Joseph M’Benga is making a case for MVP of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ second season.
It’s hard to argue that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds hasn’t lived up to the expectations for the second season. The first season set the bar and Strange New Worlds’ second season is raising them. Sure, “Among the Lotus Eaters”, the fourth episode of the season, wasn’t the best but it did have some great qualities. Namely, Joseph M’Benga.
M’Benga has been great all season, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as Babs Olusanmokun is a wonderful actor. And while it isn’t surprising that Olusanmokun has been great, what is, however, is the fact that the character has taken a step forward. It’d be hard for any show to find a great and compelling arc for a character like M’Benga, after the end of the first season, where he spent just about all season trying to find a cure for his daughter’s illness.
Yet, that’s exactly what has happened as the show has shifted into highlighting a lingering hate for a group of people.
Joseph M’Benga really hates Klingons
I’m sure you’d be surprised to hear that the calm, thoughtful, and heroic M’Benga has a dark side to him. He served in the war against the Klingons, and his fighting skills made him more than a doctor. He waged war with the enemy with his hands, and even though the hostilities have simmered, M’Benga still has the rage from the war.
It’s highlighted itself in an action-pack fight scene in the first episode of season two, and his combat skills continue to be featured. It’s not something that M’Benga likes being known for, but his proficiency as a fighter is obvious.
It’s very possible that the anger toward the Klingons is driven by the loss of his daughter, who was taken away by an alien race in season in order to save her life. Though, if that is the case for the more melancholic M’Benga, it’s not been properly addressed.
Despite that, M’Benga’s new and harder edge has made him a more varied and unique character, and we’re glad for that.