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Recap / Star Trek: Lower Decks S3E04 "Room for Growth"

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In the teaser, Capt. Freeman is possessed by a D'Arsay mask and transforms the Cerritos into an ancient temple. After the credits, the Engineering team has been working round the clock to un-temple the ship and are stressed beyond belief. Freeman books a shore-leave day for them on a spa ship, the Dove, only to find the engineers preferring to get back to work.

While Rutherford is off on that plot, Boimler, Mariner, and Tendi hear about a quarters lottery: apparently, four cabins have opened up on Deck 1. Tendi then overhears three ensigns from Delta shift conspiring to hack the lottery and get themselves in. This is the impetus for the three of them to take a circuitous route through the ship in an attempt to hack it themselves.

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  • Answer Cut: Mariner wonders aloud who would board a starship just to tend to plants. The camera then moves up a deck to reveal that Lieutenant Kayshon is busy doing exactly that.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first shortcut is through Shaxs and T'Ana's holoprogram, which is a bank. Mariner mocks it as boring thinking it's just a simulation of banking, before the bullets fly and we see it's a bank robbery sim.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Tendi and Mariner tie their clothes into a line so Tendi can grab Boimler off of the spinning wall of the deflector array and drag him back.
  • Boring, but Practical: When a group of asteroids head for the Cerritos, Shaxs wants to obliterate them with phasers, but Ransom just lets out a groan and reminds him that the navigational deflector will deal with it, ordering him to divert power instead. This proves to be unfortunate for the ensigns, who are inside the dish and are subject to the internal mechanisms suddenly spinning up to increase deflector strength.
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  • Bottomless Magazines: T'Ana fires her revolver dozens of times so clearly the holodeck has infinite ammo cheats turned on.
  • Brick Joke: While waiting for a door to open, Delta Shift gossips about how Ransom keeps a "wife" made out of churros that he refreshes every so often, from an incident where he was turned into a caveman. The last scene of the episode is him replicating a new batch.
  • Bullet Time: Given a nod when Shaxs orders the holoprogram to freeze moments before a bullet would have gone through Boimler's head. He pushes the bullet up so it will miss him, then recoils because the bullet is still hot.
  • Call-Back:
    • Toz stressing out while running a relaxation spa calls to mind Quark and Vic Fontaine discussing how the person throwing a party is the one having the least fun.
    • It's a blink-and-you'll miss-it moment, but there's a Doopler skeleton in the roots underneath the hydroponics bay.
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  • Character Development: Boimler is firmly on Mariner's side when it comes to cheating before Delta Shift can. Bold Boimler from "The Least Dangerous Game" is still a thing, as Mariner lampshades.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Toz has to light up a smoke just to cope with the "code black" she encounters on the Dove, doubly rare considering how almost nobody ever smokes at all in Star Trek, ever.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Despite running a relaxation center, Toz proves to be rather stressed out and irritated herself.
  • Cuteness Proximity: One of the stress relaxers are a group of puppies of all shapes, sizes and mobilities (one is shown to be hooked up to a wheelchair). There's even a room full of kittens, treated as a kind of kink. However, Freeman ends up No Selling the puppies and even rabbits due to the high levels of stress she has.
  • Deadly Euphemism: After learning of Delta Shift's plans, Mariner angrily suggests that they "go join the Maquis". This is less suggesting the infamous insurgent group is still active and more that she wants them to go die horribly.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The holoprogram is monochrome to reflect the old-timey setting, similar to the Captain Proton program from Voyager.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After learning that the lottery is actually for a single room on Deck 4, not four on Deck 1, Boimler, Mariner, and Tendi decide to let Delta Shift fight over who gets the room. Cut to Delta Shift celebrating, because they quite sensibly realized that they just had to move all their beds into one room and it'd still be better than living in a communal hallway. Rutherford is annoyed his friends didn't consider that, but they admit they were too tired to think straight and they got caught up in the whole friendship moment.
  • Evil Mask: Captain Freeman is possessed by a D'Arsay mask. This is the third time she's been possessed by an ancient mask.
  • Fanservice: Mariner and Tendi both end up in their underwear using their clothes as a tether to rescue Boimler from the deflector dish.
  • Forced to Watch: T'Ana and Shaxs usually rob the bank, shoot the feds, then have sex on the counter while the hostages are forced to watch them. Mariner, Boimler, and Tendi are also stuck with them until they find the exit.
  • Future Imperfect: Boimler correctly identifies the setting of Shaxs and T'Ana's holodeck program as an archaic building where currency used to be stored and exchanged. However, he incorrectly labels it as a "bonk".
