The fifth episode of the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “An Embarrassment of Dooplers,” written by Dave Ihlenfeld & David Wright and directed by Kim Arndt, was released for streaming on Paramount+ today, September 9th, 2021. In it, the Ensigns visit Starbase 25… and what they find there will certainly set your emotions aflame!
— Noël Wells (@RealTomHankz) September 9, 2021
If you’d like to catch up with previous recaps of Lower Decks, you can do so here.
S2E5 — “An Embarrassment of Dooplers”
In an unusual move for Lower Decks, there is no cold open, and we head directly into the theme song. You guys think the fact that there’s Klingons at the battle between the Borg, Romulans, and Pakleds is significant?
As the episode begins, Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) is recording her Captian’s Log for Stardate 58053.9: the Cerritos is escorting a Doopler emissary (Richard Kind) to Starbase 25.
Starbase 25 was first mentioned on Star Trek: The Animated Series, in the fourteenth episode of the first season, “The Slaver Weapon.” This episode (along with other TAS episodes) also includes the Kzinti, a species of alien that is represented among the ranks of the Cerritos crew (as of the second season).
Because Dooplers duplicate when they feel embarrassment, the Cerritos crew has been walking on eggshells around him. As Freeman’s command crew is hosting a dinner for the Doopler, they are careful to avoid offending him… but it’s clear that it’s taking a lot out of them.
After the Doopler leaves the Captain’s Table, Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) laments their responsibility. But Freeman notes that they’ll arrive at Starbase 25 just in time for the exclusive Command Conference. Soon Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) and Lieutenant Shax (Fred Tatasciore) are trading stories about the events of past after parties. Freeman observes that, thanks to their involvement in the battle against the Pakleds, she’ll be the only California-Class captain in attendance.
Below decks, Ensign Bradward Boimer (Jack Quaid) and Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsom) are stacking crates in a storage bay. Mariner laments that they’ll be close to the wildest party in the quadrant, but unable to attend. Mariner points out that if Boimer were still on a capital ship like the Titan, he’d be guaranteed an invite – and that’s when she realizes the Titan is preoccupied on the other side of the system with the Pakleds.
Mariner proposes Boimler pose as his transporter clone, William, in order to attend, taking her along as his plus one.
In the Cerritos bar, Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) and Ensign Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) are putting together a Quark-brand model of the Cerritos. Rutherford notices that he had made some notations on the model, but he doesn’t remember what they mean because of implant-related memory issues.
Meanwhile, the Cerritos arrives at Starbase 25 and is greeted by the Admiral. She admits to him that she can’t wait to get the Doopler Emissary off her ship… which he overhears, having just arrived on the bridge. Soon, her Dooplercates, and there’s two of them… and soon, four! As the situation goes full Tribble, the Admiral tells her that the Cerritos won’t be allowed to dock until the siutaiton is under control.
In the Lower Decks sleeping quarters, Mariner is trying out different hairstyles and Boimler is pushing for scants. When Freeman sends out a ship-wide communiqué informing the crew of the Doopler issue, Mariner realizes that this is their chance to beam over to Starbase 25 undetected.
Mariner and Boimler arrive in the Starbase and note that it’s like a whole city (but one that kind of smells like pee). Mariner reveals that she used to live on Starbase 25 and observes that there’s now a Quark’s where there was once just an empty lot… But a sinister-looking Tellurite in a hooded robe reports on her return.
Mariner and Boimler enter a shop, where they’re ambushed by Malvus (Tom Kenny), who calls Mariner “Becky” and holds a grudge against her for stranding him on Seti Alpha IV (which is way worse than Seti Alpha V).
But soon Malvus and Boimler are bonding over being abandoned by Mariner on various planets (in spite of the fact that Malvus confuses them for a couple). Malvus tells Mariner he’ll tell her where to find the party if they make a delivery for him: limited edition Commander Data bubble bath (there might be some Lores in there).
Back in the Cerritos bar, Tendi and Rutherford are still working on the model Cerritos when Rutherford notices another enigmatic note. But that’s when Shax arrives and declares the bar Doopler storage… who continue to exponentially Dooplercate.
Tendi and Rutherford take the model to another deck, but they find it already overrun with Dooplers.
There Might Be Some Lores in There
On Starbase 25, Mariner and Boimler are driving the bubble bath crates (and arguing over who abandoned whom) when they’re pulled over by station security.
Mariner calls Malvus, who reveals that there are illegal Klingon disrupters underneath the bubble bath. Mariner notes that the officers are corrupt before stomping on the gas and fleeing the officers.
The ensuing chase sees the carts breaking through Dabo joint, into a barber shop, and then into a clothing store called The Lucky Ferengi. The denizens of Starbase 25 flee from the carts as they race through the promenade. After swerving around a guy in one of the Captain Pike wheelchairs, Mariner throws the cart into reverse.
