Star Trek Strange New Worlds, what did you think?

I like that "hijinks" is now becoming how we talk about this show.

I was ok with Pike's reaction. I think his reaction to the treatment of a child was normal human one and in character for him. I thought the story did a good job of examining a complex philosophical problem. We saw Pike's instinctual reaction to the appalling treatment of a child vs the citizens of Majalis willingness to kill a child to ensure their own survival and how they justify an action that they might otherwise find abhorrent. Is the intentional infliction of suffering of a few acceptable if it brings prosperity to the majority (the good of the many...)? How small must that "few" get before it's ok?
This will be a flawed answer as any to the dilemma, but I think it's not about the "size", but about it being a personal self-sacrifice, not a majority killing a minority because it's the most convenient thing. Spock didn't push Scotty or McCoy into the warp core, he went himself!
In this case some might argue it was self-sacrifice, the boy knew that it wouldn't be good for him, but... he's also just a boy. Smart as he may be, he was selected for this role before he could really understand it, and everything they taught him was that it was what he had to do, so how much chance had he really to come to any different conclusion, how free was his choice?
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
This will be a flawed answer as any to the dilemma, but I think it's not about the "size", but about it being a personal self-sacrifice, not a majority killing a minority because it's the most convenient thing. Spock didn't push Scotty or McCoy into the warp core, he went himself!
In this case some might argue it was self-sacrifice, the boy knew that it wouldn't be good for him, but... he's also just a boy. Smart as he may be, he was selected for this role before he could really understand it, and everything they taught him was that it was what he had to do, so how much chance had he really to come to any different conclusion, how free was his choice?

(So, I think this really is a credit to the brilliance of this show. To me, this episode ... to date ... perfectly encapsulates how SNW take the spirit of TOS and extends it in new ways.

At a fundamental level, the basic premise behind the episode is similar to classic TOS high concept episodes (or some TNG episodes)- think, for example, of A Taste of Armageddon. If that doesn't ring a bell, it's the one where two warring planets "solve" the problem of war by just having computers run the simulations and have people report to execution booths.

At its most simple, this episode is also a high concept premise done in a single episode- when is it acceptable to sacrifice a person for the good of the many? It's something that is difficult, and deeply resonant in terms of moral reasoning, made more difficult by some of the facts- the sacrifice is of a single person and provably makes the society a utopia; but it is also of a child who cannot consent, and as pointed out ... it's not painless .... it's pain the entire time.

But what really elevates the episode is the modern touches. There is obvious- the continued incorporation of strong "B plots (such as the Uhuru security training in the episode and the Doctor's daughter in the transporter buffer), but more importantly, the reliance on what we have learned in the past to deepen the meaning of the episode.

Here, the central dynamic is between Alora and Pike. We know (from the first episode) that Pike is familiar with the Netflix and Chill to get his FWB time. But this is clearly different. As we learn during the episode, they met when they were younger when Alora was on a mission to try and learn ways to not have to do the child sacrifice. In addition, her planet turned down Federation membership- at first, I thought that it might be because the Federation would require them to stop, but then I remembered the Federation allows member worlds some pretty specific cultural practices .... combine the two (along with the rebels) and you know that at least among the elite of the planet, there is a feeling of shame- a knowledge that this is wrong, or at least not right.

Which explains her actions at the end. WHY SHOW PIKE THE CEREMONY? Because she loved him, and she wanted to be seen. When they first met, she was still idealistic and looking for a solution- that's why she was there needing to be rescued the first time. She didn't want to hide this from him- she wanted him to see and understand why she sacrificed those earlier ideals. And his utter rejection (including teleporting out) led to her tears- a reminder of what she had sacrificed as she had grown older for her sense of duty.

Meanwhile, Pike is left both realizing that he had allowed his feelings for Alora to overcome his natural skepticism, which led to the tragedy. And that while the circumstances were different, his dogmatic insistence on his sacrifice was the same rationale he just heard parroted back to him. And, in a certain way, his ideals and sense of duty had led to him being alone, staring out into space.

Both of them left realizing that they cannot recapture that past, and questioning how they came to the place they are at. Just a well-done and devastating ending that adds additional emotional resonance to a well-done high concept episode.)
 
