In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the recurring villain Peanut Hamper - a sentient robot - had sex with a birdman.
In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, a robot has sex with a birdman. Specifically, in “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption” — the seventh episode of the current third season — the returning A.I. villain Peanut Hamper (voiced by Kether Donohue) has not one but two love scenes with Rawda (voiced by Harry Shum Jr.), a member of the avian species the Areore. The scenes aren’t particularly explicit, but you see enough to know that at the very least the lovers are engaging in something anatomically challenging.
Peanut Hamper is an exocomp–a sentient robot the size of a small dog. Unlike some other noteworthy sentient A.I. from Star Trek like Brent Spiner’s Data, who enjoyed his own memorable sex scene with Denise Crosby’s Tasha Yar, Peanut Hamper refuses to sacrifice herself to save her shipmates in the Lower Decks Season 1 finale. She’s still floating in space when she reappears in last week’s episode, and while trying to save herself from scavengers she winds up on the planet Areolus.
The episode is one of the most interesting chapters of Star Trek: Lower Decks so far, and not just because of the bizarre sex. Most of the story is told from Peanut Hamper’s point of view, with the Cerritos and her heroes not showing up until after the episode is a little over halfway done. So not only is “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption” mostly a solo story, but it’s one following a character we’ve only seen one other time.
We are led to believe that Peanut Hamper is, as the episode’s title suggests, on the road to redemption. Initially expressing little but derision for the Areore, helping them with her technology and winning their trust shows us a different side of the Star Trek traitor, and eventually leads to her anatomically confusing sex scenes with Rawda.
Peanut Hamper’s particular brand of sentient A.I.–the exocomps–were introduced in the Season 6 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Quality of Life” though that earlier episode spared us any sex scenes. In the story, Data recognizes sentience in what the other characters see as only utility robots and, once he does, refuses to let them be destroyed. Thankfully, the exocomps volunteer for what the late Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock would’ve called “the good of the many,” but when faced with a similar choice in Lower Decks‘s “No Small Parts,” Peanut Hamper chooses the opposite.
Though obviously Star Trek: Lower Decks is chiefly a comedy,–hence the robot/birdman sex scenes–it is interesting that Peanut Hamper has been set up as a villain. The whole point of the ending of “The Quality of Life” is that the exocomps are not forced to sacrifice themselves, but ultimately choose to do so. In the meantime, Peanut Hamper’s first so-called “villainous” act is her refusal to similarly put herself in harm’s way.
It seems that since TNG, the franchise‘s message of “all sentient life should have choice” has shifted to “all sentient life should have choice, as long as they choose correctly.”