In Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 episode 5, Provisional Lt. JG T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) takes the spotlight. “Empathalogical Fallacies” was written by Jamie Loftus and directed by Megan Lloyd.

RELATED: Read our recap for the previous episode, “Something Borrowed, Something Green”

T’Lyn records an outgoing communication to her former captain, Sokel, on the VCF Sh’Val. She recounts that the USS Cerritos is playing host to a trio of Betazoid diplomats. The trio of Betazoids are drinking out of yard cups and flirting with passing crewmembers as they follow Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) and Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell). The Cerritos is escorting them from Angel I to Risa. T’Lyn finds the Betazoids disruptive.

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 episode 5, "Empathalogical Fallacies." She is following a trio of drunken Betazoids through the halls of the Cerritos.

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One of the Betazoids senses that shuttling them around isn’t Freeman’s favorite mission. Next one of them flirts with Ransom but loses interest when he’s receptive to her advances. By contrast, Freeman’s insistence that she has a husband does little to rebuff her advances. When one of the other Betazoids suggests she tamp it down, she calls her a “sanctimonious buzzkill” under her breath. Freeman assures them that she’s been ordered to make sure they have a good time.

The Betazoids hand T’Lyn their empty Angel I-branded yard drinks and ask for refills of anything “glowing and green.” In voiceover, T’Lyn’s recorded communication impresses the severity of her circumstances.

The Caitians and the Betazoids

Freeman, Ransom, T’Lyn and the Betazoids arrive in sickbay. “Hangover cures, prophylactics…  Well, it’s all available right here.” Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman) says she didn’t realize there was going to be a buffet today. Freeman and Ransom are confused by the Betazoids’ laugh. The Betazoids explain that in the distant past, Catians used to hunt and kill Betazoids. T’Ana assures Freeman that Catians only eat synthetic Betazoid now. However, she is so distracted as the Betazoids pass by that she burns her patient, Andy Billups (Paul Scheer).

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One of the Betazoids dons an “It’s Romulan Ale-o-Clock Somewhere” cap and asks about the location of the Cerritos bar. T’Lyn arrives with the yards of booze and Freeman tells her there’s no need as the group leaves sickbay for the bar. But T’Ana grabs one before announcing it’s time to get to surgery.

The Betazoids get drinking with the crew of the Cerritos in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 episode 5, "Empathalogical Fallacies."

In the Cerritos bar, the crew and Betazoids are “getting the party started.” In her quarters, T’Lyn concludes her outgoing message by stating that she will suppress her chaotic tendencies if reinstated on the Sh’Val. However, when she attempts to send the communication, she only gets an error message. Mariner arrives and invites T’Lyn to the party. Observing T’Lyn is attempting to send a message, Mariner explains that no outgoing comms are permitted while the Betazoids are on board.

Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn. Mariner is poking her head into T'Lyn's quarters.

T’Lyn says it is illogical to allow drinking and merrymaking when security is meant to be tightened. Mariner says she should join them in the bar before leaving. T’Lyn attempts to send the message again. She raises an eyebrow.

The Program Candidate

In their shared quarters, Lt. JG Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) watches Lt. JG Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) pace. Boimler is attempting to remember every crew member’s name by sight. However, he gets hung up on Sleepy Merp. Boimler calls himself an idiot and Rutherford tells him to ease up. Rutherford invites Boimler to the party. But Boimler says he has to know everything. Boimler tells Rutherford he’ll come if he memorizes everyone. Rutherford leaves the room. In the hall outside, he contacts Lt. Shax (Fred Tatasciore) and says he has a candidate for “the program.”

Eugene Cordero as Rutherford and Jack Quaid as Bradward Boimler. They are both in their quarters and Boimler looks upset about his PADD.

In her quarters, T’Lyn once again considers sending the message. However, she observes that it would be illogical to attempt to send it again. Nevertheless, she concludes it would be logical to inquire when the communication ban will be lifted.

