Katie and Kyle return for a special episode of BLAST SHIELD! A STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS PODCAST. This time, they are taking a close look at Ensign Beckett Mariner, in their first-ever character study. Also, thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery’s third season.
It’s Been a Long Road…
Kyle West welcomed listeners back to Blast Shield! A Star Trek: Lower Decks Podcast.
He and Katie Harben joked about her public persona being posh when she is anything but.
Katie compared herself to Mrs Bucket, from Keeping Up Appearances. Kyle did not understand the reference.
Thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery
Kyle told Katie that social media followers had asked for her and him to share their thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery’s third season.
Having viewed the first five episodes, Katie called it “the bomb.” Kyle expanded on it, calling it “da bomb”, which is apparently better.
The appearance of the USS Voyager-J was a pleasant surprise for Kyle, but he felt that it was just fan service, in hindsight.
He suggested that the sight of a future USS Enterprise would have had more impact for the on-screen characters, than a reference that only viewers understood.
Kyle theorised that the V’Draysh could be a different collection of Federation worlds and that viewers will see the two Federations face off.
Both hosts think that Discovery has done a great job at being episodic, but continuing its ongoing arc.
Since the last Blast Shield…
Katie and Kyle have been through another lockdown, due to COVID-19.
Katie has purchased a new iPhone but has yet to set it up.
She also told listeners that she is in the process of purchasing a new car.
Kyle has bought FIFA 21, which Katie says she doesn’t understand. She went to school with Gareth Bale, so finds it odd to see a computer game version of him on her TV screen.
Kyle told listeners the topic for the episode: a character study of his queen, Beckett Mariner.
For her day job, Katie recently did a character study of Little Women. Kyle wondered if they could find similar themes between that and Mariner.
Both spoke about Space Force, and Tawny Newsome’s performance on that show. Kyle loved her, but Katie took some time to adjust to hearing Mariner’s voice come from a different face.
They tried to work out Mariner’s age. Despite Bradward Boimler’s comment, on the TV show, that he and Mariner were the same age, Kyle suggested that Mariner was likely late-20’s.
Passing the Buck
Katie called out Mariner’s father, a Starfleet Admiral, for passing all parenting responsibilities over to Captain Carol Freeman.
Kyle wasn’t sure which parent Mariner had spent more time with, growing up. He gave reasons for why it could have been either.
They discussed Mariner’s record at Starfleet Academy, where she was top of her class.
Kyle reminded Katie that Mariner’s class wrongly believed that she would be the first from their group to be promoted to Captain. Neither were sure what could have gone so wrong, to make that prediction incorrect.
They both felt that Mariner was Captain-material, and better suited for the position than her mother, Carol Freeman.
Knowing that Mariner has served on five starships, Kyle tried to work out when it was that she began being moved from ship to ship, due to her behaviour.
Katie expressed her opinion that Mariner was demoted following her doing something unorthodox. Kyle agreed.
Both are sure that creator Mike McMahan already knows what event caused Mariner’s demotion, and apathy for high-ranked officers.
Kyle wondered if the Klingon prison Mariner was in, was Rura Penthe. If so, he theorised that she could’ve been only the third Starfleet officer to escape there, after Jonathan Archer, and James T. Kirk.
On Freeman knowing nothing of Mariner’s contraband collection, Katie said, “A Captain’s supposed to know what’s going on on her ship, and she just has no clue”.
William T. Riker
They discussed the surprise from the season finale, “No Small Parts,” where it was revealed that Beckett Mariner and Will Riker have a pre-existing friendship.
After considering Riker’s own timeline, Kyle wondered if Mariner knew him due to working on the USS Enterprise.
He suggested that, if Mariner had served there, she wouldn’t be likely to tell many people nowadays. Katie concurred, said Mariner knows that reveal would destroy Ensign Boimler.
They spoke about how Mariner admitted that she was using her current situation to work out what she wanted from life.