On the Cerritos, Tendi and Rutherford are in the Lower Decker storage bay and still attempting to escape from the Dooplers. They climb atop the Sequoia, the shuttle craft that was used to deliver the virus to the Pakled ship in the first season finale, “No Small Parts.” Tendi tells Rutherford to lose the model, but it’s clear that it represents something deeper to him: the shadow of the person he was before he had his implant ripped out and re-installed.
That’s when the Dooplers become so numerous that the Sequoia begins to rise…
On Starbase 25, we see a peaceful Aviary… which is soon invaded by the two remaining carts. After narrowly avoiding some avians, the ensigns lose security… but they end up under water (literally). Mariner drags Boimler to shore and calls Malvus.
Malvus says that if Mariner reports him, they’ll both be arrested, and Mariner says that just means they’ll both be in the same cell. Malvus caves under the threat and gives up the location of the Command Conference.
Mariner and Boimler arrive at Ballroom Alpha, where the bouncer allows Boimler in but not Mariner (even though she lies about being a crewmember on the Voyager-D). Mariner and Boimler begin to argue with each other over abandoning one another again, and Boimler enters the party anyway.
Boimler is dazzled by the A-list guests, but it soon becomes clear that each of them are already paired… and Boimler’s just lost his other half.
Meanwhile, there’s so much Dooplercation going on aboard the Cerritos that it’s visible from outside. As the Sequoia continues to rise, Rutherford apologizes to Tendi for his inability to finish the model. However, Tendi reveals that even before his implant issue, they would never finish the model, either: it was actually more of a cover to allow the pair to spend time together, not an actually goal to be completed.
But while the issue may be resolved, they’re still going to be crushed to death. To escape, they detonate the tiny warp core of the tiny Cerritos, using the explosion to blow open a door and escape the Doopler-filled bay.
On Starbase 25, Mariner is dejectedly drinking in a bar that is absolutely filled with incredible Starfleet memorabilia (and pre-Starfleet… check out the Phoenix in the foreground). Boimler arrives and orders a prune juice spritz. Mariner asks why he left the party, which Boimler admits was great, but he says he didn’t want to be there without her. He formally apologizes for leaving for the Titan without telling her (and about time, too – we’re halfway through this season, Bradward).
Soon, the pair is having a friendly argument about who’s whose Number One… but they’re still missing that party.
On the Cerritos, the Dooplercation continues… but Freeman has had enough. As Shax is carried off the bridge by the crowd, Freeman snaps that she’s sick of the Dooplers being whiny little sh*ts!
But berating them causes them to recombined – treating the Dooplers with kid gloves allows them to be embarrassed and multiply, but being a total dick to them causes them to regain control and join back together. Freeman informs the crew that they should start being jerks to the Dooplers! It’s not really all that Starfleet, but what are you gonna do, get crushed to death?
In the ensuing montage, the Dooplers are recombined as the Cerritos crew verbally abuses them (with Dr. T’Ana making a particularly profane showing). With the Dooplers contained, Freeman, Ransom, Shax, and T’Ana are free to attend the party!
Kirk & Spock
At the bar, the bartender notices how dejected Mariner and Boimler are. She consoles them by saying she’s worked on the Starbase for generations, and she has seen lots of people strike out trying to attend the Command Conference after party – including none other than Kirk & Spock, as evidenced by their names, carved into the bartop after they were turned away from the shindig in 2260-something.
Elsewhere, Freeman and her command crew arrive at Ballroom Alpha. Freeman gives her name, but the bouncer says it’s only Luna-Class captains and above on the list. In spite of the role the Cerritos played in the Pakled battle, they still aren’t being paid any respect… even after Freeman makes an impassioned speech on behalf of herself, Shax, Ransom, and T’Ana.
A jump cut sees Freeman’s command crew eating street food purchased from a Gorn chef’s stand just outside the bar where Mariner and Boimler are drinking. Freeman says they deserve more respect, especially after what they’ve put up with. Mariner arrives and asks them to come to the bar, but before they can do so, the Doopler Emissary appears. He apologizes for his behavior and Freeman says that’s okay, before beaming him into Ballroom Alpha (where he immediately begins to Dooplercate).
Inside the bar, Tendi and Rutherford are sharing a table, and Tendi gifts him a new Quark-brand model: Deep Space 9, which comes with both an Ezri and a Jadzia. Dax-tastic!
Mariner & Boimler
Freeman approaches Mariner and Boimler at the bar, who are now having a much nicer time. Freeman concedes that everyone she likes to spend time with is at the bar. Mariner says this is the best party on the Starbase, and calls Boimler her Number One. Bradward insists it doesn’t work like that but Freeman says she watched it happen, so it counts!
Just before we cut to a conclusive shot of the Cerritos docked at Starbase 25, Freeman takes in the names carved into the bar… which now includes “Mariner & Boimler” alongside “Kirk & Spock.”
New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are available for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursdays.