Hi, everyone, Justen here with some reflections on Reflections, Episode 5 of this new season of Star Trek: Lower Decks. We start off with Rutherford having a nightmare about exploding equipment, which is maybe the shortest cold open before the credits I’ve seen in a Star Trek episode. After the opening, the Cerritos is back on Tulgana IV, which they previously visited back in Season 1. They are there to upgrade some systems at the Federation consulate. They’re also there to do some supplementary duties, including…the recruitment table, which Boimler and Mariner have been assigned to.
Tendi comments that Rutherford looks tired, and Rutherford admits having trouble sleeping. There’s some excess memory in his implants, so Tendi clears his cache, something that I can say works more often than it should. When Ransom overhears Mariner complaining about their assignment, he assures her he will be checking in to make sure she’s doing her job.
Rutherford meanwhile is trying to sleep, but awakens in an empty corridor. He doesn’t recognize where he is, and doesn’t seem to remember that he’s assigned to the Cerritos. He also seems much meaner. He sees his reflection in a window, which asks for control back over his body. The new attitude Rutherford dismisses him, and leaves.
On the planet, Mariner and Boimler try to work the booth, but they’re situated next to the Independent Archaeologist’s Guild, whose representative enjoys antagonizing Mariner and ruining her recruiting pitches.
Mariner and the archaeologist, Petra Aberdeen, continue to argue, and Aberdeen reveals that she used to be in Starfleet and the discussion shifts to violence in Starfleet’s policies. Jerk-Rutherford hurries to the transporter bay, where he tries to establish a lock…except as Shaxs reminds him as he enters the bay, Tulgana IV has ionic disturbances that prohibit transporter activity, which he would know unless he was an imposter. Jerk-Rutherford instead beams to the Captain’s yacht, where Normal-Rutherford distracts him until Shaxs can stun him.
T’Ana in Sickbay explains that this Rutherford seems to be the past’s Rutherford, who was taken from a backup. Both Rutherfords appear in a big subconscious void, where Jerk-Rutherford seems to be winning. Jerk Rutherford says that every time the implant has an issue, it’s him trying to reassert control. They try to fight, and Jerk Rutherford proposes an idea. They won’t fight, but they’ll instead construct ships and race for it.
Rutherford and his evil twin go to work, and while Jerk Rutherford makes his own design, Normal Rutherford makes… The Delta Flyer? The race starts, which is set in the Neutral Zone. Jerk-Rutherford takes the lead to start, and when Normal-Rutherford closes the distance, a Romulan warbird decloaks. Normal Rutherford starts to issue orders and the Gang appears on the Delta Flyer. They’re able to coordinate with Rutherford’s imagination, and as Jerk-Rutherford’s ship is about to explode, they beam the Jerk off to save him. Jerk Rutherford declares that Normal Rutherford won, and admits he is a better, less angry person now.
As the Jerk’s memories start to fail, Rutherford sees a flashback to when he got his implant. It seems like it was related to some mysterious project, associated with some shadowy organization. Rutherford awakes and sees Shaxs and Tendi. He assures her that he’s alright.
Things on the planet make their way to a head. Between conspiracy theorists, collectors, and outpost scientists, Boimler and Mariner are losing their cool. When one of the scientists plucks Boimler’s rank pin and chucks it, he goes berzerk and starts ruining tables. Some of the aliens, however, seem to be impressed at Boimler’s confidence, and take PADDs with recruitment information. However, when Ransom gets down, he sees Boimler still in a frenzy.
Boimler gets sentenced to the brig for a night, and Ransom admits that he’s sort of proud for standing up for Starfleet. Mariner goes to do the mission log, and while she’s in her bunk, receives a call from…Petra! She thanks Mariner for the distraction, as she “emancipated” a staff of the Grand Nagus in the chaos from a local museum. She offers Mariner a job, and while Mariner refuses, she saves the contact info for Petra. Just in case.