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  • Writer's pictureAntal Bokor

Empathalogical Fallacies: Lower Decks S4E5

L-R Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn, Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman in episode 5, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+

So--we’re about halfway through the fourth season of Lower Decks, and we finally have an episode that’s all about the show's newest Lower Deck regular T’Lyn. It also has a few throwbacks (of course) and some surprisingly poignant moments while fleshing out Trek lore. Honestly, this intro is completely unnecessary, because I’m essentially just describing the show at this point. Most of this season has been fantastic, and “Empathalogical Fallacies” has some genuinely great Trek moments.

L-R NoÎl Wells as DíVana Tendi and Jerry OíConnell as Jack Ransom in episode 5, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+

In Empathological Fallacies, the USS Cerritos is tasked with transporting three Betazoid diplomats. As I would have expected from Betazoids, these are real party aunt types–loud, boisterous, and flirting constantly and openly. You know, like three Lwaxana Trois, except drunk and (surprisingly more) disorderly. T’Lyn, the Vulcan addition to the Lower Decks crew, cannot stand their behavior, and finds it extremely off-putting. Soon after, the crew begins to experience heightened emotions–something Captain Freeman thinks is being caused by the Betazoids.

L-R Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shax, Jack Quaid as Boimler and Carl Tart as Kayshon in episode 5, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+

It’s always hit or miss when you have a Star Trek episode that revolves around characters losing their inhibitions, but “Empathalogical Fallacies” does a great job riding the line between satire and parody, while staying true to Trek’s spirit. There are also some interesting lore tidbits that popped up in this episode, especially the fact that Caitians used to hunt Betazoids. Seeing T’Ana feverishly looking for the Betazoids to hunt was hilarious–but it’s hard to find a scene with Doctor T’Ana that isn’t.

While telepathic hell is breaking loose on the Cerritos, Boimler is somewhere deep in the ship during a B-plot with Shaxs and the security crew. Boimler is hoping to learn some moves to kick ass, but instead is invited to play board games and listen to slam poetry. I love how much of a Papa Bear Shaxs is, and the whole episode turns out to be a sort of Karate Kid moment for Boimler.

I wasn’t sure where “Empathalogical Fallacies” was going at first (despite its title hinting at the truth) and I thought T’Lyn was being set up as a villain. Thankfully, that’s not the case, as I’ve really grown to like her character. T’Lyn has turned out to be a great addition to Lower Decks crew. In fact, it’s strange to think that she wasn’t there acting as the “straight man” all along. Certain characters took that role every now and then, and I think Boimler may have originally been meant to occupy that space, but all of the Lower Deck crews are quirkier and more enthusiastic than any straight man can be.

“Empathalogical Fallacies” ends with some hints towards the season’s big mystery. While we’re not given any answers, we’re brought a little closer to the truth. I’m hoping they’re not saving the reveal for a two part ending, and that we’ll get a few more clues to its purpose and who is behind it before any finale.



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