Review Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4 - Among the Lotus Eaters

05 July 2023
AFter the Earth bound drama of last week's Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow, "Among the Lotus Eaters," the fourth episode of "Strange New Worlds" Season 2, continues the show's tradition of delivering episodic stories with a wide range of genres, tones, and narrative styles. What sets this episode apart is its ability to bridge the creative gap in the show's own canon while exploring profound themes of human nature and self-discovery.

It also serves as a fantastic hour of Star Trek, seamlessly blending classic science fiction tropes with elements of light horror, and allowing the actors to showcase different facets of their characters.

The episode begins with the Enterprise being sent back to Rigel VII, a mission that Captain Pike still mentions with regret in "The Cage," the pilot episode of the original Star Trek series. In "The Cage," it is revealed that several crew members were killed in an ambush during their previous visit to the Bronze Age society on Rigel VII. 

Pike approaches this second visit to the planet with caution, determined to rectify the past mistakes. The fact that this mission references a canonical event from the original series adds depth and significance to the story.

Among the Lotus Eaters review SNW

The plot unfolds as Pike, along with La'an and M'Benga, goes undercover among the Kalar people to uncover the remnants of their previous visit that caused cultural contamination. However, they are swiftly captured, and the shocking revelation that one of the Enterprise's presumed dead former crew members has taken over the planet using Starfleet tech adds an unexpected twist to the story.

This revelation deeply affects Pike, as he grapples with guilt over leaving a man behind and is confronted with the consequences of his past actions.

At its core, "Among the Lotus Eaters" explores profound questions about human identity and values. The effects of the planet's radiation, known as "The Forgetting," gradually spread among the crew, leading to key moments of self-discovery for the show's main characters. Each character is confronted with their true selves, stripped down to their most basic nature. Ortegas embraces her role as the ship's pilot, La'an confronts her aggressive tendencies, and M'Benga realizes that his true calling lies in healing others. These personal journeys provide insights into the characters' core values and motivations.

Captain Pike, already a beloved character in Star Trek lore, remains true to his nature as a compassionate leader who prioritizes others over himself. However, there are hints of a dark streak in Pike's character, which adds complexity and room for future exploration. His relationship with Captain Batel, the captain of the USS Cayuga, is an important aspect of this episode. 

Pike's guilt over potentially hindering Batel's career leads him to pull back, but he is awakened to his true feelings for her when she decides to leave with a poignant farewell of "See you when I see you, captain." This realization prompts Pike to reestablish his connection with his crewmates and promise to prioritize his relationship with Batel.

While the episode hints at the potential for a compelling story arc between Pike and Batel, it falls short in fully developing her character. Batel remains more of an idea than a fully fleshed-out person, and her career trajectory and its connection to Pike's relationship with her are only briefly touched upon. However, the inclusion of Melanie Scrofano, a talented actress known for her role in "Wynona Earp," adds excitement and anticipation for the exploration of this relationship in future episodes.

We wonder if we are being set up for a tragic ending for Batel at some future point.

The reference to "The Cage" in "Among the Lotus Eaters" is a clever nod to the original Star Trek series, emphasizing the continuity and reverence for the show's rich history. It deepens the emotional impact of the episode, as Pike confronts the consequences of his past actions and attempts to rectify them. This connection to the past resonates with long-time Star Trek fans, who appreciate the attention to detail and the opportunity to explore untold stories from the original series.

In conclusion, "Among the Lotus Eaters" is an outstanding episode of "Strange New Worlds" that showcases the show's ability to deliver diverse and compelling stories. It effectively fills in the creative gap in its own canon while exploring themes of human nature and self-discovery. The episode masterfully blends genres, allowing the actors to shine in their performances. While the development of Captain Batel's character falls short, the potential for an engaging story arc with Pike is evident. With its references to the original series and its exceptional storytelling, "Among the Lotus Eaters" is a stronger, character focused installment in the series, leaving viewers eager for more.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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