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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Among the Lotus Eaters


On a mission to clean up potential cultural contamination, Pike and the Enterprise crew lose their memories, but it doesn’t change who they are.

Anson Mount as Captain Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Photo: Michael Gibson/Paramount+

This Star Trek: Strange New Worlds review contains spoilers.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4

Because Strange New Worlds is more episodic in nature than many of its recent Star Trek onscreen brethren, one of the most intriguing things about watching this show week to week is wondering what kind of story we’re going to see. The series has gleefully embraced wild shifts in genre, tone, and narrative style over the course of its run so far, giving us everything from courtroom legal dramas to heartbreaking trips into alternate pasts, and while season 2’s fourth episode initially seems like your standard away mission adventure, “Among the Lotus Eaters” actually turns out to be anything but. 

An hour that epitomizes the creative gap filling in terms of its own canon that Strange New Worlds excels at, this is an episode that not only offers new context for one of the few canonical facts we know about Christopher Pike’s time on the Enterprise but one that has plenty to say about human nature and what makes us who we are at our core. It’s also just an all-around great hour of Star Trek, one that mixes classic sci-fi tropes with light horror elements, allowing its actors to play different versions of themselves even as it affirms the power of their characters’ emotional connections. 

The episode revolves around the Enterprise being sent back to Rigel VII to try and clean up an incident of cultural contamination its previous visit to the Bronze Age society five years prior apparently caused. Longtime fans will remember that this mission is one that Pike still mentions with regret in The Original Series pilot “The Cage,” as several crew members were killed in an ambush, which is perhaps why he approaches this second visit to the planet differently. Pike, La’an, and M’Benga go undercover among the Kalar people in an attempt to discover what it is that they left behind, only to be almost immediately captured. The revelation that one of the Enterprise’s presumed dead former crew members has essentially taken over the planet using Starfleet tech and installed himself as High King certainly comes as a shock to Pike (who is clearly tormented by the idea that he left a man behind), but the group soon has bigger problems to face, namely the strange event known as The Forgetting. 

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