Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow. 

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


Fast Facts:

Kari Waklgren as Vulcan Officer and Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn. They are observing scientific readouts on a Vulcan ship.

Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved

T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) was first introduced in Lower Decks season 2’s showstopping penultimate episode, “wej Duj.” With our hero ship the USS Cerritos at warp for 12 hours, the show’s perspective shifted to the Lower Decks of non-Federation starships. This included the Vulcan ship on which T’Lyn was stationed, the VCF Sh’vhal, commanded by Captain Sokel (Nolan North).

However, T’Lyn did not fit in among the crew on the Sh’vhal. While she had been assigned to monitor the tertiary impulse systems, she instead worked on algorithms she developed for the long-range sensors. Motivated by intuition, T’Lyn’s perceived defiance led to punishment from Sokel administered in the form of punitive spiritualism. Her continued determination to accomplish her goals in spite of punishment led her crewmates to further alienate her.

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Ultimately, T’Lyn’s regenerative shield amplifier ensures the Sh’vhal survives a subsequent battle. But fearing T’Lyn will learn the “wrong” lesson from her success, Sokel transfers her to a Federation ship.

T’Lyn & Tendi: Science Besties

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn. She is carrying multiple empty drink glasses.

Photo Credit: Paramount+

At the conclusion of the Lower Decks season 3 finale, “The Stars At Night,” T’Lyn is transferred to the Cerritos. There, she is introduced to D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells). Both T’Lyn and Tendi are devoted to scientific exploration. This lands them in the same training program. But while Tendi is outspoken and outgoing regarding her passion, T’Lyn is comparatively reserved.

At first, as seen in the season 4 premiere “Twovix,” T’Lyn is reluctant to bond with the Cerritos crew. While she is proficient in completing her duties, she secretly longs to return to the Sh’vhal.

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This unfulfilled desire comes to a head in the season 4 episode “Empathalogical Fallacies.” T’Lyn is catalyzed by an assignment that pushes her outside of her comfort zone. This leads her to attempt to contact Sokel and plead for a return to the Sh’vhal. However, thanks to the friendship of Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), T’Lyn comes to realize that the Sh’vhal might not be the right place for her after all.

The Real Deal

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn and Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler. T'Lyn side-eyes Boimler, who looks nervous.

Photo Credit: Paramount+

T’Lyn is the real deal. In the Lower Decks season 4 finale, “Old Friends, New Planets,” she finally gets the opportunity she was angling for in “Empathalogical Fallacies.” After the Cerritos triumphs in battle against Nova Fleet, T’Lyn receives a message from Sokel. 

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In the wake of the events of “Old Friends, New Planets,” T’Lyn is assured that Sokel wishes for her to return to the Vulcan fleet. However, T’Lyn declines Sokel’s call. After the adventures undertaken in Lower Decks season 4, T’Lyn makes the choice to remain on the Cerritos and focus on becoming Tendi’s “science bestie.”

Why She Matters

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn and Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner. They are both dressed in Orion disguises. T'Lyn is holding a PADD.

Photo Credit: Paramount+

T’Lyn matters because she demonstrates that we don’t always begin in the place we’re meant to be. What’s more, she demonstrates that even the most perceptive individuals can become entrenched in the expectations of their peers, even to their own extreme detriment. But most important of all, she shows us that even when we find ourselves in those situations, it is possible to work your way to more suitable circumstances.

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So, be like T’Lyn. Don’t let the negative opinions of others sway you from your path, even if said others are individuals for whom you have significant respect. Acknowledge that you might not immediately recognize that you’ve found the place you belong, and be open to acceptance from corners from which it is least expected. Never forget that logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end. And if others do see fit to air their grievances against you, don’t hesitate to inform them how little concern you possess regarding their assessment.

Four seasons of Star Trek: Lower Decks are currently available for streaming on Paramount+.

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