‘Lower Decks’: That time I went spelunking…
I think maybe the modest goal of Lower Decks should be to use the Star Trek universe to tell fun, lightweight, comedic stories where the tone of the episode lands on something more pleasant than annoying. "Caves" does just that by employing two standbys: (1) The flashback episode told as a series of mini-stories, and (2) the Star Trek cave setting that was obviously filmed on the reusable cave set on the soundstage at the Paramount lot.
In the case of Lower Decks, where the animators could give us any setting they wanted, using a cave is a deliberate and knowing wink, as is the complete lack of surprise on Mariner’s face when the team becomes trapped by a cave-in — with a deadly growing mass of bioluminescent moss consuming the available space and threatening the four. The cave joke is something Trek fans will smile knowingly about, but that joke alone would not carry the day if this episode didn’t also win us over by ultimately telling a nice little story about these four people and their enduring friendship.
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