I just have to say, this is the best Star Trek since Enterprise.
Not that that’s a hard bar to get over. Like, the bar is digging into the ground. But still, it’s nice to see improvement. And improvement this is. I don’t know if the show will keep this level of quality (probably not), but I hope it does, or even keeps improving.
This episode is “OK”. (Last one was “Meh,” the first was “Bad”.) There were scenes (plural) here that are funnier than the entirety of the last two episodes combined. This was not a laugh riot by any measure, but it had some good gags. There’s still a bit too much of that modern ironic-absurdist humor that I’m not terribly fond of (I like my absurdism old-fashioned), but at least most of the rest of the humor feels appropriate for a Trek show.
A big part of the success of this episode is that there is simply Mariner. Sure, she is still the Mary Sue; even though she gets taken down a peg, she’s still completely right in everything she says (it’s only that someone outdoes her at her own shtick, after giving a lecture – to a superior officer – about her shtick). Also, Boimler is able to do his thing without Mariner being right there. Part of the problem is that Mariner absolutely overshadows and humiliates Boimler in every instance, so him being without her lets him shine in his own way. (Now, if they’d only let that happen with her.)
I also appreciated that the show lets the senior staff not look like a bunch of baffoons (excepting the captain). Ransom, the XO, might be a Kirk/Riker knockoff, but he shows how he was able to rise in rank. The rest of the senior staff also shows their competence, in smaller ways.