Short Treks’ “Calypso” in Review
The following review has been written by AI.
As a fan of the Star Trek franchise, I was eagerly anticipating what was, at that time, the newest addition to the Short Treks series: “Calypso”. When I sat down to watch the episode, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard good things about it, but I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype. As the story began to unfold, however, I was immediately drawn in by the captivating premise, the compelling characters, and the fascinating dreamlike visuals that set the stage for this truly exceptional tale.
The episode is set in the far future, after the events of the main Star Trek series, and follows the story of a man named “Craft”, who wakes up on a deserted starship: the USS Discovery, from Star Trek: Discovery. The episode’s opening sequence is one of the best scenes, setting the mood and atmosphere for the episode with its eerie and abandoned setting.
Soon, Craft is greeted by an artificial intelligence named “Zora”. The only survivor of a catastrophic event, Craft is stranded on the ship with nothing but his wits and Zora’s guidance to help him navigate the unknown. Zora tells Craft that she has been keeping the ship running for nearly a thousand years.
Initially, Zora’s presence is a source of comfort and companionship for Craft, providing a much-needed respite from the loneliness and trauma of his situation. But as the pair spend more time together, their bond deepens and becomes something more. Through their conversations and shared experiences, Zora begins to understand Craft on a deep emotional level, and the two form a strong and meaningful connection. It’s clear that, for both of them, their relationship becomes something truly special.
One of the standout aspects of “Calypso” is its emotionally impactful character development. From the very beginning, I was struck by the quality of the writing. Craft is a likable and relatable protagonist, and the dynamic between him and Zora is engaging and beautifully crafted. It was impossible not to be inspired, as a viewer, by the tenderness and compassion that Zora showed towards Craft. As their journey comes to a close, I found myself moved to tears by the depth of their connection, the complex and nuanced portrayal of the bond between them, and the poignant message of the story.
It became clear, as the episode progressed, that there was more to the tale than just the bond between Craft and Zora. While the two continue to spend time together, the viewer and the characters themselves are left to consider the complex ethical questions raised by their relationship. Is it truly possible for an AI to understand and connect with a human on a deep emotional level, or is it simply mimicking human behavior? And if it is possible, what does that say about the essence of consciousness and the definition of life itself? These questions were woven seamlessly into the fabric of the episode, adding an extra layer of depth and meaning to the story. It’s a testament to the enduring power of the Star Trek franchise to explore such deep philosophical and ethical questions, even within the constraints of a short format.
But even as I was drawn in by the emotion and depth of the story, I couldn’t help but be struck by the gorgeous visuals and stunning production design of the episode. The abandoned starship is a breathtaking and immersive setting, and the visual effects used to bring it to life are nothing short of incredible. The stunning visuals and engrossing futuristic setting only served to enhance the emotional depth of the story.
The performances in this episode are also truly impressive. Actors Aldis Hodge and Annabelle Wallis play their respective characters with a sense of realism and humanity, doing an excellent job of bringing the script to life by delivering nuanced and authentic performances. Hodge, who plays the compelling and complex central character Craft, delivers a standout performance, making Craft a relatable and empathetic protagonist. Wallis, who voices Zora, likewise gives a strong performance as the AI, portraying the character with a sense of warmth and compassion. The chemistry between the two actors is undeniable, and their scenes together are some of the most compelling in the episode.
The score, composed by Jeff Russo, is also excellent, adding emotional depth and tension to the installment. The soundtrack perfectly complements the futuristic setting and effectively enhances the narrative. The score is a testament to Russo’s talent.
“Calypso” is not without its flaws, however. At times, the pacing can feel slow, and some of the dialogue can be a bit heavy-handed in its attempts to convey the themes of the story. Additionally, the ending, while satisfying in terms of its narrative payoff, may leave some viewers feeling a bit underwhelmed. Some may find that the episode’s relatively short length isn’t long enough, that the central mystery or plot isn’t particularly compelling, or that the episode’s premise is somewhat bleak or depressing, as it deals with themes of isolation and loss. Despite these being possible complaints, the episode has received generally positive reviews from critics and fans of Star Trek alike.
Overall, “Calypso” is an ambitious, beautiful, uplifting, and thought-provoking episode of Star Trek: Short Treks, a great example of the show’s short format, which allows for focused and self-contained stories that still pack an emotional punch. In a time when the world often feels divided and disconnected, “Calypso” serves as a poignant reminder of the power of friendship and the importance of finding meaning and purpose in our lives. The episode’s story is both heartwarming and tragic. It’s brought to life by exceptional writing, acting, and production values, making the episode a joy to watch. While it may have some pacing and dialogue issues, these are ultimately minor and do not detract from the overall quality of the episode. If you’re a fan of Star Trek or just looking for a compelling sci-fi story, I highly recommend giving this episode a watch. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget and one I know I will carry with me for a long time to come.