Friday, 17 September 2021

An Embarrassment of Dooplers: Lower Decks S02 E05

Mid season and episode five is a mixed as episode four.

Charged with escorting the Doopler emissary to Starbase 25, the senior staff of the Cerritos have been on tenterhooks to avoid upsetting him. If they cause any sort of emotional imbalance then he could duplicate and fill the ship Tribble-like. So you can guess where this is heading already.

What episode five also manages to do is address the not-mentioned-so-far mental reset of Ensign Rutherford after the season one finale wiped his memory. The building of a miniature and fully working USS Cerritos is a high five for a good portion of the fan community whether as collectors or builders themselves. The added bonus that this one helps nurture the friendship between Rutherford and Tendi.

OK, An Embarrassment of Dooplers does revert to the more "favourable" pairings of Boimler/Mariner and Tendi/Rutherford and it only goes to prove how strong the duos are. The latter's modelling tale does weave into the senior staff's peril on the ship while Brad and Beckett's adventure on the surface joins everything back up right at the end.

It's definitely an action packed half hour to get all three strands to tie in with a slew of reappearing aliens from TOS' Tellarites to TAS' Aurelians and even a Mizarian from TNG's Allegiance, the references are now just everywhere as well as right in front of you. 

Background pictures, locations and even items for sale are all picked out from the background of the franchise again with a strong lineage back to TOS in particular. However, it's easy once more to get tied into the minutae and not really focus on those main story points.

An Embarrassment of Dooplers goes to highlight the ineptitude of the senior officers and just how far down the line of importance the Cerritos is. Starbase 25's Captain's Party is the event to be at - everyone's there including Captain Shelby (The Best of Both Worlds) and Thaduin Okona is DJing - who wouldn't want to get on the list? But the reversion to the pairings this week is more about how far they've both come since the end of season one and it's well thought through. Mariner and Boimler have stuff to work out after he left for the Titan while Rutherford feels inept against his former self pre-memory wipe.

Once more Mariner's questionable past is dredged up and causes a few issues on the starbase but hey, transporting a box full of Data bubblebath should be fine, shouldn't it? One - there might be a couple of Lore's in there and secondly...well, that trouble has a way of coming round.

The car chase sequence is excellent, combining the usual Lower Decks humour with some niche references and visual gags with a fast-paced and genuinely exciting scene. Perfectly entertaining, ...Dooplers does what Trek does best and focuses on the characters and their relationship foibles. It's a great one to rewatch and possibly even one you could use to get new viewers into the show.

It's great that Lower Decks is now becoming aware of its own mythos and lineage as much as it's ramming a lot of earlier franchise references into every corner. These characters are growing each week and now there's the chance to develop their friendships and working relationships off the back of the experiences we as the viewers have seen.

While perhaps not keeping within Starfleet's parameters, the last act of ...Dooplers is poetic if nothing more and only goes to cement the link between the four main characters and the senior staff... for now at least.

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ALSO check out our full set of season one and two reviews HERE!

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