Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"Memento Mori"

3 stars

Air date: 5/26/2022
Written by Davy Perez & Beau DeMayo
Directed by Dan Liu

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

On Starfleet Remembrance Day, the Enterprise comes to the routine aid of a Federation colony only to find it has been attacked, with its inhabitants missing and blood everywhere. After tracking down and rescuing the remaining escaped survivors from a nearby ship, the Enterprise suffers great damage and casualties in an ambush by an unknown enemy vessel. Various clues have La'an convinced the enemy attacking them is the Gorn.

"Memento Mori" is a lean, mean, well-executed battle-siege episode in the vein of TOS's "Balance of Terror" and DS9's "Starship Down," with some Wrath of Khan thrown in for good measure. Because the Gorn never attempt to communicate and simply open fire, the enemy is faceless, mysterious, and implacable. This proves all the more effective for making a tense submarine showdown that's all about tactics, cunning, and figuring out how to out-maneuver an enemy with superior numbers and firepower (there are four ships chasing the Enterprise).

An episode like this lives or dies on its details and ability to sustain tension, and this episode crucially makes the nautical aspects believable and easy to follow, while delivering them with style, atmosphere, solid visual effects — and, of course, creaking sound effects that warn of the ship's descent into the atmosphere's crush depth. (When the first Gorn ship is destroyed, we oddly don't see it blown up, which felt like a strange omission, almost as if the producers were setting the crew up to have wrongly believed they were successful.)

In the midst of this, we have some solid characterization. Pike shows the right balance of world-weariness and optimism in the face of possible disaster. La'an's standoffishness and tendency to never sugarcoat anything is understandable given her personal experience with the Gorn, but Pike gives her a nice reminder about the need to project a note of hope to the crew, in order to allow them to believe they can overcome the long odds and rise to the occasion. Leadership matters.

Hemmer and Uhura have to manage a technical crisis in the cargo bay before it blows up the ship, which reminded me of the similar below-decks crisis involving an undetonated (but very armed) torpedo that Quark and the alien played by James Cromwell had to contend with in "Starship Down." It makes for a good character-building experience between the crusty engineer and the young cadet.

And the solution to overcoming the Gorn partially involves Spock mind-melding with La'an to help her remember key details about her Gorn encounter that she has suppressed — as well as solving for us the mystery of the young man with the evil shit-eating grin she keeps hallucinating; it turns out to be her brother, who sacrificed himself in that previous encounter (which, in retrospect, makes the shit-eating grin a particularly odd, villain-like choice).

There are some minor plot aspects that aren't completely convincing here, like the idea that sickbay would be so completely disabled that the medical staff is reduced to using archaic surgical methods like stitching people up with needles and thread. (Wouldn't handheld instruments still function, even if the surgical bays were offline? Or were they all conveniently blown up? And what about M'Benga's daughter suspended in the transporter buffer? Is she okay during this massive outage?) Defeating a Gorn ship by faking a communication with decoded light patterns is a clever way to advance the plot with trickery when we know brute force won't work, but it seems unlikely the Gorn would be susceptible in quite this way.

But the usual minor nitpicks aside, I enjoyed this a great deal. It gets a lot done with pure technique, even as it goes where numerous Star Trek episodes have gone before. That's the theme of Strange New Worlds season one so far. But considering they're still batting a thousand, I'm not going to complain about roads that have been traveled effectively just because they've been traveled before.

Previous episode: Ghosts of Illyria
Next episode: Spock Amok

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229 comments on this post

Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, May 26, 2022, 2:34am (UTC -6)
A relatively original episode. Relatively. No big sci-fi ideas, sure. And yes, DS9 sort-of did this with the Defiant and the Jem'Hadar in Starship Down. But the DS9 episode had a fairly different "feel" to it. That episode was an homage to submarine movies. This episode was very much a character showcase for La'an. A "character journey" episode, if you will. Not that every single member of the ensemble didn't have a moment to shine--and shine they did.

Boy, Pike sure is calm, isn't he? Isn't that refreshing, after how manic--errr, frantic--the Captain of, say, Discovery would be in his place?

No Star Trek series has had this strong of an idea who its characters were, their traits and their "voices," so soon out of the gate as episode four. God, imagine we were getting 26 episodes a season of this instead of 10. Think about how confident the storytelling would be by the end of the season! (Okay, it probably would just mean we'd end up getting a bunch of clunkers. But still. Ten really isn't enough!)

I liked M'Benga & Chapel having no idea how to do complex low-tech medical surgeries like an abdominal aorta resection. Of course they wouldn't. Why would they? Oh, but apparently Illyrians can take human blood, though. Interesting. Una has clearly customized her genome to be very close to human. More evidence of how she hid it for so long.

Hemmer and Ortegas were the least developed before this episode and we know them a lot better now. I don't know that I follow Hemmer's pacifist logic but it's the kind of doublethink someone who has internalized a culturally significant philosophy would employ to justify doing something he really wanted to do that otherwise doesn't align with it (join Starfleet).

Celia Rose Gooding continues to be absolutely perfect as Uhura.

I like that SNW is doing the Gorn. I think they're going to stay away from the Klingons to avoid courting controversy with fans. They can't do the Romulans for obvious reasons, so the Gorn and Tholians would make excellent recurring enemies for this series.

I appreciated the bodycount in this episode. Very TOS. Space is dangerous. Exploring is dangerous. I've always felt the later Treks were a little too "safe" in this regard. At the same time, it wasn't over-the-top or exploitative like, say, the Kelvin movies.
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, May 26, 2022, 3:58am (UTC -6)
Episode 1 = Pike
Episode 2 = Uhura
Episode 3 = Number One
Episode 4 = La'an

Remaining: Hemmer, M'Benga, Chapel, Ortegas . . . Spock.

Any guesses on who gets the focus in #5?
Thu, May 26, 2022, 4:27am (UTC -6)
Well, that was a compelling episode. There was not too much in the way of morals or messages, but the episode did provide an effective cat-and-mouse/submarine outing, a la 'Balance of Terror' (the scenes with Hemmer and Uhura also brought to mind 'Disaster'). Nothing overly original here, but a highly engaging entry nevertheless. Might just be my favourite so far, better than most any offering from Discovery or Picard.

As a side note, when the little girl informed La'an of the clicking sounds, my mind immediately went to 'Schisms.' Maybe the aliens in that episode and the Gorn are inter-realm cousins. :p
Thu, May 26, 2022, 5:37am (UTC -6)
Personally, my favorite episode so far. It felt like a movie and the pacing and tension was excellent.

Anson Mount is gunning to be my favorite Trek actor--the precision in which he showed heartbreak and then an onrush of relief when he was trying to see if Hemmer and Uhura were still alive in the aftermath... it really hit me.

I also really like Ortegas' character--Melissa Navia continues to charm.

To Jeffrey's point about Ilyrian and Human blood compatibility or genetic recoding, blood plasma is mostly water and protein colloids, and most importantly, clotting factors. We infuse fresh frozen plasma in trauma patients that are bleeding out, and would probably do so with Una in today's medicine.

Getting to my point, in a pinch you can use plasma from a donor with a different blood type, since it's the blood cells themselves that are the targets of antibodies, not the carrier. It's totally plausible that M'Benga devised a way using 23rd Century tech to filter or convert in-line his blood products to something compatible with hers even if her blood physiology was different.

My *only* quibble about the episode is the pressure affecting the lower decks more than the upper decks. Unless the Enterprise is positioned such that the pressure gradient is concentrated on the belly of the starship, which includes the Engineering section and the warp core, pressure issues should actually affect the "outer" layers of the ship across all decks instead--with the inner and deeper sections less affected. Minor quibble.

Ep 5 is supposed to be their "comedy" episode, according to an article on TrekMovie. Something about a body switch between Spock and his fiancee T'Pring. An... interesting way for the show to do its character focus on Spock.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:02am (UTC -6)
That was a good episode, not very cerebral but more of the vis­ce­ral horror type that TOS and early TNG often managed to pull off well — it seems to have drawn in­spi­ra­tion from “Balance of Terror” and “Wrath of Khan” with re­spec­tive to to sub­ma­ri­ne dog­fight style (also “Hunt for Red Octo­ber”), and there is also a bit of “Star­ship Down” and “Sleep­ing Dogs” in the mix.

I enjoyed it mainly for the characters. Pike makes a magni­fi­cent im­pres­sion, and I guess this is as much to Anson Mount as to the writing. La’an is quick­ly becoming a favou­rite for me (I don’t under­stand why so many criti­cized her in the pre­vious epis­odes). I also like Ortegas and I am look­ing for­ward to an epis­ode fea­tur­ing her; this time, at least, we learn her first name is Erica.

It seems this show mostly lives by its characters, and it does so very ef­fi­ci­ent­ly. No other Live Action Trek show has ever had such a strong cast from its very be­gin­ning, and while SW bene­fits from ⅔ of the cast being pre-establi­shed (Pike, Spock, Una, Uhu­ra, Chapel, also M’Benga to some extent), it did a very good job on pre­sen­ting the crew as a team, much better than DIS or PIC ever did or even tried.

The story was not particularly interesting, though. The crew never inter­acted mean­ing­fully with the Gorn (and it could not have been other­wise because of pre­quel), there was nor a moral nor an intel­lec­tual di­lem­ma and every­one was just busy sur­viv­ing. That’s really OK for an oc­ca­sio­nal episode, but it should not be­come the stan­dard for the show. Trek has de­live­red some great sur­vival-the­med epis­odes be­fore, but the best of those ma­nag­ed to weave another theme into the nar­ra­tive, e.g., faith in “Starship Down” or bigotry in “Balance of Terror”.

Also, I found the solution a bit too simple. Really, the Gorn must be pretty dumb to fall for the Gali­leo light show. And where did Spock and Uhura get the vo­ca­­bu­­la­­ry and gram­mar of the Gorn com­­mu­­ni­­ca­­tion sig­nals from? During the mind-meld scene (39:53), we see a table matching signals to English letters like a Morse table. If I tell Uhura ა=a, ბ=b, გ=g, დ=d, ე=e etc, can she then compose a text in the Georgian language? One that will fool a Georgian? I doubt, because it is impossible.

However, I really have to fcus my criticism on the visuals, for they shone in ma­ny dif­fe­rent hues but did not serve the nar­ra­tive. It seems no one in thee writ­ing room knows that a brown dwarf is quite lar­ge, yet all the ships are just a few hun­dred me­ters apart for the most ti­me of the epis­ode. The story wants us to believe that the Gorn could not locate Enter­prise al­though she would have been easi­ly vis­ible by just look­ing out of the win­dow. Ap­pa­rent­ly, the spe­cial ef­fects crew never read the script and just came up with some­thing that looks cool.

Question: We had no warp in this episode, and all but the most basic me­di­cal fa­ci­li­ties were down. What does that imply for M’Benga’s daugh­ter? Re­mem­ber, her sweet abode is powered by a direct line from the warp core.

@Jeffrey's Tube: The title really gives it away: “Spock Amok”
Tim C
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:05am (UTC -6)
"Balance of Terror", "Disaster", "Starship Down", and TWOK all in a blender, and the result is a very tasty blend!

This is the standout episode of the series thus far. I have no nitpicks. I was ready to be annoyed with how casually Spock deployed the mind meld and was thinking the writers had forgotten that it was a two-way street, and was then proven wrong. Way to go, show!

I'm actually starting to be a bit shocked that SNW is turning out so well. There have been none of the growing pains that other Trek shows have demonstrated in their debut seasons. The use of previously established legacy characters certainly helps in that respect, but they are also doing a phenomenal job of fleshing out the newbies as well. And if the plots have felt somewhat derivative thus far, it's hard to blame that on the show when we've got 28 seasons of live-action episodic Star Trek already in the can and we are deeply familiar with them all as long-term fans.

I reckon if you were a young kid watching this with no prior knowledge of the legacy shows, you'd be having the time of your life.

I do still have concerns at how long the show is going to maintain this level of enjoyment without broadening its scope a little bit. Going back to purely episodic is certainly very refreshing after Disco and Picard, but I have a feeling we are going to run into the VOY/early-ENT wall of feeling like a TOS/TNG rehash sooner than we think.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:18am (UTC -6)
@Tim C

You must have faith in the writers. Faith of the heart.
Tim C
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:45am (UTC -6)
@Daniel - what kind of faith though? are we talking a vanilla soft-rock rendition, or a bizarre folk-country remix that doesn't match the new ultra-gritty tone of the show *at all* 😂
Thu, May 26, 2022, 7:14am (UTC -6)
Wow, just wow. I really loved watching this one. Full review to come. Now off to work.

Happy Thursday, my friends :)
Thu, May 26, 2022, 7:39am (UTC -6)
Jeffrey's Tube - "No Star Trek series has had this strong of an idea who its characters were, their traits and their "voices," so soon out of the gate as episode four."

Isn't that because the majority of the main characters were developed long before this show was ever greenlit? The writers here have a big advantage over DSC.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:22am (UTC -6)
Wow. Very strong episode. Pretty amazing.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:39am (UTC -6)
"Isn't that because the majority of the main characters were developed long before this show was ever greenlit? The writers here have a big advantage over DSC. "

I'd say that's true for Pike, Spock, and Una. Uhura, Chapel, and M'Benga are legacy characters but aside from the broad strokes they're very different from what we saw in the original series.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:40am (UTC -6)
Another good, but not quite great episode. There was no real morality tale here, no sudden "twist" which made the cast have a deeper understanding of the Gorn. It's not even about the Gorn really, as they remain totally unseen, not only not existing as characters, but not even existing as props (other than the ships of course).

What the episode is ultimately about - as has been the case throughout the season to date - is character. Oh, there is a plot here - a well-executed mashup of submarine-style cat and mouse (ala Balance of Terror or Starship Down) and seeing the Enterprise in ruins with the various sections of the crew fighting to survive (ala Disaster or Damage). But the various crises really only help us to understand the main cast better.

This is clearly meant as a La'an episode, with it opening and closing with a personal log. The "A plot" as it were has a complete and coherent character arc for her, as she moves from attempting to ignore and suppress her childhood memories of the Gorn attack to coming to the understanding that she must use those memories (via mind meld assist) in order to complete the mission and help save everyone. I have to say that the examination of PTSD here is so much better executed than the attempts that Discovery made. I do think the little voice cameo of Michael Burnham was completely unneeded though, and downgraded things a bit for me. Plus the whole semaphore system of the Gorn made little sense (how could a child remember it that well from decades prior?) but I'm willing to accept it as dramatic shorthand. I did like how La'an wasn't magically fixed at the end of this episode - there's clearly more she isn't remembering.

La'an's journey however is just part of what happens here, as despite it being her character journey, it's more of an ensemble than any of the previous episodes. There's the mini-arc with Hemmer and Uhura, where she starts the episode having to prove her worth to him...which of course she ultimately does. There's the sick bay drama, which eventually leads to Una's surgery. There's the cat-and-mouse on the bridge, which gives Ortagas a chance to finally do something. We're only four episodes in, and I feel I have a good idea who everyone is on this show now, with the possible exception of Chapel.

I also need to say how refreshing it is to have a modern Trek show where everyone professionals. Too much of DIS and PIC (particularly in the season that just ended) involves grown adults with high-stakes jobs acting like adolescents in the middle of a major crisis, focusing on their own emotional turmoil rather than their freaking jobs. La'an is put through the wringer here, and aside from a few moments where she freezes, she keeps it under control. Pike is a rock-solid captain (his pep talk in the third act was genuinely inspiring). Finally, it's also refreshing that almost every member of the main cast (arguably not Una, since she was unconscious for much of the climax) had a valuable role to play in solving the crisis, meaning you cannot point to one action which comprehensively "saved the day." This was some pretty complex plotting, and I'm impressed, even if it's not the most original story imaginable.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:05am (UTC -6)
@Karl Zimmermann

Your last paragraph really brings it to a point: For the first time in New Trek, I get that this is a ship full of com­pe­tent people who can stand their ground in an ad­ver­se si­tu­a­ti­on. DIS mostly failed in this re­spect, PIC didn’t even try too hard, PRO makes a point that this is the goal but has not yet reached it, and LD is a co­me­dy and there­fore shows com­pe­ten­cy only oc­ca­sio­nal­ly. Pike’s Enter­prise is thee only ship where I’d feel safe as a pas­sen­ger or as an employee.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:37am (UTC -6)
@Galadriel, do you speak Burmese? I noticed that the characters you used were Burmese (but the English alphabet letters didn't match up to the Burmese characters).
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:58am (UTC -6)
John, with Uhura you have both TOS and the Kelvin timeline. Uhura's linguists, language and translation abilities were certainly fleshed out in the Kelvin iteration. As was her "rapport" with Spock. And it's a well established criticism that TOS underutilized Uhura, due in part to the fears of the network that too much screen time and focus on Uhura might sour some audiences. It was the 60s after all. So, SNW flips the script and says, "here's the Uhura that we would have seen in TOS had the network and Roddenberry been willing take a bigger risk." The point is Uhura's current path is just a fulfillment of that character.

Bottom line -- SNW is borrowing much more heavily from an established character than just some broad strokes.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 10:06am (UTC -6)
Does anyone else prefer it when La'an is the first officer. I think she and Spock really play well against each other constantly providing Pike with alternate perspectives. The bridge scenes feel much more dynamic for me. Nothing against Una but I guess she is just a bit similar in nature to Captain Pike and thus we have less clashes.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:09am (UTC -6)
@Dom: No, these are Georgian letters: Be­cause of their round shape, they do appear similar to Bur­me­se (or Malayāḷaṃ) script, which is, how­ever, an abu­gi­da and thus much more com­pli­cat­ed. The Geor­gian Mḫedruli let­ters are easy, as each letter codes for ex­act­ly one sound, and the script treats vo­wels and con­so­nants the sa­me, just like the Latin alpha­bet. Geor­gian has a horribly com­pli­cat­ed gram­mar and a couple of weird ejective sounds, but the script is really easy.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:11am (UTC -6)
What a great show this is turning out to be.
Anson Mount is wonderful as Pike - this feels like real Trek.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:13am (UTC -6)

"If I tell Uhura ა=a, ბ=b, გ=g, დ=d, ე=e etc, can she then compose a text in the Georgian language? One that will fool a Georgian? I doubt, because it is impossible."

Agreed....would take at least 5 years of constant study. At the very least!

Mkhedruli script (Georgian) ...nice to see! Thanks :)
Species 10-Forward
Thu, May 26, 2022, 12:13pm (UTC -6)
Very entertaining episode, felt like the best constructed of the bunch so far. It was meaningful without veering into the overscored, saccharine tendencies of NuTrek. The actors are capable of carrying the weight themselves, especially Anson Mount and Christina Chong, who continues to delight as the Frau Farbissina of the show.

With Uhura, it’s hard for me to buy the danger situations because… she’s Uhura. But Pike sold his relentlessness as something that made me feel like he could be pushing the Enterprise too far, even if I also know the ship will make it.

They’re still finding their balance as a show, but if they can use the sometimes lumbering canon groundwork (every time I hear Lt. Noonien-Singh lol…) to slingshot toward some really well written adventures, we’ll finally have ourselves a Trek for this age.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Gripping stuff, a cross between TNG's Disaster and DS9's Starship Down with a wholy original SNW twist. The show looks and feels lush, gorgeous and fully realized... And we're only on episode 5.

Some minor observations:

- Number One sure gets it a lot, doesn't she? We're 5 episodes in and she already got kidnapped, semi-possessed and now she's fatally injured.

- Lieutenant Ortegas' constant quips and comebacks are like the cilantro of Strange New Worlds. A little goes a long way.

- The Gorn are expanding their hunting grounds, which indicates they'll be back. But will they remain the unseen enemy or is there some way to have a Gorn encounter before TOS' Arena?

- Will Pike's predetermined future fate hurt the show? You can't really do crisis of the week when it's been established he has another 10 years before the incident that puts him in the chair. He knows it too. One wonders if that has an impact on the man during emergencies? "Yes, things look bad. But hey, I've seen the future. I know I'll live through this."
nacho Picard
Thu, May 26, 2022, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
A little bit TOS' Balance of Terror, a little bit DS9's Starship Down (also TNG's Disaster)

It had a lot to juggle (three plots plus a character-focus on Na'an) but it's all well-edited and paced. Overall it's a straightforward, simple, but effectively done episode. Good balance of tension and drama. Great soundtrack too.

