Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

"The Serene Squall"

1.5 stars

Air date: 6/16/2022
Written by Beau DeMayo & Sarah Tarkoff
Directed by Sydney Freeland

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Under the guidance of ex-Starfleet humanitarian worker Dr. Aspen (Jesse James Keitel), the Enterprise ventures into a "wild west" area of space to rescue missing colonists who have apparently been kidnapped by a band of pirates known to actively pillage this area. Their ship is called the Serene Squall, and Aspen says the pirates will likely sell the colonists into slavery to the Klingons if they aren't rescued. The Enterprise enters the region, which puts them out of contact with Starfleet and on their own, in a mission to find the Serene Squall and rescue the prisoners.

"The Serene Squall" is easily the worst outing for SNW this season, and it's a bit of a deflation to see this promising show on the decline for the third straight episode. Still, this one stands out in its boring mediocrity compared to the last two. There haven't been a lot of pirate episodes on Star Trek (they were long forbidden by Gene Roddenberry in the TNG days), with "Gambit" being the only notable exception. "Gambit" was middling, but it was a lot better than this.

There's a character core to "Serene Squall," and it centers on Spock and his ever-questioning sense of split self. Aspen takes to Spock, intrigued by his contradictions and personal struggle — as when he's forced to make a random "hunch" guess to escape a web of lasers, which to him flies in the face of logic. Aspen notes, of Spock's plight, "All species put things into boxes. You're either this or you're that." The dialogue provides an intriguing subtext coming from a non-binary-gendered actor. But unfortunately, coming so close after "Spock Amok," this exploration of Spock's dual nature feels like another retread of plentifully-well-trodden ground. T'Pring's role in all this also feels like too much of something we've already had this season.

Meanwhile, Pike and an away team board what they believe is the colonists' ship, only to find the pirate crew is there to ambush them. The away team is locked in a cell, but the supposed captain of the pirates, named Remy (Michael Hough), agrees to let Pike cook for them in order to gain a better standing with his crew (Remy is a terrible cook, see). Pike has a plan to drive a wedge between Remy and his crew, in an effort to start a mutiny and make a grand escape. What's strange here is how absolutely certain Pike is that his plan to subvert the pirates will succeed; he and Una chuckle knowingly in their cell about the chaos they're about to unleash, and none of this feels dangerous nor comical enough to be worth the time. It just kind of sits there and dies. And really — the pirate crew's power struggle here revolves around ... cooking?

Also, when Pike's team beams over to the alien ship, a team of pirates stealthily beams over to the Enterprise, and attempts to take over the ship in what is the series' first Enterprise Takeover Plot™. With the bridge compromised but the computer locked out from the pirates, Spock and Aspen have to sneak around without being captured in order to attempt to retake the ship. So does Chapel, who takes out two baddies (Die Hard with a Hypospray!), but leaves the gun behind when she has the opportunity to arm herself.

In the episode's grand twist, it turns out Aspen is actually Angel, captain of the pirates. Aspen is a moderately interesting character right up until this big reveal, after which she immediately turns into a painfully obnoxious, preening villain who giggles and mocks everyone and offers commentary on the plot that points out its own stupidity as it's unfolding. The whole thing revolves around Angel wanting T'Pring to release a Vulcan prisoner from T'Pring's rehabilitation center because this prisoner was her lover. She holds Spock hostage and arranges a trade.

Spock and Chapel run their own gambit to get T'Pring (how did she get here so fast when we're supposedly so far out on the edge of Federation space?) to reject the prisoner exchange, which involves the two of them making out on the bridge in a contrived ruse that should fool no one, least of all T'Pring (and it doesn't, really), but somehow this allows the plot to resolve itself. This doesn't work for plenty of reasons, and it feels like needlessly overt and forced fan service to play on Chapel's long-standing canon crush on Spock. To quote Una as Pike makes pirate noises and faces: "Please stop."

