Star Trek Strange New Worlds: The Serene Squall

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After beaming onboard a vessel supposedly in distress Pike, played by Anson Mount, and co find themselves taken prisoner, whilst at the same time those remaining on the Enterprise must fight off against space pirates.

I thought this was a serviceable episode, it is not so much that it is a bad episode but it certainly is a step back from the last few. The space pirate plot feels very generic and been there done that, I understand the final tease of Spock’s’ half sibling might lead to interesting things in the future, but for what it was it was fairly forgettable.

I enjoyed seeing Pike lead a mutiny aboard the space pirate vessel and I thought that this part of the episode was tonally spot on, it let Pike have his heroic moments but also balanced that with some levity. I thought that once again he and Rebecca Romijn’s Una had fantastic chemistry.

What I thought was the weakest part of the episode was the Spock, played by Ethan Peck, subplot about his human side effecting his and his wife’s relationship and sex life with a number of different characters being brought it to be potential other love interests for him. I just thought that tonally this didn’t really fit at all and felt like they were trying to force in a love triangle for the sake of it.

Overall, a fine episode but not one that will be remembered long after watching.

Pros.

Pike continues to shine

It is watchable

Some good action

Cons.

Spock’s relationship drama

The villain was fairly obvious and nonthreatening

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Lift Us Where Suffering Can’t Reach

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Enterprise gets tangled up in an ethical quagmire after saving a ship in distress.

I thought this was yet another good episode of Star Trek. I particularly enjoyed the moral dilemma between should the crew interfere with how this other civilisation operates or should they let them kill a child and not get in the way and cause a conflict, it felt like older series of the show. I also like how dark they were prepared to go with it having the kid being effectively tortured by the machine, before he is inevitably saved, it was surprisingly twisted and mature.

I liked that Pike, played by Anson Mount, got centre stage here he really made the most out of every scene he got. Mount continues to be fantastic in the role and prove what a skilled and capable actor he is, hopefully we have some more Pike centric episodes coming up in the rest of the season.  

My main issue with the episode was that the new character, at least to me as I don’t watch the other modern Star Trek shows, with whom Pike had a history was really written as being incredibly one dimensional. She was a generic love interest and then she turned out to be the villain in the end, with almost an air of the psycho girlfriend cliché to her that felt more than a little sexist.

Overall, I think that this current Star Trek show is really starting to hit its prime and come into its own.

Pros.

The ethical conundrum

How dark it gets

Mount is fantastic as Pike

There is no needless filler

Cons.

The villain ends up feeling like a sexist cliché

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Spock Amok

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Spock, played by Ethan Peck, swaps bodies with his betrothed, played by Gia Sandhu.

Many people may dislike this episode because it is a lot more light hearted and silly and whilst there is a somewhat unavoidable feeling of filler to it, I actually really enjoyed it.

I liked that we got to see a more human side to these character than we normally would if they were off fighting in space wars or exploring doomed worlds. Though the premise is silly it gave us a great insight into Spock at this time in his life and allowed us to see his perspective in a more clear sense. Further, the episode did not use a lot of the cheap jokes and plot lines of the body swap writing device and largely tried to do something new with it, playing it mostly straight, I enjoyed this as I feel handled differently it would have become trite and played out fast.

I thought the b plot and the later subplot about the negotiation with the new alien race were both inferior in a lot of ways to the body swap idea though one was better than the other. The La’an, played by Christina Chong, and Number One, played by Rebecca Romijn, shore leave b plot was fun and fairly light, Romijn’s acting felt a little forced during this part of the episode but maybe that was the point as her character is supposed to be a fun killer so having fun wouldn’t come naturally. The later subplot about the negotiation mostly felt flat, boring and like a convenient way to include both Pike, played by Anson Mount, in a meaningful way as well as to do something with the body swap.

Overall, mostly a fun episode with a lacklustre b plot and a boring resolution.

Pros.

Seeing Spock’s perspective

The fun of the body swap

It is nice to see a more human side to the characters

A few funny moments

Cons.

The sub plot about the negotiations was boring and the b plot felt forced      

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Memento Mori

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Enterprise crew come under attack from the Gorn.

I think this might have been the best episode of Strange New Worlds yet, as it looked and felt like older Trek. Not just that but in this episode the show was really firing on all cylinders, with my only complaint being that it wasn’t longer.