I didn't care for the Gorn ship design, though. I would have preferrred something a bit more retro-looking to match the Enterprise.

Love the Pike Maneuver for the win. Great ending. There were three plots: The overall "how to outsmart and escape the Gorn" story, the "Uhura and Hemmer in a tight spot" story, and the "Una injured in sickbay" story. All are given the right amount of screentime and each have a satisfying payoff.

Just a really, good, well-made little hour of Star Trek. I'm very entertained.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
La'an just became my new favorite character. I really do like how everyone keeps their cool and there's an atmosphere of professionalism and discipline. So very unlike anything on Discovery. Good stuff, 4 wins in a row.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
I'm going to go against the grain here and say that as a pretty big fan of every SNW episode until now, I had massive problems with this one. As an homage to Balance of Terror and Starship Down, there were large parts of the plotting that felt obviously clunky, like of all things an air filter being made up of of thin air to provide a countdown contrivance, or the really inaccurate science around the singularity (redshift isn't an "optical illusion", it's literally just how light works). There was a clear attempt to do a "smart" action plot like Wrath of Khan, but they were just in full on pulling things out of their ass mode and the characters had to be tremendously dumbed down as a result.

More to the point though, I kinda hate the theme of this episode? "Some things in the universe are just plain evil" is an okay idea in isolation but it goes against everything that Trek stands for. Even when media embraces that theme, like in Doctor Who's "Flatline," it's an idea that's taken seriously and built up to after the characters do everything to challenge that notion until it's exhausted. Here, we've just got La'an reinforcing her hatred of Gorn to the rest of the crew over and over while they're used as cheap horror fodder to prove everything she's saying is right. And don't get me started on the fact that *this is explicitly proven wrong in Arena.* The way the writing frames this doesn't posit it as "she's clouded by her biases" either, it once again just uses it as a pretext for childhood trauma as a tool to flesh out character. It's irresponsible writing, and it directly contradicts "Arena," a story about breakdown of communication and the consequences of colonialism. It's as if Balance of Terror didn't ever show the Romulans on the other side of the glass and just replaced it with more scenes of the characters discussing how the Romulans eat babies for fun.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -6)

The question of Pike’s predetermined fate seems to have eluded the writers back in DIS S2. Re­mem­ber the in­fa­mous scene where Adm. Corn­­well goes down with a tor­pe­do while the tem­po­ra­ri­ly im­mor­tal Pike watches her through a win­dow? My head still hurts from a head⇒table “Galadriel maneuver” back then.

But by now the writers seem to have realized that Pike can and will use his status of ‘cur­rent­ly unkill­able’. Last epis­ode he spent with Spock in the base­ment, be­cause this would protect Spock, as no­thing ab­so­lute­ly lethal can hap­pen in Pike’s pre­sence (little did he know that the real danger was on the ship). In this epis­ode he took an apparent risk, but he knew per­fect­ly well that he would sur­vive and that the ship there­fore couldn’t im­plo­de. At least that’s how I read his speech (46:47): “And I be­lie­ve to­day will not be our last mis­sion, but our fi­nest hour”. Yes, he knew that for sure, at least the first part.

Now you could argue that this makes him a kind of cheater. But that is not fully correct, as the magical time-crystal protection ex­tends only to his person, not to anyone around. But he can make use of that by putting him­self into the center of danger, or choos­ing si­tu­a­ti­ons in which it is clear that either everyone sur­vives, or none (which won’t happen). In short, he can use stra­te­gies like, say, a TV show star that has a contract for one more sea­son in his pocket.

With competent writers, that could become interesting, in par­ti­cu­lar if it back­fires oc­ca­si­o­nal­ly because of some small over­sight. I hope that the writing team pre­pares some­thing along those lines. Maybe he now just tries how far his unnatural luck can be stretched, and after some time he will grow con­fi­dent with it, and in the sea­son finale he will learn that the time crys­tals have a weird sense of irony and don’t like being messed with.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Though I am a huge fan of the episodic nature of this show, It’s going to be strange to see the battered and heavily damaged Enterprise good as new next episode. Hopefully they acknowledge it in *some* way.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:32pm (UTC -6)

Next week is (reportedly) a "shore leave" style comedic episode focusing on Spock, so they have time to repair the ship.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:35pm (UTC -6)

What you say is true, but exactly that might be the theme of the sea­son. The Gorn will return for certain (there was a trailer with a small Gorn baby), and I ex­pect that this epis­ode stated La’an’s point of view on the matter (force­fully and elo­quent­ly, but taint­ed by her trauma), only to prove her wrong some­where down the sea­­son (yeah, Gorn are people, too). They sure wouldn’t aban­don and per­vert the hu­ma­nism of an iconic TOS epis­ode, would they?

(Please tell me you are sure)
Thu, May 26, 2022, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
season 1 episode 4

Memento Mori

“What was your purpose?”

“To fix what is broken.”

- Uhura and Hemmer, an Engineer’s Creed

* * * 1/2 (out of 4)

If someone asked me what Star Trek was about, until today I would have said the future. But the future, my friends, has finally arrived.

If someone had asked me what single episode they should watch to decide if they will like Star Trek or not, until today I would have said TNG’s "Peak Performance”. But now I can say "Memento Mori”. And that really is saying something.

As @Tim C muses, it must be awesome watching this even if you have no background knowledge of Trek.

@AMA is spot on when he says this episode is a cross of TOS’ “Balance of Terror” and a much better version of TNG’s “Disaster” (which has been a favorite of mine since it first aired). And I agree with @Galadriel that there’s a touch of "Wrath of Khan" thrown in there for good measure.

@Daniel hits of the nail on its head - if Pike can keep this up, he’ll be up there with Kirk and Picard and one of the best Captains we’ve ever seen. His chat with La’an on leadership is classic. Later they have very good eye contact on the bridge.

The episode is a straightforward Hunt for Red October submarine story and a great excuse to see what our folks can do under pressure (pun intended). The visuals on screen actually remind me of Andromeda’s “D Minus Zero.”

Well, by god, our crew can perform. Even Ortegas.

Early in the episode, once La’an announces that this is the Gorn, Ortegas, the pilot, grows more and more sarcastic (“giant gas cloud of death, why not”). Then there is a scene late in the episode where Pike tells the crew that the Enterprise will hold. That isn’t enough for Ortegas. But La’an - as acting First Officer - steps up and backs up the Captain, “she’ll hold. We’ve got this." And just like that, Ortegas’ snarky comments come to a close. They were, after all, merely an unprofessional outlet for her very natural anxieties. The Universe is indifferent to whether you live or die. You can either face that with sarcasm, or with determination.

This episode shows a young crew slowly becoming professionals. We aren’t born that way. It is something we work towards our entire lives. Yes, TNG starts off on day 1 with a ship full of professionals. But SNW shows us getting from here to there. It’s a long road. It is good to remember where we came from.

Knowing where we came from is the theme of the hour. The episode takes place on the Federation version of Memorial Day. Everyone has a past, and they are encouraged to spend one day remembering that past by wearing a pin of a previous ship they served on.

[As a side note, I went to the premier of Top Gun on Tuesday, and they gave us all Maverick pins. Super fun movie, by the way!]

La’an’s past is probably one of the most gruesome.

In a way SNW treats the Gorn like Firefly treated the Reavers. They are terrifying, but they scare us most not because of what we see them do, but because of the stories others tell about them. In Firefly’s “Bushwhacked” we never see the Reavers, only a lone survivor of a Reaver raid. In "Memento Mori” we never see the Gorn. La’an is the lone survivor of their raid on her old ship, the U.S.S. Puget Sound. A ship whose pin she cannot bring herself to wear. Maybe it pricks to deep?

On the theme of growing, as @Jeffrey's Tube says, Uhura is gem. She’s paired this hour with Engineer Hemmer. They have scenes similar to Geordi and Beverly’s in Disaster, but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), SNW does an amazingly better job than TNG! I loved every minute of the two of them, whereas Geordi and Beverly largely felt forced.

Hemmer has an unusual philosophy of life. That puts him a rarified set of aliens who bring their uniqueness with them to the job. We saw that with Worf and Spock, but far less so with Voyager (until 7) or Enterprise (with all due respect to Plox). This is the kind of diversity - IDIC - where Star Trek shines.

Number One has a smaller role here, but important nonetheless. Early on she has a brief confrontation with La’an. She’s concerned the Memorial nature of the day might trigger some dark corners of her past. And La’an lashes out, that she’s not broken, and doesn’t need to be fixed. But of course she is hurting. And she does need to heal. I never would have guessed that that healing would come from Spock.

Shuttle Galileo makes a cameo, proving that SNW is no Voyager (or Prodigy for that matter). Shuttle craft have a lifespan on this ship!

There are lots of little touches that make this episode a joy to watch. A few,

- The skirts. When Number One and La’an head off the bridge, the shots of them in their skirts is a treat
- Pike walks over to Spock when we learn the satellite is destroyed. A nice long beat. They take their time filming as he walks over.
- The SFX. The Big Fucking Gorn ship looks very cool. Oh, and the black hole reminds me of Interstellar and The Expanse.
- As @AMA says, the little girl clicking. Creepy. Just then the mood of the background music changes to deep brass - I want to say French Horns. And then light strings. Love it.
- Chapel is a great physical actress. Though she doesn’t have a lot to do, she does it well.
- An unknown crewman gives his life to save the Transporter Chief. That’s gonna haunt him.
- The hybrid staff meeting, with Hemmer and the Doc joining by Zoom was so post-pandemic. Star Trek has never felt more real.

Funny story, the subscription we have includes ads. At one point there was a GIECO ad and the lizard mascot does a slow eye-contact with the viewer. And all I could think was: the Gorn are coming!

The closing music during La’an’s log is wonderful. Reminds me of the opening of First Contact. French Horns FTW.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 2:26pm (UTC -6)
Great Episode. Indeed it felt like a movie.
I kept thinking that the fact that Pike could take risks because he knows he unkillable for ten years seems like a metaphor for the fact that the audience knows that most characters and the ship make it to the Kirk era. What will happen to the rest though?
James Smith
Thu, May 26, 2022, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
The Good:
Anson Mount.
Actually, nearly all of the cast.
VFX team doin' their thang.
The Gorn communication method (light bursts Morse-ing out a code) was a neat touch.

The Bad:
I'm pretty sure the Gorn weren't known even this well to the Federation in TOS' "Arena".
This 'remembrance day' thing seems more suited to the Starfleet of the TNG era than the one of the 23rd century.
We already did the whole 'submarine warfare IN SPAAAAAAAAACCEEE' deal rather better in TOS' "Balance of Terror", DS9's "Starship Down" and TWoK.
If "everything" is offline in sickbay, how is M'Benga's daughter okay in her Magic Transporter Beam Of Preserving™? Or did they forget about her between last week and now?
Did we also forget that flying a ship around a strong gravity source is a quick way to travel back in time?
Not for the first time in Trek we see our ship taking faintly catastrophic damage (indeed, the structure of whole decks getting wrecked) that will doubtless be all repaired by next week. Hell, the corridor we see at the very end of the episode already looks pretty much immaculate.

The Kurtzman:
La'an Noonien-Singh 🙄
Once again we have an enemy vessel far larger than the Enterprise. In TOS you could have a dinky little Romulan Bird of Prey-type ship using an outmoded power source be a compelling threat. Now it seems the showrunners need the enemy to have overwhelming strength in order to achieve the same.
The episode coming to a shuddering halt in the mind meld sequence so we can wang on about Spock losing Burnham. Mercifully brief, and yet still somehow *wildly* irritating.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
Galadriel, you weren't an AF JAG by any chance?
Thu, May 26, 2022, 3:44pm (UTC -6)

I had to look up that abbreviation. No, wrong continent (but still the same planet).
Thu, May 26, 2022, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
The first SNW episode I can't muster 3 stars for.

Rather middling overall, and the Gorn could have easily been any other aliens instead. It's the Gorn just because Gorn.

The Noonien-Singh character is already starting to annoy.

Couple of things others mentioned, shouldn't everything being offline in sickbay mean that the doctors kid is a goner? And Una being incapacitated in some way is almost a drinking game already.

And then there's the increasing DSC linkage. In the only universe that matters, Spock has never heard of Michael Burnham, and Romulus still exists.

I'll go 2.5 stars, but we're on a downward vector now for two weeks running. I'm starting to get whiffs of Picard...
Thu, May 26, 2022, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
This is Star Trek.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Awesome, just awesome. SNW has an amazing cast of (gasp) LIKABLE characters that (double gasp) WORK TOGETHER. Imagine if this were the first of the Nu Trek shows? I guess better later than never!

Lower Decks and now SNW make up for the terrible travesty of Picard and Discovery.

I look forward to seeing the team tackle a comedy episode next week. How this show was made by the same people as Picard is anyone’s guess.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
I will say, I do still like the characters a lot - probably the best character work a nuTrek show's ever done, and a lot of the writing has the same intentionality and focus as previous episodes, which is a good thing. It's the plotting and the morals that I can't get behind here. Looking forward to the comedy episode next time though - genuinely.
Latex Zebra
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
You can quibble and nitpick if you want but this is good TV. Four episodes in and all decent. OK, maybe nothing that is a 4 star classic but this is fun to watch and every episode makes me want to know more. We're gonna hit a bump in the road at some point. I genuinely believe that by the end of this that there will be a consistent run of good episodic Star Trek that actually feels like Star Trek.
And if it is comedy next... When done well. Trek can deliver. I am optomistic.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 6:58pm (UTC -6)
"It's irresponsible writing, and it directly contradicts "Arena," a story about breakdown of communication and the consequences of colonialism."

It doesn't really contradict Arena, the colony massacre and subsequent attack on the Starfleet responders here is near-identical to the one in Arena. They massacre civilian settlements, use the scant few survivors to lure in rescue ships, and then ambush and begin executing the rescuers, same as they later did on Cestus III.

We're meant to watch this with the knowledge of what eventually happens in Arena, I think. We know that La'an is wrong that communication with the Gorn is impossible, but we can still sympathise with her revulsion at their monstrous actions (which, again, are near-identical to their actions in Arena). As a standalone episode, this is a great tense thriller but lacks a moral, but as part of wider Star Trek continuity, the moral has already been made by Arena, which offers us the ultimate conclusion to the Gorn arc.

You could argue that this episode doesn't really add anything to Arena's message, but I'd argue that it doesn't really take anything away from it either. We get almost no new info about the Gorn, other than the continuity-stretching idea that they've been doing this for several decades prior to the raid on Cestus III.
Dahj's Digital Ghost
Thu, May 26, 2022, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode, even if I did think dealing with Gorn before Arena breaks canon, especially considering that Arena will be the second time the Enterprise itself responds to an attack on a colony by a Gorn warship, and Spock will already have firsthand knowledge of them, their motives, and their tactics.

The Gorn have only been mentioned once before, when that Orion captain offered Jonathan Archer an alcoholic beverage made in Gorn space, refers to their state as the Gorn Hegemony, and says, "and the less said of them, the better."

Spock's response to the Gorn attack on Cestus III indicates no prior actual knowledge of them. The throwaway line in ENT basically makes it known to the Federation that the Orion know of a species known as Gorn, nothing more substantial than that.

I've never seen the Gorns as an outright antagonist, much less an evil one, more just a small interstellar state that, like the Tholians, doesn't want to get involved in galactic drama.

Though the story was tight, and I really appreciate that, I'd say, three stars, barely.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
SNW's 'Balance of Terror', 'TWoK', 'YOH'...
Quite impressive.
Real tension and drama...
The Gorn are a more than formidable foe...
... that we never see...
Some "real" science is thrown in there...
Nice pairing of Hemmer and Uhura...
Very enjoyable.
Canon is respected...

Only a couple of minor quibbles...but I don't feel like mentioning them right now.

Four for four baby!!
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
Another solid episode! What a great start for this new series... I absolutely love La'an! She has to be the most interesting Star Trek character since Data. She's very single-minded, yet wonderfully complex underneath. And I like that Christina Chong isn't pushing this character too far, as she always pulls it back just bit right when you think she's about to go over the edge... I saw some of the comments here expressing concern over whether or not the showrunners are breaking canon when it comes to the Gorn. While I wouldn't want them to outright break canon for the sake of pushing storylines, I don't mind them bending it just a bit so long as the stories are entertaining and keep me engaged, like this one did... 3.5 stars!
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
@Descent... Read your comment after I had posted mine. You are spot on!!!
Thu, May 26, 2022, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
Descent - "We're meant to watch this with the knowledge of what eventually happens in Arena, I think."

If that's the case, this show is made for the hard core Trekkies. It's Kurtzman's effort to placate those who actually know Trek and what it's supposed to look like. I'm curious to see where the ratings for this show stack against the other, nu-Trek dreck.
Gorn with the Wind
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Oh no, I couldn’t perfectly hear what La’an was saying this episode. She must be a bad actress.

In all seriousness, perhaps the best episode of the series thus far. A strong 3.5 for a mixture of character development, finely tuned suspense, and actual fun sci fi concepts that tied into the plot.

Feeling extremely good about this show, and not just because it’s less of an interstellar shit show than PIC and DSC. It stands on its own merits.
David Staum
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
"No, Gorn, no! That's where I sit!"
Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
NO! Wasn't anyone else disappointed there weren't NO STRSNGE NEW WORLDS AND NO NEW ALIEN LIFE FORMS OR ANOMALIES HERE..I guess the idea fl a gas cloud dispersing around a black hole and a brown dwarf is pretty original and creative right..?? Butbehy no new aliens..and how do we KNKW it was the Gorn?? I was hoping for a TWIST at the end where we learn it was NOT the Gorn...too bad..
Thu, May 26, 2022, 10:24pm (UTC -6)
This is a classic Trek story that is well told though probably the least original of SNW's 1st 4 episodes. (I don't think lack of originality has been a problem for SNW, by the way.) It's a La'an episode that gets at her backstory (which we always knew was coming at some point). To me it's most like "Balance of Terror" or "The Wrath of Khan" -- basically a starship battle with some heroic acts by individual crewmembers against an unseen and fearsome foe. Just like I thought Romijn/Una was terrific in last week's episode, I think Chong/La'an was equally good here. I really like the La'an character as a very strong, no-nonsense person but one who is professional, albeit a bit extreme. SNW is really developing some solid characters who are all different in their own particular ways.

I also think the episode respects canon well in that in "Arena" is the first time Star Fleet sees a Gorn. And how the Gorn acted here jives with what they did on Cestus III -- basically eradicate a human colony and be deceitful about it.

Plenty of the classic tropes -- Uhura earns Hemmer's respect as she comes through during a rotation through engineering; Una gives the last bit of plasma to another patient while M'Benga/Chapel do medical heroics on her; Pike's slingshot effect (with a black hole) and his speech about "challenges of the unknown", "finest hour"; and of course, La'an confronts ugly memories of her escape from the Gorn and uses it to the Enterprise's advantage. Pike also offers La'an some pointers on engendering hope as our "lesson of the week".

Also liked the aspect of Star Fleet remembrance day, remembering those who paid the ultimate price and the episode wrapping up with 7 dead crew and La'an's log about how they gave their lives. Nice touch with her putting on the Puget Sound badge in the end.

It's a classic story that's been updated and it looked quite real -- you could see the sweat on the characters. Most of the characters were on point but Ortegas continues to bug me with her vernacular and Uhura and Chapel also throw in some lines that are too grating to me, jarring in their colloquial nature.

3.5 stars just barely for "Memento Mori" -- SNW puts its spin on a classic tale that's been done before Trek ("The Enemy Below") and one that has a lot of good plot mechanics, though maybe a bit short on being thought-provoking. Still, I think this was the best of the 1st 4 SNW episodes and I enjoyed it a fair bit.
Dahj's Digital Ghost
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:10pm (UTC -6)
Speaking of Tholians, when I first saw the trailers for this series, I thought that the ship that turned out to be the Gorn destroyer, was a Tholian ship, what with its three sides, and the way it spun around its z-axis. And interesting design. Can't say I was impressed by the Gorn battleship, though. It was just an amorphous blob of death (and, unfortunately, we never got to see it fire off a salvo of whatever nasty weapons its might have been carrying).

