The Lotus Eaters

Star Trek: Odyssey

This is an episode of a fan-made series whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

Stardate not given: After fending off yet another Archein ambush, Ro and the Odyssey crew are surprised to hear a Starfleet distress signal of a kind that hasn’t been used in nearly a century. They track the signal to a planet surrounded by gravitational disturbances and small singularities – a breeding ground for black holes – and find a crippled ship in orbit. Ro, T’Lorra and Stadi discover that the ship is occupied only by a middle-aged married couple, whose male half is reluctant to leave before completing his research. His wife, however, is far more eager to leave and stuns him, bringing the research along when they abandon ship. The Odyssey shuttle used to dock with that ship, however, is damaged when the dying ship explodes. Stadi sends a distress signal to the Odyssey and then brings the shuttle in for a hard landing. The truth emerges about the couple that Ro and his crewmates have rescued: they are neither humans nor Archein, but Kelvans, endangered inhabitants of the Andromeda Galaxy who last visited Earth’s galaxy in the days of Captain Kirk. The Kelvans – of whom there are more on the planet – are also secretly using an Omega power source to protect themselves from the Archein, and Ro quickly realizes that this same powerful energy source could also send Odyssey home…but at what cost?

Watch Itstory by Rob Caves and Eric Weaver
teleplay by Eric Weaver
directed by David O’Neill
music by Bodo Hartwig

Cast: Brandon McConnell (Lt. Commander Ro Nevin), Michelle Laurent (Subcommander T’Lorra), Matthew Montgomery (Dr. Owen Vaughan), Julia Morizawa (Lt. Maya Stadi), Tim Foutch (Ensign John Gillen), Melodee M. Spevack (Dr. Achiys), Hal Alpert (Dr. Panos), Sharon Savene (Seram), Adam Browne (Caecus), John Whiting (General Morrigu), Jennifer Cole (Grand Majan), Beau Williams (Lt. Dagad), Ryan Keating (Lokell), Jacob Reitz (Melantko), Sam Basca (Lt. Alex Wozniak), Heather Ashleigh (Ensign Kristen Laws), Wayne Wilkening (Estime)

Review: Okay, I think I’ve said before that I haven’t gone back and caught up on Hidden Frontier, the Star Trek fan series that spawned the current spinoffs, Odyssey and Helena Chronicles. Perhaps I really need to go back and catch up on Hidden Frontier…because I was completely lost here.

I barely remember the Omega energy, and its accompanying Starfleet directive, from an episode of Voyager, but I’ll be honest: I don’t remember enough about it that I instantly remembered what’s supposed to happen when they mentioned it. Do they destroy it? Do they collect it? I’ve forgotten – I’ve slept since then (and, to be honest, I’ve forgotten a lot of Voyager, of which I wasn’t the biggest fan in the world). A little bit of filling-in-the-uninitiated wouldn’t have gone amiss – but then again, this is a fan production. If you care enough to download and watch it, it’s probably not beyond the realm of probability that you either remember this plot point, or have the means to look it up for yourself.

I was elated to see the show go out on location for this story; I think I actually exclaimed “Holy cow, they went somewhere!” when I realized I was seeing real grass and real trees. That added a lot to this episode; what baffled me was why some subsequent shots that were supposedly representing outdoor locales were shot with chromakey. (It may have been a pickup shot to replace an actual outdoor shot whose sound went south – who knows?) I know that going outside for a shoot, especially with a production like this, is a major undertaking…but I’d love to see more of it. It added a huge amount of scope to the proceedings.

Character-wise, it was nice to hear Ro at least mention Aster (for the first time since Brandon McConnell took over the role, no less), and nice to get away from the crew bickering that took up so much of the first two episodes of Odyssey. I can accept that T’Lorra and Stadi will always have an urge to take a few cheap shots at each other; it’s just when everyone is going after it that it seems a little disorderly. The Kelvans were an interesting touch; I don’t know if this is the first seed being planted for an ongoing storyline, or another callback to Hidden Frontier, but they’re an interesting enough race to bring back. (For those who have forgotten: the Kelvans were the friendly folks who showed up on Kirk’s Enterprise and turned everyone into blocks of salt as part of an invasion attempt that they later gave up on.)

I’m a little confused by the actual story, but continue to be impressed by the production. It occurs to me that Odyssey hasn’t quite lived up to its pilot yet, but I’m holding out hope that it will.

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