If you are a devotee of time travel...

Friday, July 8, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.10: Everything!

Well, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, already off to a generally superb start, posted its far and away best episode so far, 1.10, the season finale, which in one fell swoop contributed mightily to the corpus.

[Some spoilers ahead ...]

This episode had everything -- at least, everything of what I most like and consider most important in the Star Trek universe: time travel, Pike learning the hazards of trying to avoid his fate, Pike and Spock drawing closer, the Romulans, and ... Captain James T. Kirk!

The set-up: Captain Pike gets a visit from his older self, determined to get the current Pike not to do something now that will profoundly alter the future.  Current Pike touches a Klingon time-travel green crystal which instantly lands him on the future Enterprise.

The story moves quickly.  Pike and the Enterprise soon find themselves in a standoff with the bellicose Romulans.  Fortunately, the Enterprise gets a visit from none other than James T. Kirk.  We've already met Sam, James T's brother. This James T. Kirk (very well portrayed by Paul Wesley) is a little younger Shatner's Kirk, and we get the pleasure of seeing him and Spock meet for the first time.  We also get to see James T. flex the smarts and ingenuity of this Star Trek foundational kingpin.  (And, as a special treat, we hear the voice of a Scot in engineering -- hello Scotty!)

Before the episode is over, we see some great strategic jockeying between the Federation and the Romulans. But, predictably for this stage in human-Romulan interstellar relations, life-and-death battles in space result nonetheless.  And ... Spock is a casualty.  He survives.  But his body is badly damaged, and a crestfallen Nurse Chapel tells our time-traveling Pike that Spock will never be the same.

Our Pike realizes that his current actions will set in motion a series of events in which Spock not Pike will be the one who is mutilated, who suffered the fate of Pike as shown in "The Menagerie".  In a sage, satisfying, emotionally rewarding ending, Pike not only discovers that he can't let this happen to Spock, but he and Spock mean a lot to one another.  And this sets up nicely the mutiny that Spock will commit in "The Menagerie" to get his former Captain to a planet where he can live out his life in some happiness.

As I've been saying in these reviews -- and in interviews as well, such as the one I did a few weeks ago on Joel McKinnon's Seldon Crisis podcast (see below) -- I think Strange New Worlds is up there with TOS and TNG.  This season finale brings that point home with light speed.

See also Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.1-1.2: Great Characters, Actors, Stories ... 1.3: "Instead of terraforming planets, we modify ourselves ..." ... 1.4: The Gorn and the Wub ... 1.5 Going to the Chapel ... 1.6: Two Stories ... 1.7: The Kiss ... 1.8: Ends of the Continuum ... 1.9: Momentous!

Joel McKinnon and I discuss Star Trek: SNW and much more

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