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Five Thoughts on Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ “Mining the Mind’s Mines”

By | September 10th, 2022
Posted in Television | % Comments

Space, the final frontier. While it might be grunt work, life for the U.S.S. Cerritos isn’t dull. From Pakled attacks to strange energies, their adventures seem a class above other California-designated ships. So what happens when you have to deal with another California class that plays by the rules? Having a reputation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! So, grab your phasers and tricorder as we give you five thoughts on season 3, episode 3, “Mining the Mind’s Mines.”

1. (Kinda) give a damn bout my reputation.

In true Lower Decks fashion, “Mining the Mind’s Mines” begins just after the conflict is resolved, with the Cerritos left to pick up the pieces. The only problem is there’s another California class ship there to help, and they are aware of the Cerittos’ “non-conventional” methods, which seem to rub Boimler, Mariner, and Rutherford the wrong way.

While we’ve seen the crew deal with other Starfleet officers in the past, it seems like being disrespected by other Cali-class ensigns gets into their heads. The majority of the first part of “Mining the Mind’s Mines” has our favorite group of ensigns showing how good they are at their job and how quickly they can do their job. Of course, this proves the other crews’ point, as cutting corners makes a straightforward mission go bad fast.

2. Generational divides complicate a simple solution.

Meanwhile, on the Cerritos, Captain Freeman and hotshot young Captain Maier sit down to resolve the treaty of the mission we didn’t see. “Mining the Mind’s Mines” continues the away mission drama by heightening what was supposed to be a simple treaty signing into a full-blown generational conflict between the storied Freeman and the Upstart Maier. It’s just funny that the conflict is about a captain’s trophy.

Yes, of all the things that could go wrong at a treaty signing, it’s a fight over the relic a captain gets to put into their ready room. We’ve all seen captain’s quarters. We all know that they have little knick-knacks of their exploits through space (and maybe a model or two,) but Maier doesn’t want to clutter his office. He doesn’t want to do the trophy thing. Like most arguments, this is more a superficial stand–in for the bigger problem, Maier’s youth and progress threaten Freeman. But “Mining the Mind’s Mines” takes that simple conflict and puts it in the most Lower Decks argument possible, fighting over space junk.

3. Fighting nightmares hides a more nefarious plot.

While treaty negotiations break down, Mariner and the gang are breaking stone orbs that tempt you with your greatest fantasy before you turn to stone. Rutherford sees Leah Brahms (which must be an engineering thing), Boimler is the sidekick to an epic space hero, and Jennifer tempts her babe, Mariner. But as they break, things become a little more nefarious. “Mining the Mind’s Mines” gives some entertaining visuals like Klingon clowns with Bat’leth arms and a werewolf Jennif’s looking for a little more commitment from Mainer. While these are fun visuals, it does the more important task of forcing our crews together and making them work as a team.

In true Trek fashion, they are pushed into a cave, unable to use their comm badges, and with their backs against a (literal) wall, but that’s when things start to get weird. After noticing the nightmares are becoming a bit more mundane, the ensigns push further into the cave only to realize that these orbs aren’t just for creating fantasies. Instead, they are data mining the ships’ crews, trying to sell Starfleet’s secrets. This is a brilliant conflict, and “Mining the Mind’s Mines” finds a great way of turning a silly premise into a credible threat. It threads the needle between comedy and drama in a way only Lower Decks can do. But, again, much like last season’s finale, if this were a Next Generation episode, it would be one that people remembered.

4. Command is about finding your voice

While Tendi doesn’t get to play with the rest of the crew, she begins her mission of training as a senior science officer. Unfortunately, her mentor is the often ineffectual Councilor Migleemo. So “Mining the Mind’s Mines” puts Tendi into a no-win scenario, as she has to fight the egos of Mainer and Maier to make her voice heard.

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This gives us another classic example of a “rough doctor secretly being a little soft,” as Dr. T’Ana gives Tendi helpful advice to make her voice heard. While some doctors are kind, for the most part, they tend to be a little gruff and standoffish. Yet, they all are ready to help when needed. T’Ana ranks up there with some of Starfleet’s grumpiest, but in “Mining the Mind’s Mines,” she shows up to help Tendi. In the end, while Tendi is stuck with Migleemo, it seems to be setting up a growing bond between Tendi and T’Ana.

5. Mutual respect leads to a successful conclusion

Unlike last week’s episode, “Mining the Mind’s Mines” had an A-plot and a B-plot that ebbed and flowed and impacted one another. Each interaction of the failing treaty signing was a good thing, considering that it gave more time for the away team to discover the secret plot. Tendi’s strange readings are revealed at the perfect time to show that they were not only spying on the ground but also trying to spy on the captain. These stories came together perfectly and highlighted the more significant part of the story, respect.

While Mariner and the team initially saw the other crew’s attitude as disrespectful, we later found out it was intimidation. The Cerritos are legends for the California Class ships of Starfleet, presumably because they go on missions more intense than most of them could dream of having. They just didn’t want to embarrass themselves. With this newfound respect, the crews can work as a team and save the day. Like most great Star Trek stories, learning to work together is what saves the day.

So there you have it! Another mission down, plenty more to go! What did you think? Sound off in the comments below, and we’ll see you next time!

//TAGS | Star Trek Lower Decks

Joe Skonce

Joe Skonce was born, raised, and currently resides in Ohio, but has been exploring fantastical and imaginary worlds for as long as he can remember. He loves big guys and barbarians, pirates and puppets, and is always down to find nerdy new things. Come say hi to him on twitter @tunabellgrande.


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