Trekathon 901: Under the Cloak of War (SNW)

Whoops, bit of a break there. Back to finish up the season now. Spoilers.

It’s another visit back to the ‘hidden trauma’ well, but with a big difference. This time the person is allowed to live their trauma, and to seek for justice, rather than finding healing through some plot development. Instead it’s a story without a clear ‘right side’, although it does need to have a villain evil enough for it to be OK for a main crew member to kill them.

It’s a mostly deft production, with the exception of a few sequences along what you could call M’Benga’s radicalisation which are very heavy handed. The ‘watch everyone come back dead’ sequence in particular. The performances are good without being too heavy handed, but no one outside of Chapel, M’Benga and Rah really get anything to do. Pike gets a nice heart-to-heart at the end of the episode, but he’s really just a straight man for the story;

Ambassador Rah is an interesting character who is set up as having quite a bit of complexity. Unfortunately they throw that away at the end of the episode. I think there was a way of doing this story that grants him a bit more ambiguity and greyness. For instance, making his redemption a bit more real, rather than appearing to be an act of ongoing cowardice and fleeing from war to peace.

Still, on balance a good episode that managed to tell a new story in an area that Trek has been wearing thin in recent years, which is to be appreciated.

Quick hits:

  • Nice to get a bit more definition on Klingon war stuff, but I hope this isn’t just a ‘hidden trauma’ episode.

  • Yep the ‘defector’ who wants to explore the ship. No one will be suspicious of that. And Ortegas is suspicious before I even typed that sentence.

  • Uhura could definitely have let Ortegas hang in the wind a bit less there…

  • Welp, looking a lot like a hidden trauma episode from that reaction by the doctor.

  • OK, was not expecting a full flashback! It actually makes me not mind the trauma well again.

  • This has a real MAS*H feel, it’s impressively done.

  • Even within the flashback M’Benga has a dark history? Sigh.

  • Some nice transitions between flashback and present

  • OK, the fact that I’m genuinely worried M’Benga would kill that Klingon in hand-to-hand combat suggests some good stakes creation.

  • Some awfully generic war movie cliches as M’Benga encourages the wounded soldier.

  • OK, some very good cover up work from Chapel there. Are there no video cameras inside this ship?

901 down.