Good Shepard (***)
I'm a big fan of Lower Decks
so this style of episode suits me, but I wouldn't be a hater if I didn't have problems with it, would I?
The big problem I have at the beginning is that after 5 years of not interacting with the lower decks crewmembers, she only realises that some of them are struggling now and she only decided to help them now? I agree with those who say that the Voyager "family" Janeway talks about is too centered on the senior staff and we never got a sense of family from the junior officers. On the one hand this episode addresses that fact, but by addressing it it is pointing out that problem to the audience. We're never going to see these characters again so it feels like lip-service rather than a real attempt to solve this issue. Janeway doesn't come across as a concerned captain caring about the welfare of her crew, Janeway feels like someone who is over-enthusiastic about a new idea that she is going to forget about next week. And she does.
As for the characters; Celes was good, and her speech about how on Voyager she feels confident because nobody has to rely upon her rings true. She does seem exactly like the sort of person who was mistakenly assigned to a starship when her niche was probably in a different area. Telfer was alright, I could take or leave him and I had little interest in his hypochondria. Harren was great, I loved his counter to Janeway about how he has no interest in exploration because it is undignified. I may not agree with his views, but I respect his opinion and his balls for standing up to Janeway. I really
Which is why I don't like the fact that the show tried to change him. So what if he's cantankerous and prefers to spend his time theorising about things rather than social interaction? The other characters seem to judge him as though he is missing out on something, and maybe he is, but does it matter so long as he is happy? I don't like this drive towards conformity that the episode seemed to be aiming towards, I prefer for unique characters to remain unique, it's better than having another Harry Kim on the ship.
Then some dark matter aliens show up. One of them abducts Telfer and then takes control of his body, then it starts messing around with the environmental settings to make the ship inhospitable to humans. Harren does the sane things and shoots the creature in order to save everyone's life, but Janeway chastises him for killing the creature.
Oh come on. That's a great way to show these nervous and frightened people the fun of exploration, let your desire to explore nearly get them killed, then complain to the guy who saved everyone.
The episode was okay, the concept and plot were a little insulting to me but it was buoyed up by the characters.