Star Trek Best Trek

The Elysian Kingdom

In case you skip it...

This is the first episode to spotlight M’Benga (and it also gives substantial screen time to Hemmer, who’s only been in half the episodes so far) so it’s a shame that the overall result isn’t that great. Babs Olusanmokun does such a good job as the episode’s emotional center that it almost works, but his performance can’t change the fact that the story is slow and dull with far too much time being spent on what amounts to out-of-character acting exercises for most of the cast that don’t advance plot or reveal character (even watching Anson Mount having the time of his life playing against type gets old after a while) or the fact that the episode’s climax and resolution don’t really make any sense.

But an important thing happens here that’s worth knowing about. As you may recall, M’Benga is keeping his daughter Rukiya suspended in a transporter buffer while he tries to find a cure for her terminal illness, occasionally rematerializing her to read to her and spend time with her.

M'Benga dotes on Rukiya in sickbay

In this episode, the Enterprise encounters a mysterious noncorporeal alien that is able to cure Rukiya, but only if she stays with the alien. M’Benga is apparently no closer to a cure (despite hints of progress in “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”) and her time is running out, so he must say goodbye and release her to the alien so that she can have an actual life. The episode ends with Rukiya happy and healthy (and apparently noncorporeal) but removed from M’Benga and the Enterprise.