The Gorns were, and even felt, formidable in Arena. The dialogue on the bridge of the Enterprise made it clear just how power their ship was; the cruiser was every bit as powerful as the Enterprise, matching its speed in its escape, and well-armed. "Like phasers, only worse," right?

The rubber Gorn suit was fine, for the era, but the crystalline-looking eyes were the most distinctive feature, making the Gorn look truly alien. It was a mistake, in my opinion, to make them look like dinosaurs in the ENT mirror-universe two-parter.
Ensign Deathbound
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
A solid three out of four shots of Tranya for me.

Anson Mount continues to shine. A brilliant Starship tactician, who can also inspire the crew -- as the Captain in the chair, or on-on-one with the crew. Can't shake the feeling that we really lucked out -- SNW was green-lit (in part) due to fan reaction of Pike's appearance in Disco S02. Every second we see him on screen in SNW only validates this decision.

I'm a little miffed at how much Gorn background we are getting. We're borderline messing with established canon here. I get that introducing bad guys in Star Trek is dicey -- look at how the Ferengi in TNG were originally meant as main antagonists, but then evolved into joke-antagonists. Going with an established "enemy" may be economical, but the Gorn seem to be fast becoming the Borg of SNW, which is a touch nonsensical when you watch TOS' "Arena."

Also -- it's one thing for Kirk to hold back on killing the Gorn when he thinks the attack on Cestus III was a misunderstanding/territorial dispute, but when it turns out the Gorn are a species known for relentlessly hunting down humans, and taking whoever survives their brutal attacks to breeding planets, as food for their hatchlings, it's maybe a bit less... understandable? No so sure a SNW Gorn would have offered to be "merciful and quick" to a species they consider nothing more than hatchling meat.

On a more positive note: the "one character featured by episode" shtick might seem a bit obvious, it's a departure from shows like Disco, where I couldn't name most of the bridge crew three seasons in, much less tell you anything about their character. While several of the SNW characters do come with background that is inherited from previous iterations of Trek -- some of it spun or retconned a touch, granted -- we are getting to know everyone well. It's refreshing.
Greg M
Thu, May 26, 2022, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound

"On a more positive note: the "one character featured by episode" shtick might seem a bit obvious, it's a departure from shows like Disco, where I couldn't name most of the bridge crew three seasons in, much less tell you anything about their character. While several of the SNW characters do come with background that is inherited from previous iterations of Trek -- some of it spun or retconned a touch, granted -- we are getting to know everyone well. It's refreshing."

TNG did that all the time. It was one of the things I liked about TNG, was the character episodes and the variety.

I loved this episode a lot. It reminded me both of DS9's Starship Down and Apollo 13. I really like this cast chemistry and the visual effects going around the Black Hole were great too. After feeling discouraged about Picard season 2, this series really is refreshing.
ned the hyena
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:18am (UTC -6)
Explosions! Ship battles! Such intense! But it all happen so fast for this slow yena and could not follow very well. But maybe there not much to seem a lot like the other battles to me. Overall unhappy episode with lack of good food.

Finibus colonists must be very unlucky. They about to run out of air in weeks unless Pike brings new A/C in time, but then Gorn attacks. But even if Gorn leave them alone and they get A/C, would they not still die since that black hole so close to them? Maybe black holes be difficult to see but I don't know how the colonists missed it if it been eating all the other planets in the system.

Uhura for the win! She good at proving to the men how she more capable she is when they get crippled by things. Is she really training to be engineer? I wonder what went wrong.... maybe Scotty happened and he really good at dodging random debris and not getting hurt cuz he can see those things coming unlike Hemmer. "Sorry Uhura, but we all good now!"

Can Hemmer read the letters on those consoles with his antannae. If not, then how he do his job. If so, then is it really fair to say he "blind"?

Pike says Camina needs to smile and be more cheerful. No more doom and gloom. I agree. She be much prettier that way.

Good reminder that Burnham also exists and is important cuz I forgo

How did Pike know that Enterprise not as squishy as Gorn ships if he not know anything about them?

Does Starfleet have a "I will not fight for Starfleet" waver form you can sign when you join Starfleet? What if Hemmer asked to repair weapons, build a SUPER TORPEDO or divert power to make them more deadly? Those are orders he can refuse cuz he sign PACIFIST waver?

When did Bridge Crew taken on Lt. Shia LeBeouf? Thought it was all hot females aside from Pike and Spock!

Well now Camina just looks like a psuedopenis for not wearing the remembrance day pin after all her friends die, so of course she got to put it on at the end or take walk of shame...

Aw, they teas us with Gorn and we dont' get to see any Gorn. Am I the only one who missed their BEEFY GREEN BODIES??

Whoop! Whoop! Whoo-!
(2 and ⅔ whoops out of 4. Withholding ⅓ whoop until we see Gorn ok?)

ohh and can someone please tell M'Benga that his daughter went poof
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:19am (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound
"Also -- it's one thing for Kirk to hold back on killing the Gorn when he thinks the attack on Cestus III was a misunderstanding/territorial dispute, but when it turns out the Gorn are a species known for relentlessly hunting down humans, and taking whoever survives their brutal attacks to breeding planets, as food for their hatchlings, it's maybe a bit less... understandable? No so sure a SNW Gorn would have offered to be "merciful and quick" to a species they consider nothing more than hatchling meat."

The Gorn's justification for Cestus III - that they reckoned it was in "their" space, and that they should therefore butcher everyone in the worst way possible without even making an attempt at communication - was always weak.

I know Kirk says "maybe you thought you were defending yourself", but IMO his ultimate decision to spare the Gorn captain wasn't reliant on the ultra-flimsy, unacceptable justification they gave for the attack on Cestus III, but rather just a result of Kirk's tendency towards pacifism and non-violence in general that he shows throughout the series. The Gorn captain was crippled and defenceless, Kirk just isn't the kind of person who would have been able to drive the makeshift dagger into his throat under any circumstances at that point. It's also pointless to kill the captain - it won't bring the victims of the Cestus III massacre back, and it won't stop Gorn attacks (if anything, it'd surely encourage more).

On a side note, it's interesting that everyone (including me) takes the end of Arena to mean that diplomacy with the Gorn bears fruit. There's no actual suggestion of that in the episode itself - Kirk hopes that dialogue may be opened, but the last we see of the Gorn captain is the Metron saying that he would never have spared Kirk if the roles were reversed. Unless one of the 90s shows expands on it, i don't think we ever get any indication at all of whether or not Kirk's hopes of peaceful relations became a reality, or if the Gorn just kept on "defending" their borders by brutalising and torturing anyone who happened to stray into them.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -6)
I think with respect to the "unkillable Pike" conundrum, I think if you're Pike, you have do an incredibly strong vision and premonition about your future and demise. However, I'd wager that there's at least some voice in the back of his mind that keeps saying, "maybe not?".

I think the vision makes Pike a willing but reluctant participant into his future in the beeping chair--if he deviates, if he dies, if he retires from Starfleet to just ride horses on his ranch as a bearded mountain man, then he knows those trainees (kids' bios he looked up at the end of the pilot ep) will die. Being the man we know he is, being the standout Starfleet officer he is, he can't let that happen.

All this means that not everything leading up to the training accident can be taken for granted. If he treats the Enterprise haphazardly and destroys it because he took one too many risks, then he dies, and the cadets die. As a leader, he is probably of the mind that the needs of the several (the cadets) outweighs the need of the one (himself). From a multiverse perspective (one that doesn't have an authority stamping out variants) there are probably countless alternate branch realities where Pike doesn't fulfill his destiny for whatever reason.

This sets up a really interesting dynamic for Pike, and a really juicy way to write the character and the stories. Pike not only has to accept his fate, but do everything he can to make sure it happens. If that single fragile strand is broken, it's all over. He is not invincible.

My two cents.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:59am (UTC -6)
Another excellent episode! This felt high-stakes enough that it could have been the finale, so I'm thrilled that it's only the 4th episode and that I have no idea what's going to happen for the rest of the season.

I'm pleasantly surprised that they're already playing their cards and having the Gorn show up this soon... AND that they had the restraint to keep them unseen for the entire episode... AND that they managed to make them such an ominous, intimidating foe, when we still remember the guy in a rubber lizard suit fighting Kirk in broad daylight. ;D

The episode itself was another solid, emotional, character-focused riff on classic Trek tropes (that seems to be SNW's modus operandi every week so far). Specifically the TNG "Distaster" set-up of characters stuck in various locations dealing with dangers & system failures during a ship-wide emegency... and also a classic submarine-style cat-&-mouse space battle in the tradition of "Balance of Terror" and Wrath of Khan.

They even got some emotional weight out of Spock's memories of Michael (a reference that felt more effective than almost anything on the show it was referencing)!

The overall episode was so solidly executed that I'll overlook the improbability of the brown dwarf collapsing into the black hole at the exact time Enterprise happens to be in the neighbourhood (considering that kind of astronomical phenomenon would presumably take millions of years).

Very impressed at the week-to-week quality so far; every episode has told a complete, satisfying story. Can't wait to see where it goes next!
Fri, May 27, 2022, 5:06am (UTC -6)
Call me a stickler for detail, but I'm afraid that canon was violated.

Arena establishes that Cestus III is out on the edge and that little or nothing is known of the section of space bordering it.

Kirk: "I'm engaged in personal combat with a creature apparently called a Gorn."

Use of the word "apparently" implies that Kirk had never heard of the Gorn. He learns it from the Metrons, who were also completely unknown up to that time.

On Cestus III, Spock, the brilliant science officer of the Enterprise, takes a reading and utters the ominous words "not warm blooded." Full line: "Not survivors. Not warm-blooded. Living creatures, but not human. "
If Spock had experienced the events of Momento Mori years earlier in Pike's time, he would have conjectured that these unseen cold-blooded enemies confronting Kirk and himself at this later time could be the Gorn. He can't do this in Arena because he too had never heard of them yet.

It's a glaring retcon. But why should that matter? We can always just chalk it up to the multiverse.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 6:45am (UTC -6)
Wow 4 out of 4 good episodes for me. None of them have blown me away but they are still in the 3 star area.

They always have the odd jarring moments (Uhuru being an annoying cocky idiot seemed out of character. Discount Drummer seems far to traumatised to actually be in Star Fleet and Otegas is just dire the way to makes a stupid comment about everything using 2022 language).

Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed the episode.

Anson mount is killing it and Peck is getting better and better.

What amazing how much we know about all the characters already compared to the dross that was Discovery.

I honestly am in shock that they've managed to produce for decent quality episodes in a row.

Oh and please don't have and more Michael Burnham reference. PLEASE. Lets just pretend the whole Spock's sister thing never happened.

2.5 stars from me.. leaning towards 3.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 6:48am (UTC -6)
Oh one point I forgot which important to me anyway.

There were a few more "sir's" present in this episode finally. I don't really like how often Pike's orders are questioned but it's improving a little in that area.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 7:08am (UTC -6)
Loved it. This is Star Trek. Yes we could nitpick on a few minor things but overall, this is what I want to see in a Star Trek series. A crew working together to resolve a serious problem, rather than one superstar that fixes everything. Episodes focussing on other crew members rather than just the same person each week. Intriguing science fiction stories told in a traditional Star Trek manner, as opposed to the utter garbage we saw in Picard on 21st century earth, with our heroes escaping from immigration officials and ridiculous car chase scenes.
SNW isn't perfect but it's a damned sight better than the crap we've had to put up with from Kurtzman so far.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 7:25am (UTC -6)
"The Universe is indifferent to whether you live or die. You can either face that with sarcasm, or with determination."

No room for sarcastic determination? I mean, you can still get the mission done AND be a smartass about it. Ask anyone who ever served in the military ...
Fri, May 27, 2022, 7:30am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode a lot. Full on submarine warfare tactics, minimal story and plot. An entire series like this would be dull, but the simplicity in this episode is refreshing.

The biggest standout thing about this series IMO are the ship visuals. Easily the most visceral of any of the Trek TV series. In the end the ship rolling along with pieces falling off... this is the sort of stuff that I wanted to be able to see as a kid watching TOS...

4 out of 4 is no fluke. Dunno why they do DISC and Picard like they do when they know how to do this. THIS is the way.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 7:30am (UTC -6)
Some kind of Kelvin flavour. Hollywood Trek isn’t my Star Trek.
C.T Phipps
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:10am (UTC -6)
[[Call me a stickler for detail, but I'm afraid that canon was violated.]]

The Bajora, Klingons of Kling, and James R. Kirk agree this is unforgivable.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:19am (UTC -6)
>>The Bajora, Klingons of Kling, and James R. Kirk agree this is unforgivable.

That's why half the quadrant is learning to speak Klingoni. ;-)
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:21am (UTC -6)
I’m going with @modulum on this. Well short. Annoying characters and in contrived situations. Again I was taken out of the episode.
Let’s have a conversation in the corridor whilst injured people walk between us. Then let’s have a silly little girl do a ridiculous run and sprout some monster guff. Laughable. Sooo much blood Nurse Chapel… whatever keeps your whites so bright. Pike says there are barely any records on the Gorn except wait, the person standing in front of you has plenty. Did she ever go on the record? Are Uhura and Hummer dead. Oh gosh. Of course they’re fucking not! How many times do we need to have a smiley dead person in a shot to say ‘hey she is troubled by her brothers death’. The old need to close the bulkheads scene and oh no he didn’t make it. For fucks sake.
I’m playing the bad crew’person’ here. The execution is again letting Trek down. We got a brown dwarf delivered square on our chest and it’s time to take heed. This is going where Discovery and Picard have gorn before. I hope they prove me wrong.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:24am (UTC -6)
Forgive me, all, but I think we're clearly suffering from battered spouse syndrome. Our spouse manages to go a few weeks without beating the crap out of us and we suddenly believe we have the perfect marriage.

This episode was...fine. It was well-paced, had some good character beats, told a simple story efficiently. That could describe all 4 episodes so far. In that respect, this is so far the best season of Star Trek in 23 years (since DS9 went off the air.)

But guys? Come on. Under Michael Piller, Ronald Moore, and Ira Behr, this would be middling. It's totally competent. It seems to have been written by professionals. It's respectable and entertaining. It is also cheap, obvious, and formulaic old-hat. As someone up-thread said, this show is going to hit the Enterprise problem a hell of a lot faster than we would like if the writers don't stop being meta and start telling new stories.

The idea that Trek can't find new stories because there have been 30 seasons so far is nonsense. There are TONS of stories the Trek franchise has never told. Just watch any brilliant SF show of the last few years (Severance, For All Mankind, The Expanse...) to see how many untold stories there are. The writers just have to WANT to.

And so far, the evidence suggests these writers and actors COULD tell great, new stories. They have the chops. They just have to get over their fear of alienating fans and get on with it.
Data's Lawyer
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:29am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode a lot. Two quick thoughts:

1) Why couldn't Hemmer and Uhura just beam out of the cargo bay before they decompressed it? Were the transporters not working? Maybe they weren't and I missed it.

2) I loved the part where the Enterprise was about to go deeper into the brown dwarf and someone (maybe Ortegas?) said something like, "I don't know if the Enterprise will make it," and Pike responded (paraphrasing again), "It'll make it." A subtle nod to Pike knowing his future. Really good moment there.
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:33am (UTC -6)
@ Greg M

"TNG did that all the time. It was one of the things I liked about TNG, was the character episodes and the variety. "

Quite true. TNG also took that approach from time to time. I also seem to recall that as by the fourth year, pretty much every character had at least one episode per season that focused on them.

For me the contrast is huge with Disco. It was really grating on me that I didn't really know much of anything about the bridge crew. Halfway into the first season of TOS, you already had a host of moments that gave you some insight into the characters. And that's from a 60's TV show that was breaking ground, doing serious weekly SF set in a universe that wasn't peopled with kids and funny robots.

SNW is putting the character episodes front and center, very early on. They are really giving us a lot of info about each character, whereas TOS and TNG eased into it. I don't mind the approach, even if it calls attention to itself a little.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:37am (UTC -6)
‘It is also cheap, obvious, and formulaic old-hat. the evidence suggests these writers and actors COULD tell great, new stories’

I really don’t think they have the chops to do so unfortunately Ubik. The acting has been there in spurts but hurt by poor formulaic writing…. again. These writer persons just simply can’t do it. There was not one original idea in this episode. I was seriously waiting for the little girl to say ‘they come at night…. mostly’.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:45am (UTC -6)
A 3-4 star potential episode marred by poor writing and scripting. 2.5 -.5 for Ortegas = 2.0 /4. Running comments while viewing:

The quips are back, concentrated in Ortegas. Would starfleet tolerate a professional talking like this? She started a sentence with “like”!

Uhura strikes a balance between a refreshing take on the character, and being Burnham’d. They should let her accomplish things without having this “golly gee, super!” reaction like a teenager. There’s a flippant “our girl” quality to her that is off putting at times. It wouldn’t bother me if this character didn’t have such great potential.

Pike seemed like his cortisol levels were high.

Laan’s gorn speech reminded me of the stilted exuberance of Cumberbachs Khan speech in “Darkness”. I say that as a compliment of sorts, which surprised me.

Pike with the circa-2022 leadership message. Someone tells you you are a walking feed bag for a hostile species and you say “we should WORK TOGETHER! (TM)”

Pike: ” belief can be the difference between victory and defeat”
Pike seconds later: “the best miracles are borne from truth.”
Uh, Cap…

We are pursuing a ship that just attacked us, and then evasives when we catch it? Are we uncertain of relative armament, or just wishing to gamble? The rationale for cat-and-mousing this enemy ship / task force had no basis.

The epicenter of quips is Ortegas, and it is getting annoying. No credible helm would talk like that. The actress is doing an exemplary job, it is the god-awful writing.

Helm decides when to engage the enemy?!? Whaaa?

“captain, incoming” / “MULTIPLE incoming”. Just who does what on this bridge?

Big thumbs up for the multi setting story split between bridge, eng, medical. Gives a thin story some depth and breadth, and made the episode seem much longer than it was. I also like the Uhuru / engineer guy dynamic.

Ortegas: “aye sir full stop” See, now was that so hard?

There’s something that hits different about Pike’s open eyed exasperation at destroying a ship, versus Picard’s quiet stare. Neither is correct or unacceptable, but it speaks to our time. Out of place for me, but perhaps not for a younger viewer.

Interesting presentation of a vulkan mind meld.

HUGE points for the Laan Spock sibling loss connection. Unexpected and handled just right. Absolutely brilliant and unexpected. If they are smart, they will use this to generate some romantic tension.

Laan’s brother’s sacrifice was mildly undercut by the duplicated emotion in the earlier scene where the transporter chief’s life was saved. Just mildly, though.

Shut up Ortegas.

“she’ll hold, we’ve got this”. un Laan like

Overall, I enjoyed this episode the way I would enjoy a favorite team’s dominating sports game lost on an unforced error. Lots to be hopeful about, undermined by poor writing. And the negatives were proximal to the episode itself, and didn’t portend a pattern going forward. Good ideas written badly are far superior to no ideas written well.

2.0 / 4.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:46am (UTC -6)
Riddle me this. The bridge crew consisted of 5 persons. Two left to fly a shuttle leaving 3 on the bridge. Does that seem logical in an emergency situation? And why make the bridge so large in that case? It’s twice the size as the TOS Enterprise as is everything on this ship. Sickbay must be massive to take in all the crewpersons not at their posts. For the second episode running.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 9:57am (UTC -6)

She did indeed start with a ‘like’. Hesus Christo. Just the cracks starting to get bigger.
Not sure but I think it was delivered while they sat casually around the ready room table while the rest of the ship was in disarray. Set that against Battlestar where they had to jump every 33 minutes (was it?) and displayed some real apprehension. If they didn’t display any real fear why should we buy it.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 10:48am (UTC -6)
I am puzzled.... what happened to Drummer's accent??
Eric Jensen
Fri, May 27, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -6)
Not without some flaws, but the best episode so far and very tense, another good character episode, good technobabble, excellent acting by Anson! Best episode so far.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:43pm (UTC -6)

"And why make the bridge so large in that case? It’s twice the size as the TOS Enterprise as is everything on this ship. Sickbay must be massive to take in all the crewpersons not at their posts. For the second episode running. "

The Enterprise-D was vastly larger than the Enterprise. These facilities as presented simply should not fit. They've been doing this since the 2009 film.
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
[[The Bajora, Klingons of Kling, and James R. Kirk agree this is unforgivable.]]