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T’Lyn finds the Cerritos bar in chaos. Ransom cries to Steve Stevens about being rejected by the Betazoid. Doctor Migleemo (Paul F. Tompkins) comes to blows with the replicator. Rutherford finishes a drink and throws the glass to the floor before running off. T’Lyn approaches the table where Tendi and Mariner are sitting. When T’Lyn brings up suspended communications, Tendi gets emotional.

Noel Wells as DíVana Tendi and Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 episode 5, "Empathalogical Fallacies." They are both in the bar and looking ragged.

Mariner notices that everyone’s getting weird. The Betazoids says they didn’t know Starfleet has this kind of party in them. Freeman says they don’t. She gets up on a counter and addresses the crew. Freeman tells them to get it in control. Ensign Barnes (Jessica McKenna) says she’s going to drop the ship out of warp so they don’t get to Risa too soon. T’Lyn incapacitates Barnes with a Vulcan nerve pinch. Freeman realizes something must be affecting them. The Betazoids seem unconcerned.

Zanthi Fever

Meanwhile, Boimler and Shax arrive in a part of the ship to which Boimler’s never been. Shax tells him to take it easy and explains they need isolation. Boimler asks if he’s going to learn Tsunkatse. But inside the room, a security officer delivers a slam poem about Worf.

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn, Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman. They are in the Cerritos bar. Mariner and Freeman are hugging.

In the bar, Freeman asks why no one is listening to her when she’s captain. Mariner suggests they lock everyone in the brig (herself included). T’Lyn suggests the crew’s heightened emotional state may be caused by the Betazoids. She suggests the possibility of Zanthi fever. T’Lyn continues that Zanti fever causes mature Betazoids to broadcast their empathetic abilities, thus causing the emotions of those around them. She suggests opening communications.

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Freeman says they can’t open communications. She says T’Ana will have to handle it herself. But elsewhere in the bar, T’Ana is preoccupied with chasing her own tail. T’Lyn doubts T’Ana’s current efficacy. The Betazoids arrive and one continues to hit on Freeman. Freeman says she’s still married and asks the trio to join her in sickbay. She explains they’re concerned that the Betazoids may be telepathically ill.

Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman. She is talking to one of the Betazeds.

The Betazoids communicate telepathically. They wonder if Freeman’s on to them. But they agree to join Freeman in sickbay (so long as they can keep their drinks). In sickbay, T’Ana’s scans find the Betazoids to be “deliciously pathogen-free.” But the Betazoids are offended when they learn T’Ana is scanning for Zanthi fever. Nevertheless, all three scan clean. They move to leave sickbay and Freeman blocks their path. Mariner reminds her they are visiting diplomats. Freeman says the timing is too suspicious. She confines all three to quarters. 

Starfleet Security Officer Charades

Telepathically, the three Betazoids agree enough is enough. They drop their cover and leap into action. Lipsticks are revealed to be batons crackling with energy, and their gaudy clothes fall away to reveal more practical jumpsuits. The trio of Betazoids incapacitate T’Ana, Mariner and T’Lyn and then advance on Freeman. Freeman says she’s good at her job because she knew they were up to something as they close in.

Meanwhile, Boimler and the security officers are playing charades. Boimler correctly identifies the performance of Lt. Kayshon (Carl Tart) as Constable Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. “Sokoth, his eyes opened,” confirms Kayshon. But Boimler is still dejected. Shax asks him what’s wrong. Boimler says he was hoping to be training to kick butt. Shax says that training takes different forms. Boimler asks if this is a test and ineffectually attacks Shax.

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Shax concedes that Boimler got him. It was a test and he passed. Next, he presents a box and says Boimler must choose one of the two Starfleet Security Officer challenges contained within to complete. Boimler opens it and finds a Starfleet Security Series Malcolm Reed 1000-piece puzzle and a deck of Tarot cards. He states the box’s contents out loud. Shax declares he has chosen both. The security officers cheer.