Katie saw a lot of similarities between Mariner’s position, and that of a modern-day person being quizzed about why they aren’t married yet, or a parent, etc.
Your Friends are the Family that you Choose
Noting that Riker also refers to her as Mariner, Kyle believes that Beckett has had a different surname to Freeman for much longer than he had previously thought.
Kyle wondered if Mariner had previously struggled to maintain authentic friendships, due to them knowing of her parents.
“People probably watched themselves around her, and things like that. As they would in a school if your parent is the headteacher”, said Kyle.
Katie suggested that Mariner may have abandonment issues if her parents weren’t around when she was a child. It would explain her reaction when Boimler left for the USS Titan.
Katie believes that Mariner considers her friends to be her only family.
Imagine being a young girl, who’s parents are high-ranking officers getting locked in Klingon prisons, or caves, every week. Kyle offered this take, on Mariner’s upbringing.
Expanding, Katie suggested that some of the crazy experiences Mariner has had were actually as a child and that being the daughter of high-ranked officers put her in unnecessary danger.
Sexism in the Star Trek Fandom
Kyle mentioned a popular complaint, amongst haters, that Mariner always saved the day.
He pointed out that fans never made the same complaint of Kirk, Spock, Picard, Riker, Sisko, or Archer. He and Katie agree that the dislike for Mariner is clearly based on her gender, not her actions.
Team Freeman and Mariner
Kyle said that Freeman and Mariner’s relationship ended in a positive place, at the end of Season One. Katie does not think that will last long.
They both agreed that Freeman gains everything from their new working relationship, but that Mariner gains nothing.
Katie said that she’s sure Freeman will throw Mariner under the bus, sooner or later.
Both co-hosts were happy that Mariner and Boimler’s relationship was never made into a romantic one.
Take Note, Haters
“Tendi wouldn’t sit at her keyboard, having a bitch on Twitter”, said Kyle, after Katie suggested everyone should live their lives as positively as Ensign Tendi does.
They discussed Mariner’s one-time date with Levy, the conspiracy guy.
Kyle raised Mike McMahan’s recent interview, where he confirmed that Beckett Mariner considers herself bisexual.
Both Kyle and Katie could see this in her relationship with her Starfleet Academy friend. They want to see those characters on-screen with each other, in season two.
Neither agreed with the popular theory that the ending of “Cupid’s Errant Arrow” suggested Mariner was romantically interested in Boimler’s ex-girlfriend, Lieutenant Barbara Brinson.
They agreed that Mariner deserved romance, and was excited to see it explored in the new season.
Kyle stated that Mariner and Commander Jack Ransom are clearly going to “rage shag”, at some point in the near future.
Mariner’s fight scene with Brinson, in “Cupid’s Errant Arrow“, was a favourite moment for Kyle. He enjoyed all of her fight scenes.
He also found it hilarious when Mariner found herself becoming turned on, watching Ransom fight, in “Temporal Edict“. This was a favourite of Katie’s, too.
Katie told us that her absolute favourite Beckett Mariner moment came in the same episode when the ensign went crazy when Ransom informed her she was being sent to the Brig.
“You wouldn’t want her to be your ex-girlfriend”, said Kyle, after he and Katie laughed at Mariner’s occasional psycho outbursts.
Katie joked that Ensign Rutherford may have based Badgey on Mariner.
Season Two and Beyond…
Boimler is gone, but Katie hoped we’d see him again. Kyle confirmed that Boimler is in the second season, but is still serving on the USS Titan.
Mariner and Tendi will do more together, Kyle said.
When Katie said that she originally expected Boimler to be the lead, not Mariner, Kyle told her that he doesn’t feel Lower Decks is a true ensemble, and that there’s a definite tier-system in place, with Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi.
They both agreed that Mariner is the star of the show and that it would not be the same without her.
Kyle once again declared his love for the character and the voice work of Tawny Newsome.
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