Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Finally Lets A Starfleet Officer Rant About A Common Franchise Problem

"Star Trek" has a long history of civilian scientists getting in way over their heads and needing Starfleet's help, and this week's "Star Trek: Lower Decks" finally gave one of its officers a moment to vent about it. In the third episode of season 3, "Mining The Mind's Mines," Commander Jack Ransom lets loose with his deep annoyance that yet another civilian science outpost needs rescuing. The Cerritos is called to Jengus IV, a planet that was believed to be uninhabited until Federation scientists stumbled across the local inhabitants and were summarily turned into stone. Starfleet managed to clear things up and make peace, but now the crew of the Cerritos have to help clean up some of the mess caused by the intrepid explorers. 

While it's understandable that scientists would want to get out into the field and explore, Ransom isn't wrong about their lack of preparation for everything else that comes with chasing the final frontier. "Star Trek" characters have been rescuing civilian science crews since the first season of "The Original Series," so it's hard to blame Ransom for his little rant.

Boldly going ... without proper preparation

After bemoaning the fact that they have to go clean up after another civilian science outpost, Ransom really gets his frustrations off of his chest:

"You know why these guys are always getting eaten, disappearing, or getting eggs laid in their chest? Because they're weirdos! You want to explore space, join Starfleet, go to the Academy. But no, that's too much effort, they just gotta get their degrees in spores or whatever, then head off into the quadrant and get devoured by a plant!"

Being a member of Starfleet can be incredibly dangerous, but they still usually manage to do their jobs as safely as possible. They're the best of the best, trained in much more than just a specific field of science. The science officers of Starfleet are also capable in battle situations and are trained in multiple sciences, because they have to be able to adjust on the fly. Intense specialization can be useful, like the work of civilian botanist Keiko O'Brien (Rosalind Chao) on Bajor on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," but she was on a settled, largely peaceful planet, not traipsing through the galaxy without a care or a clue. 

A long history of saving civilian behinds

There are tons of episodes throughout the "Star Trek" franchise where Starfleet must rescue civilian scientists from some calamity or another, including the very first episode of the original series, "The Man Trap." In that episode, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his away team visit a research outpost to do some medical tests on its scientists when they are beset upon by a shape-shifting alien creature that feeds on the salt in living organisms. From the very beginning, Starfleet has been bailing civilian explorers out of bad situations. Other season 1 episodes like "What Are Little Girls Made Of?," "Dagger of the Mind," "This Side of Paradise," and "The Devil in the Dark" all follow the same trope, and it's been used in nearly every "Star Trek" series. Every captain has dealt with their fair share of civilian saving, and it's honestly getting kind of silly. 

Civilians getting in too deep isn't an idea limited only to the world of science fiction, unfortunately. During my time working as a health communications specialist for the Centers for Disease Control, I regularly heard conversations between some of the world's top medical minds as they questioned why pop culture doctors or other civilian scientists so often got themselves into trouble, only for the CDC to have to clean up the mess. Sometimes, it's really best to leave things to the experts. 

New episodes of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.