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Exploring Empathy and Memory in ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds review

The subsequent review delves into plot points from “Lost in Translation”

Following a dramatic cycling accident last month, I suffered a concussion, serious facial injuries and significant memory loss, including the details of the incident itself. Recovery has been a gradual process, and I find myself battling my own memory issues a month later.

Thus, it feels fitting that this week’s episode of Strange New Worlds reflects on our connection with our past experiences. The narrative explores whether memory is integral to empathy, questioning if we can genuinely empathize with others only when their agony resonates with ours. Despite my ongoing cognitive issues, this certainly seems like the most intellectually stimulating Star Trek episode I’ve witnessed in some time.

The episode begins with the Enterprise and the Farragut on a journey to a deuterium extraction base, a strategic outpost in the pending war with the Gorn. Located within a nebula at the brink of Gorn territory, this “gas station” was constructed to encourage further space exploration.

Throughout this mission, Uhura experiences considerable stress. Suffering from insomnia, she busies herself learning basic engineering tasks from Hemmer’s instructional videos. During the mission, she begins to hear strange sounds, prompting traumatic flashbacks to her family’s fatal accident.

Rather than bottling up her issues, Uhura seeks Dr. M’Benga’s counsel, who advises rest. The team assumes that her hallucinations stem from deuterium exposure. However, her visions intensify, and she starts to witness a zombified Hemmer – a short but enjoyable return for the much-loved Bruce Horak.

When the operation of the gas station gets delayed, Pike sends Una and Pelia to speed up the process. Tensions rise as Una disregards Pelia’s valid opinions. Interestingly, one of the station crew, witnessing the same harrowing visions as Uhura, has been causing sabotage.

Although the crew sympathizes with Uhura’s condition, they still attribute it to deuterium poisoning. The only one willing to consider other possibilities is special guest star Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk. He forms an immediate bond with Uhura, placing faith in her instincts about the mysterious happenings.

NOTE: Anson Mount was on paternal leave for a part of Strange New Worlds’ second season, allowing other cast members to get more screen time, bringing forth a more egalitarian depiction of the show.

The episode contains a heartfelt conversation between La’an and Kirk, discussing their contrasting childhoods and parental absences. This subtle reminder of Starfleet’s purpose and the motivation of its members adds an extra layer of depth to the episode.

The rogue crew member from the station escapes from sickbay in an unexpected twist and attempts to sabotage the Enterprise. The crew stumbles in the darkness of the ship before Kirk saves Uhura from a blast.

Ultimately, it’s revealed that the gas station is home to extra-dimensional aliens inhabiting the deuterium. They communicate by triggering memories of sorrow and loss in empathetic minds to explain their situation. Both the station and starships are unknowingly harvesting these alien lifeforms for fuel.

On discovering the truth, Pike immediately decides to destroy the station to prevent further unnecessary casualties. Uhura finds peace, and even Zombie Hemmer transforms back into the amiable Regular Hemmer. The episode ends with the first meeting between Jim and Spock.

“Lost in Translation,” scripted by Onitra Johnson and David Reed, shines with its intelligent and nuanced writing. It explores empathy and the disparity between those who receive help and those who are left to suffer. It suggests that memory may be the gateway to compassion. This perspective implies that individuals privileged with a comfortable upbringing may lack the ability to empathize, and those with short memories are destined to repeat their mistakes.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Strange New Worlds’ second season recurrently explores the role of memory, not just as a prequel’s typical nostalgia bait but as a societal determinant. However, the episode “Among The Lotus Eaters” falls short in exploring its memory-deprived society due to its limited run time.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds review

What is the main theme explored in this review of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ episode ‘Lost in Translation’?

The review primarily explores the relationship between empathy, memory, and personal experiences, as presented in the episode. It evaluates the idea that memory might be integral to our capacity to empathize with others’ pain.

Who are the key characters involved in this episode of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’?

The key characters involved in this episode are Uhura, Dr. M’Benga, Pike, Una, Pelia, and James T. Kirk. Uhura is the central character experiencing hallucinations and flashbacks triggered by a mission to a deuterium extraction base.

What is the final resolution in the ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ episode ‘Lost in Translation’?

In the end, it’s discovered that the deuterium extraction base is home to extra-dimensional aliens who communicate through provoking memories of grief and loss. Pike, understanding the situation, chooses to destroy the station to prevent any further harm to these alien lifeforms.

How does the reviewer feel about the episode ‘Lost in Translation’?

The reviewer positively views the episode ‘Lost in Translation,’ appreciating its intelligent and nuanced writing. They particularly commend the exploration of empathy and memory, suggesting the episode offers a subtle commentary on societal and individual empathy levels.

What recurring theme does the second season of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ explore according to the reviewer?

The reviewer mentions that the second season of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ recurrently explores the role of memory, not in the nostalgic sense usually associated with prequels, but as a determining factor in shaping our society.

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TrekkieFan101 July 20, 2023 - 6:46 pm

tbh i wasn’t a huge fan of this one, just felt like it was trying to hard to be deep you know?

James87 July 20, 2023 - 10:24 pm

I totally agree about the whole memory and empathy thing, it’s been one of the most engaging part of this season so far…! Star Trek just keeps getting better and better.

NebulaNavigator July 21, 2023 - 3:04 am

just caught the episode, and wow, what a twist!! Did not see that alien reveal coming!! Brilliant stuff.

VulcanMindMeld July 21, 2023 - 7:53 am

Loved the episode, but that action sequence felt a bit forced in? like it was just there to break the tension… still an awesome epi overall. live long and prosper friends.

Lt.Dan July 21, 2023 - 12:54 pm

anson mount was missed in this season, but the other characters really stepped up. can’t wait for next episode!!!

SciFi_Geek July 21, 2023 - 3:41 pm

uhura’s arc in this epi was so emotional, brought a tear to my eye even :’)


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