Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek Picard’

I must admit before I jump in that I do love some of the confused comments I get from folks when they realize that my exploration of life, stories, sci-fi, science, come under spirituality. It is quite simple, God is in everything, and everything is in God. Or simply, in a, I guess if I am to take a denomiantion label with it, reformed lens if you will (though I prefer to say ecclectic) that the canon is not closed, there is the scriptures in our bible (and there are a few versions, with varying additions), and creation, that we read together to discover the Holy Mystery. The unfolding story of creation, though I digress for this is to explore some of the unique topics one can bring to discussion as you navigate some of the new streatming content for sci-fi fans, and here we go–

The Orville, the first two seasons once it found its voice, became an updated version of the Original Star Trek, and yes, as you explore these seasons watch for the discussions that emerge. As we move into Disny+/Hulu with season 3, came a FX upgrade, and sub-title, The Orville: New Horizons, we get some great explorative discussions. The premier episode (Electric Sheep) follows the cliff hangar of the Kaylon attack, Isaac, a Kaylon, is still a member of the Orville crew. This is a story about forgiveness, truth and reconciliation. As the crew wrestles with Isaac’s species, and the possibility of betrayal, the blame they lay on him, and the exploration of depression, suicidal ideation, and what comes after or during those decision making processes. It touches on formation of bigotry and prejudice as well. It is a heavy episode, but one that works well for a group discussion. The second episode, takes the Orville into “Shadow Realms” of a mysterious area of space, one they are warned not to go to by the Krill who allows them passage to explore. The main questions is what lurks in the shadows, society can be an easy topic to explore, but as we dive into the mystery, what is within our own shadows? That leads to the Mortality Paradox, the third episode, which dives into the trope of an advanced species exploring fears (or humanity), and ties back to a previous season episode (but no spoilers), as the crew is drawn to a planet and begins to experience various different life stage experiences? What is safe? How do you connect? Belong? Overcome fear? How do we know what is real? When we begin to explore our spiritual selves or any new aspect, sometimes (most times?) we can dive all in, and over contextualize through that lens every aspect of our lives, we can also lose sight of who we are completely and where we are on the journey.

Star Trek Picard’s Season 2, I will just briefly touch on, if you’re in Canada, Crave carries it. The serialized Star Trek’s some have challenges engaging with, after so many decades of the one and done, or 2-4 part arcs. What one needs to remember when approaching Picard or Discovery, is that they have taken what would be a movie or 2-4 part arc and simply expanded to a weekly story, so some episodes end low, some with cliffhangars, but you do need to hang on to the end for the Star Trek finish. Season 2 of Picard (which is an anthology style series, each season has its own arc), is the story of friendship, connection, belonging, purpose, and why it matters?

I will also touch on the Fourth season of Discovery, this season had ebbs and flows, the emotional finish of Picard Season 2, had fans talking due to who was involved. Now into the 32nd Century and the Federation renewing itself, Discovery’s finale, exploring forgiveness of self and others through Book’s story, the other characters like Tilly, being placed in different situations and the grwoth of discovery, to the finale, which took you the feels of an ugly cry through the story telling of a truly powerful first contact story.

Now into Star Trek Strange New Worlds, a return to episodic story telling that is not animated (though I do encourage you to check out Lower Decks and Prodigy). This is, as some have jokingly phrase, the sequal to the Cage (the original pilot episode). It is Pike’s enterprise (Star Trek Discovery Season 2, re-introduced us). There are the familiar- Pike, Chapel, Number One, Uhura and Spock. But then the mastery of this episodic brilliance is the new characters, and how well the stories are written to show the others as well, Ortegas, Noonien-Singh, Hemmer, M’Benga (yes I realize the character was in 2 episodes of TOS, but this is where the character begins to shine), T’Pring (yes she has 1 episode in TOS, but is a recurring character), Kyle, and Sam Kirk.

There is a rhythm within the season of emotionally charged episodes like , and fun-light episodes that still bring impact. Children of the Comet that shows how music and math interweave for communiaction. Ghost of Illyria that explore a lost colony of a species that genetically engineered themselves to be able to adapt to any environment, and Number One’s secret. Memento Mori is the return of the Gorn, done well with a horro sci-fi (almost like Alien) vibe, to explore hatred, fear, and how trauma shapes us. Spock Amok, is about relationships, and how do we go from me to we in only the way Vulcan ritual can.

Lift us where suffering cannot reach is a haunting episode, where you have to explore why you trust people? What questions need to be asked around belief systems? What do you do in a no win situation? Ending with Pike starring out the window, leaves the viewer with the question hanging in the air– was there another way??

To the fun of misdirection, pirate stories, and can Vulcans misdirect? The Serene Squawl, has an almost Harry Mudd like rhythm to the story.

