"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.6: Two Stories

A superb Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.6 on Paramount+ this past Thursday, with two important, powerful stories.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

1. Pike and Alora: Good to see Pike find some happiness, even if it didn't work out all right in the end.  The kiss, their time in bed, was a good humanizing experience.   Unlike Kirk, who had lots of romantic interludes, this is the first we've seen with Pike in SNW.  And although the First Servant story (well played by young Ian Ho, as was Lindy Booth as Alora) kept them apart, their interlude now offers Pike and us a possible alternate ending to what we saw in "The Menagerie" all those years ago, and Pike himself saw much more recently in television history.  But, you might ask, since that history already happened -- we indeed saw that future of Pike in "The Menagerie" in the 1960s -- doesn't that mean that it can't be changed, whatever Pike might want and try to do in the next ten years of his life?  The answer would be yes, were this not science fiction.  But in science fiction, the impossibility of a new life for Pike in which he avoids the disfigurement can be avoided by anything that flips him and our viewing into an alternate reality.  And alternate realities have been a staple not only of science fiction, but Star Trek over the years.

2. Rukiya: The other story does end on a definitely hopeful note. The First Servant's biological father and de facto protector may have the knowledge, or know of the knowledge, that can cure Rukiya of her illness.  This is just what Dr. M'Benga was hoping for.  He's been keeping Rukiya in transporter limbo, waiting for the time when the Enterprise's visit to some strange new world will provide the knowledge needed to save her.   He may now, it seems, finally be on that path.

This episode vividly represents how Strange New Worlds is unrolling its narrative.  Standalone adventures in each episode, that tie into underlying themes that are slowly developing.  In that sense, Strange New Worlds may be a little more moored in continuing stories than either TOS and TNG.  But that's ok with me.  As I keep saying after almost every episode, SNW is becoming my favorite Star Trek.

 See also Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.1-1.2: Great Characters, Actors, Stories ... 1.3: "Instead of terraforming planets, we modify ourselves ..." ... 1.4: The Gorn and the Wub ... 1.5 Going to the Chapel

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