STRANGE NEW WORLDS’ “Among the Lotus Eaters” hit me pretty close to home… (editorial review)

I’ve seen some complaints about the fourth episode of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS season two, “Among the Lotus Eaters,” that have left me scratching my head. Several people are focusing on Spock becoming Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory or that the episode bent over backwards to make Ortegas be the only one able to save the day. One person even complained to me that, in order to make Ortegas (a woman) seem more heroic and strong, the only other male left in the chain of command (Spock) has to be treated like a complete idiot.

And I’m, like, what the hell are you talking about???

I thought this was actually a fairly decent episode with a very TOS flavor. It wasn’t their best of the series or even of the season, but in my personal opinion, this episode held its own pretty well. And for me, this episode WAS personal—very personal. Two weeks ago, I discussed the struggles and challenges that a transgendered friend of mine faced both before and during her transition. This week, however, the theme of episode hit much closer to home for me. You see, my 90-year-old father has Alzheimer’s.

In case anyone didn’t notice, that was the likely “metaphor” of this latest episode, named for a short passage from Homer’s The Odyssey where Odysseus and his men encounter the island of the Lotus Eaters. During their long and arduous journey home, Odysseus and his men had just barely survived a grueling battle where several soldiers were lost. After nine days in rough seas, they stop briefly on an island to rest and replenish supplies.

Odysseus sends two of his men to explore the island, and they encounter the Lotus Eaters, peaceful natives who live on the fruit of the lotus tree. As soon as the two men take a bite of the fruit, they forget everything—all of their struggles on their long journey home, the gods’ curse, even their very identities. All they want to do is stay on the island eating more lotus fruit. But Odysseus needs them, forces them back onto the boats, straps them to their oars (nice guy, huh), and makes everyone hightail it out of there.

Homer was probably comparing the Lotus Eaters to drug addicts who would forget who they were, their families, their jobs, everything, and just want to spend each day getting high. (Yes, there were drug addicts 27 centuries ago. In fact, archaeological records show drug use of psychotropic plants in ancient civilizations, dating as far back as early hominid species about 200 million years ago!)

However, the writers of this latest episode of SNW didn’t seem to be telling the story of drug addiction so much as the loss of memory and identity and what makes someone who they truly are. And that’s my it made me think of my father…


My father, Arthur Lane, this past February in Boulder, CO

Please forgive me veering off the topic of an episode review for a bit, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss a man I’ve known all of my life who now barely knows me: my father, Arthur Lane. If you don’t care to read all the personal stuff, feel free to skip and scroll down to the next section.

My father wasn’t a “great” man in that he didn’t make any huge scientific breakthroughs or invent or discover something that changed the world. He didn’t save lives in a hospital or run into burning buildings. He wasn’t the founder or CEO of a major corporation. His father owned a movie theater in Washington Heights during most of the Great Depression and started a business delivering film canisters to other theaters…nothing that’ll get you into the Fortune 500. A corporal during the Korean War, my father was assigned to Governor’s Island in New York Harbor and never saw any combat. He never worked in government or civil service. Arthur Lane was just an average guy from an average family. So no, not a “great” man.

But most definitely, a GOOD man.

To this day, my father remains “one of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people describe him this way. And his father and three brothers were the same way. Just really nice men who hated to disappoint anyone. In fact, that’s one of the reasons that I exist! Back in 1964, my parents had been dating a for a few months, and my dad said to my mother, “Dedee, I think I want to take our relationship to the next step.” My mother shrieked, “YES!!! Oh, yes, I would love to marry you!!!” Years later, Mom discovered that Dad had only meant to suggest going steady and no longer dating other people. But Mom seemed so excited and happy that he didn’t want to disappoint her. They were married in June of 1965 and just celebrated their 58th anniversary!

While my dad didn’t do “great” things, he (along with my mom) raised two boys to become good and decent men, husbands and fathers themselves, all the while working hard to make a comfortable life for his family. Each weekday, though all kinds of New York City weather from nice days to blizzards to sweltering hot to pouring rain, Dad would walk the eight blocks to the Lexington Avenue subway, sit or stand in a crowded train car for half the length of the island of Manhattan, and work 9-to-5 as a stock broker on Wall Street. He didn’t have a corner office—or any office. He sat at a desk in a crowded, noisy room with dozens of other brokers making countless calls to clients, analyzing trends, and placing trades. Not back-breaking work, to be sure, but in my mind, totally soul-crushing with its repetitive monotony…as I can attest from the few super-boring days that Dad took me to work with him!

