Renegades Live Blog, Part 2

When we left off at the end of Part 1, Lexxa Singh and her crew of renegades had just been captured by the problematically racialized and confusingly motivated baddie Borrada.

Now, we see them in captivity, surrounded by effectively grotesque skeletons of Borrada’s previous dead.

Super grotesque looking burned skeleton

Now it’s Borrada’s turn to explain everything that’s going on, as villains written by slightly lazy writers like to do. Also Icheb looks like he was too tall to actually hang up. Baddie needs a bigger cave.

Lexxa, Ramora and Icheb hanging in the cave by their arms

Turns out the monolith thing is a portal that dilates and folds space to speed up travel, but “there was one thing we did not know: a second portal is required to establish a gateway. We activated this lone portal and space folded around our system. It was…catastrophic.”

Okay, so yay for motivation finally! Buddy thinks the Federation sent the monolith but forgot the user manual, leading to the destruction of his world! I mean, it’s basically the same backstory as Nero in Star Trek 2009, but hey, if it worked once!

Dr. Lucien

Back on the Icarus, Doctor Who-esque lady, who is dating Doctor Zimerman and is, it turns out, named Doctor Lucien, is trying to get help from Chekov when they’re ambushed by the USS Archer. They have to jump to warp to get away, leaving Lexxa and the others behind reluctantly.

Lexxa Singh and her mom on some rocks outdoors

In Borrada’s dungeon, Lexxa is remembering her mother actually teaching her “Invictus,” which we heard her reciting and drawing strength from while in the Orion prison in the first half of the movie. Her mother tells her they’re running because “they” want you (the Federation, presumably?) “because you’re stronger and smarter than they are.”

This is so much cooler than the off-handed mention of “rape gangs,” this is showing how a mother protected her daughter and gave her the tools to survive.

Shree, Chekov and T'Leah lean over a console in Chekov's office

Oh hi, Shree’s cleavage! 

By this point, Earth has become a direct target, surrounded by the kind of fold in space-time that only the monolith thingy could create. Without the light of the sun, it will become so cold that every living thing will freeze to death.

Wait, a couple of things. Maybe I missed it but what happened with Chekov’s great-great-granddaughter? He beamed away with her to get medical treatment and no one has even bothered to ask who put a bomb in her? 

Also now Earth is under attack you’d think there’d be more people in Starfleet who would be questioning helping Borrada. I don’t feel like Chekov vs. everyone else is really realistic anymore. But maybe there just wasn’t time to explore those fractures, or money to cast more actors.

Back in the dungeon, one of the guards threatens to rape Ronara, causing Icheb to get angry and try to defend her, because what’s an abduction without a damsel in distress?

Icheb shows Ronara a display on his arm that says "no signal"

Oh hi, Ronara’s cleavage! 

At first I thought Lexxa’s “stronger than everyone else” strength was going to get them out but ultimately Ronara uses her telekinesis to help Icheb bust out of his restraints somehow, and he uses his bionic arm to take out the guard, and then to display a handy dandy map of the tunnels out.

Fake Chekov

Back on the Icarus, Doc Awesomepants uses her fancy hologram doodads to fake that Chekov is with them, immediately causing the Archer boarding party to let down their guard. 

And Fixer, the renegades’ engineer, has met Lexxa and the others to help them find the monolith.

Meanwhile, Owen Paris beams into real Chekov’s office and Chekov accuses him of being the conspirator in Starfleet’s upper echelons. Only it’s not because then Grant Imahara STABS ADMIRAL PARIS IN THE BACK. Best twist in this movie so far. You never think Grant Imahara’s going to be the bad guy. 

Paris goes down
Grant Imihara's character stands, lit in red, looking evil

Then he starts talking to Chekov in a weird, electronically-altered voice, saying humans are easy to manipulate and his people are trying to get back “what we lost millennia ago.” He lunges at Chekov with the knife but Chekov’s assassin sidekick grabs him from behind and snaps his neck.

T'Leah

Good to see her getting something to do, but was she just standing there the whole time? Because you’d think this mastermind bad guy would’ve spotted another person in the room, or scanned the room before he went in. Luckily, Shree can use her mind hacking device to get some thought and memories out of him before he’s truly brain dead.

ball of light in Chekov's office

Then this weird ball of light flies out of the body. No one knows what it is but it leaves the room and they return their attention to the dead guy on the floor. Shree gives her memory device to the Doctor and she reads his memories, realizing the other monolith portal thing is in…his office. 

Tuvok says he’ll alert the Federation Council, which seems weird when you still don’t know who the co-conspirators are, but things are moving fast at this point.

Borrada holds Lexxa by the throat

While Ronara, Icheb and the Breen guy cover Lexxa with phasers and bionic arms, Lexxa goes for Borrada’s monolith, but runs into Borrada. She gets some great punches and kicks in before she falls and he punches her repeatedly in the face, gloating that he will “savour [her] slow and painful death.” She starts seeing her mother in her mind’s eye. 