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beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
Even the "we don't know how it works" aspect was traditional Trek. Remember "Spock's Brain"? "Brain and brain. What is brain? It is Controller?" "The Paradise Syndrome" in which a tribe of Native Americans didn't know that their place of worship is an asteroid deflector? "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" in which the inhabitants of an asteroid spaceship don't know they're travelling through space? They're an insular society. They turned inward, where most others turned outward. Their medical tech advanced beyond that of The Federation. Their ships didn't, because they didn't need them.

Their 'machine' took away any of their needs in a post scarcity type society but as it's self sustaining, other than needing a child to eat every now and then, they lost the ability to understand, build, or repair it. We might see this planet get a revisit some time in the future, when they've lost their wonderful machine.
Thanks for that explanation!
 

Ondath

Hero
I agree completely, except to say that this was also much better than the equivalent episode of TNG probably would have been, because TNG romantic interest of the week characters were almost never as memorable or interesting as Alora was, because TNG also would have felt compelled to give her a more unambiguous villain turn, because TNG would struggle with not responding to her question of "can you honestly say no child suffers in poverty for your Federation" with "Yes, in our perfect Federation there is no poverty, we solved these problems long ago" (rather than PIke having no response and letting the audience sit with the discomfort of that), because TNG had a habit of undercutting moral dilemmas by solving them with some final act deus-ex-technobabble, and because the TNG version of the planet would have been like three fairly basic, vaguely futuristic sets redressed from earlier in the season. Maybe an equivalent TNG episode would have avoided some of these pitfalls, but it would have been quite the exceptional TNG episode to avoid all of them. I love that show, but it definitely had some habits and limitations that have not aged quite so well.

Which is all to say that this was a great episode and it feels like, with the more limited production runs, better tech, and higher budgets of modern Trek actually applied to good Trek storytelling fundamentals (but with a little more nuance than 90s Trek trusted the audience with) this series has every potential to be (massive nostalgia for other Treks aside) the best Star Trek series ever made.
I agree and disagree. TNG writing could sometimes get rather weird, admittedly, but the two TNG episodes this episode reminded me of (The Dauphin and The Perfect Mate) did have bittersweet endings: In both, Picard/Wesley has to accept that the future important figure of the planet will carry on their unpleasant task. But you're right in that TNG not being able criticise the Federation society and seeing it as a utopia did make things one-sided most of the time. It became especially appalling when this utopic vision clashed visibly with the Prime Directive, and Picard chose the Prime Directive anyway. It really didn't paint the Federation's idealism in a good light then, and I think Pike's current gung-ho approach the not-yet-formed Prime Directive is a much better norm.
(So, I think this really is a credit to the brilliance of this show. To me, this episode ... to date ... perfectly encapsulates how SNW take the spirit of TOS and extends it in new ways.

At a fundamental level, the basic premise behind the episode is similar to classic TOS high concept episodes (or some TNG episodes)- think, for example, of A Taste of Armageddon. If that doesn't ring a bell, it's the one where two warring planets "solve" the problem of war by just having computers run the simulations and have people report to execution booths.

At its most simple, this episode is also a high concept premise done in a single episode- when is it acceptable to sacrifice a person for the good of the many? It's something that is difficult, and deeply resonant in terms of moral reasoning, made more difficult by some of the facts- the sacrifice is of a single person and provably makes the society a utopia; but it is also of a child who cannot consent, and as pointed out ... it's not painless .... it's pain the entire time.

But what really elevates the episode is the modern touches. There is obvious- the continued incorporation of strong "B plots (such as the Uhuru security training in the episode and the Doctor's daughter in the transporter buffer), but more importantly, the reliance on what we have learned in the past to deepen the meaning of the episode.

Here, the central dynamic is between Alora and Pike. We know (from the first episode) that Pike is familiar with the Netflix and Chill to get his FWB time. But this is clearly different. As we learn during the episode, they met when they were younger when Alora was on a mission to try and learn ways to not have to do the child sacrifice. In addition, her planet turned down Federation membership- at first, I thought that it might be because the Federation would require them to stop, but then I remembered the Federation allows member worlds some pretty specific cultural practices .... combine the two (along with the rebels) and you know that at least among the elite of the planet, there is a feeling of shame- a knowledge that this is wrong, or at least not right.