When Dad retired, he and Mom moved to La Jolla, California, a suburb of San Diego, and lived there for about 15 years before moving again to much-cheaper Boulder, Colorado. It was there, about six years ago, that I joined my parents and brother at a neurologist appointment where we were all told the diagnosis together: Dad was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Things wouldn’t get really noticeable for a few more years, the doctor told us, and some medicines might help delay things for a bit. But this was the time to start planning for elder care, as Dad would very likely be needing it sooner or later. My grandfather and two of my father’s brothers developed Alzheimer’s in their 80s and 90s. Good news/bad news, I suppose—Lanes live long but aren’t really aware enough to appreciate it toward the end.

For Dad, the first thing that began to go were words. About three years ago, it started becoming difficult for Dad to finish sentences. He’d start them just fine, but then about halfway through, he’d struggle for a word and just not be able to complete his thought, even though it was obvious that he knew what he wanted to say.

As the years went by, Dad began to forget my name, my son Jayden’s name, and the names of my brother and his children and both daughters-in-law, although he still recognized us. Now, that recognition is beginning to fade, too. In fact, the morning before I watched “Among the Lotus Eaters,” my mom told me that she and a friend were discussing San Diego, and my father asked, “What’s San Diego?”

One of the things that “Among the Lotus Eaters” conveyed was that this amnesia that the crew was experiencing took away their memory of facts like who they were but not of deep-seeded aspects of their core selves. And that is true of my dad. He is still the kindest, sweetest man you’d ever want to meet. Even though he can no longer do things for himself like bathe, shave, get dressed, go to the bathroom, or swallow his pills without help, he happily allows my mom and his home-care worker to assist him. He smiles as he does puzzles and plays Connect Four and sits and watches as my mother tutors kids in reading each day via Skype.

Dad’s father was the same way toward the end. I remember once, shortly before Grandpa Moe’s death at the age of 94, my brother and I went to visit him at his home on Central Park West (unbeknownst to me at the time, my grandparents lived in the same building as LEONARD NIMOY!). Grandpa was sitting on the sofa, and my grandmother brought in my brother David and mea and said, “Moe? Look who came to visit. Do you know who this is?”

My grandfather had known David and me for nearly two decades each, watched us grow up, seen us at countless family gatherings, dinners, visits to each other’s homes, etc. The man I saw sitting there showed no hint of recognition whatsoever. We were complete strangers to him. But I’ll never forget what I heard him say next because it was so much who my grandfather was and always had been: “It’s a couple of good-lookin’ guys!” The man never had a critical word to say about anyone or anything, and not knowing who we were, decided to pay us a compliment. Man, I miss him.

I saw hints of my father’s “true self” as well back in February when I visited Boulder for a week after my mother had a stroke (she’s doing okay now). With Dad now barely able to get two or three words out before his sentences collapse, at this point, you don’t really talk with him so much as talk at him. Much of the time, I just sat with him while he watched MSNBC. But a few times, I showed him how I day-traded the stock market (I dabble). This is something fairly recent for me, and I never understood what my dad did as a stock broker while he was still doing it. But as I plotted trends on the chart and drew lines of support and resistance on my laptop, I showed Dad what I was doing. I made a few options trades while he watched. Dad became very engaged and began asking questions and making suggestions…in almost full sentences! When Mom came upstairs and said, “Jonathan, I don’t think your dad is interested in watching you day-trade,” Dad cut in, “No, I’m very interested!” Full sentence!

Dad spent the rest of the visit asking how I did in the market that day, and he still asks when we Skype each week.

So when I saw Pike and Ortegas becoming their “true selves” for flashes of time, just long enough to mount an incursion into the castle and/or fly the ship out of danger, I thought of my Dad watching me day-trade…and I smiled.


