Nothing’s more cinematic than a sequel, especially when it’s executed by the beta shifters of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Season 3, episode 8, “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,” was written by Ben Rodgers and directed by Michael Mullen.

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The Cerritos is in the midst of a dramatic space battle against a Romulan Warbird. The widescreen ratio and grainy film quality reveal this is a holodeck movie: a sequel to season 1 episode 9, “Crisis Point: Rise of Vindicta.” In spite of the efforts of Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis), Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell), Lt. Kayshon (Carl Tart), and Lt. Shax (Fred Tatasciore), the Romulans abscond with a “device” stolen from a Cerritos scientist.

Aboard the Romulan ship, the Melpinar triplets order the Cerritos to be destroyed. Freeman is about to abandon ship. But before she can give the order, the Wayfarer arrives. 

Crisis Point 2: the Wayfarer!

The Wayfarer in Crisis Point 2 on Lower Decks. Photos: PARAMOUNT+ ©2022 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The ship executes a Star Trek: First Contact-style flyby as it deflects fire directed toward the Cerritos. Shax thanks the profits, but Freeman says to save those thanks for “Captain Busephelous Dagger,” played by Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid).

Crisis Point 2

On the bridge of the Wayfarer, Boimler addresses his quips towards “Commander Rebecca Doodle,” played by Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome). Elsewhere, one Melpinar triplet says she wants Dagger’s head. But another says they’ve already won. The Warbird warps away.

Freeman opens comms with Dagger. She explains that the Melpinar triplets stole the Chrono-gami, a time travel device. Mariner mocks the clunky exposition. 

Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler and Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi on the bridge of the Wayfarer in Star Trek: Lower Decks: Crisis Point 2.

The Wayfarer bridge in Crisis Point 2 on Lower Decks.

An incoming message from the real world interrupts. Boimler freezes the holodeck program and answers. Ransom orders him to report to his office. Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) asks, “Aren’t you off duty?” Bradward affirms this and speculates Ransom just wants a spotter for Tellarite deadlifts. 

Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) says the opening was awesome. Beckett is skeptical of a time travel plot, however. Boimler says Crisis Point 2 is twice as good as the original. Mariner says he can’t just piggyback off her movie. Bradward counters that it was originally his program, so he can do what he wants.

Tendi wonders if it qualifies as a sequel when Vindicta was blown up at the conclusion of the first movie. Rutherford says the narrative follows the heres: the Cerritos bridge crew, not the antagonist.

Before leaving for Ransom’s office, Boimler says he’ll skip to the opening credits. Beckett postulates that the Romulans using the Chrono-gami will result in an alternate cinematic timeline where they are all played by different, younger actors. Tendi says this narrative possibility is scientifically a “bit of a reach.”

Lower Decks: Paradoxus

Rutherford is playing Chief Engineer Sylvo Toussant. Meanwhile, Tendi plays Lt. Commander Meena Vesper. Mariner denounces Crisis Point 2 as fanfic. She notes that she has an upcoming evaluation with Ransom at 1900.

Bradward returns to the holodeck, dejected. Mariner asks what Ransom wanted. Boimler says “reassigning duty shifts.” As the credits conclude, Tendi urges everyone to get into character. Instead, Rutherford blows a raspberry.

Europa – Starfleet Temporal Laboratory. The command crews of the Cerritos and Wayfarer enter the laboratory and approach Doctor Helena Gibson. Dialogue establishes that she and Dagger have a romantic history. But Boimler is all narrative business.

Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Jerry O'Conell as Commander Ransom, Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana and Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman. They are looking over Doctor Gibson's shoulder as she gives them exposition on a computer screen.

Gibson’s an expositional expert.

Gibson shows the crews an outdated but extremely high definition computer rendition explaining the concept that underpins the Chrono-gami. Shax notes that the Romulans could attack at any place or time. This could prevent Starfleet from ever existing. 

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“So many lives, just blinked out of existence,” says Bradward. Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) begins to speak but Boimler interrupts her. He reflects further on mortality.

Gibson gives the crew a watch that can track the Chrono-gami. The device suggests the Chrono-gami is being brought to Tatasciore IX. Shax notes this planet is a favorite of black market weapons dealers.

Gibson postulates that the Melpinar triplets are heading there in order to buy the fuel for the device. As the crew sets a course for Tatasciore IX, Boimler rebuffs Gibson’s romantic advances. Mariner insists a movie needs romance. Bradward replies that “Dagger’s lovelife doesn’t matter anymore.”