You get your Mek'leth in the dark
It's a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the Skral you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Opera, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the blades ring
Well now you step inside but you don't see too many faces
Coming in out of the rain they hear the fight go down
Competition in other places
Uh but the horns they blowin' that sound
Way on down south
Way on down south
Qo'noS town
You check out Bat'leth George, he knows-all the moves
Mind, it's strictly rhythm he doesn't want to make it cry or sing
They said an old blade is all, he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to show his thing
And Harry doesn't mind, if he doesn't, make the scene
He’s got a D7, he's doing alright
He can swing the D'k tahg like anything
Savin' it up, for Friday night
With the Klingons
We're the Klingons of Kling
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, May 27, 2022, 12:53pm (UTC -6)

"Call me a stickler for detail, but I'm afraid that canon was violated."

(points finger): Stiickleeer! (that's okay, I am too.

And you are right. Kirk clearly doesn't know about Gorns, which seems nonsensical since we know they have raided colony ships before, and his own ship under the previous captain had a pretty serious engagement with them.

I enjoyed the episode, and I understand certain bits of established canon are bound to end up in the airlock. But that seems like a big one. Arena is one of the more iconic TOS episodes, and clearly establishes first contact with the Gorn as taking place during Kirk's tenure. It's weird the writers would even involve the Gorn -- La'an's backstory, and the subsequent submarine fight we got in this episode could have been against a new race of aliens introduced for SNW. Using the Gorn seems like a lazy way to grab the TOS fans' attention.
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, May 27, 2022, 1:08pm (UTC -6)

I too subscribe to the notion of an eventual positive breakthrough with the Gorns. I know there are a few Trek books from back in the day that suggest or even establish that the Gorn eventually join the Feds, and even have members in Starfleet. It's not canon, but it is certainly in the spirit of optimism we see in TOS.

I read somewhere that Peter David revisits Eminiar VII in one of his Trek books, and it is said that they and Vendikar nuked each other to oblivion six months after "A Taste of Armageddon." It very much irked me for the same reason -- I always assumed that the positive/optimistic ending would carry on, even if we never did get an update. David's about-face clearly runs against the optimism of TOS, and the notion that Kirk had indeed managed to get through to the two warring planets in forcing them to come face to face with the folly of real war.
Trek fan
Fri, May 27, 2022, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Oh look, now we’re getting a remix of Balance of Terror with Arena and a dash of Corbomite Maneuver. Such a clever follow up on last week’s remix of Miri and Naked Time. Shipboard epidemic episode followed by shipboard tactical cat and mouse episode. Yawn.

This show vowels wants to return to classic Trek formula after Discovery veered too far off for the taste of many fans. But as a lifelong fan, I’m even less pleased with this than the other show. Instead of swinging between creative extremes, Star Trek needs a show that moves forward into new territory without running on creative fumes like the slow-moving death spiral of Picard season 2 and recent Discovery. The pandering of Dull Old Worlds is not the way to do that.

This show is a lot like TNG season 1 so far, remixing old ideas with higher production values. But Roddenberry’s insistence on setting the TNG era 70 years after TOS allowed that show to develop into something wonderfully distinctive over time. As with Enterprise and Discovery seasons 1-3, I doubt that’s going to happen with SNW, since they’ve prequeled themselves into a creative corner.

And I actually liked TNG seasons 1-2 because there were occasionally very fresh ideas on it like the Binars and the Borg. Each week, I looked forward to seeing something at least somewhat new. The opposite is true of SNW: each week I expect to see something old trotted out again. That may be comforting for nostalgia viewers, but I find it kind of pointless. At some point, a new TV show needs to make water or get off the toilet.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
@Data's Lawyer... In the briefing room, when Pike, Spock, and La'an were talking with Hemmer and Uhura, Pike stated "the transporters are offline". It was very quick, so quite easy to miss.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound

Arena was always one of my favorites, so I watchdog it.
Great job on "The Klingons of Kling" by the way :)
Fri, May 27, 2022, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
3.5 Stars. The show is running on all cylinders, I love all the characters, and I look forward to new episodes more than any other show. I say this as someone who treated Disco and Picard episodes in a more chore like fashion, and still watches the old shows when I need some comfort food…or just to remember what great writing they often had. This is a very respectable facsimile. I especially appreciate how they took the beautiful big shiny fancy ship and completely a trashed it in the fourth episode!
Fri, May 27, 2022, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Are Alienatbar and myself the only ones concerned by the language used by the crew?

In addition to Ortegas foul utterance of “like”, this episode showed a complete breakdown in crew discipline in a time of crisis. Helm officer deciding to engage? First officer and helm BOTH calling out incoming ships?

The most charitable interpretation are that they are a well-integrated team that can trade off roles, double up, without any issue. The same way they seem to wink-wink, high-five, winky gunclick bang bang type stuff like a gaggle of edgy teenagers.

I’m going to start paying more attention to writer and director credits, to see if there are any patterns. It was heartbreaking to see “Memento Mori” promising story framework get run aground by awful crew dialogue.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
No you're not Jimmy. Its one of my main gripes with the show so far. La'an and Ortegas in particular seem to talk to their superiors with distain and treat orders like suggestions. They really need to use "sir" a little more.

Also Ortegas talks like an idiot from 2022.

We've had obnoxious clunky smug lines from Chapel in the previous episode and Uhuru in this one. I really hope this doesn't start to undermine the good stuff the show is doing.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
@Tim C
‘I reckon if you were a young kid watching this with no prior knowledge of the legacy shows, you'd be having the time of your life.’

Not having a go at Tim C here but this is ultimately my problem. If that’s who this is aimed at then fine and the language being used is in sync with that. Uhura’s questioning of Spock regards Chapel I found to be insubordinate but in this day and age it’s acceptable for a cooler young person to imply what they want to their peers. It also lacks any humor. What can we expect though from writers who’s credits include Supernatural and Vampire Diary books.
As far as their roles on the bridge I guess they need to multitask when there’s only 5 of them. Where the hell was Ensign Lance?
Fri, May 27, 2022, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
As for the Gorn I guess we may see the eventual emotional communication breakthrough occur as in Discovery, and they’ll apologise for not realizing we were more than meatbags for their young.
Fri, May 27, 2022, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
It had a lot of good ideas, good ingredients. It recalls a lot of the best Trek, Wrath of Khan included. So then why is it merely evocative of great Trek without being great itself? Why does it make me want to watch those other things instead?

The snarky air-headed dialogue isn't problematic in itself but points to a larger issue of the show constantly undermining its own aims and objectives. As with Khan, it wants to have tension and dramatic reversals with everyone's lives hanging in the balance, and overcome those deadly odds with cunning. It also wants to attempt a hodgepodge of things to variable but limited degrees of success and trips all over itself in the process.

The questionable dialogue with its whiplash tonality means that just as the suspense or tension has been reached for, the barrage of snarky quips and sarcasm clashes with the supposedly life-and-death situations, immediately deflates all the tension, and makes us forget about the high stakes.

They would also need to really fine-tune the pacing to draw us into the action and make us feel the tension, which they fail to do since the episode needs to rush through three separate stories. Each time it switches gears to focus on Uhura's character development or La'an's past, it loses steam and momentum. And important dramatic cues that Khan would have lingered on are instead squandered in favor of hastily delivering more exposition about all the many plot contrivances in order for all the twists and turns to make sense. Basically, it speeds up right where it should slow down, and slows down right where it needs to pick up the slack.

On this whole theme of Good (if old) Ideas, Poor Execution, it also seems as if the cinematography and direction still isn't quite up to the task. It's still kind of unfocused, generalized and it's applying the exact same templates that were fine in brighter, more easy-going episodes about Optimism and Wonder, but struggles to support the other more mature and complicated moods here. Basically Nu-Trek, even SNW, still has a lot of growing up to do before it can truly be considered great.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 1:21am (UTC -6)
…Well that just kicks ass.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 1:53am (UTC -6)
"Are Alienatbar and myself the only ones concerned by the language used by the crew?"

Sat, May 28, 2022, 4:30am (UTC -6)
That's how people talk! From now on until the end of time!!
Sat, May 28, 2022, 8:32am (UTC -6)
Another solid, good but not great episode. Three stars. If they just consistently keep cranking out episodes at this quality level there may be some nagging part of me that wishes they would make the occasional superlative episode, but overall I will be fairly satisfied and keep coming back.

Is it just me, or does anyone else check out when on any of these shows they go into sort of "visions" or heavily symbolic dream imagery? It's common not only in nuTrek but all the Treks and various other shows as well, so clearly a lot of people must like it but I don't.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 8:51am (UTC -6)
Trek Fan - "At some point, a new TV show needs to make water or get off the toilet."

No it doesn't, because you'll keep watching all the crap they continue to pump out. Regardless. You can't help yourself. So, they'll laugh at you and give you more of the same.
Tim C
Sat, May 28, 2022, 9:05am (UTC -6)
@Alienatbar - I do agree with the critique that this show, as with all the other NuTrek, writes dialogue in a far more contemporary style than Rick Berman's Trek did. In some ways, I feel it does undermine the verisimilitude.

But. My introduction to Star Trek as a child was my Dad's tapes of TOS reruns, and that's the vision of the future I was originally captivated by. And looking back on TOS as an adult, that show also writes dialogue that feels contemporary to its time. Kirk and his staff feel very much like 20th-century naval officers. So when SNW's Pike's Enterprise feels like a 21st century workplace, it doesn't bother me as much as it obviously bothers other fans.

Every show is a product of its time in some way. TNG put a therapist on the bridge. DS9 was consciously evoking an Israel/Palestine metaphor. ENT went hard on 9/11. Disco felt reactionary to shows like Game Of Thrones and BSG. These can all be turned into legitimate criticisms if you choose to do so.

If there's a Trek that I would consider to be "my Trek", it's Voyager. TOS introduced me to it all but Voyager was the one that I was tuning into as every episode aired (or here in Australia, waiting every month for the video store to have the new two-episode VHS available to rent, since Channel 9 was airing Trek late at night and way behind schedule). At the time as an early teen, I didn't know the franchise as well as I do now. But I could still recognise inconsistent, bad characterisation and writing when I saw it (as could my family who were watching with me), and it was what eventually wound up turning us all off our monthly Trek viewings for a long time.

SNW is too young to level those criticisms at yet, but it's off to a good start. They are obviously making efforts to tell character-based stories with clear arcs, and plot is a secondary concern. And as a military person who is often a smart-ass in tense situations (someone's gotta do it!), I totally vibe with an Ortegas / Paris / Dax-style smartass moreso than a Spock / Odo / Picard professional. So if a character like Ortegas or Chapel speaks a bit more 2022 than they should, I'm willing to forgive it on the grounds that it's showing us who they are as a person and contributes to the show as a whole.

I would *far* more rather characters like that, than wooden blank slates like Mayweather or (less frequently) Chakotay.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 9:06am (UTC -6)
"So, they'll laugh at you and give you more of the same."
They don't laugh. They work hard every day! Do you have any idea how expensive it is to be rich?! The staff alone costs a fortune, then there is security personal which you can barely trust. It's a nightmare! If you cannot make money, what then? Sitting at home without protection, waiting for middle class people to break into your house to murder you?! Oh and let's not talk about how expensive a serious drug problem is. You cannot pay your drug dealer in nft's (anymore)! They want actual money. Have some compassion.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 9:27am (UTC -6)
Booming, I hadn't really thought of the plight of the mal-adjusted Hollywood fuck until just now. Thank you for that.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 9:36am (UTC -6)
You are forgiven, my child!
Sat, May 28, 2022, 10:55am (UTC -6)
@Tim C, well said.
A. C.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
I believe that somewhere down the line this series will say that it is a different timeline than the original series. The discrepancies will eventually build up and be too many to say that it's a pure prequel to TOS. --Grey Bar0n

No they won't. You think they give enough of a shit to do that? They couldn't care less about continuity or inconsistencies, they're just making money with an established franchise. -- Jonathan Parker

@Jonathan Parker They will by simply continuing into the TOS timeline. They already cast a Kirk you know that's the overall plan. -- Natasha Estrada

That’s what they’re doing is prequels to tos to rewrite trek history. Only exception is Enterprise imho. Kurtzman prequels are made to overwrite tos. -- 2BitUser

@2BitUser , I thought I was the only one thinking that same thing. I'm afraid you may be right because that's what it looks like they're doing. -- James Burns

@Jonathan Parker I don't care about continuity or minor inconsistencies. And some episodes of every Trek series are pure garbage and are best forgotten. The Gorn are minor characters in an okay, but not great, Trek episode. The refresh episode where we meet the Gorn is much more compelling. -- brachiator1

The people writing it don't give a shit lmao -- poo poo

@brachiator1 Yeah if the choices are a multi-season fleshing out of the Gorn vs keeping canon with the rubber suit people never to be mentioned because Kirk was the first to meet every Star Trek species ever then well I pick the first option.

TOS has always been the series that doesn't really fit with the movies or other series. Let it just be its own special little chestnut and just allow each series to build its own world with some relating themes.

But after 50 years some of the hubris behind trying to keep things canon 100% is going to limit good storytelling. -- Natasha Estrada

@Jonathan Parker there enough information out there, it not like the origanal TOS, bach then you would have to explain to anyone what a database was, if any one had ever seen one, out side of paper card file, and they managed some how, and the odd in-continuity, wasn't just to make a plot fit, and worse you got the part the acts played, that was it, you could what any episode all out of order, and it stilled made sense, and if something needed to link back to anal ready showed episode, the script would be something like " remember that glow in the dark stone from from planet X, that just what need here", so if you mist the planet X episode, at least you now where and how they have it now, but if you dont watch the hole lot al most in one sitting, you have on chance of keeping up, never mind the plot holes, which just change, for almost nonreason, if the insist on using, not trek fans, could they not at least show a draft/outline of the script to trek'y to get some of the bump's out or have they already and this is the improved version already? -- dh

@The Slithering Peanut thank you Sir. -- Grey Bar0n

It’s very obvious it’s all Kelvin -- mirahsan2

The Gorn were not an expansionist...that's why the Federation never ran into them until they did. They had a issue over Cestus 3 but after that they became friends -- Jyral Nadreth

Then they had thag baseball game assasination false flag -- Ackza𒀖

And even Allies in the Star Fleet Universe of "Star Fleet Battles" -- A88mph

@A88mph I love the ship designs on that game. -- Kevin Fogle

Shakespear said it best:Hell hath no fury like a woman Gorn. -- 351cleavland

Woman Gorn?
Fuck, you're gonna make me image search! -- PoptartInvasion

You've not experienced Shakespeare until you've read it in the original Klingon. -- Christopher Trevino

To Gorn or not to Gorn. -- Derek Villorente

Then hell will have to take the bull by the gorns -- Matt Silvermask

They just need to admit it’s a reboot/alternate universe. That’s all they have to say. Not sure why they don’t. It’s stupid to INSIST this is the same as TOS. Well it’s not in the same universe NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY. -- Matt Maze

It's about maximizing an audience. They don't want to lose the old fans while attempting to gain new fans. -- DSWynne

@DSWynne If with 'they' you mean the studio/network execs then I agree. Bottom of the line is maximizing profit.
The creatives however couldn't care less. Plenty of times they decided to chime in on calling old fans ,that criticise their work ,all kind of -ists and -phobes.
Unfortunately labeling, attacking and insulting fans doesn't make them more talented though. -- Sven Wagner

Agree 100 percent -- hobbs1701a

Continuity errors in Kurtzman trek are the norm, though just one of many problems with it. -- Paul Rouleau

Knowing Kurtzman, the Gorn probably used horses. He probably saw The Rise of Skywalker and thought that scene with the horses on the Star Destroyer was cool and he decided to do the same here. -- Chemical Engineer

I wish the people producing the new prequel Star Trek shows would actually take the time to watch the pervious series TOS and Enterprise to get things correct instead of just using Google to search "old Star Trak stuff" for ideas. -- TheGhost

Takes me back to the old BBS days where you called up one board and copied over stuff from another on the other side of the country...

The River Temarc
Sat, May 28, 2022, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound
"Arena is one of the more iconic TOS episodes, and clearly establishes first contact with the Gorn as taking place during Kirk's tenure."

I re-watched "Arena" after "Memento Mori," and it does not such thing. In fact, when pursuing the Gorn ship, Spock specifically notes the existence of rumors and "space legends" about a strange life form in the area.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
An above average episode. SNW is obviously much better than PIC or DIS, but i'm afraid we all just judging this show so high because the others are so appallingly bad. By now, 40 minutes of static will surpass Picard in quality.
Good show, but only ok compared to DS9 or a good run of TNG season 4.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 7:00pm (UTC -6)
Here's another thing that just occurred to me of why I like this so much better than DSC.

The log entries. Theyve gone back to them being more formal and sober.

As in, "captains log, we are on a mission to planet x because of y and face problem z", instead of rhsr unbearable, nausea inducing, over emoted, self important, whispered crap we got in DSC, with burnam waxing 3rd grade poetry about the weight of the universe (of course, no less) resting on our shoulders (which in her case is speaking in pluralis majestatis of whatever it was called), facing the eternal darkness that is the trauma at the core of existence and blah blah blaaaaaah.

I feared for a moment that the lot entry at the end if the episode would be of that type, but then it's just "well, we survived".

Thank you, SNW. Thank you so much for not being so unbearably self important. It's one of the most annoying characteristics of DSC and I won't miss it for a split second.

4 episodes in and I'd trade 4 entire seasons of the burnam saves the universe show for these 4 episodes. In a heartbeat.

Like... Could I give back 4 seasons if DSC and have this be a 14 episode season instead please?
Sat, May 28, 2022, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
So true about Burnham's third grade poetry! Always with a tear in her eye. (The character is insufferable enough, but the retcon that she's Spock's adopted sister makes it all so much more ridiculous.)
Ensign Deathbound
Sat, May 28, 2022, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
@The River Temarc

"I re-watched 'Arena' after 'Memento Mori,' and it does not such thing. In fact, when pursuing the Gorn ship, Spock specifically notes the existence of rumors and 'space legends' about a strange life form in the area."

You and I disagree. To quote Kirk: "Weaponless, I face the creature the Metrons called a Gorn."

He didn't know the name of the species, just "what the Metrons called it."

Might just be me, but I'm fair sure that James T. Kirk (winner of the Palm Leaf Of Axanar Peace Mission, Grankite Order of Tactics, Class of Excellence, Prantares Ribbon of Commendation, Classes first and second, Medal of Honour, Silver Palm with Cluster, Starfleet citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, Karagite Order of Heroism), present Captain of the Federation Flagship, one of only twelve Constitution Class Starships in all of Starfleet... I'm fair sure Kirk would have been very up to date on a hostile alien species with a proven track record of engaging Constitution Class Starships.

Briefed, as in "given verifiable information" about a potential potential threat to the Federation," including Spock's own sensor logs, wich I would think would qualify as a far cry from "space legends" and "rumors" in Spock's mind.

To bolster that a little more:

A species that raids colony ships and eats humans for meat ? With at least one eyewitness to testify to the occurrence?

A species that fought against a Constitution Class in a prolonged tactical engagement -- Kirk's very ship, as it turns out? My point in this specific instance is that all ships have their legends and stories, the better tales tending towards things like "Remember that time when we -- this ship -- WE fought the Gorn and almost died? But then their ship was crushed, and we managed to beat them and defeat them and survive?" Those are the kind of stories that *everyone* who was ever there tells to the newcomers who join the crew, usually over a drink, or an anniversary.

[A quick aside: I keep harping on Spock, but Uhura was there too. She may have spent the episode in the cargo bay, but she would have had some story to tell, about what happened to her "that time when we fought the Gorn."]

To bolster more:

I think Pike would have logged the incident. Being first Starfeleet Captain facing off against the Gorn? He would have offered his own commentary on the tactics he used, what did and didn't work, plus whatever insights La'an gave him as he sought to out-think them, to give other Starship captains an edge. Those logs would have been shared with the Admiralty, and then with other Starfleet senior personnel. Spock's sensor scans and readings of the Gorn ship(s) would have ended up in Starfleet's database.