A black man attacks Lexxa's mom

More accurately, remembering a nameless black man (representing who? with what motivations?) smacking her in the face with the butt of his phaser rifle and then shooting her. Look, it’s totally fine to have villains of colour, but please give them a character more complex than “the black guy who kills the innocent white lady in front of her daughter for no clear reason.”

Anyway, remembering her mother helps her stand back up.

She tricks him into allowing her to walk around him towards his giant laser cannon, which he’s left on the floor. 

Lexxa with the laser cannon

She uses it to shoot down a giant piece or rock, which partially crushes him, and then she turns it around and uses the blade end as a bayonet.

Like any good captain, she immediately turns her attention to her fallen crewman, helping to revive Fixer.

Meanwhile, the USS Archer crew has arrived and rescued their captive colleague. Somehow ships can get in and out of this fold around the Earth I guess?

Now two teams of renegades – one on Earth and one on in Borrada’s dungeon, try to find a way to disable the portal monoliths.

Dr. Lucien works with Shree

It’s Doctor Lucien who figures out the solution and uses her tech to contact Fixer in Borrada’s lair. They need to transport the monolith on Earth somewhere, and Lexxa says to bring it to where her team is. She volunteers to stay behind (again, very badass and Captainly) and die when the planet collapses, but Fixer hits her with an extremely convenient hypospray he was carrying and says he’ll stay.

As the two monoliths are about to collapse Borrada’s planet, Borrada wakes up from being stabbed and tries to go after Fixer, but when he hits him we see Fixer is a hologram. 

Borrada tries to attack Fixer

And needless to say, Borrada doesn’t survive the planet collapsing. 

Hey audience, look how great our CGI is!

Space Station orbiting earth

Like, really great.

The Golden Gate Bridge

So great we showed you that space station for no reason, because really, the next scene is in San Francisco.

Chekov and Tuvok meet with the surviving renegades, and tell them they are still outlaws. I guess this may be more believable than the total pardon at the end of Star Trek IV

Icheb, Ranora and Lexxa at Starfleet HQ

Also they need more time to figure out who the conspirators are at Starfleet behind various shenanigans. Clearly Grant Imahara could only do so much on his own.

Chekov promises he and Tuvok will help them find out who has targeted them all in the past, and help keep them a step ahead of Starfleet. Not sure why Starfleet wouldn’t have figured out that Chekov and Tuvok are behind things with them, especially since they’ve all been seen hanging out in Chekov’s office.

In exchange, they will help Chekov and Tuvok with a couple of missions, “The kind no one else can do.” Bonus: T’Leah and Shree will join them. 

“You will be hunted,” warns Chekov.

“That’s the way we like it,” assures Lexxa.

Doctors Zimmerman and Lucien

Another kissy scene between Doctor and Doctor. 

And Chekov’s great-great-granddaughter is mostly ok.

Tuvok and Chekov

But Chekov worries things may have gone too far and doesn’t know how they’ll know when to stop. I’m not sure if he means Starfleet, or him and Tuvok’s side crew of outlaws, but it feels like a fitting Trek ending and Walter Koenig turns in a good performance.

On the Icarus, Dr. Lucien explains to Lexxa that Fixer was a hologram that she created in the memory of her assistant who died in the experiment that got her in trouble on Jupiter Station. And then Fixer gets to come back!

The crew on the bridge of the Icarus

The crew flies out. The End.

Highlights:

  • Lexxa Singh continues to be badass and while she’s an outlaw, also displays many honourable Captainly qualities we expect in Trek, like a concern for her crew and willingness to lay down her life for them. I also like that she’s inspired by her relationship with her mother and that there were no more off-handed mentions of “rape gangs”;
  • Shree’s hacking. I think her and T’Leah joining the crew (which would make it a majority women and all smart and badass in their own ways) would make for a really cool dynamic;
  • Dr. Lucien saving the day with science! In many ways she actually did more than Lexxa to actually functionally solve the problem they were facing; and
  • The unexpected twist with Grant Imahara turning out to be a key villain.

Lowlights:

  • Again, problematic racializing of the villains, now not just Borrada but also Lexxa’s mother’s character. The way Borrada and this guy are portrayed reinforces stereotypes of African-American men as dangerous thugs, and there is never any invitation to empathize with any of their motivations;
  • Weak editing, as if they were just so proud of their (admittedly very high quality) CGI they had to put in every second of it;
  • Lots of cleavage shots. I mean, I think Shree’s outfit makes a bit of sense with her character, who clearly occasionally uses seduction as a weapon, but with Ronara, it’s really not clear why she couldn’t wear something else; and
  • Tons of plot holes. But on the plus side, it leaves them stuff to explore in the episodes they’re going to start producing.

Overall Rating: 5.5/10 portal monoliths.

Bechdel-Wallace Test: Passes numerous times.

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