"The Serene Squall" is a clumsy mess of an episode that isn't fun or comic enough to overcome the dullness of its premise or the awkwardness of its plot and character turns. A last-minute reveal — that the Vulcan prisoner Angel wanted to free is actually Spock's half-brother Sybok — leaves a big question mark hanging over the series. Can this show actually take one of the more wrong-headed things in the canon and make it into something worthwhile, or is this an idea best not touched with a 10-foot pole? I will remain neutral until I see what, if anything, they actually do with this, but "The Serene Squall" on its own is not the episode to give me optimism.

Previous episode: Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach
Next episode: The Elysian Kingdom

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160 comments on this post

Tim Heidecker
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:28am (UTC -5)
I give this one five bags of popcorn.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Another enjoyable, albeit unspectacular, episode.

The strongest elements of the episode for me were Captain Angel's reflections on (Spock's) identity: we are informed by where we come from, and societal conventions, be are not behold to them. The message is reinforced by the identity of the actor.

With that said, it is a bit of an odd decision for the series to focus so much on Spock's identity given that canon has him wrestling with the matter far into the future. Although identity negotiations can certainly occur over a lifetime (see Leonard Nimoy himself, re his perceptions of playing Spock), I'm not certain what insights the series can offer given that an in universe resolution, if any at all, is years and years away.

Otherwise, Captain Pike was charming yet again, and several scenes on the Squall elicited a laugh.

For a couple supposedly with little ability to find time for one another, T'Pring sure is on the Enterprise an awful lot. Starting to get Sarek and Discovery vibes.

And there is a whole lot of sexual tension between Spock and Chapel. The Original Series hinted at unrequited love, but Strange New Worlds is taking it to another level. I hope Roger Korby isn't someone Chapel gets involved with simply to make Spock jealous. Another episode, another note on Chapel and Korby. Can't help myself at this point.
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 4:43am (UTC -5)
I am writing this as I watch:

Am I imagining it, or do I see echoes of Majel's Chapel - Nimoy's Spock banter in this hallway scene? First time that's the case, if so, where I can see THIS eventually become THAT. Interesting. Probably a fluke, and also, I really do not care in the slightest one way or the other if this depiction reconciles with TOS or not.

Dr. Aspen is saying the Federation doesn't like its ships entering non-Federation space, and then on the bridge Spock says the Enterprise needs permission from Starfleet to enter non-Federation space.

I'm sorry . . . what? The service that exists to literally explore non-Federation space? To Boldly Go, and all that? I mean . . . huh? That's . . . patently absurd. These lines got past the script review stage? Hey, you guys checked to make sure the starship is in space in this episode, right? Not on the ocean somewhere on Earth? Because that would make about as much sense? Hey, you remember the show is called Star TREK, right? Not Star PATROL? Okay, good.

Listen, I am going to rationalize this as a temporary policy by a nervous Starfleet in the aftermath of the Klingon War as it works to build its fleet numbers back up. For now, it needs all its ships patrolling its own territory in case something happens because it is stretched thin. Exploration missions are a few at a time and restricted, for now.

La'an keeps saying "colonial ships" when she means "colony ships." No one caught that either?

Spock was speaking to T'Pring in real time a half an hour ago, and T-Pring was on Vulcan (actually, I would have to rewind to confirm she was on Vulcan, but I assume so). Spock was able to get from Vulcan to Earth in an afternoon a few episodes ago. Yet now it would take two days for the Enterprise to communicate with Starfleet Command on Earth at all . . . writers, that's just sloppy. We're literally 7mins and 35 seconds into the episode. We haven't even arrived at the opening credits. C'mon.

Wait, now they're all saying "colonial." Did I miss some bit of exposition? I'm very tired.

Chapel just went up a very nicely homaged Jefferies Tube.

Okay . . . made it to the end now. (And T'Pring clearly wasn't on Vulcan.)

I loved it.

