You probably haven’t heard, but the CW’s newest sci-fi series Pandora unceremoniously premiered last week. The series follows Jax (Priscilla Quintana), a young woman investigating the death of her parents while attending Earth’s Space Training Academy in the year 2199.
While a space academy in the future sounds interesting, we quickly learn that the whole thing is basically a college campus with Star Trek props. The best example came from the July 23 episode “Chimes of Freedom.”
Jax’s friend Atria Nine (Raechelle Banno) was furious to find that the school was hosting a speaker from her home planet of Adar. You see, Atria Nine was a refugee clone from a society on Adar where clones were treated as cattle and slaves. She therefore saw all the Adari as “murderers” despite their support for Earth in past conflicts. She tried to argue this to her professor, but he disappointed her with his appeal for free speech:
Atria: He's evil. A man who preaches nothing but vile and depraved hate under the guise of religion. On Adar, clones aren't servants, they're slaves. I spent my whole life trying to escape that life. To come here, to the academy and to Earth. And now you're just going to let this serpent-tongued Mephistopheles speak on campus?
Pevney: Atria, I understand how you feel. But this institution is based on the tenets of tolerance and mutual understanding. And, most importantly, free speech and a sharing of divergent ideals.
Atria: The Seeker's ideals are not divergent. They're depraved. The Adari have enslaved generations of manufactured humans to serve them. I know. I was one of them.
Pevney: Look, his speaking engagement is not an endorsement of his views by the school. Seeker Hubbell was invited by the Adari Student Council. Now, our bylaws are very clear on this point.
Atria: You of all people should appreciate why cloning is outlawed everywhere else in the Confederacy but in the Adari territories.
Pevney: It's not that I'm not sympathetic to your position. But we have an obligation to be open to all voices, even the ones that we object to. Not to mention, the Adari were a vital ally during the war.
Atria: They used clones as cannon fodder and broke their own non-aggression pact with Zatar to join Earth. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Pevney: Atria, please, look at the big picture.
Atria: If there was one person on campus I thought would understand, it was you, Professor.
It was clear from this scene that this was supposed to parallel the issues regarding controversial (usually conservative) speakers on college campuses. The professor represented the logical argument that we should support free speech no matter how repugnant we may find it while Atria represents leftist students concerned with “hate speech” hurting them with her harsh upbringing. Of course, in true liberal fashion, the speaker was actually vile and hateful beyond his rhetoric. Considering we quickly descended into a campus protest, it’s also clear which side the show supported:
Crowd: Go back to Adar! Go back to Adar!
Seeker: And the maker of all things looked upon our planet, and beheld it was corrupt. And he brought great suffering to the people of Earth. But then, praise be. He offered us a pathway to the stars to find a new home. We embarked unto the stars in our own arks to new worlds for those who heard his word. And I, as his instrument—
Jax: Your hate has no place here, Seeker!
Seeker: I preach only his divine love, my child.
Jax: You enslave an entire race and call it love? Hypocritical much?
Seeker: How can we enslave those who have no souls? He has provided them in his grace to serve only us and his word.
Jax: You've got quite the imagination, I'll give you that.
Crowd: Go back to Adar! Go back to Adar!
Following the protest, the Seeker attempted to torture and kill Atria for her behavior only to be thwarted by her friends. The professor was also revealed to be a member of Adari resistance, so his support was merely a cover to draw out opposition. So really, no one believed in the concept of free speech on this show, anyway. After all, how good can free speech be if creeps like this guy used it?
I’m not sure which is worse, the implication that conservative campus speakers, like Ben Shapiro or Candace Owens, are akin to slave owners or that the show takes the side of disruptive and occasionally violent anti-speech protestors. Either one seems so far from reality that it’s not even funny. Once upon a time, liberals used to support free speech in all colors, but now they want to terrorize us with alleged hate speech.
If this is what the future looks like, I think I’m good in 2019.