Yet another week, and yet another week of Star Trek: Lower Decks! This week, Lower Decks “A Few Badgeys More”! This one sees the return of the titular evil AI to mess about with the crew of the USS Cerritos. We were promised their return quite some time ago by showrunner Mike McMahan. It was all a matter of waiting for them to turn up. So hopefully all of this hype was worth the wait. I don’t know if I should be nervous or excited, but we’ve got a brand new writer this week, Edgar Momplaisir!
New writers are always great, but this is an episode that needs to juggle quite a lot. Between the return of Badgey (Jack McBrayer), bringing back other fan favourite characters, and closing off the story arc. Hopefully Momplaisir is up to the task! So what of round three of Badgey’s machinations? Does it square up with the other two? Find the answers to all of these and more in this review of the latest Lower Decks episode!
WARNING – This review will discuss spoilers for Star Trek: Lower Decks “A Few Badgeys More”. If you haven’t seen the episode, you should turn away now. You have been warned.
Hysterical Ship Drama
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks discussing each of the episode’s contribution to an ongoing arc. The season’s introduced a mysterious ship, capable of obliterating alien ships in a single blast. It’s been a great way for the writers to use some material exploring the unseen day to day life of all sorts of Star Trek aliens. We’ve had Romulans, Klingons, Orions, Ferengi, and this week we had the Bynars.
They’re an obscure choice, really only seen in The Next Generation‘s “11001001”. I’m not sure what the episode’s broader reputation is, but my opinion of the episode is that it’s perfectly okay. Nothing particularly special on any level, but nothing outstandingly bad either. Even though I recognised them immediately (such is the mind of a Trekkie), it took me a second to fully understand what was going on.
They’re just talking, in their own language, incredibly quickly, and we can’t understand a word of it. The more Bynars that were onscreen, and the more of them that were talking, the funnier I found it. This is episode 7 of the season, so we all know exactly how these scenes play out. Having one we couldn’t understand at all was an inspired choice, and if you ask me the end result was absolutely hysterical. It’s an opening that sets a very high bar, and we’ve not even gotten to the AIs yet.
As you may have guessed from the title, the episode features the return of Badgey. This evil hologram has been through a lot, most recently seen in “No Small Parts”. Last we saw, he was trapped inside Rutherford’s (Eugene Cordero) cybernetic implant, which was thrown into the infinite void of space. Sounds like a pretty inescapable situation, right? Well, miraculously no.
Salvaged by a group Drookmani, Badgey takes over the ship and lures the Cerritos over with a fake distress call using the Bynar remains. It’s something that statistically speaking is so beyond improbable, but I’m just forced to overlook that. The return of Badgey, the artificial god of excess, and a final rematch between him and Rutherford is far too appealing to turn down.
Scenes shared between the pair absolutely do not disappoint either, Rutherford approaches the them with a surprising amount of care. Given that this is technically Rutherford’s creation, seeing them try to have a heart to heart as father and son is adorable. It makes Badgey’s attempts to destroy the Federation so much funnier, his megalomania being quite the strong contrast. Speaking of, this is eerily similar to the Borg Fleet Control from Star Trek: Picard: Season 3. Perhaps the Federation’s systems are all just far, far too penetrable.
All Three of Them
It’s not just Badgey that the crew are contending with. Far too unstable to properly take over the universe, his personality splits a couple of times in the process. First off, his good side is separated into Goodgey. Taking “bad” from “badge” was a pun I just didn’t see coming, and was honestly some really creative work. By the time Logic-y rolled around, the whole ordeal was hilarious. Having Badgey become increasingly crazy, while parts of him work to destroy him was glorious.
Splitting personalities like that isn’t really something that Trek has done since “The Enemy Within” from way back in The Original Series. This wasn’t quite a direct callback, but a cool conceptual nod nonetheless. I only wish that McBrayer was able to overact anywhere outside of Badgey, with the others being fairly one-not. It’s something I wouldn’t mind seeing done with a couple of the other characters, seeing what comedy could be gotten out of that.