Welcome back, ANSON MOUNT! After three episodes almost completely sans Anson (Sanson?) so the new daddy could get to spend some time with baby CLOVER, Captain Pike got an episode in the spotlight in a big way, as Pike was the main focus of the A-story. As long-time fans know, Rigel VII was the location of the first of the Talosian mindscape hallucinations that Pike was taken to after his capture in the first pilot “The Cage.” We didn’t learn much about the planet other than Pike lost crew members there because of his own mistakes and that there was a big barbarian-looking guy there known as the Kalar.

This episode filled in a lot of the backstory without tripping over any significant canon, which is always a plus with new-era Star Trek. It was also interesting to watch, as we see Pike quickly lose his memory but hold onto aspects of his true self. M’Benga and La’an had much smaller supporting roles to play than they did previously in the season when they were each spotlighted, but their fighting prowess and durability was again underscored. We haven’t really seen a doctor in Star Trek before who could be relied on to be tough in a fight. Can you imagine Phlox holding his own in a bar room brawl?

I’ve heard/read few complaints about the Pike A-story, but there were some that people have mentioned. The first is that Pike’s girlfriend has gotten almost no character development so far, and this episode didn’t do much to remedy that. We’ve seen Captain Batel 4 times so far in 14 episodes, and we still haven’t even heard Pike call her by her first name. (I think it’s Marie.) That said, they have the ultimate long-distance relationship, and the only Star Trek series captains we’ve ever seen succeed in a long-term committed relationships (Sisko, Riker, and maybe Burnham) had the benefit of their significant other being based on the same starship or space station.

I’m certain we’ll see and learn more of Captain Batel of the U.S.S. Cayuga (one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and the finger lake next to the university where I spent my college years!) in upcoming episodes. But remember that this was a story much more about Pike than Batel. Their relationship (and his clumsy attempt to end it) was a plot tool to show a character arc for Pike during the course of the episode.

The other two complaints about the A-story were the use of the AR wall to create a planet that looked a little fake and the character of Zac (the forgotten yeoman) was pretty flat and one-note. As for the planet looking fake…folks, unless they shoot on location, Star Trek planets look fake because they are. We never complained about it in TOS or TNG. Don’t start complaining now. The AR wall is awesome, and if we’d had planets that had looked this good back in the 1960’s we’d NEVER have complained!

As for Zac, well, I’ll give you that one. He was kind of a villain and kind of just a plot device to get Pike and company out of the castle so they could forget. In the end, he was just sorta pathetic and a good example of why we should take the Prime Directive so seriously. You don’t give energy weapons to a race barely beyond stone knives and bearskins! But I don’t need to see Zac again.

The one thing that no one seemed to have complained about was Tony Award-winner REED BIRNEY’s performance as Luq, the worker who helps Pike. His character represented the moral question that infuses the best of Star Trek’s stories. In this case, the question was whether it’s better to just forget everything including pain and tragedy (as many drug addicts try to do) or remember that which haunts you, knowing that those agonizing memories come from places of love. Personally, I prefer the memories.


When it came to Ortegas’ B-story, fans seemed to be thrilled that actress MELISSA NAVIA finally got a chance to shine in her role on the show. That said, they felt a little cheated that all she really got to do was the same old thing. Here was Ortegas, all ready to beam down and “party,” but her big chance was taken away at the last second, and she winds up having to stay aboard and fly the ship. That is, after all, her job. On the other hand, Sulu got to show that he was interested in botany, guns, fencing and swordplay, and even martial arts. So yes, Ortegas wasn’t given a lot to do other than make wise-cracks and (as I and she said multiple times) fly the ship.

But in so doing, Ortegas’ character was, in fact, developed. We now know how badly she wants to get out of that pilot’s chair, and we’ve also seen that her true core self is a very strong, very capable woman with significantly impressive skills. Personally, my only real complaint (not that it’s much of one) is that Ortegas isn’t the only pilot on the ship. Unless she doesn’t sleep, she can’t be. As such, all capable pilots should have been assigned to the bridge to take over as soon as any one showed signs of memory loss. The fact that Ortegas was there alone on the bridge with Spock bothered me…although maybe she was the last pilot with an intact memory? Or maybe they just didn’t want to crowd the scene with extras. In the end, it didn’t bother me much.


Here was the biggest complaint I encountered about the episode: Spock is turning into comedy relief!!!

Well, yeah.

