Adira being an outsider character is not what Star Trek is about. There are misfits, sure; outliers and nonconformists and oddballs. But the thing that Star Trek has always done in-story and is probably the main reason for its generational success is that it embraces the different, not exclude it. This episode has Adira questioning her role, a captain with no confidence from his crew, an ensign out of her depth as acting first officer, a doctor’s husband questioning direct orders, and everyone second-guessing themselves instead of direct and confident action towards a clearly defined purpose.
Literally none of this is what thematically drew anyone to the show in the first place, and its presentation is exactly the opposite of what the audience seeking escapist entertainment needs in these historically troubled times.
Yes, Star Trek has always addressed current events through the lens of science fiction and action/adventure; the biggest theme running through all iterations of the concept has always been mankind (and by extension, our alien friends) is flawed and murderous and deceitful, but the best of things happen when humans embrace their imperfections and derive strength from their faults.
This show is just a bunch of crying with no redemption whatsoever.
But, hey, it’s Christmas Eve. Enjoy this story I wrote for my kid when he was three-and-a-half:
Nick looked down at his watch and saw there wasn’t much time left.
He wasn’t feeling himself, but he put that aside. He’d wrestle with that one in January. Right now, he had a job to do and he needed help. Right after Thanksgiving, Old Man Winter had fought with Santa Claus and it didn’t end well. Winter had hit Santa so hard that the jolly old elf split into his component parts and was cast to the Four Winds. If there was to be a Christmas this year, Nick was going to have to collect all the bits of Santa and re-unite him at the North Pole.
But, like I said, Nick was going to need some help. And he knew just the boy for the job.
In December 2010, Walker Young was playing Legos and pirates with his good friends Nolan and Emma and Violette and Big Buddy Lucas at Sofiya’s when Mommy and Daddy came to pick him up in Daddy’s car. With them was their friend Nick, who needed Walker’s help.
“When is your birthday, Walker?” Nick asked.
“I’m three and-a-half!” Walker said in the driveway, showing three fingers.
Mommy nodded. “He was born June 24th.”
“That’s great,” Nick said. “Born as far away from Christmas Eve as you can get. He’s the perfect boy to help me put Santa back together!”
“What you said?” Walker exclaimed, a little dubious. “Him got parts?”
“Like a puzzle,” Daddy said, dramatically pointing his finger directly into the sky. “There’s only one kid who can put Santa back together… and Walker Young might just be that boy!”
There was a pause when Nick and Mommy and Walker all looked at Daddy.
“Daddy, you so silly,” Walker said. And they all got into the car to go find all of Santa.
“Where to first?” Daddy said to Nick, who was sitting up front. Mommy was sitting in back with Walker, who was strapped in and ready to go.
“Scandinavia,” said Nick.
“Wait, what?” said Mommy. “That’s a long ways away. Sure, this time of year, you can try to hold back the cold with eggnog and carols and presents and stuff, but…”
“But what!” Walker yelled.
“Chicken butt!” Daddy cried in response, and everyone laughed except Mommy.
“It’s a long drive to Norway, and Sweden, and Finland, from San Francisco,” Mommy said. “Look it up on the map. I’m not sure Daddy’s car will make it to New Jersey, much less all the way to there.”
Nick seemed to have something in mind, and smiled quietly to himself as he reached into his backpack. “I have just the thing,” he said, holding up a small leather sack.
“Santa let me have a bit of this, one day, when I did him a solid; it’s Twenty-Minute Powder. This is how Santa gets around the world, giving toys to good little girls and boys all over the planet in just one night. You sprinkle this stuff about your head and shoulders, and you can get to here from there in twenty minutes, guaranteed.”
And Nick sprinkled the powder around, and in twenty minutes, they were there.
Daddy’s car drove a bit through a meadow and stopped at a tree stump where a man in a grey cloak and staff and wide-brimmed hat sat, idly smoking his pipe. Wisps of smoke curled around his long, white beard. An eight-legged horse grazed on the grass a bit behind him, and he didn’t think anything about that was odd.
Walker and Mommy and Daddy and Nick got out of the car and asked the man where they were.
“In the woods,” the man said. “My name is Odin, and Sleipnir and I…” he cocked a thumb towards the horse… “are getting ready to go on a hunting party. This time of year, we go hunting across the sky. As we go, children place their boots by the fire and fill them with straw, and sugar, and carrots, for Sleipnir. I thank them with small gifts and candy.”
