“The Least Dangerous Game“
Star Trek: Lower Decks | Season 3, Episode 2
Flawless Victory: 9/10
“The Least Dangerous Game” – On a tropical paradise planet, Mariner questions Commander Ransom on how he structures his away team. Boimler makes a bold career decision.
In another excellent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, we catch our ensigns in a tabletop role-playing game called Bat’leths & BiHnuchs, or “Swords & Cowards.” It is the usual griping session we have come to expect from them as the voice of the Klingon Martok (JG Hertzler Jr.) extols them to excess as four Klingon warriors hoping to die with honor.
After the recent challenges with Captain Freeman’s (Dawnn Lewis) trial and the Lower Deck ensigns attempts at rescuing her, Ensign Mariner’s (Tawny Newsome) punishment is to be stuck on permanent assignment with the XO, Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) who has been making her life a living hell.
Boimler (Jack Quaid) discovers an old crewmate has suddenly become captain of the USS Inglewood. His ongoing frustration with his inability to gain rank, despite his actual competence being offset with a host of inadequacy issues has him confronting his life choices and deciding he needs a radical change from the norm.
His solution? “Bold Boimler.” Revealing to D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) he was turning over a new leaf. Instead of calculating his way to the top, avoiding danger, hiding from work he thinks is problematic or changing direction instead of dealing with people he doesn’t like, he’s going to say YES to every opportunity. And like so many things Boimler does, it goes wrong quickly and spectacularly.
Meanwhile, Mariner and Ransom are assigned to a landing party to repair a disabled space elevator. Ransom, in an effort to discipline Mariner, assigns her to repair duty with him, while the engineers, Ensign Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups (Paul Scheer) continue on to the planet and interacting with the wellness-based, paradise society living below. Lessons are learned. Blame is assigned. Everyone is at fault.
“Bold Boimler” starts off a questionable idea but after a few false starts, it begins to pay off. In the ship’s bar, he decides saying yes to everything was going to be his new way of life. A menacingly dressed alien passes by and asks if anyone would be interested in helping him with a cultural ritual he was hoping to engage in when the space elevator was repaired.
Boimler says yes. You know everything you need to enjoy the hilarity of this episode which had great timing, fun gags, clever pokes at Star Trek history and the Lower Deck ensigns learning and growing into the future of Starfleet.
The Kromsapiod hunter K’ranch steals the entire show with absolutely the best lines and perfect comedic timing. This remains one of my favorite episodes.
The voice of Martok in the bootleg Ferengi roleplaying module was also an excellent touch, giving us a taste of their downtime, the quality of their gaming technology and the using the actual voice of Martok was stellar. The expansion pack update notes were the perfect close.
I hear there are people out there who have never watched an episode of this series because of the comedic aspect of the show. Lower Decks is a love letter to Star Trek. The show is chock full of in-jokes, nods to franchise plot holes and bad science tropes as well as clever, self-deprecating humor. If you are a fan of Star Trek Lower Decks‘ jokes were made for you. If anyone is interested, I recommend K’ranch for a return visit to the Cerritos.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.