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Star Trek: What Happens When a Pulitzer Prize Winner Writes an Episode


Michael Chabon’s Odyssey riff is likely one of the highest Megastar Trek tales in years.

Complete spoilers practice for this episode.

The second one of the Quick Treks, “Calypso,” is not just an enormous development over the primary installment, which debuted final month, but in addition a top watermark for CBS All Get admission to’ Megastar Trek output usually, which started with the debut of Discovery final yr. And it makes its trendy and poetic affect with a tale about simply two characters, trapped in combination on a misplaced send, neither of whom we’ve ever met ahead of (and relatively perhaps gained’t ever meet once more).

Watch the trailer for “Calypso” above.

Scripted through the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator Michael Chabon, from a tale through Chabon and Discovery author Sean Cochran, “Calypso” is on its face a somewhat easy tale, a 16-minute rethinking of the titular story from Homer’s The Odyssey, and but Chabon elevates the fabric to a virtually chic level, providing up a lonely hero and a in all probability even lonelier nymph… who occurs to be a pc.

Aldis Hodge stars as Craft, a soldier from the planet Alcor IV who has been adrift and misplaced in area, most effective to be stored through the usDiscovery. Or extra particularly, through the Discovery’s synthetic intelligence, which calls itself Zora and is charmingly voiced through Annabelle Wallis. Zora nurses Craft again to well being, and an not likely love affair between the 2 quickly starts.

How and why the Discovery now has an AI is unclear, as is how the send wound up in its present state of affairs — caught in some more or less area hurricane whilst watching for the go back of its group, who’ve been lacking for 1000 years. One thousand years! No marvel Zora is so smitten when Craft displays up…

Aldis Hodge as Craft in "Calypso"

Aldis Hodge as Craft in “Calypso”

This retelling of the Calypso tale from The Odyssey works in addition to it does no longer simply as a result of the scripting, which is emotional and but understated, but in addition as a result of the performances from Hodge and Wallis. Craft is war-weary and lonely, longing to go back to his spouse and kid again house, whilst Zora is weary in its — her — personal manner, having spent a millennium by myself, prepared herself to adapt to be able to cross the time. The ensuing giggly but unhappy pc voice is so immediately likable and sympathetic that it’s not possible to begrudge her for in need of to stay Craft all to herself to ease her burden.

And but, as soon as Zora manifests a holographic frame to be able to reenact a dance from the Audrey Hepburn/Fred Astaire musical Humorous Face — a ordinary fixation of Zora’s this is in all probability a tad too paying homage to a identical thought in Pixar’s WALL-E — Craft comes this with reference to shedding himself to her. The bond between the 2 is simple, however Craft gained’t depart in the back of the reminiscence of his circle of relatives, and in that second they each understand that their existence in combination at the Discovery can’t proceed.

All the package deal culminates touchingly sufficient as Zora imparts on Craft a “identify” — Humorous Face, in fact — whilst we be informed that on his homeworld, the customized is for a lover to do the similar.

After which the tale ends. Will Craft make it house? What is going to occur to Zora? Is that this in point of fact the destiny of the usDiscovery, to be deserted through its group at some long term level and left by myself in deep area for 1000 years? Who can say, however that is without a doubt the type of tale that the Quick Treks will have to be telling — stories that aren’t most effective set out of doors of the standard scope of Discovery’s characters and international, but in addition out of doors the storytelling norms of the display. It’s a brand new type of Megastar Trek on TV, necessarily, and we will most effective hope for extra like this sooner or later.

Questions and Notes from the Q Continuum:

  • Chabon may be a part of the writing workforce in the back of the impending Picard display.
  • Is the identify Zora a connection with Blade Runner’s Zhora?
  • Annabelle Wallis additionally starred along Tom Cruise in Discovery government manufacturer Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy.
  • Chabon informed me in an interview about this episode that he wish to additional discover the arena of Craft, necessarily retelling the tale of The Odyssey with the nature (however, he added, there are these days no plans to take action).
  • One can’t assist however realize that the age distinction between Zora and Craft isn’t all that other from the age distinction between Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Ahem.
  • The state of the Discovery right here leaves such a lot of questions that one will have to think will stay unanswered for the foreseeable long term… until a Season 2 episode one way or the other addresses them?

The Verdict

“Calypso” is likely one of the highest Megastar Trek tales to come back round in relatively a while, benefitting from its willingness to introduce new characters and eventualities that don’t depend on pre-existing canon. Stylishly directed through Olatunde Osunsanmi and wonderfully acted, the fast is touching, romantic, and unhappy, taking part in a vintage Trek riff — what does it imply, in reality, to be human? — whilst adapting an historic tale, however feeling recent and new all of the similar.

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