Star Trek: Lower Decks review, Episode 303, “Mining The Mind’s Mines”

When feuding breaks out between Starfleet scientists and a species of rock people who really love rocks, the USS Cerritos and USS Carlsbad are charged with mediation and clean up. These peculiar green rocks bring the daydreams of those nearby to life. Rocks and heads butt in “Mining the Mind’s Mines.”

The mind-reading rocks let us get some fun insight into the characters as their daydreams manifest to distract them from their work. This raises the stakes, as the Cerritos crew is in a competition this episode with the crew from the USS Carlsbad, and so these daydreams getting in the way is a problem. It escalates nicely, with the rocks breaking open and unleashing nightmares. My personal favorite is the Snakeborg with Picard’s laser eye.

I also liked some of the self-deprecating humor, with Mariner lamenting the all-too-common Star Trek occurrence of outposts being attacked and comms getting blocked. All to say, this episode was far more fun than the ones we’ve seen recently.

“Mining The Mind’s Mines” mines some interest

That said, the story itself is a bit weak. This competition between the crews of the Cerritos and the Carlsbad is toothless, since there aren’t consequence established for one or the other losing the competition, other than one of them officially taking the title of “worst ship.” Which is weird, since I thought this was something well established in the show that the Cerritos is the least important ship in Starfleet? At any rate, it doesn’t matter because later in the episode, it turns out that the Carlsbad crew actually looks up to the Cerritos. Okay, so then why did you introduce yourselves as huge dicks? For the sake of conflict, of course. The easy way the factions settle their differences is rather lame, particularly because it happens before they even vanquish the main threats. Why not drag the arc out and make them emerge from a difficult situation with a better understanding of each other?

The side story isn’t that interesting, either. Tendi starts a mentorship with an underwhelming birdperson-type character. It isn’t a pointless story; the show does tie in Tendi’s arc with the overall resolution of the episode, but as a story in and of itself, it’s just not very gripping.

And that’s all I’ve got on “Mining the Mind’s Mines.” The show is finally starting to mine some of my interest. How far down does this cave go, and just how many riches will be found? Join me next time as we continue our trek through ST:LD season 3.

Episode Grade: C+

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