Tatasciore IX

The Wayfarer and the Cerritos arrive at Tatasciore IX. Wearing cloaks, they traverse a street filled with shouting. One man exhorts the guidance of Minooki. Another claims they’re all holograms in a simulation. A third says that the Koala smiles on us all. A fourth states that “Kityha has the true answers for life’s most important questions.”

Beckett is anticipating a big action set piece. But Boimler’s attention is drawn to Kityha. The hologram extra tells Bradward he seeks Kityha. Kityha resides on the forbidden moon.

Mariner questions the narrative detour. She says the holodeck just populated the man into the background. But alien sidekick Knick Knack comes forward in support of “Purple Hair.” Beckett urges Boimler to continue with the main plot. But Bradward notes that it’s an adaptive program.

Meanwhile, Tendi and Rutherford get a lock on the Melpinar triplets. A chase scene begins. But Boimler has no interest in following that storyline. He gives Vesper command of the A-plot. Mariner questions the logic in abandoning the story post-exposition. 

However, Bradward is won over by Kityha. He says that they’re going to go find the meaning of life, which is more important than the story he wrote. Then he says the chase sequence wasn’t going to be fun anyway.

Chase Sequence

Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana, Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jerry O'Connell as Commander Ransom. They are riding hover bikes.

Freeman still has the hydroscoot record back at the Academy.

But the chase sequence is fun. After the Romulans activate the Chrono-gami, Tendi leads the crew into the portal after them. The heroes arrive at Starfleet Aquatic Research Center in 2341, during the Great Soolian Algae Crisis. 

Tendi is frustrated when it becomes apparent Rutherford left to get noisy snacks. D’Vana accuses him of not taking it seriously. Samanthan easily concedes that he is not. Tendi shushes him and gets back to the movie, only to be further interrupted by his chips.

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On Tatasciore IX, Mariner urges Boimler to get back to the A-plot. But Bradward continues to be fixated on the old man, who turns out to be named “Illustor.” Boimler asks how they find Kityha. Illustor searches for the answer. Beckett says the holodeck is just stalling as it builds backstory.

Illustor stands and reveals his back is covered in a tattoo map. Mariner decalres Illustor “can’t be part of the Vindicta-verse.” Boimler pushes back, encouraged by Knick Knack. Bradward says he’s following Illustor’s skin-map. Beckett accuses Boimler of ruining her franchise and making her late for her evals. She leaves the holodeck brooding.

In his quarters, Ransom tells Beckett she’s turned a corner. There’s nothing but positive feedback in her file. Before she leaves, Ransom asks about Bradward. He reveals that William Boimler, Bradward’s transporter clone, died earlier. A freak neurocrine gas leak killed William in his sleep.

Ransom says he doesn’t know where he’d be without his besties (Honus the bartender, Nurse Westlake, and Matt the whale). Mariner sighs, “oh no.”

Lower Decks Street Punks

Vesper and the crew arrive in Sydney on July 15, 1982. An ancestor of the octopus is at the local aquarium. Tendi postulates that the Romulans plan to assassinate the ancestor.

Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jerry O'Conell as Commander Ransom and Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman being confronted by 1980s street punks!

Street punks!

The heroes are soon attacked by street punks. Shax makes easy work of them. Tendi says they need to kidnap the octopus. However, Rutherford derails the tension by attempting to steal period clothes from the unconscious punks.

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Elsewhere, Mariner rejoins the holodeck program. She finds herself on a freighter. She is apprehended by unnamed characters. They throw her in the brig. Boimler is in the cell too. He tells her the tattoo map was a bust. When he couldn’t find Kityha, his followers mutinied. He says his movie fell apart.

Beckett reveals Ransom told her about William. Boimler says he still hasn’t processed the news. “He died for no reason. I guess I was trying to make all this matter so I would matter,” he admits. He declares the movie a failure and calls for the arch.

Mariner stops him. She says if she could find meaning in the unscripted Crisis Point, he can too. Bradward says he thought she hated Crisis Point 2. But she says that because it’s a Starfleet movie, it’s worth doing. Boimler is encouraged, but first they must escape.

Deus Ex Knick Knack

That’s when the wall explodes and they’re rescued by Knick Knack. The alien sidekick professes his love for Boimler and the trio escapes.

On the bridge, Boimler confronts Illustor. Mariner predicts a soul-changing speech. Instead, Bradward favors the “Kirk thing.” As Boimler beats up Illustor, Mariner and a juiced-up Knick Knack take out the rest of the bridge crew. When everyone’s incapacitated, Boimler makes a discovery. Illustor’s back flaps can be folded together Mad Magazine-style, revealing the map to Kityha.

