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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4, “Among the Lotus Eaters,” is an example of how well this team can come together. In many ways, this episode is vintage Star Trek, discovering a truly strange new world. The fact that the team must rely on their wits alone to get out of their predicament makes them all the more endearing. This episode is proof that this is still very much a team worth rooting for.
Chris Pike’s (Anson Mount) has been painted as unlucky in love, at minimum. His scampish ways have gotten him only so far with the ladies. Watching him be challenged to open up and connect with a potential romantic partner makes him more lovable. Captain Batel (Melanie Scrofano) is her own character with a strong story that isn’t overshadowed by Pike’s attempts at romance.
Additionally, Pike’s leadership is put to the test on this episode. Watching him navigate a perilous situation in which the lives of his crew are in jeopardy allows him to demonstrate his true leadership abilities. The stakes are high enough to keep everyone guessing and low enough to give space for these characters to grow.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4, “Among the Lotus Eaters,” is a slower-paced episode than others on the season so far. However, the slower pace allows the characters to engage more deeply with each other. In less capable hands, this story could have dragged and taken away from the character development. Happily, this pace allows for some deeper exploration of the problem-solving the crew must access in order to get themselves out of their predicament.
Ortegas (Melissa Navia) is another shining star on this episode. If there’s anything amiss on this episode, it’s that they don’t get nearly the screen time they deserve. Between Ortegas and Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), it’s clear that these two are the heart and soul of the Enterprise. The fact that these two are left behind on this mission is an opportunity to explore further how these two work together while the rest of the crew is off-world.
Zac (David Huynh) is a fascinating character study as an abandoned antihero. There’s a lot of potential here. He is the embodiment of the saying, “A child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”. While he may be a one-off anti-hero, he’s incredibly effective. He has the potential to be a commentary on larger systemic issues within Starfleet, namely, who gets left behind and who is ultimately accepted.
Finally, this episode is a meditation on memory and loss. Watching each character wrestle with the pain and joy memories bring comes across as heartbreakingly human. It is too bad that there isn’t more time devoted to this story, even though there’s only so much time. However, the moments that feature the loss of memory are devastatingly authentic.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds continues to tap into what makes this series great. The ensemble work really fleshes out the individual storytelling. In between deep, emotional character studies of individual members of the crew, it’s important to have these larger stories where the entire crew is put to the test. This is the kind of story that proves how well the crew can come together when they need to.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Paramount+.