‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’: What Boimler’s Return Means For His Character

In the Aug. 26 episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, Ensign Boimler (Jack Quaid) returns to the Cerritos from the Titan after accidentally volunteering to do so in the previous episode, leaving his transporter clone to soak up all the glory on the more prominent ship.

Boimler’s entire motivation so far has been to ascend the ranks and one day command a ship of his own. So what will this setback mean for our favorite Starfleet nerd?

Where does Boimler fit in now?

Jack Quaid smiling for media.
Jack Quaid | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU/Getty Images

The Aug. 26 episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks sees Boimler trying to get back into his daily routine on the Cerritos. But the replicators and doors no longer recognize him. He feels estranged from the ship that used to be his home.

After enduring multiple such frustrations, our crestfallen ensign laments, “First I get kicked off the Titan. Then, the Cerritos doesn’t even know me anymore. Where do I belong?”

That line is relevant not just to the events of this episode, but to Boimler’s larger arc, as well. A Starfleet fan through and through, Boimler’s defining characteristic has been his desire to join the ranks of highly acclaimed officers like Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Picard (Patrick Stewart).

But on the Titan, he was out of his depth. The missions he was assigned to were far more intense than the ones he was used to on the Cerritos, and he didn’t handle it particularly well. Let’s just say there was a lot of screaming. 

On the other hand, he doesn’t seem quite ready to resign himself to spending his entire career on a lower-stakes ship like the Cerritos. He didn’t actually want to leave the Titan, after all. 

Is it too much of a stretch to think that the fact that the Cerritos no longer recognizes him is a metaphor for where he’s at in his life? He’s had a taste of the real action and can’t go back to the version of himself he used to be before he left the Cerritos.

But he’s not quite prepared to serve on a ship like the Titan. He’s in a transition period, and life is challenging him to grow so he can one day achieve his dreams.

In this episode of ‘Lower Decks,’ what’s up with Mariner?

Boimler’s return to the Cerritos isn’t only significant when it comes to his career. It might have implications for his personal life, as well.

Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Tendi (Noël Wells) go off on an away mission of their own in this episode. At one point, they’re talking and Mariner says:

“I’m always dating bad boys. Bad girls, bad gender nonbinary babes, ruthless alien masterminds, bad bynars.”

Tendi replies, “Huh. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you date anyone. You usually seem to be with Boimler.” Mariner reacts to Tendi’s suggestion that she and Boimler could be romantically involved with exaggerated disgust. Is she protesting too much?

Tendi then says, “What, I don’t know? You guys practically sleep in the same bunk.”

Will Boimler and Mariner have to update their relationship status?

Up until now, Boimler and Mariner have had a pretty platonic friendship and frankly, it has been refreshing. We don’t often get to see on-screen friendships between men and women that don’t have romantic undertones. Their friendship is something Star Trek: Lower Decks has done well.

But with Boimler back on the Cerritos, will this be the season that the show begins to explore the nature of their relationship in new ways? Perhaps he’ll have a different perspective after enduring the drama of the Titan.

Fans can see what the show has in store for the Lower Deckers on Paramount+ each Thursday. 

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