Some fans are up in arms because the Spock they know and love was never a socially-awkward nerd, seemingly clueless to even the most obvious social cues. One comment I read pointed out that, even though Spock is half-human, he was raised by a human mother who must have prepared him for social interactions with those from his human heritage. And if you look at the Spock of TOS just seven years later, he’s almost a completely different character. No one “grows” that much as a person in just seven years, they scream!

Okay, my turn to talk now?

I totally understand what the writers are trying to do, and I definitely appreciate it. And what are they trying to do? Make Spock INTERESTING, that’s what! We all know who Spock becomes. Leonard Nimoy perfected the fan-favorite character. But why do we need to see more of the same? If ETHAN PECK’s Spock came to the Enterprise with the same confidence and poise as Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, then where does Peck’s character have to go? We’d just watch the same old Spock do the same old things. He’d be a plot tool much more than a character worth watching.

Instead, the writers have given Spock a “starting point.” Now, is this Spock more socially awkward than we would expect a Vulcan/human hybrid raised by a human mother would be? Only if you assume Amanda raised Spock that way. It’s possible that, to help her son better fit in with Vulcan culture, Amanda avoided exposing Spock (or his adopted older sister) to human values and social skills. Such a dichotomy might only confuse young Spock and make it more difficult to become accepted into Vulcan society. That’s my assumption, at least.

And if so, then this “Sheldon Cooper” Spock makes perfect sense. And indeed, as a viewer, I root for his development and advancement the same way I rooted for Data in the early seasons of TNG. Both characters have been given room to grow, and I welcome that. You should, too.

Now, if you’re still cringing about Spock being played for mostly comedy relief and getting scolded by other characters like Ortegas (who is, I should point out, the same rank as Spock), I say again: remember Data. He was likewise played mainly for comedy, often getting scolded (remember when he pushed Beverly over the side of the sailing ship in Generations?). But then you had episodes like “The Measure of a Man,” “The Most Toys,” and “The Offspring.” Give the writers a chance to play with Spock a little, and I am confident he will get his opportunity to have a serious story soon enough. Remember, we are still only 14 episodes into this new series!

20 thoughts on “STRANGE NEW WORLDS’ “Among the Lotus Eaters” hit me pretty close to home… (editorial review)”

  1. Some Star Trek is better than no Trek. And I do like the fact this is episodic. Especially when it’s released weekly. But, binge watching 8-10 episodes, like a really long movie, is nice at times too. I’m willing to give the writers a chance with Spock’s character. I don’t have any complaints so far. Although, I think it’s becoming obvious that this timeline is NOT inline with the past 50 years. Oh well. I guess if I had one complaint, it’s the lack of discipline in all new Trek. It boarders on insubordination many times.

    1. Remember back in TOS when Bailey and Stiles were insubordinate on the bridge to Kirk and Spock, respectively? What about Boma in “The Galileo Seven”? Garrovick in “Obsession”? Decker dealt with a very insubordinate Dr. McCoy in “The Doomsday Machine.” Star Trek III was loaded with insubordination.

      You might be remembering TOS through rose-colored glasses, David. 🙂

  2. Jonathan, first a suggestion. “then” needs to be “them” (twice). I liked the episode (all four so far). Like you, I saw the link to Alzheimer’s. When I finished the episode however, something happened on my iPhone. A news article said that the FDA had approved (for the first time) a drug that was to minimize Alzheimer’s in patients.

    1. Thanks for catching the two typos, Darell. Both have been fixed. (Two typos in 3000+ words…not bad!) 🙂

      And yes, I saw the report. The medication is for early-stage Alzheimer’s, and only delays the onset of more severe debilitations for 4-6 months. Way too late for my dad. Also, it has some major risk factors, including brain bleeding (yeesh!) AND it costs $26,000/year. But it’s the first significant treatment for Alzheimer’s to ever get FDA approval, so it promises some hope for more effective and affordable treatments in the future.

      Fingers crossed!

  3. Sorry to know that about your dad. My (now deceased) sister-in-law’s parents both had Alzheimer’s so I know how it feels.

  4. Ok Jonathan, I’ll concede the insubordination in certain TOS episodes, but, those are outlier’s, don’t you think? It just seems like we get more of it with New Trek. But, maybe it’s because of Disco that I’m more sensitive to it now?

