‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Takes a Rainy Vacation in “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place”
Star Trek: Lower Decks, hot off a visit on Orion, finds themselves on Ferenginar–and there are some familiar faces, too!
Star Trek: Lower Decks is, in many ways, a workplace comedy. The difference is that, instead of an office, the setting is a starship. And while money does not exist (except when it does) that doesn’t mean that a Starfleet officer doesn’t need shore leave. And in fact in this week’s episode “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place” the Lower Deckers get a little paid shore leave at one of the only places that does need money–Ferenginar.
But there’s a catch! Boimler, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford aren’t just taking a joyride–they’re taking notes! It’s been a while since Starfleet has been on Ferenginer and someone needs to check out all the hot spots for a vacation guide. And while Boimler and Mariner take in the sights solo, Tendi and Rutherford’s mission has an extra component. In order to find out how Ferenginar is as a honeymoon destination, the two pretend to be married.
Meanwhile, on board the Cerritos, Captain Freeman has a much more important job. Grand Nagus Rom and First Clerk Leeta (voiced by returning performers Max Grodénchik and Chase Masterson) come aboard to potentially sign paperwork that finally brings Ferenginar into the Federation.
What could go wrong?
To Boldly Recap “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place”
Boimler intends to check out as many places as possible. However, after grading his hotel he turns on the television — and encounters commercials. Commercials are something Boimler is unfamiliar with. So he takes in some ads and also some Ferengi-style procedural TV.
Meanwhile, Mariner meets up with her old Ferengi buddy Quimp. Commander Ransom is very happy with Mariner’s performance, so naturally, she tries to throw it all away. She drinks, she gambles, and then she picks a fight with a bunch of biker Ferengi.
Tendi and Rutherford discover very quickly that pretend marriage is scary. Do they have feelings for each other? They do not want to know. Thankfully Doctor Migleemo appears and they pretend he breaks them up so the Ferengi don’t get mad.
Rom and Leeta turn out to be much more difficult than Starfleet expects. They keep asking for more in exchange for joining the Federation. After a Starfleet admiral dances like a monkey for a signature, Freeman takes over. She tricks Rom into signing a contract that requires he bring Q’onoS into the Federation–an impossible feat. Rom appreciates this shrewd move as it shows Freeman respects Ferengi culture. Rom signs the original contract and Ferenginar is part of the Federation.
To Boldly Review “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place”
Boimler is neurotic. Mariner struggles with promotion. Tendi and Rutherford have a will-they-or-won’t-they that keeps us wondering. If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve seen all of this many times before. For the first time this season, Star Trek: Lower Decks has a stale episode. Our heroes are spinning wheels.
That’s a shame because this is also the episode that sees the return of Rom and Leeta–easily the best part of the story. It’s as exciting hearing Max Grodénchik and Chase Masterson’s voices here as it was hearing Nana Visitor and Armin Shimmerman’s last season. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actors truly are among the best in the franchise.
It’s also cool seeing how Rom and Leeta change Ferengi society. No more war profiteering is a big deal. And it connects nicely with the “Maquis” two-part DS9 episode from way back. It’s also realistic that Rom still values his culture and wants it respected.
More than anything, this shows what a capable captain Freeman is. Dawnn Lewis is killing it and really needs an episode dedicated just to Freeman.
Bottom line: the Ferengi stuff is cool and it’s exciting to know that the mystery ship we keep seeing communicated with a Ferengi. But something has to give with the Lower Deckers. I love Tendi and Rutherford, but their romance plot especially needs a resolution. Will they? Won’t they? Just choose and move on so these characters can grow.