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DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for the first and second seasons of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

D’Vana Tendi

Fast Facts:

Ensign Tendi (Noel Wells) leans close to Dr. T'Ana (Gillian Vigman) in the first season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, "No Small Parts."

Photo Cr: CBS 2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In “Second Contact,” the first episode of Lower Decks, we meet Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) as she boards the Cerritos for the first time. Tendi is an Orion, an alien species introduced in the original pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series and expanded upon in Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery. In the Star Trek universe, many people have a negative perception of the Orion, and associate them with piracy.

However, Tendi is an enthusiastic Starfleet officer. Her commitment to science is so serious that, although she’s the last of the four main Lower Deckers to be assigned to the Cerritos, she’s the first to be transferred to Bridge Officer training.

Tendi and T’Ana:

Throughout the first two seasons of Lower Decks, the relationship between Tendi and the surly Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) is explored. Although T’Ana has a reputation for having a dour attitude, Tendi is able to channel her unbridled enthusiasm into helping the Cerritos doctor with any task she assigns.

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In season 2’s “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris,” Tendi goes to great lengths to prove herself to T’Ana by assisting with a personal favor. The next episode, “Mugato, Gumato,” shows Tendi going above and beyond by completing a nearly-impossible task T’Ana never would have expected her to finish. And in the season 2 finale, “First First Contact,” T’Ana demonstrates how much she values Tendi’s contributions with a transfer to Bridge Officer training.

The Real Deal:

In the season 1 episode “Veritas,” a censored memory reveals that although Tendi may have turned her life on the pirate life, it wasn’t because she lacked the fighting acumen. However, Tendi has no desire to be a “capitalist, hyper-libertarian pirate” like other members of her family. Instead, she’d prefer to spend her life pursuing science.

Fortunately, Starfleet affords her plenty of opportunities. In “Much Ado About Boimler,” Tendi uses inert carbon to design The Dog (Jennifer Hale). The events of “No Small Parts” demonstrate that her ego doesn’t get in the way when she’s in a position to mentor another Starfleet officer and their accomplishments threaten to overshadow her own. Then later, during the events of “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” her on-the-fly scientific knowledge proves invaluable to escape.

The Dog (Jennifer Hale) and  as Ensign Tendi (Noël Wells) in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 1's "Much Ado About Boimler."

Photo Cr: CBS 2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Why She Matters:

Why does Tendi matter? She shows that other people’s inaccurate perceptions don’t control who you really are. With her boundless enthusiasm for science, she’s able to overcome any of the obstacles that come her way. 

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So, be like Tendi. Remember that only you can dictate who you are, no matter what other people think of you. Prioritize your passions over other people’s perceptions of you. Be on the lookout for others who might have been unfairly judged on their surface. Be prepared to learn from any situation. And never underestimate the restorative properties of a big bowl of pasta with pesto!

RELATED: Looking for another strong female crush? Check out our Geek Girl Authority Crushes of the Week here!

Star Trek: Lower Decks streams on Paramount Plus.

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Avery Kaplan