Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Veritas: Lower Decks S01 E08


Second week in a row, this series has nailed it.

Given that last week was the best thing so far, Veritas once again raises the bar that bit further for the increasingly impressive Lower Decks.

Landing us right into the action, our four ensigns are under questioning from Imperium Magistrate Klaar of K'Tuevon Prime in regards to a series of incidents aboard the Cerritos while their senior officers are held in some form of suspension beam.

Revisiting the courtroom/flashback formula that was most prominent in Deep Space Nine's Rules of Engagement, Veritas unusually places all the main cast in one location and focuses all of its half hour run time to one single story and flip me does it pay off in every sense. By design the very feel of the room screams Klingon courtroom from the shrouded figure sitting in judgement to the circular dais on which the crew give their testimonies through the Horn of Candar. 

Veritas 100% plays on fans' knowledge of The Undiscovered Country and  Enterprise's Judgement before whisking that rug briskly away and you might only catch some of the clues on a rewatch just as I did making further notes for this piece..

Each ensign is called to relate their own evidence taking us back to recent events once more filled with a myriad of Star Trek easter eggs and Actual Funny Moments that make this easily the most watchable series to date. Favourite one here - Earth's just all about vineyards, wine and seafood restaurants and positively the most boring place in the Galaxy. 

The episode highlights how much or little the lower decks team get to know about what is going on. Mariner and Boimler blag being late to the bridge during a red alert situation, Tendi unwittingly ends up kicking ass as part of an undercover mission into Romulan space while Rutherford suffers memory blackouts placing him in increasingly more bizarre and dangerous situations.

The brilliance of Veritas is in absolutely maxing out on the strengths of the different characters and it feels like McMahon's team have finally clicked with what this series is and where the main cast are most successful. Dropping the cues in is working more seamlessly and who says that Roga Danar isn't more of a badass than Khan?

Tendi's naivety leads her from cleaning cat fur off the conference room chairs into battle with Romulans with her testimony cleverly tweaked to censor delicate information (but not that precisely) and sees her being extremely proficient in the field. Rutherford has his implants "borrowed" by Shax and Chief Engineer Billups leading him into Vulcan space, a starship museum (spot all the references in there!), aboard a stolen Romulan Warbird and the  ability to skip in and out of events here means we also get a Gorn wedding (including camcorder wielding guests. Added bonus with the immortal fan dance distraction distinctly poking fun at a certain sequence in The Final Frontier. This truly left me breathless and I know there are references in there I've not even touched on that will have your Trek mind spinning for ages and definitely demanding a second or even third play through.

OK....so the biggest and most hotly anticipated drop in has to be from John De Lancie's Q appearing a couple of times during the episode, demanding to continue the trial of humanity, playing games with the senior staff, placing them as human chess pieces.  It's not hugely important to the plot but it does mark the first true crossover appearance with the rest of the franchise, meaning this is the fourth series that Q has now stepped into - and even for the few moments he's there it makes an incredible impact on the show, elevating an already decent episode into the best of the year.

You can't help but love this one for the twists of the story plus the plethora of links to other Trek shows, even back to a certain salty looking woman from the Early Days and a rather identifiable shuttle craft. Veritas - and I use this word in its fullest context - LITERALLY has everything from a great, new story to recognising almost every corner of its past. If this is what we're going to be getting then lets hope Lower Decks is here for many years to come.

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