Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek Strange New Worlds’


It can be hard not to feel that way, when you look back on a life of attempting to create belonging. Doomscroll where we are at this societal crossroads today closer to Imperial Star Wars than Star Trek Federation and wonder if, you are not simply irrelevant? These thoughts have been cascading for a while in my mind, it can be hard not to as I battle the great fear of my life as Dad, outliving my child (in the case of both my kiddoes) or my son outliving me (and leaving someone not seen as person, in the care of the system that holds this to be true).

These ideas came stronger, after seeing a simple tweet this morning, something akin to Gen X’ers aren’t okay, as all that we fought against, and created a better forward, has been ripped away with worse returning. It is true, we at a whiney minority vocally level are letting the bullies shape the world. That which we were always taught to stand up to, push back into the beneath the rocks where they existed and were dying under, now allowed back out into the sun, and like the worst garden choking weeds are thriving in the rain pain of the world.

How can a world of belonging be created? Is it still possible?

I have to say yes, not just because I am an eternal optimist, but I was also raised with a firm belief that evil does not win in the end.

Yes I am exhausted. Yes I am tired in a world, where we have to tirelessly advocate for my children to be seen as people, where we continue to exist in the tension of life expectancy for my son. Where systems fail to support staff, and as such, as we explain reality, well damn it, at this moment and time corporation or government I do not feel like being your staff’s counsellor or pastor as they process the reality of my son’s lifespan.

But I digress, for I also worry, looking back at a time in my life of about 2 year where I wrote op-ed pieces for a local paper. Where I spoke out in support for Angels in America, LGBTQ Rights, and marriage equality (that last one almost cost me my life) in the mid-1990’s. Fast forward to 2022, and once again, I worry of the violence or death that may be visited upon my youngest and their friends.

We live in a world where The Orville: New Horizons Seasons 3 episode 5 “Tale of Two Topa’s” should be seen as timely or necessary, but especially for extremists and church, take view, and know, in the world of Klydon and Bortus as parents, be a Bortus. The closing image one of the most powerful of belonging on screen:

See Topa is a Mochlan child, who wants to join the union when he is old enough, yet he knows something is not right. If you have viewed previous season episodes around Bortus and Klydon’s child you know. See Mochlan’s are all male. Or are they? Topa was born female, and underwent a gender reassignment surgery to bring him in line with other Mochlan’s. Even after another female Mochlan would testify it was unnecessary. It never sat fully with Bortus, but for Klydon a true believer (and himself, a surgically altered female shortly after birth) a necessity.

A Tale of Two Topa’s is a story of truth, reconciliation, and being who you were created to be. It also shows how fear and hatred can shatter connection, as Klydon walks away from his child “I wish you were never born”…but the Orville Family, as seen in the image, calls Topa to the bridge, for her to belong.

If you fear authenticity in the image of God, why?

It is a powerful episode, and raises some hope that stories of power can still be told, though like, Deep Space Nine episodes seeming current and timely in the social justice issues they confront, it does become exhausitng. Though as watching, there was another aha moment that clicked for me.

So often when we have pilgrimaged/journeyed to other spiritual centres, some would chastise us, that we should not be leaving when they are not accepting due to this or that of one of our family members. We should stay and fight, for how will change happen? Simple, our spiritual centres are a space for connection, belonging, and renewal. I have no issue educating or equipping, but I am not there to fight, there is sapce for us and we will be there and present. If we are not wanted, that is fine, at some point the segregation, isolation, fear and hate, will runs its course within certain spiritual centres, and they will close (and yes we have outlived a few).

The other show that hit hard this week, was the latest Star Trek Strange New Worlds, and it was around Hemmer, the Aener engineer:

The Magic of Science “Abrakadabra”

Reading an interview with Canadian Actor, Bruce Horak, who plays Hemmer, about the character’s sacrifice in episode 9 (a well plotted horror inspired episode with the Gorn). Where infested his only choice was to end his life, that his character was created for a specific purpose. Hemmer, noted his purpose in the series when talking with Cadet Uhura “I fix broken things”. A foreshadowing statement, for a character created as a mentor for Cadet Uhura on their journey to open up to connection and belonging.

Which, in your own vocational and life formation, opens up two questions for you:

  1. What is your life purpose?
  2. Who are the mentors that helpded you in discovering and entering this purpose?

This has been a rough week or two journey for me. Where the word irrelevant has preyed upon my heart. Making me wonder if it was worthwhile, if I could still do something valid. Especially as it appears that our world is darker than it should be as anger and hate push for control and power.

“Your employers actions will show how they value you, more than their words”

Yet,

in these moments, a question from so long ago, on a night shift in a Calgary shelter, as I spoke with a guest rings in my soul:

“How do I ger hope?”

Hope.

A simple four letter word.

Can we regain it? Where do you feel it?

Can we emerge into the light? And see one’s simple intrinsic value in the beautiful diverse mosaic that we are created in the image of? Are we, even more powerfully, able to look in the mirror, and see that in ourselves?

“I wonder if Alberta Separatists wishing your Happy Canada Day, hear the hypocrisy?”

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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?