Ransom, who has made it his particular mission not to fall for her hijinks. Boimler and Rutherford’s friendship is shown to have additional levels as they discover they have more in common than they realise.

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Any reunion between Mariner and her Season 3 lover Jennifer (Lauren Lapkus) appears to be lacking from those relationship dynamics. While they did split up at the conclusion of the previous season, and it’s likely that outside events influenced the writing, it’s more than a little upsetting as a queer viewer to see Mariner’s queerness essentially minimised after being praised in previous seasons.

Queer Trekkies may still expect some breadcrumbs when a trio of Betazoids visits town, but romance appears to be off the table for Mariner in Season 4. Meanwhile, Lower Decks finally confronts the relationship between Rutherford and Tendi, the unstoppable pair. Without giving anything away, Season 4 puts these two best friends through a love wringer built expressly for Star Trek fans — particularly those who have been writing shippy fanfiction for the previous six decades.

Lower Decks has an evident attention to detail that is completely unrivalled. While the entire writers’ room for Season 4 has yet to be disclosed, each member of the creative team responsible for bringing Lower Decks to the small screen is working at a higher level when it comes to infusing this series with the very spirit of Star Trek. Lower Decks is arguably one of the finest Star Trek series to date, with nods to the rest of the franchise and an eternally inventive growth of its own world-building.

Lower Decks carries that sense of promise through every part of Season 4 by focusing on vocations that seldom, if ever, make it into the limelight in the franchise’s live-action episodes. Lower Decks is never hesitant to do something genuinely unique, whether it’s presenting imaginative new cultures, planets, and alien species, or elaborating on Orion culture and other lesser-known areas of the Star Trek world.

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Lower Decks’ characters are more relatable than any previous programme in the franchise. While we all aspire to be Rikers and Janeways, the reality is that we’re more likely to be Mariners, Boimlers, Rutherfords, and Tendis. And it’s clear in Season 4 that the reason Lower Decks works so effectively is because these individuals are also huge Star Trek aficionados.

Screenshot 119It’s a pure delight to watch the Lower Deckers geek out about fresh discoveries, intriguing workplace drama, and the legacies of their greatest heroes. Every frame of this animated series is filled with emotion, and it’s clear how much care goes into each episode. Season 4 manages to criticise and remark on fandom culture while also uplifting and validating the finest qualities of being a geek.

Lower Decks Season 4 never loses sight of its heart, despite being intended for an adult audience. Season 4 confronts (and in some cases reintroduces) some of Star Trek’s most difficult moral quandaries with bold and unashamed honesty. Lessons like trusting yourself and your crew, recognising the best in each other, and experiencing life to the fullest are what actually make Lower Decks sing among drunken escapades, colourful language, and amorous coworkers.

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