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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1, Episode 8, “The Elysian Kingdom,” Recap & Spoilers

Doctor M’Benga takes point as the Enterprise is transformed into a fantasy kingdom. Here’s a spoiler-filled recap of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1, Episode 8, “The Elysian Kingdom,” now streaming on Paramount+.

As the Enterprise continues to venture into the unknown, Doctor Joseph M’Benga has a memorable encounter with a cosmic entity that shakes him to his core. Over the course of this reality-altering ordeal, familiar faces become twisted into strange, fantasy figures while M’Benga moves to learn what is going on and how to restore things to normal. And as with any good fairy tale, M’Benga’s adventure comes with a bittersweet price as he moves to singlehandedly save the day.

M’Benga continues to push himself hard to find a cure for his daughter Rukiya’s genetic condition, accidentally ingesting a chemical compound while performing a medical experiment for treatment. When the Enterprise finds itself mysteriously grounded in a nebula, helmsman Erica Ortegas suffers a severe head wound attempting to warp the starship out. As M’Benga arrives on the bridge to treat Ortegas, he finds it has been transformed into a fantasy world that resembles the story he has been reading to Rukiya, with M’Benga hailed as a king.

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With Pike and Ortegas as rival courtesans attending to him, M’Benga discovers that the Enterprise’s systems appear to be running as normal and scans himself at sickbay where he similarly learns he is healthy. M’Benga’s analysis is interrupted by La’an Noonien-Singh (played by Christina Chong), who appears as a spoiled princess searching for an important relic known as the Mercury Stone. Chief Engineer Hemmer is also aware of the fantastical shift in reality, but is confused for an evil wizard and taken by soldiers who refuse to acknowledge M’Benga’s regal authority.

Suspecting Hemmer is the key to finding the Mercury Stone and using it to restore reality, M’Benga has Pike and Ortegas escort him on a mission to rescue Hemmer from the custody of a rival queen. Along the way, the group encounters Spock and his distinctive eyebrows; he has been reimagined as a wizard seeking to save his brother from the same queen. The queen is revealed to be an altered vision of Uhura (played by Celia Rose Gooding), with Spock leading M’Benga and the others into a trap that gets the group imprisoned after M’Benga fails to produce the Mercury Stone.

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Hemmer explains that his telepathic abilities sensed a lifeform when reality shifted, theorizing that the entity used M’Benga’s story as inspiration to create this world. Using some of his gear, he frees himself and the group from their cell before they are aided in their escape by Number One — reimagined as a skilled archer allied with Ortegas. Picking up on the noticeable changes to the story he’s familiar with, M’Benga theorizes that the entity actually telepathically drew inspiration from Rukiya, based on his daughter’s preferences about how the story should unfold.

After Hemmer sidelines Uhura and the traitorous Spock with the transporter, he and M’Benga find Rukiya playing with the entity. Speaking through Hemmer, the entity reveals that Rukiya’s condition will return if they allow her to leave the nebula. Rukiya decides to remain with the entity in order for her father to be freed and reality to be restored to normal, appearing moments later as a full-grown adult to assure M’Benga that her life has been great. As activity on the Enterprise returns to normal, none of the crew have any memory of what occurred in the nebula, with M’Benga confiding in Number One about his extraordinary experience to conclude one of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ most fantastical episodes.

Created by Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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