Spock (in "Arena") would have recognized the kind of ship the Enterprise was pursuing, and/or the life readings of the Gorns on Cestus III. He would not have withheld information from his Captain, having once lived through a deadly encounter with that very species.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
@The River Temarc

"I re-watched 'Arena' after 'Memento Mori,' and it does not such thing. In fact, when pursuing the Gorn ship, Spock specifically notes the existence of rumors and 'space legends' about a strange life form in the area."

The Gorn were unknown until Kirk's time as captain of the Enterprise. In defense of @Ensign Deathbound, I relate the following, based on my having watched Arena many, many times:

Spock mentions the 'space legends' when asked about the unknown region of space the Enterprise has entered as it pursues the Gorn ship. The context doesn't indicate that the legends have anything to do with the Gorn.

To quote from the episode itself.
"KIRK: All scanners lock into computer banks. I want a complete record of this. Mister Spock, what do we have on this general area?
SPOCK: Virtually nothing, Captain. No records of any explorations. There are rumours of certain strange signals on subspace channels. However, none has ever been recorded.
KIRK: Anything on intelligent life forms?
SPOCK: Nothing specific, Captain. Unscientific rumours only. More like space legends."

At this point the ships compete with one another by raising speed.

Then, quoting again from a slightly later part of tge episode:

DEPAUL: Two two seven nine pl, sir. Uncharted solar system at two four six six pm.
KIRK: Is it on the alien's course?
DEPAUL: No, sir. He's headed away from it.
UHURA: Captain, sensors report we're being scanned.
KIRK: By the alien ship?
UHURA: No, sir. It's from that solar system ahead.

Context seems to imply that the scanning entity is connected with the space legends. Even the Gorn are spooked (and head away from the scanning source) Conclusion: the legends relate to the Metrons....not to the Gorn.
Sat, May 28, 2022, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
So I'm really enjoying this show and if I don't focus too closely on canon issues or potential canon issues, I like it all the more.

I had just said before this episode that Star Trek has a villain problem. You can only use the Daleks and Cybermen, the Borg and the Klingons so many times before they get old. And without canon stuff, this iteration of the Gorn makes for a great villain if they choose to go that route.

I intentionally mention Daleks and Cybermen because this iteration is reminding me of Doctor Who quite a bit. The genre is sci-fi, but it can be mystery, horror, adventure, etc.

Also loving the competent crew. Can't imagine Discovery doing this episode, though Saru may have helped.
Kevin Nostrand
Sat, May 28, 2022, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
Another bad episode of a bad series.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 12:53am (UTC -6)
Another good episode of a good series.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 2:43am (UTC -6)
@Jammer, will you be reviewing Obi-wan?
Bok R'Mor
Sun, May 29, 2022, 5:04am (UTC -6)
Decent enough Das Boot-style episode that improves spectacularly in the final third, with a clever and impressive resolution and generally good character work throughout for virtually all characters: the M'benga/Chapel/Number One and Hemmer/Uhura plots worked particularly well (although Uhura noticeably spoke like she was in 2022). Visually it was amazing as we've come to expect.

I was ready to once again criticise Ortegas as the odd one out in this series - she seems to be relegated y the writers and producers to a one dimensional deliverer of snark and quips and achingly contemporary dialogue - but the final third actually gave Ortegas a meaningful role for once, and actually a good performance.

The shoe-horning of Burnham into the mind meld scene was tedious and unnecessary but these writers and producers are absolutely determined to use SNW as an alibi for DSC.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 6:25am (UTC -6)
SNW is competent, safe storytelling with very familiar beats.

Not bad, but certainly limited in it's ambition - so far. I've seen all this before.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 8:56am (UTC -6)
@ KiminAsia, nope, @Jammer's not doing Kenobi,

And that's probably the right choice, given how underwhelming the first two episodes of Kenobi are.

The Mandalorian was amazing.

Boba Fett took a little while to get started, but really picked up once it essentially became The Madalorian season 2.5.

Not Kenobi.

Kenobi had real problems during production, and the result certainly shows.

It is ok to watch if you have nothing else to do, but not really worth anyone's time investment.

Certainly not worth @Jammer's precious time, given we are about to be hit with The Orville!!!!
Paul M.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:36am (UTC -6)

Okay, La'an Noonien-Singh is regularly called "lieutenant" yet her sleeve stripes, one thick and one thin, indicate she's lieutenant commander. Maybe the costuming department thought of 24th century insignia, in pip form at least, (as well as our contemporary ones) where those stripes would mean she's junior lieutenant. Alas, TOS was complicated that way.
Paul M.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:49am (UTC -6)
Hmmm, I'm not sure what's going on with those rank stripes. Uhura just called Hemmer "lieutenant" when he should be full commander. If someone figured it out, let me know.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
I am not sure if I would like a Gorn serie. This was good but I want more variations and a fixation on the Gorn would be a pity.

What I do like is that they show a strengt by combining their quilities. Real teamwork and trust. There is technobabbel and of coures Spock has a superior sort of thinking. Still it is Pike with his very cool and distininct leadership that puts it together. It is a naval battle where skill and tactic takes them to not a victory but a survival. Techically and graphically excelent, god acting and cutting.

The sceenes that where La'an's starts to realise that they are facing Gorn are great. It's a logical professionl thinkik process spiced with her surpressed memory and fear. It is followed by a excelent interaction with her and Pike.

Flaws? With such episodes I don't care.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
So, my ratings so far:

- Episode 1: 2.5 stars
- Episode 2: 2.5 stars
- Episode 3: 2 stars
- Episode 4: 3 stars

Memento Mori is the first episode in a long damn time that made me care. Certainly not an all time classic but just very well written from beginning to end. The Gorn are a legit enemy - excellent decision not to show them. The crew are actually interesting. I'm enjoying the character development and Anson Mount really is killing it as Pike. Some of the material is a bit flat. It's more a stylistic thing then any redundancy. I thought the episode was clever in many ways. SNW wants so very badly to hit on all cylinders. Not there yet.

Bottom line - I'm a pretty tough critic. You want 3.5 stars + then I need something astonishing. I honestly think this show will get there at some point.
Sun, May 29, 2022, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
I just had a chance to re-watch Arena, and if anything, it makes me appreciate "Memento Mori” even more. In Arena, we see the Gorn, but not their ship. In Memento, we see the Gorn ship, but not the Gorn. Clever.

Also Memento takes advantage of the different standards for broadcast and streaming television. At the start of Arena, we see the ground streaked with jagged black marks, like the pepto-bismol pink Klingon blood in The Undiscovered Country. Memento updates the black to blood red, but the jagged pattern is the same. Very cool.

These people really pay attention to detail.

@Ensign Deathbound said, "I'm fair sure Kirk would have been very up to date...”

I’m not so sure.

Kirk was pretty out of the loop, especially on all things Pike. Here’s the key dialogue at the start of The Menagerie:

MENDEZ: Oh, Jim, I just can't understand this.

KIRK: Mister Spock received a starbase transmission, a message from the former commander of the Enterprise, Fleet Captain Pike, urgently requesting that we divert here.

MENDEZ: Impossible.

KIRK: If my first officer states he received a transmission from

MENDEZ: Jim, I'm not doubting anyone's word. I'm simply telling you it's impossible.

KIRK: Why?

MENDEZ: You don't know? You actually don't know what's happened to Captain Pike? There's been subspace chatter about it for months. I'm sorry to have to be the one to show you.

James T. Kirk - looks sexy as fuck wearing makeup and tearing off his shirt. Not exactly up to speed on Federation gossip.
Richard James
Sun, May 29, 2022, 10:34pm (UTC -6)
A few of the comments hear are concerned about 'breaking canon' which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. I think the issue is whether it breaks canon in a positive, constructive way or if it's clumsy and ill-thought out. Star Trek has been breaking canon for decades - if it didn't then it wouldn't push the world-building forward and we wouldn't have many of the recognizable features of Trek that we now consider the norm (Klingon forehead ridges anyone?). That we're encountering the Gorn a bit early doesn't break the camel's back for me. It's still fairly respectable to TOS but leaving them unseen, but even if they do eventually show up - would that necessarily be a problem? At this stage of a franchise's history - could adhering to canon actually be a regressive step? Or, should I say - does a slavish dedication to canon actually limit the storytelling options available?
Mon, May 30, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -6)
@Richard James
" It's still fairly respectable to TOS but leaving them unseen, but even if they do eventually show up - would that necessarily be a problem? At this stage of a franchise's history - could adhering to canon actually be a regressive step? Or, should I say - does a slavish dedication to canon actually limit the storytelling options available?"
While I generally agree that canon is nothing too important. The problem with using the Gorn here is twofold.
First, the TOS Gorn episode is so iconic and well known that making a Gorn prequel is shooting a hole into that. It just makes zero sense that the same ship had contact with a species and then several years later apparently completely forgot about it.
Second, and maybe more importantly, the Gorn are in this episode because they are so well known. So it's using canon to break canon. It's just member berries. I imagine them having a huge white board with all the famous Star Trek species and characters and they are now going through them. Like Picard brought back Data and Q and Riker and Troy and Seven and the Chateau version 2.0 and soon the entire TNG crew, this show so far is cannibalizing everything they haven't used in the other two NuTrek shows. Obviously most of the characters are from TOS but even for the new characters they could not resist the temptation and use another member berry aka Queen Khan. I'm happy for the people who like it so much but when a show so aggressively uses stuff from the old and beloved then that does not scream respect for the audience or trust in their own ability to create strange NEW worlds.
Frank A. Booze
Mon, May 30, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Another good episode. The only thing I didn’t like was the reference to Burnham in the mind meld, as I would prefer the show just pretend like Discovery does not exist.
Bok R'Mor
Mon, May 30, 2022, 1:18am (UTC -6)
@Booming has an excellent point here about 'using canon to break canon', which I strongly agree with. I thought the inclusion of the Ferengi and the Borg in ENT were foolish moves for the same reason. SNW doing the same thing doesn't change my overall view that breaking canon shouldn't be encouraged.

Then there are minor aspects of canon revision that simply don't make sense but might be explained later, such as why the Gorn now purportedly make the clicking noise we associate with the aliens from 'Schisms' (the immediate answer is because the writers and producers thought that sound was more disturbing). These are not so serious, but still unnecessary - commenters here provide plausible explanations, but why should we have to?

(Chapel's strongly different portrayal in SNW is another example of this: commenters here have suggested that Chapel's personality might change later, and that's acceptable and might even prove to be a good arc, but it's scarcely the real reason for an essentially different character with the same name. And just so I'm clear: I really like Jess Bush in this show, I think she does a great job, and 'Chapel' is actually one of my favourite characters.)

But all in all it is regrettable that this is being done.

Booming is also correct that the title of this series is misleading as we haven't seen many strange new worlds thus far.
C.T Phipps
Mon, May 30, 2022, 2:53am (UTC -6)
[[But all in all it is regrettable that this is being done. ]]

I suppose it follows on the question whether you think it's better to preserve canon or reward long time fans by using material they're familiar with. The Gorn are breaking canon but they're an underutilized and underrepresented species.
Latex Zebra
Mon, May 30, 2022, 4:55am (UTC -6)
Obviously huge parts of cannon need to be respected but haven't little things been broken before, sometimes in the same series.
Romulan stuff in TOS, Siso's Dad in DS9... The Borg and Voyager.
I mean, if it isn't massive. Is it that big a deal, would actually seeing the Gorn before Kirk did tear the fabric of the space time continuum? Or is it worth bending it a bit so they are reduced to introducing a big bad like the Xindi that people moan about because they are never referenced in later Trek.
Things like the bridge and the general look. Do we really want to watch a series in 2022 that looks like the bridge was made out of cardboard or do we respect the fact that if they'd had the technology back then, things would have been bigger and flashier?
Mon, May 30, 2022, 5:32am (UTC -6)
"I'm happy for the people who like it so much but when a show so aggressively uses stuff from the old and beloved then that does not scream respect for the audience or trust in their own ability to create strange NEW worlds."

Thanks for making this point. I have been in pain for several days about this. :)

What is interesting is not that so many commenters are unconcerned with canon, but that so many recognize that it has been broken and think that it is okay to do so if it was done in a 'clever way.' Fine. However, this then slides down a slippery slope to become a belief that adherence to canon actually might interfere with telling a good story. Not so!

To me it shows a complete lack of creativity on the part of the writers which is hard to tolerate. What strikes me as even more egregious is 'cross the wires creativity' with is done by spinning the roulette wheel of canonical elements, picking two unrelated canon strands, and shoving them together to create a monstrosity, while thinking that it's clever. We viewers are now stuck with 'Gorn that go click.'

What makes these writers think that they have the requisite skills to properly graft together two unrelated separate canon filaments? They clearly just thrive on the canon violations. Isn't it cute?

Mon, May 30, 2022, 5:38am (UTC -6)
"What strikes me as even more egregious is 'cross the wires creativity' *which* is done by spinning the roulette wheel of canonical elements, picking two unrelated canon strands, and shoving them together to create a monstrosity...."

They may actually be using Miles' and Bashir's dart board to choose which canon elements to graft together.
Bok R'Mor
Mon, May 30, 2022, 5:48am (UTC -6)
They could have used the Xindi-Reptilians, and explain that they broke off from the other Xindi species following ENT. That wouldn't have violated canon.

They could have created a completely new species of aliens. That wouldn't have violated canon.

Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike retcons. I think retcons can in fact be very elegantly done, and contribute a great deal to any Trek. Retcons by and large deliberately do not violate canon (there are obviously some serious exceptions).

I'm with Booming and Sigh2000 here: having canon violations develop solely because you want to reference canon but can't find a creative way of doing so without breaking existing continuity is ultimately just a lack of imagination and poor planning.
Bok R'Mor
Mon, May 30, 2022, 5:55am (UTC -6)
Let me put it another way: while it is logical that some level of fundamental canon violation is, realistically, unavoidable (cardboard sets is a good example), where is the limit?

For example, if the Jem'Hadar popped up in SNW, calling themselves the Jem'Hadar (no ENT Ferengi 'Rumpelstiltskin' get-out clause), surely everyone would consider that to be unacceptable? If a Jem'Hadar was made a member of the crew?

I realise it's a balance, but we should always be cautious about mucking about too much with canon and continuity, because doing so risks undermining the internal integrity of the series and, in extremis, suspension of disbelief.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 6:15am (UTC -6)
Frank A Booze wrote - "The only thing I didn’t like was the reference to Burnham in the mind meld, as I would prefer the show just pretend like Discovery does not exist."

My thoughts exactly.

I remember finding the Gorn scary when I watched ToS as a child. Obviously it looks kinda ridiculous now.

Personally I don't care about minor canon breaks since Star Trek broke it's own canon many times from the show to the films to TNG and so onwards.

Snarky 2022 dialogue and tedious smug "girl power" moments undermine the show far more that a few canon problems.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Before the forum meta runs far afield, the notion of canon-breaking being “clever” needs to be placed back into its original context. Thread history:

Trekfan used the phrase “such a clever follow-up” to refer to a perceived second example of mixing two old stories.

Bok R’Mor called the final third of “Memento Mori” a “clever and impressive resolution”.

Ilsat called the episode “clever in many ways”.

Mal used the word “clever” alone to describe a symmetry he saw between “Arena” and “Memento Mori”, where one showed an alien without a ship, and the other a ship without an alien. Mal did not imply intent or any forethought.

But Sigh2000 then warns:

“What is interesting is not that so many commenters are unconcerned with canon, but that so many recognize that it has been broken and think that it is okay to do so if it was done in a 'clever way.' “

The occasional use of the word “clever” in no way suggests that people are using the notion to defend breaking canon. Which, in turn, negates the assertion that these people are significant in number.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 9:43am (UTC -6)
@Bok R'Mor

"Booming is also correct that the title of this series is misleading as we haven't seen many strange new worlds thus far."

How many strange new world were you expecting to see through 4 episodes? We've already seen 3 new worlds -- whether you think they're strange enough or not is another question. It's not like Pike's ship is visiting planets we've seen before over and over agin.

The first episode had that new world with the 2 warring factions with the development of the warp bomb, the 2nd episode had that fairly primitive arid world that eventually would get rainfall (in a fairly feel-good moment) and the 3rd episode had Illyria. So I think this assertion of the series title being misleading is dead wrong. What we haven't seen enough of is truly original material or stories, however what we have been presented with has been a pretty good start with good stories, good characters, good plots and that to me is the most important thing.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 9:53am (UTC -6)

A habit I’ve learned when following these threads is to separate things people say in describing their opinion, from things they say to drum up support for it, or stir emotional reactions to it. We all do it to some extent because we are interested in the topic. I find it gets easier to separate signal and noise.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 10:00am (UTC -6)
@Tim C
I was trying to work out what verilemillepede meant so taken me sometime to reply :)
In short, I wish I had that filter. I struggle to get over the use of the style of language. It drives me bonkers. I was on a Qantas flight this morning and the two attendants in the back gave us their thoughts on life for like, I mean like, the whole fucking like, flight. Cheating boyfriends, long stopovers, messy passengers. I let them know that we didn’t pay ridiculous fares to hear their misguided, infantile views on the world. Save it for when your off duty.
Now SNW was not in that league but my spider senses are tingling here that the showrunners are perhaps playing it a little bit less stupid than usual and tactfully rolling out the old show favourites and interlacing it with their ‘agenda’. Dax was clever and humorous and I’ll give you Paris and perhaps, perhaps we may get a punkass Ortega/Vasquez mix but as you noted the young ones may be enjoying this more, as it’s intended for them. We’ll know once we get a cutesy tribble episode where they bring down the mighty Gorn Empire! Tribble t-shirts for Xmas.
You had me thinking of the Blockbuster days were I would also trot down to pick up the latest DS9 eps on VHS. We’re so spoilt with streaming I wonder if we would bother getting in the car and driving 10 minutes to a store to pick up the latest SNW episode???
Mon, May 30, 2022, 10:43am (UTC -6)
This forum has apparently gone mental over the issue of canon. Let's put this in some perspective. This was a single episode that did not actually show the Gorn. That was apparently intentional by the writers to minimize the canonical impact. If this turns out to be the lone episode about this species, during SNW's run, the impact will be minimal. Yes, they are a clear threat. But if they disappear for seven damn years, then Kirk's surprise at encountering them still makes sense. More to the point - can Starfleet even confirm this was the Gorn? You have a single eyewitness whose emotionally traumatic, childhood encounter with the Gorn is so suppressed that it takes a Vulcan mindmeld to pull it out. Not exactly an ideal witness your honor. So, from SF's point of view, you have one encounter with an unknown enemy that at no time revealed themselves before disappearing with no apparent trace where they went, where their homeworld is or where they're likely to show up next. Seems like a rumor-laden mystery species to me.

Which brings us to the bigger concern. What if the SNW scribes, in their infinite wisdom, decide to do more episodes about the Gorn? I'm pretty sure my opinion is shared with the majority here that this episode does a good job setting the Gorn up as a legit threat (from a viewer's point of view). In other words, WE (not Starfleet) expect a follow up encounter because of the ominous, open-ended manner in which they are presented. So, do the writers give in and truly ruck up the timeline or do they shut down an intriguing enemy - one that has the potential for multiple episodes over an extended series run - to preserve the continuity?

Most of you know my opinion re Kurtzman and his team - they're not only a bunch of hacks but shallow-minded little narcissists they will shit all over Trek if it gives them even the smallest edge in the immediate moment. So, here we are, with a series starting off pretty good, but with Kurtzman's contemptible tendencies hovering over everything. Will they do the right thing or will they drop a nice Hollywood deuce on TOS?

I've been hopeful the decent quality of this series will continue and that perhaps we will get a few truly magical episodes during the series' run. A guest writer or two, someone truly inspired bringing a top notch story to the table. And Kurtzman and his ilk with the sense to stay the fuck out of the kitchen. We'll see.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 11:14am (UTC -6)
And yes I realize Kurtzman and Goldsman wrote the first episode. We know they're good at setup. It's all the rest they're terrible at. So tie them up in a Ukrainian condo for the next 5 years and let SNW have its day in the sun.
Rich James
Mon, May 30, 2022, 11:25am (UTC -6)
There’s some good points made here about canon - but ultimately I think the issue isn’t about whether canon has been respected or whether it is ‘unimaginative’ to bring back a TOS era species. The root of the problem is that we’re dealing with a prequel. No matter how good or effective SNW is - it’s always going to get tangled in the messy net of continuity. The issue of canon breaking is an inherent, almost fundamental part of a prequel series. It would be almost impossible to have a prequel series which did not break canon at some point - we as fans are just very selective about what continuity is broken. We are comfortable now with ridges on Romulans foreheads but we are uncomfortable with an early appearance of the Gorn. Why is that?
Bok R'Mor
Mon, May 30, 2022, 11:35am (UTC -6)
'I think this assertion of the series title being misleading is dead wrong. What we haven't seen enough of is truly original material or stories, however what we have been presented with has been a pretty good start with good stories, good characters, good plots and that to me is the most important thing.'