But there’s not just three separate Badgeys here, but also three separate artificial intelligences. This episode marks the returns of Peanut Hamper (Kether Donohue) and Agimus (Jeffrey Combs) as well. While I guess we all saw this coming, it’s a little disappointing that they’re not all combining forces to take over the universe. But hey, I’m hardly going to complain about the legendary Jeffrey Combs being hilarious.
The whole concept of “Evil AI Rehab” is outlandish, and quintessentially Lower Decks. As Star Trek as the idea is, it’s the sort of thing you could only do as an animation. it sounds weird, but the computers feel more alive when they’re not just massive tech bricks with blinking lights. Agimus in particular, who’s quite literally a blinking tech brick is the perfect villain. Watching him take over an entire planet in a matter of an hour, while Boimler (Jack Quaid) just watches on? Glorious.
Given the Trek royalty that Combs is, I’m surprised how little fanfare the episode actually gives to him. Although for an episode all about Badgey, he gets quite a lot of screen time, so it all balances out. Watching him try to deceive Boimler with a different coloured light was hilarious. I’m also surprised that trying to reform self aware computers is something the show’s never really tried before, hilarious stuff.
Peanut Hamper’s bit is actually far more pure than I thought. She was actually successfully rehabilitated, and the whole thing’s just adorable. Of all the recurring Lower Decks characters, these are the ones I love the most. In each of their appearances, nothing short of hilarity has ensued. Honestly, if this is their final appearances, I wouldn’t mind too much. Each of them, even Tyrannikillicus (Fred Tatasciore) got a great send off!
Ascension & Theft
Badgey ends up taking over the Federation and even the universe, picturing himself taking over the entire Milky Way. It’s a little horrifying, but short lived. Badgey’s always been a little bit of an over the top character, and I suppose this is the natural conclusion of all of that. I’m sure this whole other universe he’s creating could pose a massive multiversal threat someday, but this really is a great endpoint for the character. With nothing left but pure evil and the knowledge of everything, he ascends to an unknown plane of existence.
For an episode with a title parodying a classic Western movie, this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I’ve never been more glad something was completely animated, as the whole final act just couldn’t have been pulled off in live action. It was also animated beautifully. The whole show’s animation standard is astonishingly high all the time, but the sequences here really stood out. Honestly, I’m blown away by this, and only hope that there’s anything in the next few episodes that can match this.
We actually got quite the motion on the story arc this week, and it proves there may be a bit of a connection between the two plots after all. Agimus has the same sort of information that Badgey did, these ships weren’t destroyed at all. Rather, each and every one of them as been stolen. It looks like they’re going to be coming for the Federation soon, and their technology poses a clear and present danger. It’s ought to be a big showdown when the time comes!
Conclusion – Looking Forward to “Caves”
While it’s a little early, and recency bias is definitely a thing, I really think this could be the best episode of the season. By far. On the part of writer Edgar Momplaisir, for a first Trek effort this is absolutely phenomenal. I only hope that they’re able to contribute another script someday, because they’re clearly really talented. Although, I almost hope that Badgey and co don’t return, because it runs the risk of ending their stories on a lower note.
“Caves” is an interesting title, one that doesn’t give too much away. Most planets have caves, and their contents are vast, with the potential for anything to be stored inside them. If it’s to pick up on what we learned at all, perhaps these alien ships have been stored in a cave of sorts? Perhaps that’s what the Ferengi was arranging contact with? If this is bigger than Badgey and the other AIs, it really could be anyone. Needless to say, I am very excited.
You can find Star Trek: Lower Decks streaming every Thursday on Paramount+ in the US, Latin America, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Each episode is also broadcast on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada. The season will also stream in South Korea on Paramount+ later in the year when the service arrives there. For more reviews, news, and general geeking out about Star Trek, follow Trek Central!
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