    1. I actually don’t see much insubordination on SNW. Sure, there’s some wise-cracking characters, but the only real insubordination I remember seeing this season was Ensign Uhura refusing an “order” from Lt. Noonien-Singh…and Uhura had good reason for refusing to follow that order.

      What other insubordination have you been seeing?

  5. I must agree that this is not the best episode of this season, and is not, overall, their best effort of the fourteen episodes thus far.

    First, I do think that there was opportunity to give Ortagas better character development. I hope to see the character wonder beyond the confines of the Enterprise. But, I suppose, it is good to see that the character can focus, concentrate, when everything is on the line. There’s a strong sense of self and a dedication to duty. That or there is very little depth and all there is to the character is “I pilot the ship.” We’ll hopefully find the former is case.

    Definitely the “villain” is one-dimensional, and yes the character had only one targeted purpose–though two pronged–to be the catalyst for Pike’s inner reflections (he left someone behind thinking they were dead without verifying himself; so a “guilt trip”). And two, to reflect on his, habit of drawing back from relationships that are more series than professionals and friends–as romantic partners.

    Again, I agree that M’Benga & La’An were not as important to the main plot–they were almost “window dressing”. Not even as important to the purpose of the episode as Zac. Zac could have been anyone that could trigger Pike’s feeling of guilt and, perhaps outright failure. M’Benga & La’An could have been two security guards really (of course if they had of been security they would never have come back alive!); two individuals that can fight.

    I find the characterization of Spock the farthest from being “on target”. Even if you start with where Nimoy started the character in The Cage/The Menagerie, Peck’s Spock, and the writers interpretation of the character, is too much like a caricature–for now. I will wait a little longer before passing “full judgment.” In any case, the character, if we follow your logic that Amanda restrained herself from “teaching” Spock about human behaviours and emotions, then the Spock we see is too emotional. Not fixed enough in logic, as purely Vulcan teachings would have him become. He is too easily swayed by, for instance, Chapel into emotional “outbursts” and straying from the “ways of logic.”

    Specifically, in this episode, even though he has lost specific knowledge of the ship and indeed his role on the ship, the premise of the story is that each individual looses “specifics” about themselves but not who they are at the core. And yet, Spock in this episode as definitely not “basic Vulcan”; again there is too much “non-Vulcan” appearing. So, either the premise that the core of the individual doesn’t change is suddenly “tossed out the window” w.r.t. Spock, or we are to believe that somehow Spock is not at his core a Vulcan, trained/taught as solely a Vulcan.

    Although I did not come to the same insight that you have regarding this episode, I do appreciate your perspective re: your dad. I see the parallels through your explanation. I do not know if that was the intent, but as it reached you in this way, I say that your taking that comparison away from this episode is at the very least personally valid. Because I have not had someone in my life with Alzheimer’s, I did not make that connection; yet, as I say that does not in anyway invalidate that you did. And your describing the link you made, I can see now how that connection can be made.

    But perhaps my biggest “issue”, and this is not particularly story related, but location related. Kalar’s, as once has to believe based on The Cage/The Menagerie are “barbarians”; per the “brute” that Pike has to face off with during his forced (altered due to the addition of Vina) “re-enactment” of what happened on Rigel VII. The people they meet this time on Rigel VII don’t, in any way, remind me of the Kalar we all came to know 56-odd years ago!

    Although it is “nice” to try and (possibly) wrap up a (really) non-existent lose end, this was not the planet to do so on. Pike could have left Zac behind for the same reason on a different planet on a different mission and there wouldn’t be this anomaly regarding the planet’s inhabitants. There’s is no way that the lost crew on Rigel VII was the first, or the last, time Pike lost crew members on a mission. Space is a dangerous place! Forget running into new races that might not take kindly to “interlopers” (think Klingons, Romulans, etc., etc.).

    Although I do think that the exterior planetary sets were “amateur” for 2023, they are indeed–and I’m not sure this is a complement–better than those from 1966-to-1969 Star Trek planetary sets. But! in some of the shots, I’d argue not by much.

