Three weeks in and Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds is already settling right into a satisfying groove: one half riff on a components that Star Trek loves, one half deal with a singular characterone half basic morality story, This week, you get bang in your buck with not one, however two components riffs—and a complete lot extra in an enchanting take a look at Rebecca Romijn’s Una Chin-Riley, higher often known as Quantity One.
Quantity One is kind of well-known for being an unknown—in spite of everything, she existed in Trek‘s first pilot, after which vanished off the display screen for generations till Discovery revived the character for its second season. Nevertheless it’s not like Star Trek‘s apocryphal materials hasn’t tried to shine a light-weight on Quantity One in these many generations off-screenand now Romijn’s tackle the character—headstrong, assured, and supportive to Pike and the crew round her—will get an opportunity to bridge the hole between the Trek universes which have existed on display screen and in books parallel to one another for years. And crucially, it does so in a method that you simply do not should be a diehard Trek for it to resonate, as a result of it layers it into a way more common morality metaphor alongside the way in which. Additionally: very cool jackets are concerned.
Earlier than all that although, what’s “Ghost of Illyria”’s two-for-one bundle deal on Star Trek eventualities? Nicely, we have the fan-favorite stranded Away group members when Pike and Spock, investigating a seemingly vanished colony of Illyrians—a minor however essential Trek race, having appeared on-screen simply as soon as in Enterprisehowever advanced a brand new life in Trek novels as a race of bio-engineered humanoids regarded down upon by the Federation for genetic augmentation—after a harmful encroaching ion storm cuts them off from transport with the remainder of the Away group. Because the duo investigates what may’ve occurred to the Illyrians on Hetmet IX, the officers who do make it again as much as the Enterprise instantly discover themselves coming down with a weird illness: an dependancy to gentle brought on by vitamin D deficiency, a viral impact that lowers an contaminated individual’s inhibitions sufficient to get them to crave gentle, regardless of how recklessly.
After all, it would not take lengthy for the virus to unfold everywhere in the Enterprise, and issues get a bit “Macrocosm” with a splash of “The Bare Time,” as a seemingly unaffected Quantity One finds herself one of many sole individuals remaining on the ship who can perform. However there’s extra to it than that, as Unusual New Worlds layers many little side-threads into the central thriller of the episode as issues go from dangerous to worse on the ship. On the bottom, Pike and Spock encounter mysterious vitality spirits that begin attempting to assail the one secure place they’ve managed to hunt shelter in from the storm. On the ship, Quantity One finds that she’s not the one one hiding secrets and techniques about how she’s secure from the illness when it turns into clear that there is one thing non-public about Dr. M’Benga that may have performed an element in inflicting no matter an infection is spreading by means of the ship. Throw within the occasional makes an attempt by an inhibited Chief Engineer Hemmer and Safety Chief La’an nearly destroying the ship by attempting to open up extremely harmful sources of sunshine (a beamed-in phase of the planet’s mantle and a warp core breach, respectively), and it nearly looks like there is a bit an excessive amount of occurring.
All of it begins to dovetail collectively reasonably elegantly although with the large twist: Una was affected by the sunshine virus, however her physique created anti-bodies for it naturally as a result of she herself is an Illyrian—a canonical acknowledgment of explorations made in novels like “Vulcan’s Glory” and “Little one of Two Worlds” a long time and a long time in the past that fleshed out Quantity One’s unseen backstory. As Pike and Spock discover out the colonists on Hetmet IX inadvertently succumbed to the illness attempting to reverse their Illyrian augmentation to affix the Federation—which after all, bans genetic augmentation because of just a little fella named Khan Noonien-Singh—Quantity One takes the steps to disclose herself as an Illyrian too, having lied about her origins to affix Starfleet. From there, “Ghosts of Illyria” turns into much more of a basic morality story, and about reminding us that even a flagship just like the Enterprise is staffed by imperfect beings, human or in any other case.
Every individual aboard the ship has made sacrifices or fudged guidelines due to one thing they care about, or somebody they love, to make up for traumas and prejudices of the previous. As La’an, herself from a background of bullying on account of her familial legacy with Khan, screams at Una—inhibited by the virus or in any other case—that she’s a monster, after which has to confront and reconcile together with her pal for Una’s obfuscation about her previous, we get to see the 2 briefly confront the prejudices positioned on them by the Federation that pushed each of them to determined measures. When it is revealed the rationale the virus acquired from Hetmet to the ship as a result of M’Benga hasn’t up to date his medical transporter—as a result of he is hiding his terminally sick daughter perpetually in its sample buffer—you see the heartbreak on his face when he asks Una why he, the chief physician aboard essentially the most superior ship in Starfleet, cannot do one thing so simple as save his daughter’s life. And even, maybe most darkly and most fascinatingly of all, when Una goes to resign her place having damaged a number of federation guidelines and Pike refuses to simply accept, she privately displays if her captain and pal would nonetheless try this if she wasn’t “one of many good ones” on the subject of her mistrusted species.
It is an enchanting acknowledgment of an concept that Star Trek love. And it is one which its trendy iteration maybe loves most of all—particularly Discovery, the place it has been one thing of an obsession of late. It is the concept not solely are the elite beings of utopias just like the Federation not all excellent, they’d be higher off not attempting to keep up that phantasm of enlightened perfection. If they may simply sit down and speak to one another, they may discover acceptance and humility in that openness. If M’Benga was trustworthy about his daughter, the Enterprise The crew may’ve helped him and prevented a viral disaster within the first place. If Una was open about her Illyrian heritage, then possibly the Federation and Starfleet’s prejudice in opposition to her individuals because of the traumas of humanity’s previous can be slowly corrected, to the purpose that she would not have to fret if the one cause she’s getting a go is that she’s confirmed herself to her colleagues.
The blessing and curse of Unusual New Worlds‘ love of the episode format basic Star Trek was constructed on implies that it is unknown whether or not or not how a lot any of this will likely be introduced up once more. Might we see a plot about Illyrians being accepted into the Federation, despite its guidelines in opposition to genetic modification? How a lot of M’Benga’s daughter is within the present’s future, and even Una’s lingering doubts in regards to the privilege of being the “accepted” member of her species? These are fascinating concepts and ideas that Unusual New Worlds throws up within the second, bit it’s going to be a disgrace in the event that they’re left untouched because the present goes on to chase new riffs and different concepts. However the truth that it is keen to dive into them so instantly is a minimum of a promising signal that, ought to the present sooner or later start to evolve its episodic storytelling, it has the aptitude to observe up on some fascinating threads with these characters already.
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