Do you ever notice how many characters on Star Trek are almost never stressed out unless it has something implicitly has to do with the episode? Lower Decks answers that question why in its latest episode "Temporal Edict." The story begins when Captain Freeman Dawnn Lewis finds out the U.S.S. Cerritos is being diverted from a diplomatic mission on Cardassia Prime and re-assigned to deliver "diplomatic trinkets" to Gelrak V. The new orders from Starfleet naturally angers Freeman who doesn't think her ship gets any respect from the Federation. Meanwhile, Tendi (Noël Wells) learns the idea of "buffer time" from the other ensigns, which allows assigned tasks to be spaced out and relax between jobs. This allows them to be relaxed and become more casual in their duties.
How Captain Freeman Became a Stick in the Mud in Star Trek: Lower Decks
Unfortunately, Freeman overhears the conversation explaining "buffer time" and Boimler (Jack Quaid) spills the beans allowing the captain to become militarily rigid assigning more tasks to boost productivity. Tasks upon tasks get stacked where much of the crew become burned out in exhaustion while trying to run a more efficient ship. Meanwhile, Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Commander Ransom (Jerry O'Connell) continue to butt heads trying to get their gallant heroic moment on Gelrak V after a misunderstanding renders them prisoners. It would make sense of how young and older glory hounds risk the mission just to one-up each other.
Written by Dave Ihlenfeld and David Wright, and directed by Bob Suarez, Lower Decks instantly challenges the notion of noble captain main characters we're used to seeing in the live-action television shows. Aside from Jason Isaacs' Gabriel Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery, most Federation captains always had this ominous aura of nobility and Freeman is almost completely devoid of that with how much her pride gets in her way of sound commanding decisions. It brings a kind of refreshing trope that keeps you on your toes and it's a testament to how Lewis and Newsome playing almost solar opposites to one another both gel. It also carries a heavier theme of the value of being true to one's self. Sure as an officer, getting deadlines is important, but it's also important to remember our brains need proper stimuli to run efficiently or anything will never be normal.