    Something else I find “divergent” from TOS is the number of fleet ships that are of the same design as Enterprise. In the TOS episode “Yesterday is Tomorrow,” Kirk mentions to Cptn Christopher that there are only “twelve like it in the fleet”, and although not all twelve are mentioned by name in TOS, the names provided with the AMT model are supposed to have been “okayed” by Lincoln Enterprises (a.k.a. Gene Roddenberry). Guess what! The two other Federation ships–the Peregrine and the Cayuga–seen are both of the same design as Enterprise. The only part that is in question, in my mind, is whether or not these other ships are of the same scale or are perhaps smaller vessels.

    I get the “savings” behind making the Peregrine and the Cayuga the same design…make SFx less expensive and allows the reuse of sets created for the interior of Enterprise. Cost savings achieved! But…to follow so closely with so many points of canon to then toss one that has been around as long as those not being ignored. As a reason, as a fan, the savings on the cost for SFx shots doesn’t appease my desire to keep all of the canon intact and not just pieces of it–though there are more pieces kept thus far than tossed overboard. And, yes, I know they’re not looking to appease me, they’re looking to appease the accountants!

    Last, but not least…Captain Batel! So glad that this character is recurring, but likely for the reasons many have spoken about. The actor that plays Captain Betal, Melanie Scrofano–a Canadian from the Ottawa area (Ontario, Canada)–was the lead actor in a series that for many an individual holds a special meaning.

    The series, “Wynonna Earp,” was on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, and on SyFy in the US (later on NetFlix, where it may still perhaps be found…). The series follows the great-great grand-daughter of Wyatt Earp (Wynonna) in a town named Purgatory (west of Calgary) in the Ghost River Triangle (look at Alberta Canada very near the Rockies and you’ll find that the Ghost River exists!). As she turns 27, Wynonna is tasked, because a curse laid upon Wyatt Earp and those he killed cleaning up the Ghost River Triangle, to again send these Revenants back to Hell or be killed by them. Wynona’s sister, Waverly, Doc Holliday (yes THAT Doc), Officer Nicole Haught, and (for the first 2+ seasns), Agent Dolls, work as a team to hunt down and kill these revenants. The series is worth a look, IMHO, and has a rather unique distinction: in the year where every other TV series with an 2SLGBTQIA+ couple killed one of the couple during the season, Wynonna Earp’s couple (Waverly and Officer Haught–known as “WayHaught”) made you think one was killed in front of you but wasn’t, and in the final episode of S4 this couple got married.

    Like Star Trek TOS there were write-in campaigns to get renewals–worked twice, but unfortunately the division of IDW that dealt with the series had financial problems and after the additional backers were there for S4, SyFy decided not to support a fifth season. Also like TOS there are fan-based Cons across the world for this series–in fact one just ended in Niagara Falls, NY, today.

    1. LOTS to unpack!

      Ortegas will, I’m sure, get more to do. But remember that she IS the helm officer. How often did we see Travis Mayweather on Enterprise NX-01 do more than pilot the ship? Sure, Tom Paris, Data, Wesley. etc. had lots more stories told about them, but Voyager and TNG had 26 episodes per season. We’ve had 14 in total so far.

      The reason to have the other two characters with Pike be M’Benga and La’an, other than they get paid by the episode, is because the viewers need to care about the other characters, and La’an’s injury was a plot point giving Pike’s incursion into the castle some urgency. If it were just some random security guard, fans watching wouldn’t care as much. Also, M’Benga remembered enough medicine to keep La’an alive just a little longer. His partial memory was an important plot point. A security guard wouldn’t know emergency treatment methods.

      As for Spock, think of him as having three main touch points in his growth. The first is when he’s too emotional to fit in on Vulcan but too emotionless to fit in with humans. Much like my old boss from Montreal, in trying to master both English and French, he managed to effectively massacre both languages (according to his wife). I could barely understand him when he spoke English, and she could barely understand his French!

      Spock is in a place of inner turmoil in his life right now, not knowing how to control his emotions properly and often failing, but trying to rely on his Vulcan training to master them. But being half-human, he faces greater challenges than a typical Vulcan and needs more time to get a grip on his feelings. Right now, Spock is a man of two worlds fitting into neither…and I blame both of his parents. 🙂

      By TOS, Spock has learned to control his emotions better and remain much more stoically Vulcan. He suppresses those feelings almost all the time (with concentration, I’m certain), loosing his composure only very rarely, such as the end of “Amok Time” when he discovers that Jim isn’t dead. But by the end of the 5-year mission, Spock (for whatever reason) feels he must not only control his emotions but purge them completely. He fails, of course.

