Although they only exist in two dimensions, the crew of the USS Cerritos is surprisingly made up of three-dimensional characters. The Lower Stories have been some of the best new “Star Trek” characters in years, in part because they’re flawed individuals who are allowed to grow and change. Season 3 followed ensigns Boimler, Mariner, Tendi (Noël Wells) and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) as they navigate not only second contacts, rescue missions and the far reaches of the Alpha Quadrant, but also their own personal growth. It’s easy to let cartoons stay locked into their same routines because they’re inherently unchanging, but “Lower Decks” wants to make them more fleshed out.
In “Crisis Point”, Mariner ends up using the holodeck program to resolve her trust issues, literally battling a version of herself that forces her to confront the mental health issues she’s been running from. She turns Boimler’s holodeck and film into a kind of therapy, challenging her own preconceptions about herself and emerging on the other side of things with a new kind of self-awareness. Her experiences in the holodeck help her mend her relationship with her mother, Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) and even give her a chance at a healthy relationship with Jennifer the Andorian.
A lot of people in “Star Trek” use the holodeck for naughty reasons, but using it for mind-blowing, truly empowering therapy? It’s genius.