I thought the focus on La’an, played by Christina Chong, nicely paid off her early character work and gave her a platform to shine. Chong really is one of the best performers on this show and we saw proof of that here as she gave a powerful performance.

I enjoyed seeing Captain Pike, played by Anson Mount, in action as well and thought that Mount continues to be the anchor of this show easily holding his own  against other Star Trek veterans like Stewart and Shatner. The battle scenes felt really tense and fast paced which really helped the show to escape a lot of its usual issues with needless side characters and subplots.

Overall, a fun episode that restored my faith in this series.

Pros.

Mount

Chong

The battle scenes

It felt like old Trek

Cons.

It was too short  

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Ghosts Of Illyria

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A virus makes it aboard the Enterprise which leads to the crew desperately craving light, also there is something about genetic modification.

Did the writers go on strike or something? What was this episode? It felt like barely concealed filler, even in the worst episodes of Doctor Who they could come up with something better than a light crave virus, it is just lame.

Moreover, I am glad to see Rebecca Romijn’s Number One get more fleshed out on screen but this was not the way to do it. I felt like with the genetic modification point they were trying to convey some broader political or philosophical message but if they were it past right by me.

Furthermore, this episode seems afraid to give us any time with Pike, played by Anson Mount, and has him and Spock, played by Ethan Peck, marooned on a planet together, but for the most part just ignores this side plot.

Overall, a lame filler episode by definition.

Pros.

Romijn manages to keep the episode together

Pike and Spock have some fun banter in the short time we see them

Cons.

The main plot feels like it was made on the fly by people just writing down random words

The message and or point is missed

The ending

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Children Of The Comet

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A comet threatens to destroy an inhabited world, and as the Enterprise tries to prevent this they are contacted by a race of aliens that worship the comet as a God.

At the time of writing I have only seen the first three episodes of this show and I can easily say this is the best of the bunch. I think the reason for this is because there is a deeper philosophy at work within this episode that raises some interesting questions.  Whether, Pike, played by Anson Mount, and co do the right thing is debated and openly questioned in the episode, I appreciated this as it felt nuanced.

However, the episode isn’t all great. A large part of the episode focuses on Uhura, played by Cecilia Rose Gooding, and whether she can cut it as a Starfleet officer, which as far as sub-plots go is incredibly cliched and overly familiar. What I think makes this worse is that compared to other cast members on this show Gooding is a noticeably weaker actor and as such struggles to convey this basic cliched storyline of feeling incapable and like an outsider. Her emotions barely change over the course of the episode and it becomes a noticeable problem as the arc continues.

Overall, I enjoyed the mature philosophical debate it felt like real Star Trek to me, however in some cases the novice cast of actors is continuing to drag the show down.

Pros.

The morality of the mission

The ending

The new alien race

Mount continues to shine as Pike

Cons.

Gooding

The cliched sub-plot

The humming/ singing

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Strange New Worlds

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Star Trek finally starts being about exploration again.

I thought this first episode was miles better than anything coming out of either Discovery or Piccard however, it was not entirely perfect.

I thought Anson Mount made for a great lead and really sold the character. I enjoyed the cut aways to his character trying to process knowing his own death that was an interesting side plot that I think can be used to great effect over the course of the season. Moreover, I thought Pike’s relationship with Spock, played by Ethan Peck, was a lot of fun the two have great chemistry together.

The adventure of the episode was ultimately fun, even if the speech Pike gives does seem a little too referential to contemporary politics. I dislike how the other Star Trek shows of the newer generation feel the need to force in ideology at every turn they get as it takes me out of the show and forces me back to reality, hopefully this show can avoid that. One would hope this show could be different to the other new shows as it was made to go back to basics and avoid the criticisms and complaints of those shows.

Another thing that I thought was strange and didn’t notice until someone pointed it out to me, but the entire bridge crew bar Spock, Pike and one guy in the back is made up of women. Now on the surface this seems fairly like a non-issue however, it seems like in a quest for representation the show has over done it a little bit as it seems to be quite obvious. It is noticeable how few men there are on the show in general which again seems like it is being done for the purposes of agenda rather than good storytelling. Again hopefully later episodes can fix this.

Overall, a fine first episode lets hope it is only up from here.

Pros.

Mount

Peck

Romijn

Cons.

A creeping sense of identity politics

The speech took me out of the show and brought me back to reality

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