In the turbolift, the Betazoids tell Freeman not to get any ideas. They reveal they’re officers of the Betazed Intelligence Agency. Freeman says they wanted to help them but they point out she tried to lock them up. They arrive on the bridge. Freeman orders the Betazoids to be taken down but they successfully incapacitate the bridge crew.

Betazed Intelligence

Freeman asks why they are doing this when Betazed is a member of the Federation. The Betazoids accuse Freeman of falsely accusing them of messing with everyone’s emotions. Freeman accuses them again, but they say their emotions are all over the place too. The Betazoids say they are on a multi-planet mission to search for clues to explain the attacks across the quadrant. 

One of the Betazoids declares they must take the fastest route back to Betazed. However, her planned path goes through the Neutral Zone. Freeman protests but the Betazoids say she should have thought of that before attempting to imprison them. Freeman says the crew will realize something’s wrong any minute now. But in the Cerritos bar, a dozen crew members have stripped to their underpants and made a human pyramid.

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In sickbay, T’Ana grows manic enough to shred the restraints and escape. Mariner says they have to stop her, as she took an oath not to consume patients. But T’Ana has left her medical tricorder behind. It reveals that the source of the disturbance is T’Lyn. T’Lyn notes that Bendii Syndrome affects Vulcans and could have a similar effect as Zanthi fever. However, T’Lyn says Bendii Syndrome is mostly observed in the elderly, while T’Lyn is “only” 62 years old. But Mariner says they’ll have to figure it out later, as she has to rescue her mommy.

On the bridge, Freeman says they can’t let the Romulans learn the intel she possesses. Dolorix reads her mind to determine what she knows. Freeman remembers the one Betazoid calling the other a “sanctimonious buzzkill” in Act 1. Dolorix turns on her fellow Betazoids. The trio of Betazoids begin telepathically arguing. 

Bendii Syndrome

Boimler is having his Tarot cards read by Shax while the other security officers work on the Reed puzzle nearby. Shax explains there’s more to being on the security team than kicking ass. Boimler says he guesses security on the California class isn’t serious. On the bridge, Freeman uses the distraction of the Betazoid argument to activate the red alert. Below decks, the security team responds to the klaxon by leaping into action. Without speaking, they arm themselves with phaser pistols and rifles and leave the room in formation. Boimler follows.

Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shax, Jack Quaid as Boimler and Carl Tart as Kayshon. They are sitting around a half-completed Malcom Reed puzzle and a Tarot deck with the rest of the security team. The ship is at red alert. They are all reacting.

Kayshon, when his face was covered with crumbs.

Elsewhere, T’Lyn and Mariner run into the half-naked crewmembers outside the bar. Mariner says the Betazoids kidnapped the captain. T’Lyn admits the emotional effect may be caused by proximity to her. Tendi asks how T’Lyn could do this when she’s her “best friend.” T’Lyn says Tendi is still being manipulated. But this assertion causes the majority of the crew present to turn on T’Lyn and Mariner. In the background throughout the scene, Big Merp is playing “The Game.”

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T’Lyn and Mariner seek cover in a uniform closet. Mariner says she wishes she could roundhouse kick the situation in the face. T’Lyn touches Mariner’s face and says she is attempting to regulate Mariner’s emotions, since T’Lyn caused the imbalance. Mariner says being balanced feels pretty good.

Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 episode 5, "Empathalogical Fallacies." Mariner is roundhouse kicking the situation in the face.

T’Lyn continues that she caused the crew’s chaos. She fears she is not Vulcan enough. T’Lyn reveals she has been preoccupied by her inability to send the message. She says she did not voluntarily come to the Cerritos. She was banished there “for being insubordinate, unhinged and recklessly emotional” (see season 2’s “wej Duj”). T’Lyn explains that her captain determined she was “damaged and illogical,” and says he was right.

