It’s going to take more than a Natural 20 to get Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) out of the wrath of K’ranch! The second episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3, “The Least Dangerous Game,” was written by Garrick Bernard and directed by Michael Mullen.

RELATED: Read our recap of Star Trek: Lower Decks “Grounded.”

Bat’leths & biHnuchs

Dramatic music plays as a virtual version of Martok of the House Martok (J. G. Hertzler) introduces Bat’leths & BiHnuchs. This is a Klingon version of Dungeons & Dragons. The premise: players must die an honorable death in order to gain entrance to Sto-vo-kor.

Ensigns Boimler, Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells), and Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) are reunited in Repair Bay 5. They are dressed in Klingon warrior cosplay and snacking as they prepare to play the tabletop RPG.

After Tendi rolls an 18, Boimler explains to Rutherford that the game wasn’t recorded by the real Martok. Instead, it’s a Ferengi knockoff (and one of many expansions marketed, including Gowron). 

The beta shifters around the B&B table, dressed like Klingon Warriors. Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, and Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi. From Star Trek: Lower Decks "The Least Dangerous Game."

Qapla’! Photos: PARAMOUNT+ ©2022 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Mariner laments that Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) has been riding her after the events of “Grounded.” The conversation is interrupted by a communique from Ransom, who orders Mariner to arrive at an impending briefing obnoxiously early.

A beleaguered Mariner exits as the game and conversation continues. Bradward is distressed to learn that Vendome, a former Cerritos crew member, has been promoted. He’s now Captain of the Inglewood.

Vendome appeared in Lower Decks season 1 episode 3, “Temporal Edict.” In this episode, Vendome was seen being impaled by a spear.

Boimler is consumed with jealousy. Tendi points out that Vendome always volunteered for opportunities. Returning to B&B, Bradward’s character makes a “safe” decision and ends up dying. Without honor. 

Orbital Lift

Later, an away team comprised of Mariner, Ransom, Rutherford, and Lt. Commander Andy Billups (Paul Sheer) leaves the Cerritos in the shuttlecraft Death Valley. In voiceover, Ransom explains the mission. The planet Dulane has a thermosphere with charged ions that prevent beaming. Instead, they utilize a system of orbital lifts, and one is malfunctioning. Mariner annoys Ransom by calling them “elevators.” 

Ransom notes that the Cerritos will host the travelers waylaid by the damaged lift while the repairs are undertaken. Mariner is excited to serve as liaison to the Dulanians, who has a “wellness-based” society. But Ransom assigns Mariner and himself to the repairs and sends Rutherford and Billups to liaise with the Dulanians.

Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, and Paul Scheer as Lt. Commander Andy Billups enjoying the Dulanian hospitality. They are decked out in leis and enjoying tropical drinks poolside.

Prince Andarithio reclines.

On the Cerritos, Boimler shares his fear that he’ll never be promoted with Tendi. She encourages him to try new things. Encouraged by Tendi, Bradward uncharacteristically agrees to take part in a Springball game. 

In the ensuing Springball game, Boimler impresses Lieutenant Shax (Fred Tatasciore) with his sustained wail. Shax invites the ensign to serve as soprano in his Bajorian dirge choir. Again, Bradward uncharacteristically agrees.

In Choir Room 3, Boimler impresses Shax with his aural performance. The Lieutenant says he honors the profits, and he owes Boimler a favor. Then, Chief Lars Lundy (Nolan North) emerges from the shadows. He pegs Bradward’s weight at “a healthy 61.2 kilos.” He asks Boimler to pose for a figure drawing class. Bradward again agrees.

The Odd Couple

On the orbital lift, Ransom and Mariner are butting heads. Mariner suggests that the other two members of the away team would be better candidates for the engineering tasks at hand. Ransom is dismissive. 

Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom, and Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner on the Orbital lift. They're looking with concern at a PADD.

The odd couple: Ransom and Mariner.

Ransom and Mariner receive a transmission from Billups and Rutherford. They are relaxing beside a pool and enjoying the Dulanian hospitality. Ransom cautions Billups not to “become a king down there” (see season 2 episode 7, “Where Pleasant Valleys Lie”). Rutherford considers transferring divisions again (season 1 episode 2, “Envoys”).

Billups asks if Ransom remembered to decouple the flow inversion before reconnecting the conduit piping. Ransom says he did, but he obviously didn’t. Mariner questions the assignments and Ransom says sometimes Starfleet means getting your hands dirty. Then, his work starts to fall apart.

RELATED: Geek Girl Crush of the Week: Beckett Mariner

On the Cerritos, Boimler meets Tendi in the bar. Bradward says D’Vana’s advice has paid off. Tendi suggests Boimler try not having a plan, but he insists the new plan is to say “yes” to everything.”

They are approached by K’Ranch (North again), a Kromsapiod. He explains that he has been stranded by the broken orbital lift. The delay is affecting his undeniable impulse to hunt. He asks if either ensign will agree to be his prey.

Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) is marked by the tooth of K'ranch (Nolan North) in the Cerritos bar. From Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 episode 2, "The Least Dangerous Game."

K’ranch marks Bradward.