Which explains her actions at the end. WHY SHOW PIKE THE CEREMONY? Because she loved him, and she wanted to be seen. When they first met, she was still idealistic and looking for a solution- that's why she was there needing to be rescued the first time. She didn't want to hide this from him- she wanted him to see and understand why she sacrificed those earlier ideals. And his utter rejection (including teleporting out) led to her tears- a reminder of what she had sacrificed as she had grown older for her sense of duty.

Meanwhile, Pike is left both realizing that he had allowed his feelings for Alora to overcome his natural skepticism, which led to the tragedy. And that while the circumstances were different, his dogmatic insistence on his sacrifice was the same rationale he just heard parroted back to him. And, in a certain way, his ideals and sense of duty had led to him being alone, staring out into space.

Both of them left realizing that they cannot recapture that past, and questioning how they came to the place they are at. Just a well-done and devastating ending that adds additional emotional resonance to a well-done high concept episode.)
You know how you see a review and it explains what's good about a good product so well that your appreciation for the reviewed product increases?
This is one such review.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Btw I was curious if I had been taking Aurora's speech in proper context, so I decided to rewatch that scene to make sure I heard it right (which with Paramount + commercials was REALLY annoying).

In her speech she says the following:
  • Our world is over.
  • Magellus will fall out of the sky
  • The surface of our world is rivers of acid. Our world will be destroyed.
So....yeah....this isn't killing a kid for some rainbows and sunshine. It literally sounds like whatever that machine does, it sustains their entire ecosystem (or maybe all of their cities are floating, and without the machine they will crash into the surface or something)
Cool so leave the planet.

The "kid in a basement powers the good luck of the village" thought experiment has the basic problem that those people could just, instead, accept the fate of living like everyone else in the world does, and experiencing some hardships.

At least in this case, it's a choice between eternal damnation of everyone involved (if such a thing exists) and their people having to abandon their home world, rather than just sacrificing a kid to make their lives more comfortable, but it's still a bunk dilemma.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Cool so leave the planet.

The "kid in a basement powers the good luck of the village" thought experiment has the basic problem that those people could just, instead, accept the fate of living like everyone else in the world does, and experiencing some hardships.

At least in this case, it's a choice between eternal damnation of everyone involved (if such a thing exists) and their people having to abandon their home world, rather than just sacrificing a kid to make their lives more comfortable, but it's still a bunk dilemma.
This scenario would be fun to present to a D&D group, because they would either burn down the village to save the kid, go on an epic quest to find another source of power, or sacrifice a bunch of other kids in order to get even more power! The one thing no D&D group would do is let it be.
 

Ryujin

Legend
This scenario would be fun to present to a D&D group, because they would either burn down the village to save the kid, go on an epic quest to find another source of power, or sacrifice a bunch of other kids in order to get even more power! The one thing no D&D group would do is let it be.
"We're here, so clearly we're supposed to do something!"
 

Arilyn

Hero
Cool so leave the planet.

The "kid in a basement powers the good luck of the village" thought experiment has the basic problem that those people could just, instead, accept the fate of living like everyone else in the world does, and experiencing some hardships.

At least in this case, it's a choice between eternal damnation of everyone involved (if such a thing exists) and their people having to abandon their home world, rather than just sacrificing a kid to make their lives more comfortable, but it's still a bunk dilemma.
I think the fact that the denizens of the planet will not leave their "paradise" is very telling. It also provides an excellent mirror for our own society. We sacrifice a lot of others (and our environment) to maintain our own wealth and comfort.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This scenario would be fun to present to a D&D group, because they would either burn down the village to save the kid, go on an epic quest to find another source of power, or sacrifice a bunch of other kids in order to get even more power! The one thing no D&D group would do is let it be.
Very true. "Who cares?" might come out of one PC whose player really likes the apathetic characters from bioware games, but otherwise, something is going to hit the fan.
I think the fact that the denizens of the planet will not leave their "paradise" is very telling. It also provides an excellent mirror for our own society. We sacrifice a lot of others (and our environment) to maintain our own wealth and comfort.
One thousand percent.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think the fact that the denizens of the planet will not leave their "paradise" is very telling. It also provides an excellent mirror for our own society. We sacrifice a lot of others (and our environment) to maintain our own wealth and comfort.
Well some of them did. But it’s a metaphor for our western civilisation built on the suffering of others — none of us are rushing to leave paradise.
 

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