Fair point about the lack of truly original material or stories, and you're also right about SNW having had a pretty good start with good stories, good characters etc - far better than most of us (well, certainly me at least) hoped. I said in a previous thread that I was particularly impressed by the planetary aliens in 'Children of the Comet'.

'I struggle to get over the use of the style of language. It drives me bonkers.'

Yes, me too. The contemporary language is one of the most glaring and most distracting weaknesses of SNW, and I've stated elsewhere in this thread that it hampers one character in particular (Ortegas). I really hope the writers and producers knock it on the head but it's a hallmark of NuTrek and they genuinely don't seem to be able to help themselves. This episode had them going so far as having Uhura talking like a 2022 teenager as well, not just Ortegas. Not promising.

'More to the point - can Starfleet even confirm this was the Gorn? You have a single eyewitness whose emotionally traumatic, childhood encounter with the Gorn is so suppressed that it takes a Vulcan mindmeld to pull it out. Not exactly an ideal witness your honor. So, from SF's point of view, you have one encounter with an unknown enemy that at no time revealed themselves before disappearing with no apparent trace where they went, where their homeworld is or where they're likely to show up next. Seems like a rumor-laden mystery species to me.'

This is an excellent point. La'an doesn't know what a Gorn really is. We know the name from 'Arena' etc and are simply making presumptions. I would dearly love for it all to be misdirection, and for the aliens identified as Gorn to actually be a completely different species (perhaps the aliens from 'Schisms'?). That would definitely impress me more than if it was the Gorn proper.

By the way, I don't really think this thread has 'gone mental over canon' - this thread (so far) is actually one of the more disciplined i.e. non-mental, respectful and tidier ones, sticking solidly to Trek-related matters raised by the episode - and that's quite the relief to see. Hope it can continue. I've enjoyed everything I've read so far!

I'd also like to thank @Jimmy for good contributions as well.

I think Ilsat is very correct in ending his most recent post with what is the fingers-crossed mantra of SNW: 'We'll see'. I feel like I want to write that following every paragraph on this show because I just cannot trust Kurtzman & Co to not give in to their instincts to squander the entire thing. We'll see!
Ensign Deathbound
Mon, May 30, 2022, 11:58am (UTC -6)

I'll concede that the exchange with Mendez in "The Menagerie" suggests Kirk might be out of the loop when it comes to Pike. I think that line comes down more to Roddenberry using the exchange to introduce us (the audience) to Pike and his fate, rather than Roddenberry being consistent in the way he is writing for Kirk in this instance.

That said, even Kirk had been out of the loop with Pike, that's not the same as being out of the loop when it comes to log reports and/or threat assessments. I would find it hard to believe that Kirk (or any other captain) would not be at least somewhat familiar with reports of a hostile species with a known track record of engaging Fed ships. And even if Kirk has somehow missed these reports, that still doesn't explain why Spock wouldn't remember and/or comment on this during "Arena."

@ Ilsat
"This forum has apparently gone mental over the issue of canon."

It's a point we are talking about, one of several; I wouldn't say the forum has gone mental over it.

I'm not going to burn anyone in effigy over the use of the Gorn in "Memento Mori" but I wonder why they are messing with an established species and events from TOS, when they could have gone with a generic bad guy species. @Booming's comment of "using canon to break canon" seems on point.

I understand that canon will be broken. Sometimes because writers missed something. Sometimes because they don't care about what came before. Sometimes because they have a clever idea (and then it's up for grabs whether or not this change is accepted or criticized). But this particular use of the Gorn seems like an odd development to me.

On the point of this show not living up to its "Strange New Worlds" namesake -- or failing to offer something truly new and fresh, as opposed to "old TOS in a new shiny package" I will echo @Rahul's comments. We're only four episodes in.

If I was very optimistic, I'd say the writers have learned their lesson from Picard and Discovery (have they?) and intend with SNW to go back to the roots of the franchise, giving us that same sense sense of "love of exploration" and "hope in the future" so prevalent in TOS; furthermore, they are careful in laying down the groundwork with proper introductions for every character.

Is this so? Not sure. I am in fact very guarded in my optimism, but what I am seeing so far is promising. I'm willing to give SNW time to evolve, and become its own thing -- hopefully a thing that feels like it is set in and around the time of TOS, shares its values, but strikes out into its own and becomes a unique chapter of the saga in its own right.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
@Rich James
"We are comfortable now with ridges on Romulans foreheads but we are uncomfortable with an early appearance of the Gorn. Why is that?"

As viewers we are aware that TOS was done with a 20.00 USD/per show budget for special effects. They even had trouble finding a company who do prosthetic ear tips for Spock. So, The look of various alien species in TOS became a sketch for what could be done with increased funding and improved sculptural acumen. As viewers, I venture to speculate that we tend to welcome the artistry available today as long as it conforms minimally to the TOS "sketch."

Cosmetic alteration doesn't violate canon nearly to the degree that a scripted continuity error does. The example in question is the knowledge of the species label "Gorn" (by Li'an) years prior to the first encounter with that species by Kirk who never heard the name in Arena.

Let Li'an have her personal history with a species without a name...or explain how it is that she learned the name Gorn years prior to Kirk's conversation with the Metrons. I can accept the explanation if it is handled well. Retcons may be unavoidable, but let the retcon explanation enhance the story.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
"They even had trouble finding a company *to* do prosthetic ear tips for Spock. "

Things were primitive back in '66-67, particularly when it came to special effects makeup.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 1:13pm (UTC -6)
Wow, seems a lot of people here really care about the inviolability of canon between series that are 60 years apart, or at least about rigorously drawing clear lines about when such deviations are justified or acceptable. All I really care about is if the show tells a good story with compelling characters and how successful the show-runners are at achieving their own aims. Kinda surprised there hasn't been more debate about that. Seems it's either "Loved it! 4 stars!" or "whatabbout the Goooorn?"
Mon, May 30, 2022, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
@Bryan, yes I agree but I can not stop to feel irritated on Spok as he did not mention to Kirk in Arena that he faced the Gorn together with Pike some years ago.
nacho Picard
Mon, May 30, 2022, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
I'm just pretending that SNW takes place in an alternate (and/or rebooted) timeline, so any inconsistencies with TOS and beyond are null and void.
A. Franco
Mon, May 30, 2022, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Great episode. Even tough Pike has learned his future and therefore he knows he is to survive the next 10 years, he cannot say the same of his crew. Every casualty on his watch must be a kick in the teeth. Bravo.
Mon, May 30, 2022, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
I don't really think people have gone "mental." I'm just poking fun, as I should considering the heart attack serious environment sprung from discussions of canon. You know what we need? Some Naked Now / Justice episode with necromancer lesbians, space hookers, man-slave tweekers, and so forth. You know you all want it. Don't deny.
Richard James
Mon, May 30, 2022, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
@Sigh2000 Yeah, fair point. I guess we're more tolerant of aesthetic changes to continuity than we are to established lore. Even so, the response to the updated DSC Klingon appearance is also a refresh using more advanced prosthetics and that was also widely reviled. I guess we accept the cosmetic a point. Speaking of which, we seem to have gone back to non-ridged Romulans in Picard which didn't seem to add anything narratively or otherwise.

I know it wouldn't happen on this site, but it would be great to have a full article by Jammer or someone with comments about Canon in Star Trek more broadly, rather than just on this one episode with this isolated species. I think fans have an innate sense when something is 'acceptable' or unacceptable with canon violations but is often not always consistent. Timelines do seem to one that grates people and 'siblings to someone famous' (seems like Spock has an endless number of secret siblings) is also clumsy but cosmetic updates seem fine.
Jeffrey's Tube
Tue, May 31, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Personally, I just don't think this use of the Gorn stretches continuity so far it breaks. Some lines in Arena might be "strange" now, even bordering on implausible, but not impossible. I just don't see that it's worth getting upset over when what they can do for this show is so worth that relatively minor trade-off.

20 years from now no one's going to be bitching about SNW using the Gorn if it builds them into a well-rounded species with a lot of lore. There are endless examples of such in Star Trek already and we accept it without prejudice even when we're aware of it. Heck--shall we forget the Romulans and Klingons traded racial personalities entirely between TOS and TNG? The Romulans were the "honorable" ones and the Klingons were the "shifty" ones in TOS. No one cares in the slightest now. Just like no one will care in the slightest that it was weird Kirk seemed to know so little about the Gorn when the Enterprise encountered them in Arena and that Spock didn't volunteer more about his history with them. Big freakin' deal.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 2:11am (UTC -6)
To reiterate. My problem with this is twofold. In general I don't care that much that something breaks canon. Quality trumps canon.

I'm not a big TOS fan but even I know the Gorn episode. It's just weird that they would choose this to mess with continuity. Considering that this seems to be the trekkie show, it would obviously create negative reactions. Maybe it is a really bad red herring with a big reveal that *psych* they weren't the Gorn but that would be pretty eyerolling.

For the less interested fan/average viewer, the Gorn are maybe something they know because the Kirk vs Gorn fight is such meme fodder. So including them so early in the run of a new show feels timid. It seems like the show has little ambition to create it's own iconic moments but rather uses the iconic characters/species of the other shows. As I said, maybe they are doing the force awakens method. Something familiar to give you the good trek feeling back and then create new things. Which, as we all know, worked out great for Star Wars.

Oh and by the way. They are really pumping out Star Trek and Star Wars shows as if there is no tomorrow. Yesterday I saw a trailer for a second season (I didn't actually watch the trailer) of a Star Wars show I had never heard of. The Bad batch or something. It's crazy. Like with the cursed superhero movies, they have already started to recast some characters with young actors (Han Solo, Lando; Kirk, Spock, Guinan) to milk these properties forever. I really wonder of that can work. What's next? The adventures of young Picard? What muscle hunk could play young Picard?
It's always a little icky when some men here write objectifying stuff like "uh I like her tush; she is cute as a button" so I'm really thinking about writing something objectifying about Chris Pine, uh or about the guy who plays Thor, the god with the big Hemmer!

As I said, the Hemmer jokes write themselves. Where are the Hemmer jokes!
Tue, May 31, 2022, 3:33am (UTC -6)
Say what you will about Hemmer, he’s really had to claw his way to the top.
When Uhura addressed him by his full Aenar name he said ‘please, call me Hem for short’.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 4:00am (UTC -6)
Well, with such a name you gotta HEM it up!
Tue, May 31, 2022, 5:04am (UTC -6)
Where does Hemmer go on vacation?
Holy shit. Long day.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 5:35am (UTC -6)
It's hard to believe this is only episode four, of the first season no less! The creative team deserve praise as to the grasp they have of these characters and the universe they are in. Comparisons have to to be made to its current sibling shows and SNW is 70,000 light years superior in every respect. Four seasons into Disco and its a struggle to name half of the cast- or care about them to be honest. SNW excels in making these characters likeable, fresh and engaging. More please!! Five by five indeed.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 5:55am (UTC -6)
@Jeffrey's Tube

"Heck--shall we forget the Romulans and Klingons traded racial personalities entirely between TOS and TNG? The Romulans were the "honorable" ones and the Klingons were the "shifty" ones in TOS."

Romulans in TOS could exhibit honor (Lenard) but were always cloaking around and can easily be called shifty (self-interested and unpredictable) in any Trek show) when their actions were judged by members of the Federation. This is pretty much consistent between TOS , TNG, and DS9.

As for the Klingons being shifty, it really depends on which episode of TOS one is talking about. I will admit that Klingons were shifty (even cowardly) once in awhile. (e.g., Friday's Child). However, the best if them were never lacking in honor Kor may have exhibited tyrannical disregard for the lives of other species in an effort to conquer a world, he was never shifty. He was all about glory, and warfare, and communicated a consistent ruthlessness, not without honor.

Kang too, was all about honor in TOS. He was never shifty.

So, in my view, Klingons and Romulans never traded racial personalities as you say.

What did happen was that Klingons were originally conceived as "space Mongols." In Star Trek The Motion Picture, they briefly appeared somewhat like space Assyrians using cuneiform read-outs. During TNG they gradually took on the characteristics of space Vikings, but with a 'Mirror Mirror' tendency to advance by assasination. The Viking-based Klingons constantly imbibing bloodwine and bashing chests together was what stuck. Stovokor is just another word for Valhalla. That was the trade that happened.

BTW There will always be canon.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:09am (UTC -6)
On the Klingons in TOS:
"... the best *of* them were never lacking in honor. Kor may have exhibited tyrannical disregard for the lives of other species in an effort to conquer a world, *but* he was never shifty."
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:41am (UTC -6)
And if they ever do a spin-off Hemmer show then they already have a trailer.

and here some can(n)on material to cannibalize. It could provide a refreshing take on America's fascination with violence and police brutality.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 8:58am (UTC -6)
Regarding canon, I think it's terrific that Trek has built it up to such an extent and fans like me greatly appreciate it. I know there are many (like me) who check out this site and can reasonably say they know classic Trek canon pretty much inside-out. The storytelling capabilities are actually enhanced with this extensive canon if the writer knows how to do his/her job well.

Granted there are those fans who don't know every episode etc. and what might be a violation of canon will go unnoticed whereas there are those (like me) who firmly believe it should be respected. To me, it would show that the writer has done his/her work, pays attention to details. The story they tell can still be a good story, but with Trek and a series like SNW set when it is, the classic Trek fan may be justifiably miffed. But as I said in my first comment, I don't feel there were any gross violations of canon in this episode, so I think the SNW writers are generally doing their job well respecting canon.

For the writer, canon is a bit of a double-edged sword -- it can make their work a lot easier by not having to provide extensive background if, say, they brought in a Bajoran. The story would then automatically have a great deal of texture created and can avoid a lot of superficial, introductory moments. But the writer also has to do his/her homework to avoid egregious canon violations. Minor ones can actually be explained away.

A couple of examples: An egregious violation would be like if on ENT's "Minefield" the crew actually saw the Romulans face-to-face. But a minor thing like saying the Gorn make clicking noises (which alerts La'an to their presence) whereas the Gorn captain Kirk fought in "Arena" made no such noises -- that's not a big deal. Perhaps the Gorn make clicking noises when amongst themselves. Who knows -- it can be explained away. Also a misplaced line here or there, provided it is not too material can be overlooked, but major events, consequences should be respected.

All that said, I do believe the writers have been sloppy in one respect and it is my pet peeve. Stardates. The stardates for the 1st 4 episodes are all over the place. Even TOS wasn't that bad. How much effort would it take for the writers to at least get these stardates right? They should all be lower than 1200 and go in chronological order (which they haven't).
Andre Rhine-Davis
Tue, May 31, 2022, 9:15am (UTC -6)
There were two scenes that jumped out at me as being seriously stupid: a linguistics problem and a physics problem.

The linguistics problem was when they were showing the Gorn's "light code" as being a substitution cipher of the English alphabet. As in, "this sequence of lights means A, this sequence of lights means B, this sequence of lights means C, etc". So the Gorn communicate in sequences of *English letters*, as if it's some sort of Morse code? THIS is how you want to portray an alien mode of communication? Come on, don't do this.

The physics problem was when they called gravitational redshift an "optical illusion". No no no no no no no. Gravitational redshift is a very *real* phenomenon. Light loses energy as it escapes a gravity well. Which for light means losing *frequency* as it escapes a gravity well. Which can also be seen as a consequence of gravitational time dilation. Time dilation and redshift are not "illusions", they are things which physically measurably *happen*.

On the topic of how people talk in Star Trek, I think the real issue people have is with the *register* of the speech, as we say in linguistics, rather than the *era* that the speech is from. The register of your speech is the lexical and grammatical differences in the way you speak in different social situations. You use one register with your boss, another with your kids, another to your friends etc. In every generation of Star Trek, whether TOS or TNG or whatever, people spoke using the English of the era when the show was made. I mean of course they did, they wanted to be understood by their audience. The difference is that in older Treks they spoke in a particular formal register. They spoke in this formal fancy way as one would plausibly speak when on duty in the Navy in the 60s, as opposed to how one would talk when off duty with friends. Although in older Treks they often talked in this register even when they *were* off duty. In any case, the issue wasn't whether they were "talking like people from the 20th century", (they were), but rather which *register* they were using.

The thing is, maybe in the past that was the way that people showed formality and discipline, by talking in that particular register. But I think things are somewhat different nowadays. Social norms have changed, the way we talk has changed, the registers we use have changed. Nowadays, even in formal situations, we use particular registers that would have only been used in casual situations in the past. And that's perfectly ok, language evolves. The slang of today becomes the grammar of tomorrow. Personally I don't understand what at all is wrong with starting a sentence with "like", it sounds like perfectly normal English to me. To me, the people on Strange New Worlds don't talk particularly casually or anything, they just talk pretty normally. So what is people's problem, are they just saying "this isn't how people used to talk back in my day and I don't like it!"? Please, I want to hear your arguments, all the people who don't like the way they talk in SNW, explain to me what your problem actually is. Because to me it just sounds like you're complaining about linguistic and social changes which are already normal and commonplace to me. How is starting a sentence with "like" somehow talking badly or something? On what basis can you argue that the way you use language is "better" than the way the younger generations use language? I think the language they use in SNW is appropriately formal and disciplined for the environment they're in, I really don't see a problem with it. So I'm curious to hear if there are any good arguments behind what you all are saying or its just the usual prescriptivism.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -6)
Ha. I remember that one. With the spin off it’ll be ‘Sledge Hemmer’ so it’ll be shot in Wellungtun, Nu Zeelund bro.

Other spin offs
He leads a whacky gaggle of insubordinate drillers who destroy revered semi aware asteroids in ‘Hemmergedon’.
He unerringly begins cooking and selling his own designer performance enhancing drugs with anal discomfort side effects in ‘Breaking Bad: Hemmeroids’.
He teams up with a tough but naive Russian vigilante who dices and slices in ‘Hemmer and the Sickle’.
Get JJ on the phone.

For the canon debate, I can let some things slide. The Disc Klingons didn’t bother me that much for some reason but then the Spock sister thing was just taking too much liberty. Generally things have to fit I think. The Gorn look likely to return as there’s a flash of green in the previews running with someone getting lizard whipped by the looks. Unless the Emerald fucking Chain or whatever is getting a guernsey.
Ensign Deathbound
Tue, May 31, 2022, 11:02am (UTC -6)
Different people will feel differently about canon. To the old timers and fans of TOS, it may matter a great deal (I won't lie, I'm in that category). Canon can serve as the meta-structure in which the story is framed. It can also be fun to catch subtle winks and nods to canon that will otherwise go over the heads of new fans. In some ways, canon can reinforce the illusion that this is a "real" story. And in certain instances, one can use canon to "fill-in" some gaps of knowledge, in a new/fresh interesting way.

To others, canon is a bitch. It's not a structure so much as a prison. It forces you to avoid certain topics or stories, to tell those stories a certain way if/when the subject comes up. It forces some fans who want to have a clear picture into doing research about some obscure episode that aired 60 years ago, just to properly understand the important bits of plot/background in the current episode. I also get how new writers might not care that much if they feel they have a cool idea they want to introduce (and canon be damned). I get why those who didn't grow up and/or became fans of TOS might not give a crap, and see it canon as a hassle.

That said, there has to be a line. The idea that we must be absolutely faithful to canon in every way is... impossible. There will always be gaffes, and some developments over time will often be invalidated (in retrospect) by that one forgotten line spoken in an earlier show that unravels the whole thing.

By the same token, saying canon doesn't matter is, to my mind at least, ludicrous. You have to take into account what came before when you tell a story, otherwise what you have is a crazy mishmash of background that eventually stops making sense.

