Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Paramount Plus

Season 1 Episode 8

The Elysian Kingdom

The U.S.S. Enterprise becomes stuck in a nebula that is home to an alien consciousness that traps the crew in a fairy tale.

The episode starts on a somber note as Dr. M’Benga uses his downtime to spend time with his daughter whose condition is not improving the way he hoped. It’s a bittersweet moment that shows the determination of the doctor to save her. Una reminds him of his duty and there is a good moment between the two as she empathizes with his plight. At the same time, the ship is unable to move due to its proximity to the nebula they are studying.

M’Benga is called to the bridge when one of the crew is injured and getting off the turbolift, he discovers something completely different when everyone becomes characters in the fantasy story he’s been reading his daughter. Things get interesting and strange on the bridge as the people have changed, but the overall environment stays the same. I like the tone of the episode, but it does veer a little too close to comedic elements that are cringe worthy.

There are some departures in character that feel off and some that are really fun. Seeing the consistently serious La’an transformed into a flighty princess is actually really funny and shows great range from Christina Chong. M’Benga is not the only person who knows something isn’t right as Hemmer tries to determine what is happening as well. Spock is finally revealed and he leads them to the Queen and I love the reveal of the Queen. I was definitely expecting another character to take that role and was pleasantly surprised.

Pike is really funny in this episode as the effete chamberlain. His character is definitely the opposite of Pike and it works. The tension finally starts to mount when Hemmer and the Doctor finally have a theory of what happened and discover that the person at the center of the story is missing. What follows is an interesting choice for the doctor. One that any parent would fear. It’s a rough moment to watch, but it has great drama throughout.

The episode is silly, strange and a little rough, but it also includes a bittersweet and heartbreakingly sad moment for one of the characters. A moment that made me mist up watching it as it ends on a note of hope that is the best of Star Trek.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S01XE08



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