      But this leads into a journey towards the ultimate Spock: an evolved soul who acknowledges both sides of his heritage. He chooses, consciously, to be a Vulcan most of the time and suppress the more overt displays of his emotions from others. But he is no longer embarrassed by them when they happen, and he will allow those feelings to show from time to time. This was evident both in his scene with Sybok in the observation lounge as well as his enraged confrontation with Valeris in Sickbay…and of course, Spock’s “cowboy diplomacy” in TNG.

      Making the Kalar warriors not resemble the brute from “The Cage” was probably done to save on make-up costs for SNW but also to humanize them and make them a little less “monster” threatening. Otherwise, their ultimate salvation at the end when Enterprise tractors away the meteorite fragment wouldn’t seem quite as satisfying to us viewers. Easier to root for humanoids than ugly brutes. 🙂 (Also, if you need help with canon, just assume that the Talosians “bruted” him up a little in the hallucination.)

      As for number of starships, when Kirk says “There are only twelve like it in the fleet,” he might mean, “…at this very moment.” Remember that even the AMT Enterprise model kit listed 14 starship names, not 12…

      We know that some starships were destroyed or lost, like the Constellation, Farragut, and Defiant. The Farragut was rebuilt (or so I like to believe because of the fan series), but perhaps not the Defiant or Constellation. It’s possible that the Peregrine and Cayuga were also lost or decommissioned before Kirk’s first mission. Also remember that the Starfleet Technical Manual listed way more than 12 Constitution-class starships commissioned eventually.

      I never did see Wynonna Earp, but it looks like it’s currently streaming on Netflix in America. Not sure I’ll have a chance to watch it anytime soon, as I’m really backed up on many, MANY series! But I’ll add it to the to-be-watched-eventually list. 🙂

      1. I’ll buy most of the reasoning you’ve used, but, I think you must admit that some of it is “pure conjecture”, an attempt to, as does the model and the manual, “retro-fit” some of the reasons you’ve provided–and not just for the ships.

        As to Spock, I’ll give you that he may be less likely to be under “complete emotional control” as demonstrated in The Cage and even in some TOS “extreme” cases, as you have mentioned. However, the open display of emotion is now a nearly episodic occurrence. Spock’s uncharacteristic “emotional imbalance” is far too prominent and his logical-unemotional side less than even a half-Vulcan half-Human would display after over 25+ years of self-imposed, as well as family and culturally imposed, removal of emotions and dedication to pure logic.

        Although I most certainly agree to the points regarding the current inhabitants of Rigel VII being “toned” down for reasons of make-up budget and for creating a higher sense of empathy. I still say that this would have been just as much the case if it were not Rigel VII that the story took place on. All the other factors could still be applied to any other planet where the same circumstances were then applied. And, in doing so there is no conflict in inhabitants as there is created by using Rigel VII when TOS fans know that this is not what the inhabitants of Rigel VII look like.

        As to the argument that the Talosians “bruted-up” who Pike encounters on Rigel VII; my apologies for saying so, but, that is a very weak “retro-fit” IMHO. An issue, as I said, easily avoided that someone decided to ignore in favour of using a planet name recognizable to TOS fans, but then decided to ignore the rest of what is associated with Pike’s past on the planet.

        There’s “serving the fans,” then there’s thinking the fans are “suckers” (for lack of lesser term that doesn’t create the same overly negative emotional reaction) and will “dive” for the episode because it mentions Pike and Rigel VII” in the same breath”. Which is a “cheap” thing to do, and something that hasn’t occurred to date in the series when “invoking previous series depictions of the future.” Something that until this episode I felt has been done extremely well, and with a certain “reverence” to that which has come before (which a certain current-era series carelessly tossed aside at their own peril as they saw and rectified by shifting that series a millennia into the future of the future), while still telling a new story that encompasses what has come before.

