Star Trek: Strange New Worlds added a lot of layers to Joseph M’Benga with the season two premiere.
The debut of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ second season was, kind of hit or miss. On one hand, they did a great job with character development, on the other hand, a lot of the plot felt “needless”, and with too much-forced drama just for the sake of it. That’s not a great thing, and we’ll talk about the decision to curb the biggest plot line for a later episode. What I do want to talk about is how great Joseph M’Benga was portrayed in the episode.
M’Benga had a rough day during the season two premiere, “The Broken Circle”. In the episode, Spock steals (ugh) the Enterprise with a bare-bones crew to investigate claims made by La’an Noonien Singh regarding Starfleet. Singh had found herself on a planet that has shared custody with the Federation and the Klingons. That custody changes every 30 days, and Singh has found herself on the planet during the Klingons’ turn to oversee things.
This spurs Spock to steal the ship (ugh) and find Singh and see what she found out. Turns out the Klingons had built a makeshift Starfleet vessel, and were going to attack one of their own ships to justify starting the Federation and Klingon war again. This fact resonates hard with Erica Orteas and M’Benga, who served in the war against the Klingons.
Yet, for M’Benga, it brought out a new side to the usually soft-touched doctor
Joseph M’Benga carries a hatred that will resonate through Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
M’Benga spent most of the first season of the show being a dutiful doctor and a doting father to his sick daughter, the last thing anyone would see him as would be a trauma-infused, hate-filled, Klingon-killer. While B’Benga went full Captain America on the Klingons, it was clear that his violence wasn’t to be celebrated.
M’Benga is hurting. He’s hurting over losing his daughter. He’s hurting from having to relieve moments from a war that served no purpose. He’s hurt and used his fists to help relieve that pain. That pain is going to add layers to M’Benga for the rest of the season.
Does he make peace with the Klingons? Does his hatred lead him to fall in on himself? Does he stumble with his duties? Clearly, M’Benga isn’t in the best place and his character arc for the second season will surely make him a far more intriguing character to watch throughout the season.