Pike was just fantastic in every scene he was in this episode.

But let's get to the Sybok of it all.

You know . . . I was thinking that from the moment Spock said "of course" about the prisoner on the bridge. I was thinking it, but didn't really think they'd do it. Star Trek V is . . . well, not beloved and therefore as ignored as possible. But personally, I'm really excited. This character and this relationship is under-explored. This bit of the lore has been a burning loose end for decades. I think there's tremendous potential here.

Thought Jesse James Keitel was an amazing guest star and I'm really happy Angel got away and that it seems they will be back. I think most of us savvy television viewers saw their double-cross coming but I never felt certain it wasn't something else they was hiding, or that the episode wasn't going to somehow veer into a tryst between them and Spock and that the very deliberate setup wasn't for that instead.

"I've been using emotion to control you all day long." Fantastic, because it was true, and they showed it every step of the way. They really earned that line.

Vulcans have emotions and they are controlled by them. For all that effort, all they really accomplish is suppressing their visible expression of those emotions.

I'm sure there's something to unpack about a gender non-binary actor and character telling Spock he doesn't have to be either human or Vulcan but can be something else entirely, if I'd care to, but I don't. It just doesn't interest me, personally. Nevertheless, I note it, and consider it was well-executed and a smart parallel to draw.

No Hemmer, again? I wonder if COVID filming limited the time in the makeup chair? Or, I wonder if one of these episodes is a serious deep-dive into his character where he's in nearly every scene.
The Queen
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 5:07am (UTC -5)
This episode was packed full of great things, great scenes, great acting, yet for some reason it didn't "tug" at me. Not sure why unless it was that the plot seemed uninspired. And yet there were at least two twists I didn't see coming. So I don't know.

But on my list of positives:
- The character development/continuity work for Spock and Chapel was outstanding: in character, believable, and subtle.
- The addition to Sybok's story was excellent! It totally fits, and let's not have anyone say Sarek wouldn't have an affair. He's proven to be quite a maverick in his own way.
- I loved the interface for the Enterprise's "Facetime" session.
- I was sure that T'Pring believed Spock's pretense with Chapel. But the resolution to that felt completely appropriate.
- Loved Pike's pirate-talk at the end. Kind of a nod to the TOS light-humor ending scenes?
- Captain Boy Scout!

- Why exactly did Pike put himself on the away mission?
- I couldn't really get behind the idea of leading a pirate mission for love. Selling slaves made much more sense.
- I need some Hemmer.

This cast can do anything, and the writers are giving them good stuff.
Tim C
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Another solid outing, and a step up from last week's somewhat paint-by-numbers episode. I don't think it hit the heights of "Memento Mori", but certainly enjoyed it. SNW is continuing to raid legacy Trek's fridge for leftovers - in this case, it's "Bad Guys Take Over The Ship Way Too Easily" - but it's doing a good job of making sure to spice it up with interesting character dynamics.

Although this is Ethan Peck's episode, and he gives another stellar turn, I'd actually give the MVP award to Jess Bush this week. Her performance in the final scene with Spock was genuinely heartbreaking, and she conveyed a lot of painful emotion without the dialogue needing to over-emphasise it. Great acting.

I was also somewhat torn about whether Anson Mount was playing the prison scenes *too* lightly, but by the end I actually laughed at the reveal of the riot happening in the background of the bridge crew. I think it was the right tone to take. As an audience we *know* these pirates are not a real threat, and rather than try to convince us of that the episode just leaned into the joke. I wouldn't want to see this approach taken too often though.

We've got three episodes left in the season. Are we going to see Hemmer or Ortegas get a showcase?
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 7:16am (UTC -5)
@AMA, I agree, I enjoyed this episode, but kept wondering why this show seems so focused on Spock. I don't dislike what they're doing, but also kind of check out because Spock has been analyzed to death in Trek. We have 3 TOS seasons, 1 animated season, 6 movies with Nimoy, 3 movies with Quinto, 2 TNG episodes, 1 season of Discovery, and dozens of novels, comics, etc about this character. What else is there to learn?

