Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had a rare miss with “Among the Lotus Eaters”
They can’t all be great. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ brought fans to Rigel VII for the first time in franchise history, despite it being the first planet ever mentioned by name in the entire franchise. It’s a planet where Captain Pike, Spock, and others were ambushed, with the ship leaving three crew members behind, the aftermath of which is depicted in the original pilot of the franchise, “The Cage”.
The follow-up episode, “Among the Lotus Eaters”, tells the story of Pike, Spock, Una Chin-Riley, and the Enterprise returning to the planet years later. Considering this episode was supposed to follow up the very first ever episode of Star Trek, to say we were disappointed would be an understatement.
The idea of going back to Rigel VII was one of those more creative ideas the show has had, but its execution was off. So what did we like the least about this?
Three reasons why Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ latest episode, “Among the Lotus Eaters” failed to meet expectations
The high-pitched ringing
If you’re like us, and you watch the show with headphones or earphones, the high-pitched and very intense ringing sound they used was more than just a nuisance, it downright could be painful at times. I for one don’t like having to remove my earphones because the sound mixing in a given episode is so bad that it hurts.
The memory loss angle
The memory loss idea is overplayed on its own merits, but the general concept of the episode was forced. Essentially a meteor crashed on the planet and was causing people to forget just about everything besides basic concepts like speech and breathing. Yet, the idea really didn’t land. Some people remembered they forgot things, but didn’t remember what. One character apparently could remember that he could read a language of hieroglyphics, but not that he had a son. The concept was inconsistent and outdated.
The forced relationship drama
Why did the writers force some unnecessary relationship drama to start the episode? Pike is dating fellow Captain, Batel. They seem like a nice couple but the story forced unnecessary drama into their relationship to start the episode. Pike dumps her because Starfleet passed her over for commodore, and Pike felt it was his fault, and that he was hurting her career. The whole scene was pointless, other than to establish a trinket that Pike could later call back to as he was losing his memories. You could still do that, have a trinket that Pike keeps holding onto to help him through his memory loss, without all the unneeded melodrama, and self-degradation when he has to apologize to her later. You could’ve just had a more emotional and healthy scene where she helps the Enterprise rescue them, and the first person he fully remembers is her as they embrace.
But instead, we get outdated tropes. Endless possibilities, but no new ideas.