Trekathon 859: Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach (SNW)

June 14th, 2022

I’m guessing not another funny episode from the title. Spoilers.

This fantastic episode was a bit undermined for me by the fact that I spotted where it was coming from a long way off (see the ‘typed as I watch’ quick hits for proof). But it’s a wonderfully implemented version of one of the greatest pieces of philosophical SF ever, Le Guin’s “The One’s Who Walk Away from Omelas”. To the point where I hope that there was appropriate acknowledgment/payment for the story basis.

Perhaps because I’m so familiar with the story I was left a tiny bit underwhelmed. I would have liked in the reveal to see a bit more of the range of reactions of those who chose to stay on Majalis to the situation that they’re in. There is a nice new twist added to the story by giving the child apparent agency over their decision, although as with the base story there aren’t any easy answers there (what is free will if you’re raised to agree to something from birth).

The only other quibble is that the Pike/First Minister back story would maybe have benefited from a flash back or a bit more explanation earlier in the story. Something just felt missing from the way the story was told. I also would have liked maybe a version where he considers staying more clearly, to have something to clearly reject at the end.

But this is all just minor nits in a great episode. There’s only a little space outside of the story and Pike’s role, but we still get some development for La’an, Uhura and M’Benga. Strange New Worlds continues to set a new benchmark for Star Trek, and it is so refreshing to be back to episodic Trek without a galactic-level threat.

Quick hits:

  • Who’s the previously on? This time it’s Pike.

  • That is a great alien costume, really nice details.

  • Why does “No disease of any kind” make me so suspicious? I smell some Omelas coming…

  • OK, subspace communication propagates at 52,000 times light speed. That makes absolutely zero sense. Let’s think about sending a signal to Alpha Centauri, roughly 4 light years from Earth. That means it would take 40 minutes for a signal to travel there, and 40 minutes to travel back. That’s just not consistent with what we’ve seen of subspace communication in Star Trek. I mean, it’s nice that it’s not instantaneous, but the number they picked isn’t sensible.

  • Yikes, I would not want to be the First Servant with that quality of aiming and securing.

  • “It’s not on stun”. Why on Earth not? Don’t you want to find out what’s happening?

  • This race has too much power and technology, so something very bad is going to happen here… Otherwise the continuity issue is too large.

  • At the point of the Prospect VII reveal I’m 95% certain that it’s going to be an Omelas story.

  • I like that Pike is complaining consistently about people calling him down to see things, rather than just telling him what’s happening. Somewhat undermined by the fact that he then does the same to the First Minister.

  • Really messy cross fade from unconscious Pike.

859 down.