Star Trek: Lower Decks‘s “Room for Growth”

The B-plot is a really good story that grows nicely out of the way engineers in general and especially in Star Trek are better at tinkering than relaxing. The A-plot, unfortunately, is a tired first-season throwback that crowbars a 21st-century office plot into Starfleet, and it just doesn’t work. My review of “Room for Growth,” the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

An excerpt:

This plot is so much better than the A-plot, because it grows out of the Trek universe—and indeed, out of engineers in particular. Every engineer we’ve seen in the franchise—Scotty, La Forge, O’Brien, Barclay, Torres, Rom, Nog, Tucker, Stamets, Reno, Pog—has been like this, and so is every engineer I’ve ever met. I don’t know if it was a direct influence, but one of the best engineer portrayals in Trek history was how David Gerrold wrote Scotty in “The Trouble with Tribbles” on the original series. First there was Kirk seeing Scotty reading technical journals, and Kirk admonishing him to relax, and Scotty says, “I am relaxin’!” And then when Kirk confines him to quarters (after starting a bar brawl with some Klingons, which he only did because they insulted the Enterprisenot because they insulted Kirk), Scotty is thrilled, because he can catch up on his technical journals!

The B-plot of “Room for Growth” is a wonderful extension of that bit with Scotty. It works beautifully, because it grows out of character and out of the setting. It’s still a silly plotline, but it works in the Trek universe, as we’ve seen so many engineers like this over fifty-six years.

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