The second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks follows the lower-deckers on the USS Cerritos as they continue to go on new adventures.
After introducing us to new characters, Mike McMahan continues to bring the fun. There’s no shortage of comedy during the second season. At the same time, there’s no shortage of easter eggs either. In fact, the doors are open here for more characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation to make their return. The series also goes beyond The Next Generation.
The second season continues shortly after the events of the first season. We really get to see how Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Carol Freeman’s (Dawnn Lewis) relationship impacts the rest of the crew. How do they respond to this new knowledge? More importantly, how do senior staff officers feel about them spending more time together? By the end of the second season, the two are at a very different point than when we first met them in season one. Another question coming into the season is what’s happening with Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) now that he’s on the USS Titan. In fact, “I, Excretus” shows a pivotal turn in how the senior officers and lower-deckers view each other.
What I enjoyed the most in watching this season was Tendi (Noël Wells) and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) coming off as co-leads of the series. It didn’t feel that way in the first season. A big arc of the season features the two of them trying to figure out Rutherford’s memory issues. The series also manages to spotlight some of the supporting senior staff while never departing too much from the overall premise. At no point does Star Trek: Lower Decks ever feel like a rehash of things we’ve seen before. Even when they revisit similar storylines or characters, it still feels like they’re bringing a fresh approach to the franchise. Much like the first season, the final three episodes follow a similar formula to much success.
You know how comic book characters–for the most part–never stay dead? The biggest surprise of the season is the return of tactical officer Shaxs (Fred Tatasciore). When we last saw him, he sacrificed his life to save Rutherford. Even though I’m watching season 2 about a year after its premiere, his return was shocking nonetheless.
One of the things I love about Lower Decks more so than the rest of New Trek is how they give improvisers the time to shine. While few improvisers are notable for their leading performances, they also round out the rest of the cast, too. For instance, Paul Scheer is phenomenal as Chief Engineer Billups.
The comedy never gets too far out there in Star Trek: Lower Decks while the series stays true to the overall franchise. I regret being late to the series but I’ve got to say that it’s a whole lot of fun.
CREATOR/SHOWRUNNER: Mike McMahan
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Katie Krentz, Mike McMahan
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Aaron Baiers
CAST: Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells, Eugene Cordero, Dawnn Lewis, Jerry O’Connell, Fred Tatasciore, Gillian Vigman
Paramount+ launched season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks on August 12, 2021. Grade: 4.5/5
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