SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season 3, Episode 7 “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption” to follow!
Welcome to Warp Five, StarTrek.com's five question post-mortem with your favorite featured talent from the latest Star Trek episodes.
In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, viewers were treated to the return of the fan-favorite exo-con, the exocomp Peanut Hamper!
Last seen in the Season 1 finale, "No Small Parts," Peanut Hamper abandoned the crew aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos in order to save herself. Exocomps are nothing if not a self-preserving bunch. Unlike the Klingons, there is no honor in death for Peanut Hamper. A reminder that not everyone desires the heroic, Starfleet way.
StarTrek.com had the opportunity to speak with actress Kether Donohue, who voices the capricious former Starfleet ensign, about reprising the role of Peanut Hamper for the latest season.
WATCH | Star Trek: Lower Decks — Your Girl Peanut Hamper is Back
On Peanut Hamper's Spectacular Return
Speaking to StarTrek.com about the exocomp's return, Donohue raved, "Peanut Hamper is a blast. I love characters in general where the writing surprises me as I'm doing it. I was just very pleasantly surprised and happy that she's back for an episode."
"I could've never expected that we're now here with Season 3 and Peanut Hamper gets to be in this amazing episode," shared Donohue. "I just had so much fun in the booth with Mike [McMahan] and the team. It was one of those things that started off just super casual, and then my voiceover agent called me up one day. I was so, so excited because I'm a fan of the writers and Mike."
As for the animated nature of the project, Donohue revealed, "One of the things I just love about voiceover acting, and particularly, I really want to shout out to Mike here about the way he works with his actors in the booth is very similar to how I was trained in the theater and worked in theater in New York; he actually goes through the scene with you. Mike goes through it scene by scene with me a few times even before we record it; he gives performance notes and helps you actually get inside the head of the character. He just lets me have fun in the booth."
On the Complexities of Peanut Hamper
Donohue could not help but express her adoration for Peanut Hamper, crediting the McMahan, the series' creator, showrunner, and executive producer, "Mike made Peanut Hamper a really layered robot character. I mean that may sound silly to say, but it's true."
Elaborating further, Donohue explained, "I love Peanut Hamper because she has twists and turns even in the matter of one line. At the beginning of the line, she could start off sarcastic and sardonic, and by the end of the line, she could be enthusiastic and horny. She surprised me as I was recording her. That's my favorite part of any character, but particularly her."
In fact, the Venn diagram of Peanut Hamper and her character Lindsay Jillian on You're The Worst would have a major overlapping segment. Upon reflection, Donohue noted, "If Lindsay was a neurotic robot, I think she might be Peanut Hamper. I don't know. I think maybe Peanut Hamper is Lindsay, or vice versa. She fools around the route. Peanut Hamper gets around. She gets around the block."
"Peanut Hamper just needs a Gretchen, she needs a partner in crime," joked Donohue."
"Honestly, she's kind of a walking contradict... not a walking; she doesn't walk," said Donohue, "She's kind of a floating contradiction, which is also why I love her. I even shared with Mike one day... this is just my interpretation, but I feel like Peanut Hamper actually does have a good heart deep down inside somewhere. She's just really traumatized by her father because she had a monologue in her first episode where she talks about how she was always trying to impress her dad. She puts up a front and plays it cold, like she doesn't care, but I think she really does. She's just insecure; that's my theory."
On Peanut Hamper's Redemption
Donohue absolutely believes in Peanut Hamper. "There will be glimpses throughout the episode of like, oh, maybe she does have a heart. Maybe she does care. Maybe she is vulnerable. And then, it's quickly covered up with some sort of protective layer."
"That's what I have to believe anyway," continued Donohue. "That's a choice. I'm just going to choose to believe she's not a sociopath. I believe in a redemptive arc for Peanut Hamper. I really do."
WATCH | Star Trek: Lower Decks — Rawda Falls in Love with Peanut Hamper
On Peanut Hamper and Rawda
"The Rawda scenes are my favorite," exclaimed Donohue. "I'm sorry, but the scene where they're getting it on is very funny. It's one of those things that's just so out there and oddly sweet and oddly touching, but perhaps disturbing and just odd. The whole thing is wonderfully odd."
"That's where I feel like the heart is," noted Donohue. "When she does have scenes with Rawda, they're bonding. We get some sort of heart and glimpses of authenticity that could be somewhere deep down in there do get revealed, which I really like."
Reflecting on what another return of the former Starfleet ensign would like, Donohue holds out hope for a reunion with the exocomp's paramour. "Honestly, I would choose Rawda because I feel like there's something there that's worth it. You know when those characters really relate, you don't give up on that. You don't give up on that person. That's how I feel about Rawda and Peanut Hamper.
"Truly, she just needs let her guard down completely. Rawda brings out a soft side, a wild side, a horny side. Rawda brings out a side of Peanut Hamper that is human qualities that I personally like and I would want to see where that goes. You know what I mean? Let's get them back together and see where that could go. That's worth revisiting."
On Kether's Message to Star Trek Fans
Before signing off, Donohue wanted to express her gratitude to the Trek community. "Honestly, I just want to say thank you to everybody," shared the Lower Decks actress. "Thank you so much to everybody who's supported just the show in general and Peanut Hamper. I'm not going to lie, I felt really intimidated when I came on to play Peanut Hamper because I know Star Trek has a very loyal fan base of people that watch the show. I take that seriously and I'm honored and grateful that I was accepted into the Star Trek universe. I'm grateful and happy that people dig Peanut Hamper. It makes me happy."
WATCH | The Cast of Star Trek: Lower Decks on the Return of Peanut Hamper
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Christine Dinh (she/her) is the managing editor for StarTrek.com. She’s traded the Multiverse for helming this Federation Starship.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Group Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
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