        1. Pure conjecture has been a part of fandom since we first saw “James R. Kirk” on the tombstone in “Where No Man…”

          As for using Rigel VII, I was personally fine with it. When it comes to Pike, prior to SNW, we knew three things beyond that he was captain of the Enterprise. He was born in the Mojave area and liked horses, he had a secret desire to live on the edge of the law, and something “bad” happened on Rigel VII that left him feeling very guilty. Oh, and he had trouble getting used to having a woman on the bridge. 🙂

          So I’m okay with the writers fleshing out the Rigel VII mystery a little and appreciate them holding off for 14 episodes to do so. So on that, my friend, we can agree to disagree…although neither of us can do anything about it anyway.

          1. As a character from an even longer series put it, many, many times: Indeed.

            The nice thing I find is that we can discuss our views without “flying off the handle” and remain respectful of each other’s opinion on the topic of Star Trek–my feeling is that this would be the case for virtually, if not all, subject matter.

            I respect your perspective, otherwise I would no longer read your break down and commentary on professional Trek. I cannot comment on the fan-based Star Trek as I do not watch it. It may be great Trek, I just find it not to my taste. However, I love that these individuals have the level of passion to write, direct, produce and appear in their Star Trek stories. These fan-based efforts have come a long way in every aspect you can imagine. I’ve read that much about them to make that assessment. I just don’t watch “video” of any variety (YouTube, etc.). Perhaps that’s because I only have a 17″ laptop screen and a chair that seems to have a plan to make sure I don’t get too comfortable (in fact I’ve had several chairs that after about a year I find to be uncomfortable, so I no longer seek a chair that will create comfort as it seems a state-of-being that is unachievable).

            I will say that the only professional TV Trek that really has “rubbed” me the wrong way is Discovery. Though Lower Decks to my is too “low brow” and I find it silly versus funny/humourous and so lost interest in every episode I attempted to watch. I’ve not seen a full episode of Prodigy, but that is because of the type of “animation”–I’m not a fan of that kind of “animation”, not even in other series/genres (e.g.: the various animated Star Wars series). My views of the new movie Trek is “thanks, but no thanks”. I’ve seen each one–only the first in theatre, the rest as they’ve appeared on CTV Sci-Fi to see if they got better and they did not…

            Despite my noted issues with various aspects of an episode, I really feel like “I’ve come home” with SNW versus other “new” Trek. (My opinion may suffer more with the theme of the episode to air here in Canada on Monday, July 17th, for which I’ve seen the trailer; but we’ll see what is really the content beyond the unlikely “alterations” to Spock that occur because of a “shuttle accident”.)

          2. Yeah, I don’t believe in flying off the handle…too exhausting.

            And if you live in Canada, Rick, then you are genetically incapable of flying off the handle! 😉

  6. I’m very disappointed that, after all the build up, Ortegas didn’t get to wear her furry hat.
    I have this mental picture of her wearing it on the bridge, and everyone else pointedly ignoring how silly it looks.

  7. Oh… how little you know of this Canadian! Though 99.9999% of the time my “flying off the handle” is in reference to my frustrations with myself.

    It’s extremely rare that I do with someone else. Even then it happens because someone “did something” not too far in time after I’ve gotten really pissed at myself (transference I suppose…), or in conjunction with exhaustion and a really bad day then someone does something that would otherwise not “trigger” me into getting pissed with them.

    Then, in purely Canadian form, about 5 minutes later I apologize for having lost my temper with them and look to re-engage on a more “sane” level. Sometimes there is a need, usually by the other party, for a longer pause before being able to reach “mutual equilibrium.”

  8. I want to thank you for the personal part of this posting, Jonathan.

    I’m sure that other people who are dealing with this horrible disease react in the same way. Experiencing “I’m not alone” has to be helpful.

    1. One would hope so, Jerry. I realize that not everyone has it as “easy” as I do right now. My parents are in Colorado while I’m in California. They have help 5 days a week. My brother and his family live 10 minutes away from them. And dad is generally happy and compliant. My wife’s grandmother, on the other hand, was very challenging at the end and was actually told to leave by one nursing home because she had become too difficult and disruptive.

      Everyone has their own story and their own hurdles to get over…some much higher than others. But yes, if you’re dealing with a parent or relative with Alzheimer’s, you are certainly not alone.

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