Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode “Ghosts Of Illyria.” Read at your own risk!
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had another dynamite episode for Paramount+ subscribers with “Ghosts of Illyria,” and it came with the saddest revelation about one of the show’s most cryptic characters. Once the light virus was solved, Una later realized that the whole thing might’ve never happened had Dr. M’Benga allowed for upgrades to the medical transporter. She confronted the Chief Medical Officer about the situation and asked what he was holding in the pattern buffer that he had to prioritize over the lives of everyone else on board. The answer, as viewers found out, was his daughter.
Dr. M’Benga has a daughter, and she suffers from a terminal illness with an average 12-week prognosis. As M’Benga mentioned, as the Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer, he should have all the skills he needed to cure his daughter. When he exhausted all other options, he realized he could eventually find a cure via exploration in Starfleet if only he had more time for research and learning more about what might be out there.
The Star Trek: Strange New Worlds character revealed that he could hold his daughter in the medical transporter’s pattern buffer indefinitely, which would buy him all the time he needed. While in the buffer, she will not age, nor will her disease progress. All he has to do is regularly materialize her, and he’ll have all the time he needs to try and search the cosmos for a cure.
M’Benga was ready to be sent to the brig and removed from Starfleet for his actions, but instead, Una decided to get a dedicated power source for the medical transporter so that he’d never have to worry about someone shutting down the transporter again. Una then said she hoped to meet his daughter someday, and the episode ended with M’Benga reading his young daughter a story. I’ll admit I shed a tear for the first time watching this series during that scene, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.
It hit me right in the feels and made me desperately hope that M’Benga finds that cure. Obviously, this feels like a character arc that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will keep tabs on, and I’m hoping it has a happy ending. Thankfully, the series tends to skew more on the optimistic side of Trek (as Rebecca Romijn noted to us once before), even if it doesn’t honor all the elements of the original series. In short, I think we’ll see M’Benga’s daughter cured one day, and maybe she’ll become the next iconic kid wandering around a Starfleet ship! We haven’t seen many of those in live-action Trek lately, so I certainly wouldn’t mind it.
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