Strange New Worlds episode 6 introduced the planet Majalis. Their disturbing secret fulfills the show’s title by revealing a truly strange new world.
With the introduction of the planet Majalis, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has lived up to the show’s title. Past the midway point of Strange New Worlds season 1, the episodic adventures of the USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Christopher Pike have shown Trekkers an Earth-like planet on the verge of civil war, a desert world given water and life by a rogue comet, and an abandoned Illyrian colony tied to Number One’s (Rebecca Romijn) origins. But with Majalis, which is led by Minister Alora (Lindy Booth), an ex-lover of Captain Pike’s, and a holy child ruler named the First Servant (Ian Ho), Strange New Worlds has now presented an alien culture that is truly strange and disturbing.
Exploring strange new worlds is literally the Starship Enterprise’s mandate, as is seeking out new lifeforms and new civilizations. When Strange New Worlds began, Captain Pike’s Enterprise launched on a new five-year mission of galactic exploration. Thus far, Strange New Worlds has avoided interacting with most of Star Trek’s coterie of classic alien species, with the exception of the Vulcans since Strange New Worlds is also exploring the relationship between Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck) and his fiancée, T’Pring (Gia Sandhu). Meanwhile, Strange New Worlds has reintroduced the Gorn and set them up as major enemies of the United Federation of Planets. Though the reptilian aliens haven’t been seen in Strange New Worlds yet, the Gorn are a tragic part of Lt. La’an Noonien Singh’s (Christina Chong) backstory and, through her trauma, Strange New Worlds has shed new light on the Gorn’s fearsome culture.
However, the Majalan culture in Strange New Worlds episode 6 is, by far, the strangest world seen in the series thus far. On the surface, Majalis is not unlike Earth; the people physically resemble humans, although they have distinctive facial features and their blood is black instead of red (or Vulcan green). Majalis is also a spacefaring race like 23rd-century Earth. In fact, Majalan technology and medicine are far more advanced than what’s found in the United Federation 0f Planets. But as Captain Pike was horrified to discover, Majalis’ shining cities in the clouds and incredible technology come at a terrible cost because it’s all powered by a planetary computer that literally feeds on children. The boys and girls who are chosen to ascend as First Servants are plugged into the computer, which tortures and drains each child until they’re dead and a husk of themselves.
Majalis’ computer is similar to the Machines in The Matrix films, which use billions of humans as batteries. For reasons not even the people of Majalis understand, their founders built the computer to be powered by a child. Thus, they keep the terrible truth of their culture hidden from outsiders. This is why after Lieutenant Pike made First Contact with Majalis ten years prior, an invitation to join the United Federation of Planets was not accepted by Majalis. The aliens knew the Federation would abhor the source of their culture and technology on moral and ethical grounds, even if, as Alora pointed out, there is hypocrisy at the heart of the Federation’s own arguments. Indeed, Captain Pike rejected Alora’s offer that Majalan medicine could heal him in the future when he’s horribly disfigured because it would mean validating the Majalan culture to accept their help.
Strange New Worlds episode 6 also revealed that there are rebels fighting to overthrow the Majalan culture in order to save the children sacrificed as First Servants. This includes Elder Gamal (Huse Madhavji), who tried in vain to keep his own son from ascending as the First Servant. Elder Gamal also broke Majalan law by sharing medical technology that could possibly save Dr. M’Benga’s (Babs Olusanmokun)’s daughter from a terminal disease. Star Trek is always at its best when it presents a moral quandary that, in turn, asks the audience to consider hard questions about real life. The way Majalis sacrifices children to preserve their way of life simply based on the argument that “this is just how it is” has powerful relevance to real-world current events. With the disturbing Majalan civilization, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds presented a series of compelling moral and ethical problems that is pure Star Trek and fully lives up to the show’s title.
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