Synopsis: The Enterprise visits the Majalan System, where a conflict between the people in power and a rebel faction turns out to be more complicated than it appears on the surface.
Responding to a distress signal, the Enterprise, visits the Majalan System, and gets into a conflict with a small combat cruiser, accidentally destroying it. The distress signal came from a shuttlecraft carrying a crew of three people – a man, a boy, and a woman, Alora (Lindy Booth), Captain Pike (Anson Mount) was involved with in the past.
The man, Elder Gamal (Huse Madhavji), a doctor and father of “The First Servant” (Ian Ho), insists on having sickbay examine the boy, but rejects many of the methods they use to examine him. He is guarded and protective of the boy. Alora insists that the boy must be protected at all costs, as their entire planet is dependent on his survival.
The boy is extremely intelligent, and highly knowledgeable about physics, mathematics, engineering, and technology. He’s also very observant and is aware of everything happening around him. He impresses everyone who meets him, including Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush), Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), and Spock (Ethan Peck). He also discovers and befriends M’Benga’s dying daughter, who is hidden in stasis in a transporter pattern buffer.
Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), La’an (Christina Chong), Spock and Elora investigate the damaged ship that the Enterprise got into a conflict with. They find evidence that it was populated by a rebel faction that Alora says is dangerous to the Majalan System and their way of life.
There is more to the story than Alora lets on. She is attacked by a former friend, who threatens to kill her if she doesn’t turn over the boy. She fights back, killing the man.
On the Enterprise, La’an asks Uhura to translate a bunch of recorded data from the damaged ship. Uhura makes a discovery that indicates the story Alora is telling about the boy is not exactly what she says it is.
The Majalan man and his son beam down to the planet, but the combat cruiser kidnaps the boy. In a struggle to keep the cruiser from going to warp with the child, but the ship explodes. Uhura determines that the father helped in the kidnapping of the boy, but it was a ruse in an attempt to save the life of his son.
It turns out, periodically, the planet sacrifices a child to control their environment and ecosystem. They had been attaching children to a complex of technology that runs the planet. Without the sacrifice, their ecosystem will die.
The rebels, and Elder Gamal, rather than being evil bad guys, were trying to stop the ritual sacrifice of a child so the people on the planet’s surface can live full lives. This story is an allegory about child sacrifice to benefit privileged people. In Earth’s history, many cultures have sacrificed children for good luck and wealth, whether it’s through ritual sacrifice, or child slavery exploited to produce products for practically no cost, so that others can live their lives in comfort and convenience.
During the episode, Pike rekindles the romance between himself and Alora, but the reveal of the child sacrifice turned out to be a deal breaker for him. In the end, he rejects her and her way of life.
In the end, the boy is not rescued. The world continues to function as the child endures a lifetime of torture. The devastated Gamal, however, shares some information with M’Benga that might help him find a cure for his daughter.
This was generally a well-acted episode. While Star Trek has always had uneven acting, especially when guest actors perform, some of the performances did stand out. Ian Ho as The First Servant, was charming and engaging. Huse Madhavji as his father, was skillfully deceptive, appearing to be a strict rule enforcer, so he could throw off people in power to save his son.
CGI & Effects
As always the CGI and special effects are integral to the story. There were a few obligatory battles, and some sparks flying, but it’s the story that takes precedence in the episode.
This is Star Trek as it should be. I realize many people will not be happy with this episode, but we finally have one that is analogous to bigger issues that we face in the real world. This is what Star Trek was always meant to be. While this isn’t a perfect story, I prefer this to the over-focusing on Spock’s emotional instability or making Star Trek into just another Star Wars series.
- CGI & Effects9.0