Vulcan as a Motherf*cker

Meanwhile, the cadre of security officers arrives outside the bridge with Boimler in tow. They find T’Ana scratching at the door. Shax suggests one of Migleemo’s focus exercises. T’Ana attacks but Shax holds her at arm’s length. With the Cerritos approaching the Neutral Zone, time is short.

Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs, Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler and Carl Tart as Kayshon. They are in the hallway and the ship is at red alert. Shax's arm is being attacked by T'Ana (Gillian Vigman).

Elsewhere, the half-naked crew are pounding on the door of the uniform closet. Mariner tells T’Lyn that her previous crew “were a bunch of f*cking idiots.” Mariner says T’Lyn is “one of the most brutally efficient, distant people [she has] ever met.” She continues, “Man, f*ck Captain Sokel. What, you saved their lives so he kicks you off the ship? Where’s the logic in that, huh?” T’Lyn says it was “a disproportionate response to a minor character flaw.” Mariner says there’s no character flaw. “Can you imagine something more Vulcan than Bendii Syndrome? Hello! I mean, Spock’s dad had it, he was Vulcan as a motherf*cker.”

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T’Lyn unclenches her hands. She says by the transitive property, she too must be “Vulcan as a motherf*cker.” T’Lyn thanks Mariner for listening. Mariner says talking through their problems works well. T’Lyn uses T’Ana’s scanner to determine T’Lyn’s area of effect has dissipated. Mariner says Vulcan brains are scary strong. 

The half-naked crew fall through the door. Restored to normalcy, they are confused by their position. T’Lyn says the crew should be coming to their senses. In the Cerritos bar, the chaos begins to subside. The crew is embarrassed by their actions.

The Bear Pack in Action

In the turbolift to the bridge, Boimler asks if T’Ana will be okay. Shax says the warm milk they gave her should calm her. Upon arrival on the bridge, Shax orders them to resist occupation. Triumphant music by Chris Westlake plays as the Cerritos security team demonstrates their competence. Even slam poetry helps with resistance. Shax calls to Freeman and she is able to adjust the course of the Cerritos just before entering the Neutral Zone. A Romulan ship de-cloaks and the crew laments the redirection before deciding to lurk by Section 87 next.

Later, Boimler tells Shax he’s sorry for doubting the security team. Shax shares that Rutherford told him Boimler has been putting himself under a lot of pressure. He says the team was giving him a day off. Shax says they’re in charge of protecting the crew. Shax says this can include repelling invaders or caring for one’s emotional well-being. Boimler says he didn’t know they had such a holistic view of the job. Shax asks if he thought they just sat around all day practicing phasering people. “Where’s the help in that?” They agree to return to the training room.

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In the transporter bay, the Betazoids apologize to Freeman for their behavior. Freeman assures them no apologies are necessary. She apologizes for confusing Vulcan telepathic interference for Betazoid telepathic interference. The Betazoids say if they couldn’t tell them apart no one could. They further say to contact them if T’Lyn needs help.

As a parting gift, the Betazoids give Freeman a PADD with an image of the vessel behind the ongoing attacks. Freeman can’t identify it and neither can the Betazoids. The trio says “until next time” and beam out. 

Cerritos Friends

In the Cerritos bar, Mariner has a pina colada (and brings room-temperature water for T’Lyn). Mariner tells her not to get all emotional about it. T’Lyn determines Mariner mocks her friends more than her enemies. 

RELATED: Read all of our Lower Decks recaps here!

Mariner realizes comms are back up when Boimler sends her a selfie of himself, Shax and Kayshon with the Reed puzzle. She says T’Lyn can finally send her message. T’Lyn says she has decided to remain on the Cerritos. Mariner hugs her and says she’s happy to have her. Tendi arrives too late for the hug, but tries to determine how best to continue bonding with T’Lyn nevertheless. 

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Avery Kaplan