“That’s like the stockings we hang by the fireplace,” said Walker.
“Too right,” said Nick. “You must come with us, Odin,” and Nick beckoned him towards his backpack. Odin jumped in. And so did Sleipnir.
Nick threw some more Twenty-Minute Powder, and almost suddenly (twenty minutes later), they were in Germany. Mommy got out of the car first, and reached back in to undo Walker from his seat.
“Where we go, Mommy?” said Walker. Mommy looked around.
“Call me crazy,” Mommy said, “but I think this is Schmieheim, where great-great Grandpa Bernheim was from. You ask me, I’ll bet we’re coming to collect Knecht Ruprecht.”
“Yes?” said Knecht Ruprecht, coming out around from behind a barn. “I’m sorry for my black clothes and dirty face, but I give coal to naughty children, and switches, and stones; ugly, useless gifts in their boots and the soot collects on me as I go down their chimneys.”
“This sounds familiar,” Daddy said.
“Like Santa Claus!” Walker yelled. “Good boys get presents! Bad boys get coal!”
“Too right,” said Nick. “You must come with us, Knecht Ruprecht,” and Nick beckoned him towards his backpack. And Knecht Ruprecht jumped in.
Mommy and Daddy and their friend Nick took Walker all around time and space in Daddy’s red car using Nick’s Twenty-Minute Powder. Nick’s backpack was getting full. They collected Pelzmärtel on his wooden horse, and St. Martin on his white stallion. By the time they got to Saint Nicholas, a Fourth Century bishop known for giving gifts to the poor, Nick’s backpack had swollen up and his supply of Twenty-Minute Powder was running down.
And Nick himself was looking a little more jolly, come to think of it, and his clothes had changed! Pelzmärtel means “Fur Martin” in German, and now Nick was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot. And his clothes were all tarnished in ashes and soot.
“One more ought to do it,” said Nick.
“It’ll have to,” said Mommy, consulting her iPhone. “You’re down to your last pinch of Twenty-Minute Powder, and it’s almost Christmas Eve. We’re running out of time!”
“We need one last bit of Christmas cheer, Walker. What do you think?”
“Christmas tree, Daddy! I’m not playing… I’m decorating!”
So Nick fluttered out the last bit of powder, and Daddy pointed the cart towards Half Moon Bay.
Mommy and Daddy and Walker drove all the way past Santa’s Workshop to where the Douglas Fir trees grow. They got out to cut down their Christmas Tree and Daddy was worried.
“How will we get the tree home, Mommy?” Daddy asked. “We don’t have a roof rack, and there’s no room with Nick and his bag.”
“Where’s your Christmas spirit, Daddy?” Mommy said. “We’ll figure it out. It’s the season for miracles!”
They picked out a good one and started walking towards the car.
“Mommy! Daddy! LOOK!” Walker yelled.
…and the back door of Daddy’s car opened, and Nick threw out his stuffed backpack. Except now it looked like a great big green sack! Nick stepped out and his shoes turned into boots! And he grew bigger, and rounder, and more jolly! His cheeks got rosy red, and his beard grew long and white! Mommy and Daddy’s friend Nick was really SANTA CLAUS!
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa exclaimed as Walker ran up to give him a big hug.
“How you know my Mommy and Daddy, Santa?” Walker asked. Santa knelt down.
“Oh, I’ve known your parents since they were little children, themselves, Walker. And I’m so glad they met and had you, for you were the one who collected all my parts and helped to put me back together so I can give my gifts on Christmas Eve night.”
Santa’s reindeer and sleigh came swooping down out of the sky and landed next to Daddy’s car. Santa threw his bag of toys into the back of his sleigh. He went to get in, but stopped as if remembering something.
“Thank you again, Walker,” said Santa. “I’ll deliver my presents tonight when you’re asleep, but I wanted to thank you for your special help. So you get one present on Christmas Eve night, before you go to bed.” And he gave Walker a big box with a big red bow on top.
Mommy and Daddy and Walker waved to Santa as he flew away. “Merry Christmas, Santa!” they said.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” Santa replied.
Then as Mommy and Daddy knelt down beside him, Walker opened up his present from Santa…
…and it was exactly what he’d always wanted.