D’Vana declines and suggests K’ranch seek assistance from Doctor T’Ana in sick bay. But in accordance with his new plan, Bradward agrees to being hunted. Tendi discourages him but Boimler commits. K’ranch breaks off a tooth and marks his prey. The Kromsapiod issues Bradward an hour of preparation time before receding.

Ransom Googling

On the orbital lift, Ransom watches a video of a Dulanian explaining how to repair the system. He’s interrupted by a call from Billups, who explains he and Rutherford have offended the Dulanians. They failed to expose their belly buttons as they entered the Sacred Hall. Billups asks Ransom to smooth things out but Ransom insists they solve the problem themselves. 

Mariner and Ransom continue to argue over the course of action. Beckett eventually says she’s going to work elsewhere.

On the Cerritos, Boimler enters K’ranch’s quarters and asks if the hunt is metaphorical. K’ranch monologues about prey before announcing the fight has begun. Bradward flees and K’ranch pursues him through the halls. The pair pass many Cerritos crewmembers, including Matt and Kimolu in Cetacean Ops.

An angry K’ranch (Nolan North) chases a screaming Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) through the halls of the Cerritos.

It’s just Bradward and K’ranch.

Boimler runs into Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis). He explains the situation, and she’s outraged. But when she learns the agreement is with K’ranch, she insists it be upheld. She shared a lovely brunch with K’ranch earlier. Freeman says they have to respect his culture. K’ranch thanks the captain for the mimosas before continuing the pursuit.

RELATED: Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 – The Search for Speculation.

Meanwhile, the Dulanians have discovered Billups has an “outie.” They are consequently sacrificing him to Morgo, a sentient volcano. Ransom tells Rutherford to parlay with their leader. Rutherford says their leader is either an ancient god or a telepathic baby. Ransom says he’s narrowing it down and returns to repairing the orbital lift.

After witnessing the conversation, Mariner resolves to rescue Rutherford herself. She suits up and opens the orbital lift door. Then she dives out and into the unknown.

Wrath of K’ranch

Skydiving towards the planet, Mariner receives a communication from Ransom. He says he’s thought about it and Beckett was correct. He was trying to prove a point with his assignments. In spite of this, Mariner stayed on task.

Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) skydives. Y'know, like in Star Trek (2009).

Note the subtle lens flare.

Ransom says the engineers are in over their heads and he’ll meet her in Section 8. Beckett pulls the chute and re-enters the orbital lift. She swears as she takes in the stairs ahead of her.

On the Cerritos, Bradward continues to flee from K’ranch. He seeks refuge in Repair Bay 5, where B&B is still set-up. He knocks the PADD over and the virtual Martok begins to speak.

“Warrior, fight to the last breath,” says the Ferengi program. “The only way you can lose now is by letting your foe define who you are! Never back down! Never cower!” Boimler is inspired by the words of “Martok” and outfits himself for battle.

In the hallway, Bradward confronts K’ranch. He calls himself “Bold Boimler” and says he won’t back down. K’ranch immediately incapacitates him with a spear.

K’ranch pulls out a weapon but it’s actually a selfie stick. He snaps a selfie with the pinned Bradward and declares his hunt ended. Kromsapiods use “catch and release” tactics. However, Boimler has earned K’ranch’s respect.

Inside the orbital lift, Mariner faces a climbing wall after the stairs. She’s sweaty and exhausted. But Ransom went to the restroom so he doesn’t realize she’s late. He tells her that they’re going to have to skydive down. Mariner suggests a break first but Ransom thinks she’s joking.

As the pair dives towards the planet, Ransom cheers while Mariner catches some Z’s.

Bold Boimler

Ransom and Mariner parachute into Morgo the volcano, where Rutherford and Billups are about to be sacrificed. The Dulanians are ruled by Mandrick, a psychic baby, and his co-leader, 355 the sentient computer.

Ransom questions their method of governance. Mandrick orders Rutherford and Billups to be thrown into the volcano. The engineers share a heartwarming final moment together.

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However, Ransom interrupts. He confirms that the Dulanians live a health-based way of life. Then he rips off his uniform top and wows the Dulanians with his muscles. Suitably impressed, the Dulanians agree to listen to Ransom’s wisdom.

Back on the Cerritos, Mariner is called into Ransom’s office. Ransom says that Beckett did well today. However, she has to keep it up if she wants to stay on the ship. Mariner admits her begrudging respect for Ransom. Ransom is secretly vindicated.

"The Least Dangerous Game" -- Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford , Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler and Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi

Who doesn’t love B&B?

The Lower Deckers reunite in Repair Bay 5 to continue their game of B&B. Mariner calls Ransom a dick. Bradward says T’Ana tells him his shoulder will “always probably always feel a little bit off,” but it’s fine. He says he’s “Bold Boimler” from here on out.

Bradward applies his bold new strategy to B&B and immediately dies without honor. Boimler nevertheless declares he will still be bold.

Then, their game is interrupted. The virtual Martok informs them they must purchase an expansion in order to continue playing.

Read all of our Star Trek: Lower Decks recaps, here. 

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks are available for streaming on Paramount Plus on Thursdays.

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