What if We Could Change the Ending?
In this week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Elysian Kingdom, the episode opens with the Doctor reading to his daughter. His logs tell us that her time is running out and he is no closer to a cure. The doctor continues to work on his research and inadvertently triggers a dangerous chemical reaction that the computer neutralizes (but not before the Doctor inhales some of it).
On the bridge, the Captain orders the ship to report to the space dock but, in spite of their attempts, the ship is unable to move. In their attempts, Ortega is injured and the Doctor is ordered to the bridge. When the Doctor exits the turbo-lift, he finds a strange scene – straight out of one of the stories he reads to his daughter. He himself is dressed elaborately and Pike greets him as the King.
The Elysian Kingdom – Abracadabra
When the Doctor engages with the crew, he learns he is in the book he reads to his daughter and they are all playing characters from the story. The Doctor tries to ask the computer to scan the crew and the ship, but it does not respond. He then goes back to sickbay where he finds Nurse Chapel. He scans her with a tricorder and finds that she is perfectly healthy. They are interrupted by La’an (the “Princess”) who talks to him about the Mercury stone–which they can use to protect themselves from Queen Nev.
They are interrupted by the Crimson Guard who are dragging Hemmer. In spite of them calling him a “Wizard,” Hemmer does seem to know exactly who he is. The Doctor is unsuccessful in negotiating his release. He tells his team they must rescue the “Wizard” Hemmer to get the Mercury Stone.
The Bridge Crew plans with the Doctor to rescue Hemmer; they will try diplomacy to negotiate his release. On their way, they meet Spock (Pollox), who tells them they must pass through the Swamp of Infinite Death to get to the Queen’s castle. The Doctor uses his knowledge from the books to get Spock to aid them in navigating around the swamp to the Queen’s kingdom.
They find the Queen (Uhura) and it seems they walked into a trap–double-crossed by Spock. Uhura tells the Doctor she wants the Mercury Stone. She sends them to the dungeons to have it tortured out of them. In the Dungeon, the Doctor and Hemmer are finally able to talk and learn they are the only two not affected by the story. Hemmer tells the Doctor that while in engineering, he felt a “consciousness” pressing against him and that his telepathic abilities allowed him to push it away. He also shares that the entity appeared to have been a part of the Nebula they were visiting. Hemmer then breaks the crew out of their cell.
The Queen is livid that the crew has escaped and orders Spock to take the Crimson Guard and find the prisoners. The Crimson Guard nearly stops them, but then The Huntress (Number One) appears and saves them allowing the crew to continue on to Engineering.
In engineering, Hemmer determines that while there is no body, there is a consciousness in the Nebular. A theoretical being that is all-powerful. While Hemmer continues to scan, he realizes that something is wrong with the story. Characters are engaging in ways they never did before. He believes that his daughter is somehow influencing the story–concocting her own fan-fiction. He goes to the transporter and searches for his daughter in the buffer and finds that she is gone.
The Magic of Science Prevails
While the Doctor continues to investigate what happened to his daughter, Spock is listening in on them and reports back to the Queen that he has found the Mercury Stone–the Doctor’s daughter!
The Queen is able to capture Pike and “turn him” against his King (the Doctor). Pike then betrays the King, delivering him to the Queen. Hemmer, however, is able to use “the magic of science” and transports the Queen and her men to a cargo bay. The Doctor continues on to his quarters where he finds his daughter waiting for him. He scans her and finds that she is no longer sick. She tells him that her “friend” made her better. The Doctor asks to speak to her “friend” but she says it’s not possible. Hemmer then volunteers to serve as a communicator.
The entity occupies Hemmer and tells the Doctor not to take the child. The two bonded over their loneliness. The entity explains that it is its presence that keeps Rukiya healthy. That he needs to leave her consciousness with the entity; she will be free of sickness and will never die. He gives his daughter the choice and she decides to stay. The two embrace and she is absorbed by the entity. As M’Bgenga grieves the loss of his daughter, she reappears as a grown woman and thanks him. She tells him that she has spent years with Deborah (her mother’s name) and created her own realities and stories; that she is safe and happy.
Hemmer wakes up with a severe headache but remembers nothing of his encounter with the entity. The Doctor writes his own log–the crew remembers nothing and the ship has recorded nothing. He is the only one with the memory. Una comes to see him and he shares with her what happened and that his daughter is now safe and happy.
Strange New Worlds – The Elysian Kingdom Episode Analysis
So, this was Strange New Worlds’s version of a “Holodeck Episode.” Although instead of the holodecks going haywire, we have an alien entity running amok. This episode truly felt stand-alone. While we see the resolution for the Doctor’s daughter, there is no other character development. The Doctor’s daughter has been healed and is now, living with an alien entity in the vastness of space. There is an opening, however, for her to return in some form as she told her father “we will see each other again.”
Overall, this was my least favorite episode of the season. While there were some good laughs (Pike playing a cowardly turn-coat), we had no real character development of the overall crew and it felt like a throw-away episode. However, let’s see if Star Trek changes my mind–perhaps Rukiya is a crucial figure after all.
Stay tuned to THS for next week’s recap/review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds!