Star Trek Unusual New Worlds Recap: “Among the many Lotus Eaters”

Strange New Worlds has made a reputation for itself over the course of its first season, and now the primary half of its sophomore, in taking the vibes of the unique Star Trek—and typically literal episodes—and translating them to a contemporary tv present, and the expectations that include them. However what occurs when the vibes can’t fairly make it?

You get “Among the many Lotus Eaters,” this week’s episode of Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds, which feels prefer it has so much in widespread with one of many uncommon daring swings that didn’t fairly work out within the present’s debut season, the equally wordily titled “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach.” Like that episode, “Lotus Eaters” is equal components heady and difficult in its concepts, presenting a nuanced, darker tone than Unusual New Worlds is often accustomed to taking. But in addition like that episode, it’s one the place the potential of these difficult concepts falls aside when you concentrate on it only a bit greater than the runtime of the episode—besides extra in order that unlucky line of considering additionally means going through a disappointing ponderance for what might’ve been, on the subject of the sequence exploring the potential of its totally new characters.

Image for article titled Strange New Worlds' Memory Hole Mystery Can't Quite Plug All the Gaps

Picture: Paramount

“Among the many Lotus Eaters” revolves round maybe probably the most particularly bizarre hook between Unusual New Worlds and the unique Star Trek the present might probably think about, which is saying one thing for a sequence that’s already set an episode throughout an alternate retelling of “Steadiness of Terror,” and even executed its own riffs on episodes like “Metropolis on the Fringe of Eternally.” After a mission alongside the USS Cayuga—the ship of Pike’s paramour, Captain Batel, whose relationship has develop into strained within the wake of Batel’s involvement in prosecuting Quantity One a few weeks ago—the Enterprise finds itself returning to the planet Rigel VII, six years after a disastrous away mission there first talked about within the authentic Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.” Then, a number of members of the Enterprise’s touchdown social gathering had been killed in a skirmish with native natives, together with Pike’s personal yeoman. Now, Starfleet has found proof of a violation of the Prime Directive—in a literal Starfleet emblem carved into the gardens of a palace on the floor of the world, and Pike has to confront that previous failure, whereas navigating his current frustrations and regrets in his relationship with Captain Batel.

It’s, as we stated, an interesting premise, and a highlight on Anson Mount’s captain that he’s but to actually get this season. However as issues on Rigel VII get increasingly more peculiar—the brand new touchdown social gathering of Pike, La’an, and Dr. M’Benga discover themselves going through debilitating reminiscence loss the longer they spend time on the world, an affliction that begins to plague the Enterprise crew in orbit—the episode dwells increasingly more on the thriller field of the reminiscence loss and its impacts than a few of its most necessary characters. Pike at least will get a great deal of focus, as he’s confronted with the revelation that his Yeoman, Zac, truly survived the final mission and is now a bitter, vengeful chief of a tribe of locals, and the one behind outfitting them with Federation expertise. As he, La’an, and M’Benga wrestle with the lack of their reminiscences and their identities as Starfleet officers, Mount performs the trauma and willpower to recollect who he’s and what he stands for with aplomb, and there’s good cathartic launch in his arc right here when the episode culminates with a touching reunion between himself and Batel. The expertise on Rigel of shedding who he was, even for a second, forces him to confront the error of pushing the individuals he loves away from him—an particularly touching epilogue to Pike’s personal acceptance of his future destiny final season.

Image for article titled Strange New Worlds' Memory Hole Mystery Can't Quite Plug All the Gaps

Picture: Paramount

However the issue is that Captain Pike has already had numerous the main focus of Unusual New Worlds’ character work up to now. Sure, he’s the captain, and due to this fact the sequence’ predominant character. However when a lot of this episode looks like an epilogue to an arc already effectively explored for him, combining it with the layers of thriller on Rigel being drawn out throughout the episode, it looks like “Among the many Lotus Eaters” is enjoying for time that might’ve been used extra successfully—even if the vibes are immaculately classically Trek, proper right down to location units that give off ‘60s funds alien world vibes.

This particularly feels just like the case with one a part of the episode specifically: Lieutenant Erica Ortegas’ subplot. Melissa Navia’s helmsman is arguably one of many final remaining members of Unusual New Worlds’ ensemble solid to recieve a second within the highlight, an exploration left all of the extra tempting whilst a number of characters round her have gotten a number of episodes of focus. “Among the many Lotus Eaters” virtually begins enjoying with this metatextual acknowledgement when Erica, desirous to be part of Pike’s touchdown social gathering to analyze Rigel VII, all of the sudden finds herself pulled out of subject responsibility to be able to maintain her on the Enterprise helm. When Rigel VII’s thriller reminiscence loss affliction comes for the Enterprise—precipitated partially by radiation from an orbiting asteroid, therefore its have an effect on on the ship in addition to the crew under—Ortegas and Spock are left as among the final crew unaffected, till they too succumb to it. And whereas under on the planet Pike’s grappling with shedding his identification comes with a second of emotional catharsis, Ortegas’ comes together with her… remembering that she pilots the Enterprise. And that’s it. Not who she is or what she stands for, however what her job is, the job that partially was irritating her earlier within the episode when it restricted her from being a part of the away group. Sure, it means she remembers what she does in time to avoid wasting the day and save the crew, but it surely’s not precisely a profoundly emotional character exploration, particularly for a personality who has but to obtain a lot of a highlight on the present up to now.

Image for article titled Strange New Worlds' Memory Hole Mystery Can't Quite Plug All the Gaps

Picture: Paramount

That’s what arguably stings the most about “Among the many Lotus Eaters” and its potential—it’s not a nasty episode of Unusual New Worlds, but it surely might’ve been a significantly better one than it was. In attempting to be a bit extra fascinated with a couple of too many concepts, the sequence stalled as an alternative of soared when it got here to the possibility to discover certainly one of its extra intriguing new characters. However similar to “Carry Us The place Struggling Can not Attain,” that’s not essentially a deadly misstep for a present like this. There’s all the time subsequent week, and the week after that, and the week after that, when the present will strive once more with a brand new thought—and possibly one that can, ultimately, do some justice to a few of its most underserved characters.


Need extra io9 information? Take a look at when to count on the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and all the pieces it’s essential to find out about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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