Review: Star Trek Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 2 “I Have No Bones Yet I Must Flee”
Riffing off the idea of an alien zoo with human captives, the premise of which was the plot for the first-ever Star Trek pilot, “I Have No Bones Yet I Must Fee” sees quite a bit of character development for Mariner and Ransom, while our other lower deckers face the consequences of being promoted.
Arriving at an alien starbase to retrieve two humans who were accidentally added to the base’s various animal displays, the Cerritos holds a powerful force, indeed: a Beckett Mariner (Tawney Newsome) who is trying to get demoted. Mariner thinks Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) is simply playing a game with her when it comes to her career, and she is determined to be as insubordinate as possible to return herself to ensign. Frustratingly for Mariner, her superior isn’t falling for her plan.
Ransom, Mariner, and Ensign Gary board the starbase to retrieve the two captured humans, but things quickly go awry when a super-cute but amazingly deadly animal, a Moopsy, escapes its enclosure and starts slurping peoples’ bones in a way that would take Stephen King’s breath away. It really seems like quite a gruesome way to die.
A game of cat-and-Moopsy ensues, with the Moopsy trying to satiate its bloodlust by devouring Ransom, Mariner, Gary, and the museum’s director, Narj. Ransom and Mariner escape the beast long enough to have a heart-to-heart about their working relationship. Ransom explains how he is determined to be the first one to control Mariner’s unprofessionalism, a capacity many of Mariner’s previous supervisors lacked. This honest conversation leads Mariner to ponder why she is always self-sabotaging her career by getting promoted and then demoted, which, in our opinion, is a long-overdue introspective look into one of this show’s deepest characters.
“Mariner, it’s not our place to judge the menagerie, we’re just here to collect the humans.”
“No, you’re here to collect humans. I’m here to be human. Which means calling bull[bleep] when I see it.”– Ransom and Mariner.
Ultimately, Mariner gets some cathartic swings at Ransom as the pair decide to lure the bone-eating creature back to its enclosure by knocking out some of Ransom’s teeth. The pair also realizes the Moopsy escaped from its habitat thanks to the two captive humans, who recognized how valuable they were to the zoo and wanted to kill Narj and keep the station for themselves. For now, the humans will stay in the menagerie.
Meanwhile, on the Cerritos, Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) has troubles of his own. His recent promotion to lieutenant junior grade means he has new quarters, but these quarters are not as welcoming as his lowly bunk in the lower decks. A bright red glow from the ship’s buzzard collector means he must relocate to save his sanity, only then to be relocated to a room in between two holodecks, which produces even more unwelcome sensory input.
After trying to make a home in the Jefferies tube, Boimler encounters Ensign Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), who is on a mission of his own: trying to get promoted just like his friends. To accomplish this, Rutherford tries to impress his supervisor, Andy Billups (Paul Scheer), by using his well-honed engineering brilliance to improve the Cerritos. Rutherford attempts engineering feats, like decreasing vibration in the warp manifold, but there’s another engineering officer, Ensign Livitt, who impresses Billups more. In the end, it’s Rutherford’s recently promoted friend, D’Vana Tendi (Noel Wells), who asserts to Billups that Rutherford has totally earned a promotion after all the times the engineer has saved the ship, and Billups immediately agrees. Thus, Rutherford and Boimler share a room as newly promoted lieutenants in junior grade, and Boimler finally starts to feel like he can have a home outside his old bunk.
Taken together, “I Have No Bones Yet I Must Flee” is another great entry in a show that doesn’t let up from its killer Star Trek humor. From a cute and fluffy animal that is actually a killer fiend, to riffing on “The Cage” and its memorable menagerie, to every scene being saturated with deep-cut Trek references and quality voice acting, this episode delivered. Importantly, the long-standing tension between Mariner and Ransom appears to be blossoming into something more than just workplace angst, but we aren’t getting our hopes up that this rivalry will actually end. Ransom is a foil perfectly suited for Mariner’s rebelliousness, and we can’t see Mariner changing that much.
One thing we do think will change soon is some enlightenment about the mysterious and deadly alien vessel we’ve seen in both the first and second episodes of this season. Both Klingons and now Romulans have fallen prey to the otherworldly and seemingly indiscriminate destroyer, so how long before this threat gets on Starfleet’s – and the Cerritos’ – radar?
- The stretches Ransom and Shax are doing at the beginning of this episode are the kind Troi and Crusher do in “The Price.”
- Boimler having an action figure of Mirror Universe Archer references the Enterprise two-parter “In a Mirror, Darkly.”
- The red blinking tubes Rutherford is working on to help impress Billups have been seen in numerous Star Trek productions, like Star Trek II and V, TNG, Voyager, and even Enterprise. While they have never been given a name, Rutherford calls them “Tucker Tubes” in this episode. In a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, Billups notes, “I don’t even know what we use these tubes for, but I love them!”
- In his box of belongings, Boimler has the Ad Astra per Aspera poster we first learned of in the Strange New Worlds crossover episode.
- Mariner lists how Ransom isn’t a good boss, including:
- Stabbing her with a battle blade, as seen in “Temporal Edict.”Ransom turns into a giant head, as in “Strange Energies.”
- Ransom trying to trick Mariner while on the space elevator, as seen in “The Least Dangerous Game.”
- Rutherford thinks speeding the replicators up by nine femtoseconds will secure his promotion. A femtosecond is 10-15 seconds.
- Rutherford lists ways in which he has saved the Cerritos, including preventing the ship’s destruction in “No Small Parts,” and saving the Rubidoux from a space jellyfish (“Much Ado About Boimler”). Tendi also mentions when Rutherford stripped the Cerritos’ hull, as seen in “First First Contact.”
- This show has a penchant for bringing back secondary characters, so we wonder if Rutherford and Tendi’s new nemesis, Livitt, will cause trouble this season.
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