The thing about using the Gorn which is ironic to me is that the implied breach in canon could have been mostly avoided if the species had not been named. If La'an had just mentioned/described an unknown reptilian species, every TOS fan would have perked up at once, knowing whom she was probably referring to, but without the outright canon breach. Making them more of a mystery species, making La'an less sure about the things she knows, and playing up things like sensor interference during the "submarine" fight (which would explain why Spock wouldn't recognize the alien life readings or the ship design in Arena) all would have served the plot without messing with established lore.
Jonathan Elias
Tue, May 31, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -6)
"But a minor thing like saying the Gorn make clicking noises (which alerts La'an to their presence) whereas the Gorn captain Kirk fought in "Arena" made no such noises -- that's not a big deal. Perhaps the Gorn make clicking noises when amongst themselves. Who knows -- it can be explained away."

I think this implies that many viewers simply like to 'explain things away.' I sort of see how that might be enjoyable. The identification of inconsistencies is a kind of game.

I have a friend who loves telling me how at the end of the 1944 movie "The Mummy's Ghost", Kharis disappears with the princess Ananka into a bog located in Mapleton, Massachusetts. When Ananka reappears in the next movie "The Mummy's Curse" she comes out of a bog in Louisiana. It was also made in 1944.

He and I both have a big laugh. Zero continuity can be fun sometimes. With Trek however, I just don't enjoy it when that happens.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound
"Canon can serve as the meta-structure in which the story is framed. It can also be fun to catch subtle winks and nods to canon that will otherwise go over the heads of new fans. In some ways, canon can reinforce the illusion that this is a "real" story."

Agreed. Nicely stated too.
Jason R.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
I think the clicking thing is a petty violation of canon, if any violation at all. The Gorn was on screen for 5 minutes in Arena so the idea that they can't display any sound or behaviour apart from what we saw in that narrow window of time is ridiculous.

But canon is only a prison to bad writers writing badly. Most of the serious canon violations come down to sloppy, lazy writing, and indifference to continuity, not some terrible constraint caused by there being too much water under the bridge.

The fact that this latest enemy just had to be the Gorn, despite the Gorn obviously being unknown to the Federation and most importantly, to the Enterprise crew in Arena, isn't because the story just demanded the Gorn versus any other alien race; it is because the lazy hacky writers just wanted a TOS callout and the Gorn are kind of sort of iconic, so continuity be damned, let's use the bloody Gorn.

Not exactly an egregious canon violation, but it is consistent with this sloppy style of writing.
Bok R'Mor
Tue, May 31, 2022, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound:
'The thing about using the Gorn which is ironic to me is that the implied breach in canon could have been mostly avoided if the species had not been named. If La'an had just mentioned/described an unknown reptilian species, every TOS fan would have perked up at once, knowing whom she was probably referring to, but without the outright canon breach. Making them more of a mystery species, making La'an less sure about the things she knows, and playing up things like sensor interference during the "submarine" fight (which would explain why Spock wouldn't recognize the alien life readings or the ship design in Arena) all would have served the plot without messing with established lore.'

Really excellent point. Completely agree.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
This was outstanding. Great character work all around. Where before I found some of the crew somewhat obnoxious, now I feel that Pike's command style simply rubs on them. Anson Mount is certainly making Pike his own and different than the other captains.

An extremley tense episode that does something truly unbelievable: it takes the corny Gorn from Arena and turns them into formiddable, scary enemies, without even showing a Gorn (probably a good decision). Their ships are bizarre and frighetening and they are relentless. Dare I say it's first tampering with canon that I actually like? I think it is!

It's always riveting to see how a Starflett crew responds to a life or death situation, and this episode hits all the right spots. This might the first great episode in the new era of Ttek.

This show just keeps getting better. Let's hope it manages to sustain this quality throughout.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
I daresay SNW has gentrified the NuTrek fandom in a hurry.

And none too soon, in my opinion.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
Here's a question - can an episode violate canon (badly, even) and still be a good episode? It seems like the divergent answers to this question explain much of the kerfuffle in this thread.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
[using my most refined voice]

Winde - fuck your gentrification comment.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
Rather abrupt, but I can hike it.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
"can an episode violate canon (badly, even) and still be a good episode?"

Violation seems to be in the eye of the beholder, but I suppose that an episode which started out on shaky ground could be improved through diverging from canon. Time's Arrow may be in that category. In the redux, Samuel Clemens is sitting in the hotel bar but doesn't open his mouth. And Guinan and Picard really go through something earth shattering...beyond friendship, and beyond family.

To me Arena was a poor choice for the writers to play around with. It was iconic to begin with, being based on a 1944 short story. It had a large number of things going on in it. Even in the 1st Act there was alot: Sestus III, Travers, locking on to tricorders and causing them to explode, unknown types of disruptors, a Federation issue mortar with an undefined energy munition of enormous power which Kelowitz calls a "little jewel." So many new features were revealed. Clicking on the part of the Gorn of course was not one of them. Sorry, that just slipped out. I now know that some people want their Gorn to go click.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Good discussion about canon above, but I think at the heart of it is a question that only a couple of people have touched on.

IMO, most of us would agree that violating continuity if it stands in the way of a good story is no issue - hence why nobody's really argued that Spock shouldn't have melded with La'an here, even though "Dagger of the Mind" has him say he's never melded with a human before. The line in "Dagger of the Mind" is a minor thing and stands in the way of a decent conclusion to "Memento Mori", so the writers just ignore it, and none of us care. Similarly, none of us care that Pike's personality is radically different from it was in the Cage, because we think this new incarnation of the character is more appealing and charismatic and we're excited to have a show about him.

The inclusion of the Gorn in this story isn't necessarily troublesome because of what it does to "Arena" - though honestly, it is fairly undeniable that it rewrites significant chunks of the plot of "Arena" - but rather because it suggests the writers are already falling back on existing stuff, as has been one of the great plagues of NuTrek. I feel like a lot of people are talking about "canon violations" and such in this comments section, but what they actually mean is that they're annoyed by the Gorn's presence in general because there's no real reason they should have been deployed in this story other than that they're from the original series, and Kurtzman et al love to invoke elements of previous Trek shows at any given opportunity, often stripped of all meaning and context and included as a shameless and desperate attempt to grab people's attention.

That said, I thought this was a very good episode overall and managed to earn its use of the Gorn, even though there's really no reason it should have been them rather than a new race other than that the writers wanted to include yet another recognisable element of previous Star Trek.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
Winde - nicely played. :)
Jason R.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
"I daresay SNW has gentrified the NuTrek fandom in a hurry."

It's turned the fandom into a pleasant boardwalk lined with cupcake lounges, loft condos and artisanal fair trade coffee shops?
Steve Peeve from Cleeve
Tue, May 31, 2022, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
Wow, this was a great episode. Top notch Trek.

And seriously who cares about a throw away line from an episode 60 years ago FFS. Just think of it is as a different universe if it makes you feel better.
Tue, May 31, 2022, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
I appreciated the respect for the crew members who died. It had some weight and some meaning. It actually felt like part of the story vs. oh bummer we lost another 15 or 30 crew members.
I just finished a re-watch of Voyager and TNG . It bugged me how casually crew members dying was handled or mentioned in the episodes, if at all.
Richard James
Tue, May 31, 2022, 11:44pm (UTC -6)
@Ensign Deathbound

You raise some good points about canon helping to strengthen the reality of the story - but I think the discussion on this forum in particular is far too binary. I don't think it's case of being put into two camps where canon matters and the other where it doesn't. Star Trek has been low-key violating canon or continuity for decades - its an aspect of world building which is creative but also messy.

Also, and I understand that this may be a controversial statement but I don't think canon even exists in its truest form. There is no 'absolute' agreed canon that is fixed in time. It is an evolving process with every new show and story contributing and changing different features. What we might consider Star Trek canon is in It is not a finite resource or agreed text. At best it is a 'broad sense of continuity'. The fact that this forum can't agreed on what is a "canon violation" or not is evidence of this. If we as fans can't come to a consensus what a 'violation' is then we haven't really set the boundaries or what is true or not in this fictional world.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Regarding canon and the use of the Gorn as the villain in this episode:

I don't sit with the show's bible and mark out every instance in every episode where something happening contradicts a line or a beat in another episode of another series. Of course I notice the glaring ones, like... Spock has a sister now?? but other than that... I think if an episode is bad and lazy we would hold canon inconsistencies against it, and of it's good, like here, we would give it a pass. It's that simple.
And let's not forget TOS violated its own continuity right off the gate until the writers began establishing the world. So canon and continuity were never sacred cows.

I think it was smart to use the Gorm here instead of a different faceless alien. First of all, I don't like it when new and significant alien species pop up in a Trek prequel without us ever hearing about them. It's what bothered me with Enterprise with the whole business with the Xindi. Why haven't we heard of these guys before? Not even in passing? Using the Gorn gives it some weight and a sense of history. I'm sorry, but for me, and I suspect for most people, Arena is remembered as this episode where Kirk fights a clunky man-in-a-suit on a desert planet. I mean, it has some neat ideas and a compelling premise, but the Gorn themselves are represented with the limitations of the time it was made in. I mean, it's a lizard man, folks. This episode rewrites Arena to a degree, and in a positive way. Sure, it's still a hokey man-in-a-suit, but now when I'll watch Arena I'll think, "hey, these are the guys who almost decimated Pike's Enterprise".

And even though, ultimatley, I like to imagine most of NuTrek happening in some alternate universe, I might, in my own imagination, consider Memento Mori as canon. :-)
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 5:31am (UTC -6)
I haven't seen this episode (I'm waiting on Jammer to review more episodes before I commit), but I disagree with commenters above who'd rather a "new race of aliens" be used instead of "the Gorn".

The Gorn strike me as the perfect "type" of alien to be pitted against a "type" of character like Pike. They're a little bit retro, they have a savagery that epitomizes the wild, lawless galaxy of the TOS era, and their mysteriousness amplifies the up-start nature of the Federation. This is, after all, a Federation that still has much to learn about other races, and is still a baby when it comes to exploring the galaxy.

One of the few "Enterprise" episodes I like is season 1's "Silent Enemy", and this episode sounds very similar. Others have compared it to "Balance of Terror", which makes it sound doubly appealing.

Jimmy said: " It was heartbreaking to see “Memento Mori” promising story framework get run aground by awful crew dialogue. "

Comments like this have kept me from watching the show. How bad is the dialogue? I've seen many people complain that the flippant/snarky/Whedon-esque tone of Disco/Picard is still present. But is it just as bad? Do the crew feel like well-trained Starfleet officers, or is this Disco/Picard all over again?
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 5:45am (UTC -6)
@Bok R'Mor
"They could have created a completely new species of aliens. That wouldn't have violated canon."

I know. Believe me, I know. :)

I've thought about this a good deal.... I think that I'm just a person who craves a little creative restraint.

Scene from the writers' room:

Writer A: "I haven't had my coffee yet, can we please just stick the Gorn into the creature slot? They were ridiculous to begin with."

Writer B: "Have a little respect."

Writer C: "Wait a minute. I think he has something there. If we stick the Gorn into the creature slot, we can do all kinds of other things to them that will strike some people as 'cutting edge.'

Writer B: "Please god, stop."

Writer C: "No. You were also the guy who said that the Borg wouldn't have queens....that it would weaken 'the collective.' Give me a break."

Writer B: "But, ..."

Writer C: "Wake A up, tell him he's good to go on this Gorn thing. We can milk this for months!"
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 8:20am (UTC -6)
@TheRealTrent it's largely better across the board than Discovery and Picard, and by default the characters are surprisingly on-task and well-trained. sometimes there are just little weird single scenes or moments where Disco-type dialogue leaks out randomly for seemingly no reason, and it's different enough from the norm that it stands out.
Paul M.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 8:46am (UTC -6)
@ Descent:
"IMO, most of us would agree that violating continuity if it stands in the way of a good story is no issue - hence why nobody's really argued that Spock shouldn't have melded with La'an here, even though "Dagger of the Mind" has him say he's never melded with a human before. The line in "Dagger of the Mind" is a minor thing and stands in the way of a decent conclusion to "Memento Mori", so the writers just ignore it, and none of us care."

My dear Descent, you give Trek fandom far too much credit. It's not that none care, it's that you're the first who noticed it. :)
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 8:46am (UTC -6)
TheRealTrent, it's substantially better than DSC and far. As mentioned above, Kurtzman is being held in a Ukrainian gulag. However, if he escapes, all bets on quality are off.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 9:14am (UTC -6)
Writer A - let's use the Gorn as the baddie this week. They're an underdeveloped enemy just begging for a cool backstory.

Writer B - interesting idea. However, we have a continuity problem. Kirk and Spock don't know anything about them in Arena. Since Pike and his crew are Kirk's predecessors, we can't logically do this.

Writer A - what if we wipe their minds like with C3PO?

Writer B - the whole crew? How the fuck do we do that?

Writer A - yeah, bad idea. [sips mimosa] Wait, what if we replace the crew with similcrums, and we program said similicrums to not recall the Gorn?

Writer B - ??????? [slaps Writer A] [finishes his mimosa]

Writer A - I miss Kurtzman. The bar was so low even a Mandalorian slug couldn't limbo under it.

Writer B - yeah, thems were the good ole days. Maybe the Gorn just aren't meant to be.

Writer A - yeah the Gorn were such swell lifeforms. [starts humming] [then sings] Just happy little lifeforms. Oh precious little lifeforms. Where are thee. Te-hee-hee-hee-hee.

Writer B - Knock off that shit. Go find your life-sized Data doll if you need to get yourself together. No one's judging. [chuckles] certainly not in this universe.

Writer A - I really miss Kurtzman [simpers]

Writer B - fuck off. You can shove Kurtzman up a Gorn's...

Ronald Moore [visiting the writer's room for a day] Did someone say Gorn? Clever idea. Oh, that's right Kurtzman's still missing. Well, while you have some time why not be daring.

Writers A and B in unison [along with the Data doll] but, but, continuity.

Ronald Moore - continuity is for pussies. [sighes] Look, just suggest through a character's backstory that it's the Gorn, don't actually show them, add a splash of Das Boot brinksmanship, and stir.

Writer A and B [looking confused] [abject crying] we're not worthy. We're not worthy.

Ronald Moore - shut up! [bizarre use of Kevin Pollak's Kirk impression] Shut...thehellupmisters!! Damnit man, youuuuu candoit. [retinue of strippers lead him away]

Writer A - let's get to work.

Writer B - yep, and leave that fucking Doll where it belongs.

Writer A - next to your Mom?

Writer B - funny.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 11:35am (UTC -6)
"...add a splash of Das Boot brinksmanship, and stir."

Excellent! 4 stars! :)
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
To the people complaining about contemporary language on the show: how do you know how people are going to talk in the 23rd century?

On canon and continuity: I don't agree that a prequel inherently has to break canon. They just need to visit, well, strange new worlds; and the writers need to resist the temptation to bring back species encountered for the first time in one of the series that is set chronologically after this one.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
Enterprise did a far better job of getting around a continuity problem.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
"To the people complaining about contemporary language on the show: how do you know how people are going to talk in the 23rd century?"

Maybe they'll say "zoinks" and "jinkies" like the Scooby Doo gang.
Jason R.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
"To the people complaining about contemporary language on the show: how do you know how people are going to talk in the 23rd century?"

The same way I know that Victorians didn't talk in 1822 the way that people in 2022 talk, most especially not after a world war, encounters with space aliens and the advent of starships.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Sigh2000 - lol, thank you my friend!
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
Anyone concerned about canon because of a throwaway line from TOS is being unnecessarily pedantic and is looking for reasons to be critical. Likely to be someone who is extremely incapable of enjoying things.
Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
@Jason, that's not an answer to my question. You argue that they won't talk like the characters on this show do. Granted. I submit that they also won't talk the way characters on TOS or TNG did. In 1822, no one to my knowledge predicted the way people would talk in 2022.

Therefore, no matter how they talk, it's going to be "wrong". So why not have them talk in the current idiom, with the implicit understanding that it's all being screened through a "universal translator", so we're meant to assume they are really talking in the way that will be equivalent then?

I have never been in the Navy, but I had a friend who served on an aircraft carrier and used plenty of argot in his conversations with me. I very much doubt he suppressed all that the entire time he was on the ship.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 1:58am (UTC -6)
I think we should all be able to recognize the difference between formal and informal speech patterns regardless of the historical era, past or future. The precise jargon may change over time, but the general parlance maintains certain language structures or touchstones that you can trace way back through that same profession or arena of discourse.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 2:09am (UTC -6)
Yup, the contemporary slang and idioms in the show irk me. It makes no sense they will talk this way. But this problem is present in all the Trek shows. The language should be neutral. They managed to do it in all the other Trek shows, so why not here?
For the record, Orville also has modern slang but since it was a comedy show I gave it a lot of slack. The more serious it got, the less of this type of speech was present, and now when it appears iot also seems out of place. But Star Trek writers should no better. Really.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 2:38am (UTC -6)
The problem with language has several components. I was in the military (not the Navy, though) and while there was sometimes cursing when in the field, there never was quippy dialogue and I'm fairly sure that if somebody had said something like:"Hot damn, my man!" or "That's gotta hurt!" then that person would have gotten a bullet in the back eventually. It's really not appropriate in serious situations or when body parts are flying around. Most people instinctively know that. In Marvel movies it works because they are movies about super heroes. They are inherently silly and the threat is often not a serious problem but a minor hurdle. The quippy dialogue underlines that the movie is first and foremost a fun ride.

Lyons and others pointed out the contemporary nature of such lines. The problem here is that it breaks immersion. If you watch a show about a future that should be very different and these people then talk like people talk in successful movies right now then that takes many right out of the experience.

And finally, and that goes along with other slightly worrying signs, why did the producers/writers put these lines in? Because they looked at charts or stats or spreadsheets or magic eightballs and said:"This is an important element in movies that are successful right now, so let's put that in our show." They are recycling old stories and are using dialogue patterns from the most successful media products. It makes me doubt that the writers have trust in their vision for the show.

Oh and Jammer burning the midnight oil! My German heart approves.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 3:19am (UTC -6)
As usual, Jammer's review is solid and fair. And eponymously clever. Jammer Trek is better than the "real" thing.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 5:22am (UTC -6)
"To the people complaining about contemporary language on the show: how do you know how people are going to talk in the 23rd century?"

When I take a look at the younger generation (younger relative to myself, meaning teens and 20s) the language they're using really hasn't evolved at all since the 90s. In fact I've heard the words "sick" and "grouse" as superlatives which I haven't heard since the 80s, as well as the everpresent "like" in every sentence, which I think began in the late 90s. But in each decade up until the 90s I saw huge changes in language and how it was used.

It makes me wonder whether there's a point where culture stops evolving. When I look at current culture in music and clothing, there's a lot of influences from past decades but not a whole lot of originality. I don't think originality can last forever - there's a point where variations, in whatever we're talking about, must run out.
nacho Picard
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 9:18am (UTC -6)
Curious, Jammer's review was almost universally glowing yet the score is "just" a three-star. It reads more like a 3.5 or even maybe a 4.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 9:53am (UTC -6)
I'm at a loss as to why this episode has gotten such glowing reviews. The script is a mess.

- Pike and his incessant speechifying. Zaps the tension out of a scene every time. Nothing he says is helpful or poignant. I laughed out loud when he told his senior officers to GET CREATIVE. Thanks for the tip, boss!

- As a fledgling Ortegas fan I was really let down by this episode. Turns out she's a dumb, obnoxious twit who can't follow simple orders in a crisis. She's written this way because modern trek writers insist on having trained professionals act like teenagers for the sake of conflict. Predictable and tedious.

- the b plot in the shuttle bay. Minutes spent watching Uhura touch buttons. Thrilling stuff. I rolled my eyes at the reveal that hemmer is a pacifist. My dude, you are the chief engineer onboard a cruiser with enough firepower to glass a small planet. You're not a pacifist just because you don't carry a gun.

- The gorn. They're big(?), they're scary, they'll eat your face! Ghastly, one dimensional villains don't belong in star trek. People who compare this episode to Balance of Terror need to go back and watch it. Look at how the Romulans are characterized. The only thing these episodes have in common is space battle.

Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 10:07am (UTC -6)
One more thing (sorry if this has already been covered)

- The pressure in the brown dwarf can crush a gorn combat vessel, but it won't harm a dinky little shuttlecraft
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 10:30am (UTC -6)

I don't think culture stops evolving. For my money. I think there's a difference between measuring cultural changes over a period of 30 years and a persiod of 200+ years. Sure, some form of the modern speech we have today might survive, but who knows?
I recently watched a reality show dealing mostly with generation Z. They were using words I did not understand. Apprently, there is Gen Z slang now. So these guys already speak differently than you and me.

But it's more than a question of slang, it's about the manner of speech. Not just what one says, but how they say it. In TNG for example the characters expressed themselves in a professional way, certainly when on the bridge and on duty, but even in their off time, their language remained neutral. That's a smart move which keeps the show's dialogue fresh even today.

If I'm honest with myself, I would guess that in 200 years we'll probably won't even use verbal speech anymore for the most part. Instead, most communication would be telepathic. Science Fiction is a fertile ground to discuss themes of language and self experession, and Trek itself had some interesting episodes dealing with that which I'm sure people here are familiar with.

The quips in the new Trek shows are there not because the writers are trying to say something - I think that's giving them too much credit. I think it's because the writers aren't simply good enough or experienced enough writing dialogue for this kind of show. Like Booming said, quipping on the bridge of miliraty vessel just shows unprofessionalism. Ortegas in this episode even refuses a direct order from Pike. He says to do A, and she's says she's gonna do B. No wonder she's the quippiest of them all. At least her character is consistent, although I'm not sure what business she has operating the helm on the flagship vessel of Starfleet.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -6)
Not only do languages change a lot, even the way people think has changed considerably over the last 300 years. Even 100years.

To quote from the vid"Where our immediate ancestors on the verge of retardation?"
Because the IQ over the last three generations has gone up 30points.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 11:40am (UTC -6)
I think this is the strongest SNW episode to date. I'd compare it to a slightly above average TNG episode. 3 stars is kind of low compared with the first 3 SNW episodes, but I'd move those down to 2.5 rather than moving this one up. If not, then 3.5 stars for this one.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
Haven't you guys noticed the general trend toward more informality in society? For example, it used to be quite common for people who didn't know each other well (or at all) to refer to each other as Mr./Ms. etc., but that seems to be going out just as surely as the old-fashioned men's business hat did. People just use first names now in contexts that would have seemed awkward, forward, or even shocking 30 years ago. More casual interaction in the workplace is on the rise, along with more casual attire.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
I think the trend towards informality happened decades ago. I'm not sure it's going much further. Kids in schools still call their teachers Mr/Ms. I call my doctor by his first name and I'm pretty sure he dislikes it. A lot of workplaces let their workers wear sneakers and jeans rather than the formal suit and tie, but many don't allow it. It's still the standard for professional positions.

The biggest change of recent decades that I can see might be allowing more emotional expression in work and formal situations. There used to be an attitude that professional conduct meant keeping emotions bottled up, strongly influenced by the dominance of males in the workforce. So what we see with Pike on the Enterprise bridge could be an accurate prediction. Some people see that as acting like children; I personally see the benefits of free expression and playfulness on productivity. Picard's bridge wasn't like that simply because it was seen as "unprofessional" when TNG was made.
David Staum
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
Regarding violations of Canon, I'm going to paste here a comment I wrote on this site on one of the DSC episodes:
A lot of people on this and many threads about Star trek seem really focused on inconsistencies. But inconsistencies in Star Trek are as old as the franchise itself. My feeling is that it's fiction, and as long as the story is well told I don't mind some inconsistencies, as long as they aren't glaring within the story being told itself. Star Trek is a modern cultural myth, and different interpretations are welcome. There are many retellings of Shakespeare as well. I have plenty of issues with Discovery, but that has to do with the writing, the dialogue, and the characters in general. It doesn't have to be firmly consistent with other trek shows or movies.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Didn't anyone else want to see new alien life forms and some strange new worlds or anomalies in this one..did the big gas cloud out of a brown dwarf surrounding a black hole count as a strange new world and original sci fi anomaly/concept would ppl say?
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 12:54am (UTC -6)
@Daniel, I like your take on Pike's "destiny".
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 7:40am (UTC -6)
I agree that cultures continue to mutate. Whether you want to call it evolution or progress is up to you.

But cultures also die as well. Some are absorbed into larger cultures. Some splinter to the point the progeny are all basically a new culture (or baseline). And some, like in Trek, just die. Nuclear Holocaust in Trek wiped the slate clean. Maybe a few, residual phrases, mannerisms, cultural references, but lacking any sort of coherence. A Tableau of what once was.

The above could happen to us as well.
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 7:54am (UTC -6)
Token, I disagree with your assessment of Pike here. He isn't speechifying for the sake of it. In one example he's addressing the loss of life and perhaps the feelings of guilt some might feel -- "Exploration can exact a heavy toll. As a captain, there is no loss more devastating than that of a crew member. As we honor the lives that have been given, let us also be grateful to be still on the journey." Pike is reminding his crew it's okay to be happy you are still alive. That there is much left to be done.

He also counsels La'an re how, as a leader, you must talk to your crew. "But right now your job isn’t just about orders. It’s about hope. Belief can be the difference between victory and defeat. Get a crew to believe in miracles and they might just give you one."

Sorry, but these are substantive examples of leadership designed to help the crew through a very difficult time. No, it's not Churchill. But it's Pike being the captain at the right moments.
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Telling people what they should feel after a tragedy isn't good leadership. It's controlling. Pike is trying to micro-manage his crew down to their emotional state.

"My best friend in astrometrics died in a torpedo blast, but Pike says I should be grateful just to be here, so I guess I'm happier now." Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It's bad leadership and even worse writing.

Pike also has this annoying tendency to tell people that they're the best! or, we're the best! in the midst of a crisis. Totally unhelpful and patronising.
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Token - "Telling people what they should feel after a tragedy isn't good leadership. It's controlling. Pike is trying to micro-manage his crew down to their emotional state."

That is complete bullshit. He's not telling them how to feel. He's telling them it's okay to feel pain and relief at the same time. He's rallying them for the cause of preserving the ship and its remaining crew. And he's getting La'an, his then-first officer, to understand that an angry, defeatist tone can reck ship's morale. He's not telling her to blow sunshine up anyone's ass. In fact, he explicitly agrees with her that she needs to keep it real. Real, but positive.

Churchill did just that after the Nazis rained hell on Britain. He gave the people of Britain a sobering assessment but then, through several of the most famous wartime speeches of the 20th century, he gave them hope. He galvanized everyone around an optimism that he himself exuded. In that way, we can say he "manipulated" the people. But from this he made possible not only a defense of the homeland but the daring and resolve to go invade Germany itself.

Don't tell me using some rhetoric to broker emotions of hope, courage and optimism is bad leadership. That's just plain wrong.
Fri, Jun 3, 2022, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
I may be a little off topic here (Jammer made no general chat section despite me nagging him). Talking of culture reminds me of TNG's "The Inner Light", in that what I take from the episode is that you have to morn the inevitable destruction of your culture. What will be remembered in a 1000 years time, a million years time, etc? All my favourite people, television shows, movies, books, video games, childhood memories, all gone.

Not seen SNW yet but it sounds like we are back to the good old 'trek formula of episodic sci-fi.
Sat, Jun 4, 2022, 1:04am (UTC -6)

You should watch Q Who to see how Picard deals with the death of 18 crewmembers. Even after the Enterprise is saved, there's no speech. And it's not like the crew isn't upset by the loss. Riker is furious. Ensign Gomez is shaken. But a speech isn't necessary because, well, what is there to say? We can assume the crew deals with the loss. They obviously cared about their shipmates. We also know they're disciplined professionals. What could Picard possibly add to that? "Death sure is sad, but we still have a job to do." Yes, DUH.

This is the heart of the problem with Pike's speech. Narratively, it's pointless. The crew wasn't about to give up. Besides Ortegas' insuboridation, everyone was doing their jobs flawlessly. So Pike's speech wasn't made to address some internal conflict within the Enterprise. It was done so the writers could check a box next to "LEADERSHIP." That's what makes it hollow and condescending. It's Pike being an annoying boss, wasting people's time with self-important lectures. Because that's what the writers think a leader does.
Sat, Jun 11, 2022, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
It would have been hilarious if the rescued girl had imitated the "urrrrrn-wahkei" sound that the gorn in Arena makes. My phonetic transcription doesn't do it service, so here's what the gorn utters, about 15 times during that epic fight with Kirk:
Sat, Jun 11, 2022, 2:29pm (UTC -6)

"urrrrrn-wahkei" that's it exactly! :-)
Willy Lovington
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
I think this was an excellent episode, but it could have been improved by a cameo from a young James T Kirk. Did you know the T stands for Timothy? I was in the William Shatner fan club you know, until I was expelled under mysterious circumstances,
Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
@Sigh2000: Thanks! :D

@Willy: Timothy??!! You may be confusing Star Trek with the Famous Five. Entirely different franchise.
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 10:35am (UTC -6)
The plot was more coherent this time. Why? Because it is the plot of virtually every submarine movie ever made.

Maybe it's because I'm old or have just seen too many movies, but I can't help but be amazed that the audiences for shows like this and the Mandalorian aren't rolling their eyes when the oldest tropes in history get rehashed so blatantly.

This is late period Berman and Braga level "This week's story is a rehash of whatever I happened to be watching on the tube last night" writing.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
Re-watched this after a few weeks cooling off period, and liked it better the second time. I think in knowing the characters better after having watched all ten episodes, I am more relaxed and more forgiving. And with the sub-titles on, I am picking up every word of the dialog. I guess in some ways this is a formulaic "monster attacks the submarine" episode, but it is well done, La'an gets some growth and change, and Ortega's flippancy doesn't bother me anymore, for some reason. Maybe I've just grown more used to her, as I have to M'Benga's accent. I am probably one of the few who is not 100% fond of Uhuru. I feel bad and mean for saying this--and yes, she is very nice and sweet and obviously someone who is going to do very well--but that chipper, pert, , wholesome girl-next-door persona gets on my nerves. I visualize Uhuru as being more of a dignified but sultry Queen of Sheba figure--like Nichelle Nichols. Maybe it's just me. Everyone else seems to think she is spot on. I could have done without La'an bringing up Michael Burnham to Spock, but hey, whatever. I'd rather pretend DISC didn't exist.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
"I visualize Uhuru as being more of a dignified but sultry Queen of Sheba figure"

"Mirror, Mirror" defines Uhuru for me. She isn't afraid to admit to Captain Kirk to being frightened, but is also willing to take on Mirror Spock in hand to hand combat. Not to mention flirting with - and quickly pulling a knife on - Sulu. She's supposed to be much younger so I'm willing to give the actress some leeway but the new Uhuru seems pretty different as you say. I can't imagine this girl playing Nichelle Nichols' role in Truck Turner.
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Marlboro, I just re-watched Mirror,Mirror for probably the third or fourth time. Wow, just wow. You forget how good some of those old shows were, but that is why the characters became iconic, of course. Yes, you are right about Uhuru. That episode just showcases her to perfection--Nichelle Nichols played her with beauty, dignity, grace, courage, strength--she just showed such layers of personality, character, and capability. I can see why I'm not 100 percent satisfied with Celia Rose Gooding's version. Let's hope she is playing Uhuru as a sweet, young, inexperienced girl for now, but that there is complexity, texture, and presence yet to come.

(Shatner, Nimoy, McCoy, Doohan--just excellent. Such fun to watch when you have not seen them for a while. They set a high bar for sure.)
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 10:35am (UTC -6)
This episode was a classic “crisis” episode, about 90% action and tactics, 10% character growth. And that’s fine, it was very well done. The only character who’s not growing on me is Ortega. All she’s done so far is serve as the wisecrack/comic relief.

It seems a bit of a waste for the Gorn to build a fleet of giant ships just to go after food. When La’an made her speech at the beginning about them being “evil”, I was sure she’d be proven wrong by the end of the episode (a Trek staple to be sure). She still might, we’ll see.

What worries me is that this is a series billed as “episodic”, and an episode like this demands consequences: repairing the ship, healing the physical and psychological wounds of the crew and grieving the dead, not to mention the Federation’s reaction to the attack, should take several more episodes. I fear that instead they’ll be taking the comic book route that became so laughable on Voyager and everything will be ship shape next week. I hope I’m wrong.
Stern Alarums
Wed, Sep 14, 2022, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
Not as good as Balance of Terror--mostly because Pike is so neutered--but the best episode of the series by a parsec. The visuals were stunning and La'an's character was interesting.
Mon, Oct 10, 2022, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
3 stars feels about right. It captured my attention the whole time, fleshed out some characters, and still managed to make it feel like a real submarine thriller. Mostly positive marks here.
Thu, Mar 16, 2023, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
As it is, I guess, very difficult to come up with something really new, why not redress something old. As long as it good I will enjoy it. I also agree with lizzzi some coments earlier, I also accept inconsistencies if they ar not to disturbing.

This episode was much better the second time.
Fri, Mar 17, 2023, 8:58am (UTC -6)
Where is the science? The ship buckling like a submarine uhuh hahaha... on that scale a few decks up or down don't matter one thing.

Also no medical gadgets? Uhuh... where are the batteries? O but still gravity generators. What was the mumbo jumbo reason again for no power in the anomaly?
Sat, Apr 22, 2023, 8:21pm (UTC -6)
1. The security officer is impossible to like. She's just angry all the time. That makes her one dimensional and uninteresting.
2. The captain knows when and how he is going to die. The audience knows that Spock and Uhura are not going to die. It's hard to take any threat seriously. Meaningless people will die meaningless deaths.
3. The stories need to be about new life and new civilizations.
Pike’s Hair
Mon, Apr 24, 2023, 9:21am (UTC -6)

I’m in complete disbelief that you think a situation created by Q who is on the bridge and can easily undo what he’s done with the snap of fingers is even remotely comparable to something the crew in SNW has to figure out for themselves.
Fri, Jun 23, 2023, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
SNW is my first entry into nuTrek. I vaguely recall watching TOS during its orginal airing. My rankings of things I've seen:
TOS & DS9: 5 stars
TNG: 4 stars
ENT: 2 stars (up from 1 after a recent re-watch)
VOY: 1 star
SNW so far: 3 - 4 stars, with potential.

Pike: I like. Plausibly the same guy who ends up in "The Cage". Checks all the boxes as a Captain. Could end up in my top 2 or 3 Captains
Spock: Meh. Not sure. I was OK with Zachary Quinto, so it's more than "it's not Nimoy".
M'Benga: He seems too old compared to the TOS MBenga - who I liked (he'd studied Vulcans!!!) even though he was a very minor character. And, really, endangering the ship with the transporter for his daughter. Nope.
Uhura: Yeah, really like her. As long as she doesn't end up unbelievably competent for a cadet (please, no more Wesleys!), she could easily mature into the TOS Lt. Uhura. Maybe a little too Hoshi -- she needs to be Uhura.
Chapel: Yeah, like her. Though I agree, she's a little too manic for the TOS Chapel
No 1: Like her. Again, I can see her in "The Cage". I do hope they do more with her augments -- I always found Trek's aversion to genetic engineering to be a strange Luddite attitude in an otherwise pro-STEM show
Kyle: A miss. He MUST have a British accent.
La'an: Jury's out. Maybe a bit too much of a hardass. Wondering what her augmented skills (if any) are.
Ortegas: Annoying. As pointed out in "Memento Mori", she needs to do a better job of "shut up and soldier". I get the general informality, but not during a Red Alert, when you might need instant unquestioning obedience and less chatter.
Hemmer: Like him. But will be interesting to see his "character episode". His biggest trait seems to be that of a loner, which is a little too stereotypical for an engineer. And it's not clear that he can fill Scotty (Or Geordi, or O'Briens) shoes.

Politics: I too was put off by the montage in "Strange New Worlds" Not that any of the images was inappropriate, but rather they were all from one side of the spectrum. You show bias not only by what you include, but also by what you omit. And there were plenty of burning & looting scenes from summer of 2020 that at least look more like scenes from a Civil War. If I wanna scare someone away from a civil war -- with just images, no context -- burning buildings look scarier than any scene from Jan 6.

The Enterprise must be of Gallifrian origin -- it's clearly bigger on the inside than the outside. Sorry, this *can't* be Kirk's ship. Almost every room is too big, some massively so.
Bridge is way bigger than TOS. And what's with the Ultra-ultra-wide viewscreen on a starship? It's "a pattern that indicates 2-dimensional thinking". And
I'm not sure I like the color scheme - very futuristic, very high-tech (very much like the latest Tardis interior) - but maybe not the best room for the serious business of running a starship.
Pike's quarters with a fireplace, bar, massive table, lounge area? Seriously?
10-Forward. When No 1 and La'an have their talk in "Ghosts of Illyria", I'm thinking: There's *NO* lounge in TOS that big. Look at the concert scene in "The Way to Eden" -- logically, that should be the largest lounge on the ship, and it's *tiny*. This room looks more like 10-Forward from TNG
Sickbay: It's huge in "Ghosts of Illyria", on 2-levels no less (I doubt the USS Nimitz (IRL), with 6000 people, has one that big). It's way bigger than TOS. It's way bigger than Galactica's.
The only exception appears to be Uhura's quarters, which she shares with others. In TOS, even Yeoman Rand had small private quarters.

The space scenes. At least in my neighborhood of the galaxy, space is pretty empty (YMMV). Most TOS shots were the Enterprise with a distant star field (an advantage of low-budget). Now, every exterior shot looks like a Hubble image. Looks good, but at some point, it's just a distraction. In "Memento Mori", we have a normal star, a planet, a brown dwarf, and a black hole all stacked on top of each other.

Prime Directive
In "Strange New Worlds", the contamination has already happened. Pike's resolution is perfectly consistent with "A Private Little War", or "A Piece of the Action", or "Patterns of Force".
Saving a pre-warp civilization ("Children of the Comet") is no different than in "The Paradise Syndrome". I always thought it was about cultural contamination; if you can prevent extinction without them even knowing about it, what's the issue?

Plots & Writing
The plots overall are pretty good. The writing is sometimes too predictable
or has too much exposition.

Others have expressed it well. To me, it's like Coca-Cola -- I can go anywhere in the world, order a Coke, and know what I'll get. Good for Coke, a huge part of their job is made easy. Bad for Coke, if they change it too much, I'll have to stop and think twice about what soft drink I want. Trek has a brand -- and canon is the definition of that brand. Presumably, most of the audience *wants* Trek (otherwise, they'd go binge watch BSG). If you break canon too many times, it's *not* Trek -- and you'll have to win them on some other grounds.
The real irony was someone who said basically "It's top-notch Trek, who cares if it breaks canon". If you break canon too much, it's not Trek.

It's funny, I listed DS9 as one of my favorite Treks, but if you go look at the DS9 comments, many were offended that it wasn't "Trek". By showing a world of grays, a world of imperfection, a world where the Federation wasn't obviously top dog, it offended many lovers of Trek. "This doesn't fit Gene's vision" was a common complaint. In other words, it broke canon. Not in the little details, but in the big picture. I thought it was excellent Trek, perhaps my vision of Trek was never the same as Gene's (but I cut my teeth on TOS, not TNG).

In the case of the Gorn, I think (as others have said) they used canon to draw in viewers ("oh, look, a Gorn episode, won't that be cool"), then broke canon. They could have left the alien unnamed. Someone mentioned ENT "Silent Enemy" -- that would have been a *much* better alien, that doesn't break canon. I've go no problem (for a Federation still relatively new to the scene) with a map with big blank areas labeled "Here be there Dragons".

The Gorn here remind me more of the Magog from Andromeda than the implacable but rational enemy in "Arena". The Metrons clearly identify the alien as the Gorn. It's clear that neither Kirk nor Spock have any knowledge of the Gorn. BTW, in the original story, the Gorn was not a reptile, but a 3' diameter red ball with tentacles. That would have really blown the TOS effects budget!
Fri, Jun 23, 2023, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
Oh, yeah
about Sickbay without power.

[Enterprise under attack]
Chapel: Systems are off
McCoy: Then get me that old portable cardio-stimulator
[Chapel returns with some hi-tech battery operated gizmo]
-- from "Journey to Babel"
Yeah, there's gotta be backups better than needle & thread....
Sun, Sep 24, 2023, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
I can't help but think that the helm officer would've been ordered off the bridge in TNG. Ro was also prone to sarcastic outbursts, but they weren't tolerated.

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