  • Given Name Reveal: Shaxs calls Dr. T'Ana "Diane" on the holodeck, but it's ambiguous if that's her real name or her character alias. On one hand, it's a human-sounding namenote  that is thematically appropriate for the program, and we don't even know if Caitians have two names. On the other hand, Shaxs was out of character trying to have a serious conversation with her when he used it. Boimler has his own theory.
    Boimler: "Diane" is her kinky sex name?
    Tendi: This is worse than the shootout.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: The holodeck bullets are shown still attached to their casings after firing. This could be the result of the simulation designer not knowing how ancient guns work, making it an in-universe application of the trope.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: The Engineering team builds a device out of a turbolift that would completely obliterate all stress levels that would render places like Dove out of business. Toz immediately orders the machine shot out of an airlock after they're out of earshot.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Billups, exhausted from a sleepless week of repairs, insists he's not weak before pathetically slapping Shaxs and then breaking down in tears. Then he weakly slaps him again mid-breakdown.
    • Freeman is so fixated on making sure that the Engineering staff are relaxing that she stresses herself beyond the breaking point while missing the fact that the Engineers are relaxing (in their own way).
  • Mushroom Samba: Boimler and Mariner get high on nitrous oxide, going into massive hallucinations. Tendi, who is immune on account of being an Orion, has to drag/whip them into the Jefferies Tube before they suffocate.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The engineering crew is so lost in their engineering quirks that they piss off Freeman to the point where she has to be carted off.
  • Noodle Incident: The Cerritos has apparently been transformed into a temple by a possessed mask on several occasions, with this being the third time that Captain Freeman has been possessed by a mask. It's also implied other ships have frequently encountered the D'Arsay probes.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: As they're complaining about their already sub-par living conditions becoming particularly crowded as of late, Mariner complains to the "Towel Guy" ensign that the least he could do is replicate himself a bigger one.
  • Sanity Slippage: As Engineering keeps working on their off-time, it pisses off Freeman more and more until she finds out they rigged the stress bands for false positives using cucumber slices, finally causing her to flip out. As it turns out, being possessed one too many times and not taking time to relax will do that.
  • Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!: Tendi overhears Delta Shift planning to rig the room lottery. Refusing to let them cheat without consequence, Mariner decides they should rig the terminal first.
  • Seen It All: When the mask-possessed Freeman rampages through the Cerritos, the Four Ensigns are the only crew members who don't run off in terror. Mariner is more annoyed than anything else and Boimler is only disappointed that his recently tuned violin has been turned into a stone idol.
  • Sick and Wrong: The ensigns find T'Ana's kinks worse than the shootout Boimler was nearly killed by.
  • Slice of Life: Even by the standards of this show very little is at stake. The A story is Mariner, Tendi, and Boimler sneaking around the ship to hack the private room lottery system, while the B story is Captain Freeman trying to force her engineering team to de-stress.
  • Status Quo Is God: Discussed but ultimately subverted, at least for now. Mariner complains that they need to do something about "Bold Boimler" because it's unsustainable, but if that is going to happen, it's not in this episode.
  • This Way to Certain Death: When Tendi, Mariner, and Boimler arrive under Hydroponics, there's a skeleton bound by the various roots. Closer inspection reveals it's one of the Doopler Ambassador's copies.
  • Thrill Seeker:
    • Shaxs and T'Ana participate in a bank robbery on the holodeck. Then T'Ana turns the safeties off for an added challenge. This turns out to be foreplay for the couple.
    • Also Boimler, who is still 'Bold' to take any challenge.
  • The Unreveal: T'Ana was telling Shaxs how she lost her tail, but Tendi is dragged away before she can hear the story. All we get is that it happened aboard the U.S.S. Algonquin.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The interior wall of the deflector dish spins as power is diverted to augment the ship's navigational deflector. Unfortunately, this also creates a centrifugal force that pins Boimler to the wall.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Mariner mocks the idea of paper money when she, Tendi and Boimler enter Shaxs and T'Ana's holodeck simulation of a Prohibition-era bank robbery.
  • Workaholic: The entire Engineering team is run ragged trying to fix everything Freeman warped while possessed, but even then they refuse to quit working. Even when forced to take leave, they try to find work. Freeman in her ranting decries them as a bunch of "Geordi LaForges".

 
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Freeman Has a Breakdown

Because the engineering crew doesn't try to relax, they piss of Freeman to the point that she flips out and gets overstressed to the point she might have to be sent to Earth for a full medical diagnosis, which will separate her from her crew.

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