1.06: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach

Dave

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I've been banging on elsewhere about how bad Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi is, so this is just to prove that I can actually like things (and things that are prequels.) This series continues to get better. There, I said it! It is not without faults, but who isn't? This episode could very easily have been a TOS story, and one might expect that there was nothing left to discuss regarding the application of General Order number one. Written by scriptwriters who obviously do know their subject and have done their homework.

The premise here, is a non-aligned world (refused to join the United Federation of Planets) who is Warp capable (so the Prime Directive doesn't apply) with medical technology far superior to the Federation. If they have values and practises that are different to those of the Federation (or for that read: western liberal society) then what can one do. Captain Pike had a very hard time with this, finally realising that he is powerless after getting quite aggressive (in the same manner that James Kirk used to get angry with AI computers from time to time.) It didn't help him that the leader of the colony was an old love interest who then lied to him about the nature of the rebels.

This episode sees the Enterprise embark on a cartography mission to the Majalan system, a star cluster on the edge of Federation space that Pike himself once visited a decade earlier. As this episode begins, the Enterprise is fired upon by a serious underwhelming ship, and they uncover a threat to an idyllic planet where the habitable parts are held in the air above a planet of molten lava. This rescue reunites Captain Pike with Alora, the lost love of his life. To protect her and a "scientific holy child" from a conspiracy, Pike offers his help and is "forced to face unresolved feelings of his past" (it says here, though he very quickly dumped her when he found out what she wanted to do.) She points out the colour of Pike’s Captain’s uniform is yellow, which does fluster him a bit because it is Gold. He's a captain now, you see. He rescued her from falling into an astronomical object long ago, so he's now rescued her twice. This the first time Pike gets to take his shirt off. Kirk would be proud!

There is a second story concerning Doctor M'Benga and his daughter, where the medicine on this world might be able to save her, but that their technology is restricted. We learn that her frequent awakening from storage with the pattern buffer have an emotional effect.

The main story concerns the "holy child" chosen by lottery to embody the maxim of their people (“science, service, sacrifice”), though no one is ever too specific about what exactly any of that means. It concerns the society's acceptance of his use as a biological component within a cybernetic unit that controls the planet's habitat. A quick grim look at the last child he replaced being carried away is given for added anguish. Pike asks if it hurts? Didn't he see that last child? However, when it is pointed out how the Federation has no problem with it's own children suffering merely for reasons of ideology, and not to protect and keep society safe, Pike has no real answer to reply. Usually, he is much more eloquent and doesn't resort to fisticuffs.

It's actually a shocking betrayal from someone he clearly once cared deeply for and I'm not sure why she wasn't honest with him from the start, but leads him on so, even to the point that he told her about his future death to explain why he could not commit.

There are parallels with our present world that I'm sure were very deliberate. We can't discuss those here, but in TNG, DS9 and VOY the Federation was usually depicted as some kind of Galactic policeman keeping order and spreading good throughout he Quadrants, and always correct. Last week, and this week, we saw two societies with very different viewpoints to the Federation, but who were not aligned and don't need to follow their lead. In a big Galaxy there must be many different views expressed. There were Star Trek episodes that dealt with rebellion and rebels, the Maquis story ran through several episodes DS9 and into VOY before being quietly forgotten, but I don't think they were ever explored very well. Even the Federation's enemies, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians were very one-sided characters in those earlier series.
 
Nice review.
This episode could very easily have been a TOS story,
I thought the same, including the introductory captain's log entry referencing a "routine" mission. Red alert! :)
This the first time Pike gets to take his shirt off. Kirk would be proud!
That seemed almost like a Kirk parody to me. Pike was granted access to an extremely restricted culture, and he beds the high priestess? Despite their past history, I expected more restraint from Pike.
The main story concerns the "holy child" chosen by lottery to embody the maxim of their people (“science, service, sacrifice”),
Alora seemed so unquestioningly culturally bound by the need to sacrifice the first servant to preserve the planet I was surprised when she revealed that her people had tried to find an alternate solution.

I thought that this was a solid but not exceptionally exciting episode. Maybe I was subconsciously comparing it to this week's Orville episode. :unsure:
 
I thought that this was a solid but not exceptionally exciting episode. Maybe I was subconsciously comparing it to this week's Orville episode.
I hadn't seen the latest and very good Orville episode when I watched this, but to me the Orville is firmly in ST:TNG territory - it even has TNG writers. Brannon Braga was responsible for this week's outing. I also have to admit that I role-play a TOS-movie era Sim and by a very strange coincidence, the present Sim has some very similar plotlines to this, even though it was written two years ago - a child kept in stasis, a non-aligned world with people living in habitats above the surface, with advanced technology, some beyond the Federation, but who are not space explorers. It means they are not subject to the Prime Directive, but neither does the Captain have any jurisdiction, and they have their own odd customs and beliefs. So, as you can see, this episode immediately struck a resonance with me, and that was probably why I liked it. However, it is odd that you liked last week better, and that I liked it less.
 
it is odd that you liked last week better, and that I liked it less.
Last week, the laughs made the difference for me.
I probably wouldn't like seeing that much humor every week. It was a nice break from the deadly serious dilemmas that normally face the crew -- like sacrificing a child, for example.
 
The main story concerns the "holy child" chosen by lottery to embody the maxim of their people (“science, service, sacrifice”), though no one is ever too specific about what exactly any of that means. It concerns the society's acceptance of his use as a biological component within a cybernetic unit that controls the planet's habitat
Very intriguing aspect, and I'm sure we've written short and longer stories on the subject. The fact the people didn't know nothing about the creation or what it ultimately does is pure ignorance for a planetary society devoted to science and engineering.

Sure, it's their tradition to ascend a child, and the lady mention that they've tried but cannot understand technology itself is the most intriguing thing, because it doesn't explain where it came from and what it does represent.

The doctor father made the right choice by going into a colony that doesn't accept things in fate. And it is kind of amusing that the prime colony believe in the theory of 'sky falling' if the machine stays silent. Yet, they knew exactly when to do the ascension ritual and following all the protocols, almost by the book.

It spoke on the trials, on the hacker spirit, but they also failed to perseverance test, even though they were clearly capable of feats that baffles Federation scientists and engineers. Personally, I think it all happened because of the story reasons.

However, when it is pointed out how the Federation has no problem with it's own children suffering merely for reasons of ideology, and not to protect and keep society safe, Pike has no real answer to reply. Usually, he is much more eloquent and doesn't resort to fisticuffs.
Watch hell-on-wheels. It'll show a different side of Anson Mount, a darker side that most definitely work with his fists.
 

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