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Star Trek Lower Decks: Moist Vessel

In our continuing trek to bring you the very best of Star Trek coverage, the Agents of Doux present an exciting new experiment. Today, we boldly go to where no review has gone before: The Celebrity Interview format!

Mikey Heinrich: Hello and welcome to the first of our interview reviews of Star Trek: Lower Decks. We're joined today by celebrated Star Trek historian, International Treasure, and fervent support of the Oxford Comma, Billie Doux. Billie, thank you so much for being with us today.

Billie Doux: It’s a genuine pleasure, Mikey.

Mikey: As you know, we're here to discuss the Lower Decks episode titled "Moist Vessel." And I suppose that means that we should really begin by addressing the elephant in the room right up front: the word 'moist.' I know it's a deal breaker for a lot of people. Where do you come down on the issue?

Billie: To be honest, I never had an opinion about the word 'moist' one way or the other until Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog came along and I realized how evil a word could be. “Do you need anything dampened, or made soggy?” But I have also realized that Lower Decks is all about making Trekkers squirm while laughing, so 'moist' works in that context.

Mikey: I had the exact same reaction! Simon Helberg is vastly underrated as a talent. I particularly enjoyed his song 'Nobody wants to be Moist' in Commentary: The Musical.

We have a couple of different plot threads in this one. Do you feel like the Tendi plotline and the Mariner plotlines worked together as a pair?

Billie: I did. Both plotlines were about trying to fix something very important.

Tendi kept trying and trying to fix things for O’Connor so that he could ascend. That made me like Tendi more.

And Mariner was going nuts because her mother wouldn’t let her be herself. The incredible competitiveness between Mariner and her mother just showed how alike they are, even though they want completely different things out of life. When I was young, I used to fantasize being Starfleet. All those things Mariner experienced and hated, I would have loved. Conference room discussions. Dangerous missions. Executive poker!

Mikey: I loved executive poker.

It felt a lot to me like they deliberately moved Boimler a bit more into the background for this episode so that he could function as comic relief while Mariner and Tendi took the lead roles this time around. Did you get the same impression? And as a follow-up, did moving the focus away from the Boimler and Mariner's friendship alter the feel of things for you significantly?

Billie: Yes, it was definitely Tendi’s turn to scream frantically, something Boimler does all the time. And no.

Mikey: Why is The Koala smiling? What does he know?

Billie: I tried to come up with something funny, but my mind is a blank.

Mikey: I think that's just a testament to the unknowable ineffibleness of The Koala. Is that a word?

Now, I apologize if I'm misremembering, but my impression was that you weren't as endeared to Rutherford as I was by the first few episodes. Am I misremembering, or where are we on that?

Billie: I don’t think there’s been all that much Rutherford yet. He didn’t do much this time to endear himself to me, but I'm open to the possibility.

Mikey: Yeah, it feels like the series doesn't always know what to do with Rutherford beyond him just being 'nice.'

In your opinion – funniest joke of the episode?

Billie: As soon as I saw the mandala, I knew what was going to happen, but it was still funny.

And for some reason, the birthday thing cracked me up:

Captain: “Don’t forget, all senior officers are meeting up later for Ransom’s birthday. It’s mandatory. He’s going to sing and play acoustic guitar… (evil grin) for hours. And the songs? Oh-ho, well, he wrote them. They’re all about the month he lived in Barthelona.”

Ransom: “You know, there’s no peninsula more sensual than the Iberian.”

Mikey: Oh my God, the Barthelona joke almost made me pee.

O'Conner spent ten years working on aligning his inner peace (or at least pretending to) to a state of perfect oneness with the universe. How close would you say that you were to achieving such a state?

Billie: I think I’m heading the other direction at light speed.

Mikey: Is the food better in the executive food replicators? And if so, how many Michelin stars are we talking?

Billie: I bet the food is exactly the same. Everything always looks better on the other side of the hill.

Mikey: But they have gnocchi! And fritters!

Billie: After decades of Star Trek watching, I've always gotten the impression that replicated food lacks something. It makes me think of blocks of manufactured food. Sort of like tofu.

Mikey: Did the life-animating goo remind you of the Genesis device the way it did me?

Billie: Yes, absolutely. And the terraforming ship felt like a little tribute to the generation ship in "Space Seed." Plus O'Connor saw Abraham Lincoln. The easter eggs everywhere is one of the best things about Lower Decks.

Mikey: I can't believe I totally missed Abraham Lincoln.

Are we all assuming that Ransom's uncensored sentence about cleaning out the holodeck filters is exactly what we've always assumed the main cleanup issue would be with the holodeck?

Billie: I don't know why my mind has never gone in that direction. Maybe it was because Next Gen always made it seem like the holodeck was for intellectual pursuits, like taking classes with great experts or interacting with your favorite book characters. Either that, or innocent R&R. Hanging out with your friends on a beach or a nightclub.

Mikey: And that's one of the many reasons that you're a better person than I am. I was a 17-year-old boy when Next Gen started up. My holodeck thoughts were... not that.

Billie: This is sort of a segue, but it's interesting how science fiction in general, and Star Trek in particular, tends to avoid the reality that attractive people tend to have sex lives. Is it just the "science fiction is for nerds" thing?

Mikey: I think it might be a holdover from the formative sci-fi back in the 50s when such things were just discreetly ignored. I might be wrong about that, though.

Finally, any closing thoughts on this episode that we haven't covered?

Billie: The fact that Mariner makes horrible jobs better and more enjoyable for everyone is endearing and says a lot about the kind of person she is. And I liked that Ransom was the one to realize that. It was a lovely character moment for both of them.

Mikey: You are so right! I loved that Ransom recognized and kind of admired that about her. It's weird how there always seems to be an unintended 'ship factor to Ransom and Mariner's relationship. I don't think it's intentional, but it keeps cropping up.

Billie: Actually, it might be intentional. It's an interesting way to bridge (pun intended) the gap between the lower deckers and the higher ups. It definitely makes Ransom a more appealing character, that he sees who Mariner is and admires her.

Are we ready to talk ratings? I'd go three out of four piles of replicated sand. Or maybe fritters?

Mikey: Three out of four fritters sound perfect. Thank you so much for being with us here today.


  1. I don't watch this, but I always love the interview style reviews! (And have fond memories of the animated series one involving Lucifer.)

    Although I do have to disagree with Billie a little. I feel like Star Trek is one of those science fiction entities that is pretty frank about any sex lives their characters may have. At least in the original series! I mean, Spock had a whole episode devoted to it, and Kirk is known by fans as a ladies man for a reason... ; )

    My thoughts about the holodeck were always a bit more innocent (I would have loved to put myself into a Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie novel!), although I feel like Quark may have implied that some people use them for other reasons a bunch?

    1. That actually begs a question I've wondered about for ages. On the enterprise they have holodecks but on DS9 they have holosuites.

      Do you think there's any functional difference between the two, or is this just like how bathrooms on ships are called the head?

      Is anybody else wondering about this?

    2. Maybe because the holodeck takes up a full deck on the ship? Whereas a holosuite is just a room? Although I guess DS9 also had decks...


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