“The Spy Humongous”: Star Trek Lower Decks S2E6 Review

"We'll Always Have Tom Paris” -- The U.S.S Cerritos of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved **Best Possible
"We'll Always Have Tom Paris” -- The U.S.S Cerritos of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS of the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved **Best Possible /

“The Spy Humongous” is another Lower Decks story with humongous heart.

If you’re a Star Trek fan, there’s an excellent chance you’ve sat in a nice padded chair at some point pretending to be a starship captain. In “The Spy Humongous,” the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks (season 2, episode 6), Ensign Boimler does, along with several of his fellow junior officers aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos. But in the end, with the series’ now well-established and surprisingly effective blend of humor and heart, we discover that while Boimler may not be cut out for command, he’s certainly made of the right stuff for Starfleet.

The Cerritos is at the Pakled homeworld to negotiate a cease-fire in the ongoing Pakled-Federation conflict. But Captain Freeman and Shaxs can’t find any Pakled with enough authority (symbolized by the size of the helmets their king, queen, and emperor wear) to talk truce.

Turns out, the Pakleds didn’t really want peace. They lured the Cerritos so they could beam would- Rumdar aboard, the would-be “spy humongous” of the title. But Rumdar’s espionage is so ineffective, he flushes himself out an airlock he mistook for a bathroom. He survives—as the Pakleds told us way back in TNG’s “Samaritan Snare,” they are strong—and Freeman manages to praise him into giving up Pakled military intel instead.

Meanwhile, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford have drawn “anomaly consolidation duty”—collecting all the strange new alien artifacts senior officers have accumulated for safe removal. Tendi thinks the work could be a nice change of pace. Mariner thinks it’s just taking out the trash.

Artifact after artifact causes potentially catastrophic calamities, culminating in Tendi turning into a giant green alien scorpion who goes on a rampage in the mess hall.

Fortunately, Boimler—who avoided “ACD” by hanging out with the self-proclaimed “Redshirts,” a clique of ensigns dedicated to helping each other get promoted—knows how to save the day. He uses the food replicators to make a mess and a fool of himself, sparking Tendi’s affectionate laughter, which restores her to her normal self.

Ensign Casey, leader of the Redshirts, tosses Boimler out of the club for his behavior. But the joke’s on Casey when the other Redshirts bail on him—and when he enjoys a between-shift acting captain spot for less than a minute before Shaxs relieves him and orders him to clean up the mess Rumdar left in the airlock.

“The Spy Humongous” shows solidarity with our crewmates counts.

As with some other recent Lower Decks episodes (“Kashon, His Eyes Open” and “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris”), “The Spy Humongous” has a title linked to the ostensible “A” plot in an episode where the “A” plot doesn’t contain the main action or interest. The Pakleds are essentially a one-note joke, and not even the “rebelution” we see take place in this episode can make them all that fascinating or funny.

No, this episode’s real draw is Boimler’s choice to value his friends above his future career. While hanging with the Redshirts (“Cool name, right? Makes us sound invincible!”), Boimler manages to give an inspirational speech to an imaginary crew while pretending he’s on the (beautifully animated) bridge of the Enterprise-D. But when he sees the trouble with Tendi in the mess hall, he knows what he has to do, even if it means humiliating himself.

When Casey tells Boimler he behaved shamefully, Boimler retorts, “You know what’s shameful? Trying to build a persona by copying other captains.” Once again, while playing a situation for laughs, Lower Decks shows us it has learned well all the lessons Star Trek teaches about being authentically human.

While the Redshirts are content to spout platitudes in the mess hall to “inspire the crew,” only Boimler declares, “We are the crew!” His solidarity with his friends is not too far from the Enterprise crew’s loyalty to Spock in Star Trek III, or the commitment the crew of the Discovery consistently shows each other.

“The Spy Humongous” has some laugh-out-loud antics that give the animators a chance to show off their best stuff. This week, it’s even got some literal bathroom humor for good measure.

But Boimler’s rejection of Casey’s superiority complex—and, by extension, of any dichotomy that deems some people matter more than others—is the best thing about this episode.

Next. Star Trek Lower Decks Review S2 E5 – “An Embarrassment of Dooplers”. dark