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Meanwhile, in 2161 San Francisco at the Founding of the Federation, Tendi, Rutherford, and the Cerritos bridge crew must prevent a bomb from exploding. Everyone is spattered in Romulan blood. Rutherford sings the Choo Choo song to himself. Tendi is clearly frustrated that he’s still not taking this seriously.

Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs, Noel Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jerry O'Connell as Commander Ransom. They are all spattered in Romulan blood. The founding of the Federation is happening in the background.

There will be (Romulan) Blood.

One of the incapacitated Romulans attempts to kill Rutherford, but T’Ana jumps in the way of the blast. She sustains a fatal injury. Tendi is affected by the loss. Rutherford just makes light of the situation again.

Tendi asks why he isn’t taking it seriously, and he says because they’re just having fun. But D’Vana answers, “This isn’t fun for me! Would you laugh this much if I were the Captain in real life?” 

Samathan asks her if she really wants to be a captain. In saying it aloud, Tendi has realized that she does. Rutherford tells her he’d follow her any day. He finally begins taking the story seriously and asks Captain Vesper for her orders. Tendi says they’ll adopt the strategy of their enemies, opening a time portal.

Full Circle

Back in the opening scenes of the movie, the Cerritos is once again being fired upon by the Romulan vessel. The Romulans once again attempt to execute their heist. But while they may have beamed back to their ship with the box, their victory is interrupted by Acting Captain Meena Vesper.

Star Trek: Lower Decks: Crisis Point 2: the Cerritos is fired upon.

The cinematic Cerritos in Crisis Point 2 on Lower Decks.

She’s on the bridge of the Cerritos, along with two versions of the Cerritos bridge crew. She reveals that the Romulans don’t have the Chronogami, they have their own bomb. The enemy ship explodes and everyone (including Rutherford) celebrates the victory.

Elsewhere, Illustor’s ship arrives at the third moon of Shatanari. Boimler and Mariner beam down. Using tricorders, they locate a sentient mountain deity: Kityha. It asks them what truth they seek.

“A man named William Boimler died,” says Bradward. “It was meaningless. What is life for?” But all Kityha can offer is a series of inane, hollow platitudes. Boimler says he wanted the meaning of life, not inspirational quotes.

Bradward is enraged and begins beating his way inside Kityha. Beckett discourages him but he isn’t listening. Inside, Boimler finds a plaque reading “Kityha.” He wipes away the obscured letters and reveals “Wright Flyer, Kittyhawk, NC.” The reveal is nonsense. Bradward begins thrashing and ranting. He screams so hard it fades to white.


Boimler regains consciousness on a farm in Idaho. The picture is no longer “cinematic widescreen.” He follows a voice into the stable and finds Captain Sulu (George Takei). Sulu explains that he took the property off Kirk’s hands.

Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler and George Takei as Captain Sulu. They're in a horse stable in Idaho.

The afterlife? The nexus? No! Idaho.

Boimler says he didn’t program any of this into Crisis Point. He admits that he was in the holodeck trying to find meaning in the randomness of death.

“Brad, I’ve lost many friends. Some heroically, some tragically,” says Sulu. “The randomness of death is merely a reflection of the unexpected joys we find in life.” Boimler says he thinks he can live with that.

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Bradward tries to ask more questions, but Sulu says that the horse is going to bite him now. It bites him on the neck. The next instant, he awakens in sick bay after getting a hypospray in the neck. The rest of beta shift is gathered around his bed. Doctor T’Ana admonishes him for succumbing to dehydration and tells him to take holodeck water breaks.

Boimler apologizes for his movie but Tendi and Rutherford say it was great. Meanwhile, Mariner has become a defender of Bradward’s Kityha subplot. But T’Ana tells them to get out of the sick bay to make room for a warp core-burned Steve Stevens (Rodgers).

In the hallway, Beckett says that maybe this was a good sequel to Crisis Point. She congratulates him for not ending it on a dark cliffhanger. Boimler says, “Cliffhangers are the worst! I hate it when people do that.”

System: Redacted

In an unknown system, a Defiant-esque ship sits amidst a menacing red nebula. Inside, an unidentified figure opens a coffin, revealing William Boimler within. The figure administers a hypospray that causes William to awaken, then hands him a Section 31 comm badge.

Jack Quaid as Ensign William Boimler in Crisis Point 2.

Who is this enigmatic, ponytail’d figure?

William comments on the illogic of having a special comm badge for a secret Starfleet division. The figure threatens Boimler and he quickly changes his tune. As he dons the Section 31 badge, he laughs maniacally.

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

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Avery Kaplan