But throughout these stories, there is an underlying subplot of the chief medical officer, Dr. M’Benga, and his daughter who is dying. She is only seen in glimpses, see he is trying to have more time with his child. M’Benga is searching for a cure for the incurable in the 23rd Century. This means she is in the emergency meidcal transporter buffer, and has been for over a year. Only short times out of the buffer, and during these times he reads here a favourite story book by DS9 Character, Benny Russell (and that story is another journey, but check out the episode, Far Beyond the Stars), The Elysian Kingdom. She is like any child htough, she simply wants to be with people, to play, to re-write the stories she loves…and M’Benga is a powerful archetype for the parent with a child with a chronic condition, not wanting to give permission for them to go to whatever the next life is.

In our own family journey, it is hte one question I have currently answered unequivocally no to for my son. He asked me yesterday, “Daddy let me go to the Tea Party?” (our family’s allegory of Heaven). I reosnate with M’Benga’s struggle. I hope his subplot can aid others to empathize more and create healthier spaces for parents of children with chronic conditions, realizing we all belong.

The Elysian Kingdom, well it is first fun, as it is basically Star Trek does Princess Bride/D&D type fun, as the ship and crew are transformed, with only M’Benga and Hemmer (King and Wizard) knowing what existed before on this fun quest–that ends with the powerful questions for a parent:

What do you do for one more day with your child?

When do you let them go?

And how do you go forward knowing how you have answered?

Expecting light, the day before we finally got in to discuss my son’s prognosis, broke this Daddy’s heart. And left the biggest question that always dangles for me, why?


Image result for star trek picard the last best hopeOf the 24th century Star Trek shows, I will admit my bias is more to Sisko than to Picard. Though for a known leadership icon, Picard is well known even outside of the Trekkie palate, hence the hype around the new show centered on his character on CBS All Access. I’m not a subscriber of the service so shall await season one on dvd, in the interim there was the prequel comic book mini-series, and Una McCormac’s Star Trek Picard Last Best Hope (2020).

This tells the story as to why and how Jean-Luc Picard left Starfleet. I will endeavour not to provide “spoilers” of the storyline as best I can, but there is some key themes that emerge that are healthy and good for us to reflect upon as a society ourselves today…in true Star Trek fashion.

For those familiar with the Star Trek movie relaunch in 2009, you will be more than aware of the story of the Romulan Empire’s eminent demise. This is where the story opens up, a cataclysm that can destroy the Empire, and possibly the home world–900,000,000 lives are at risk… and it lands in the Federation’s lap. One of the other, the enemy, the stranger, at risk of imminent extinction– what would you do if asked for help? Would you respond?

If you respond what will it cost you and your own society? What does relocation look like for those displaced? Those that have lost their home worlds, and are now re-settling throughout Federation space? What challenges arise? Which citizen do they exist under? Can they apply to become Federation citizens? The key question to raised in this story, is with things like Bajor and Cardassia there was a home world to aid in rebuilding, rallying points of culture, history and place for the citizens of the other worlds to still find belonging in. But without a home world, what will happen? The Romulan culture which has already shown a high level of paranoia.

A touching scene is showing a Romulan orchestra, where musicians, paranoid as their society is, and scared of having their art stolen play together, but separated in their own rooms, with no conductor to create the cacophony of sound. This is the image of the Empire, their Senate, their secret police- Tal Shiar, that are actually all those off world regardless of cover story interacting with others. How do you bridge a gap of accessibility, inclusion and belonging for the other when the other does not trust themselves yet alone you who is offering aid?

A diversion of resources to create the demand needed for the evacuation. Ripple effects, as Federation projects are placed on hold for this massive project that will be taking years to accomplish to beat the doomsday clock means that Federation projects, a colony builds are halted or postponed… if things begin to go bumpy due to Romulans being well Romulans…will citizens still fully back? How should leadership respond? Hold the course for the greater good or succumb to the NIMBYISM and Tribalism that can create an extinction event?

Even harder, what if the values of those you are trying to save, conflict openly with the aid and rescue mission? What if they hold to a caste system? And actually have labelled some, as to be left behind? What would you do as the leader of the mission?

What do you do and how do your values respond, when where you have served your whole life may crack or break under the pressure? How do you reconcile your immutable moral compass with directives and orders that contravene that compass?

What would you do as Jean-Luc to be able to Live Long and Prosper on an impossible rescue mission?

A key question for our world to ask, when our impossible rescue mission is not only environmental sustainability, but global truth and reconciliation to move forward in a way that affirms and honours the inherent worth and rights of each individual for the human being they are. More importantly, not only their worth inherent in being born into this world, but also how to make the world accessible, inclusive and a courageous safe place to belong, thrive, grow and live the purpose they are intrinsically called to in creating a better world every moment of every day.

So what, will you do to be able to Live Long and Prosper on an impossible reconciliation mission?

Or as Captain Kirk would say, beat the unbeatable test of the Kobayashi Maru, that is change the conditions of the test.