SNW is easily the best of the new Trek shows and I am enjoying it. But I'm not completely in its thrall, and I think some of that might be because it's still retreading old ground with characters whose fates we know. The show works really well when it leans into that (Pike's fate haunting him in the first few episodes). It's not as good when it pretends we don't already know the future (the Spock-T'Pring-Chapel "will they or won't they"). I can't help but feel this show would have been even better with a completely new cast of characters.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 7:27am (UTC -5)
Holy hell that was cheesy. Not a bad episode, but campy in a very TOS sort of way, and hard to take completely seriously.

I should start with the positives. Unlike last episode, the focus on character returned here. The strongest elements of the episode by far are continuing to explore the relationship between Spock and T'Pring, along with Chapel as part of the "love triangle" so to speak. It feels a bit repetitive, since we had much the same focus only two episodes before, but it's well written, so I can forgive it. I'm also going to give big marks to the series for returning to Orions in grease paint, rather than using the "mask" makeup like Discovery.

As to what I didn't like, it honestly mostly came down to Jesse James Keitel. The actress (is that the right term to use...Jesse uses they/them, but I don't want to deadname someone trans by using actor) is just tonally wrong in this episode. Some of it may be because of how the episode is structured - this is one of those rare Trek episodes where a guest character is all-but framed as the main, present across almost the entire story, which gives it a bit of a "fanficish" feel. But I also thought her acting was off, particularly once the mask came off and they went into full villain role. Giant hams as villains is very TOS of course, but it kind of broke immersion for me, and reminded me I was watching a show rather than being immersed in the story.

I do wish we had a bit more time with Pike and La'an onboard the Serene Squall to see their gambit pay off. It was obviously a lower stakes story, but most of the general levity of the episode came from seeing Pike play rope-a-dope with them. There were of course other humorous elements (the whole "Pike as a boy scout" thing for example). I think Pike doing a pirate voice from the command chair was a bit much however...though again, this episode is pure cheese, so I can roll with that.

I didn't like the introduction of Sybok here at all, but I did enjoy seeing Stonn being a creeper in the background.

I know there was no Hemmer or Uhura this week. Was M'Benga missing as well?

Three stars I suppose.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Looks like the SNW writers were on vacation, and they made a Discovery episode instead.

Not terrible. I suppose if you are going to do a riff on Star Trek V, this would be the way to do it.

What I like is SNW isn't afraid to experiment with tone. Last week's "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" was exactly what I enjoy, but obviously not everyone agreed (including @Jammer).

This week's "The Serene Squall" wasn't the type of episode I particularly look forward to, but I like that people enjoyed it.

Nurse Chapel continues to impress.
Ed Spock
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:01am (UTC -5)
I can now safely say this is the best first season of any post-TOS Trek series by far. Love the characters and the storytelling, and after 600+ Trek episodes, I can accept the near impossibility of coming up with entirely new episode ideas. I’m just happy to hang with these people.

The villain performance was awful. Far too hammy and over the top. Feels like this actress went to the Avery Brooks Overacting School to get ready for this ep.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:35am (UTC -5)
I think one thing SNW is consciously doing is making each episode have a very different tone/genre, and really playing that up. So after an ultra-bleak iteration on the mystery episode, we have a full on campy adventure flick with everyone hamming it up. There's an almost pastiche or anthology-esque quality to this series that is really interesting.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Of course, the double edge sword is that, like Lower Decks before it, SNW seems more interested in metacommenting on the nature of Trek tropes themselves than on the actual concepts but... when the writing is this enjoyable, no complaints from me.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Wow, just wow. I give this ten stars out of a possible five. Great cheesy, hammed up, tongue-in-cheek space opera fun, but with emotion and heartache, too. All the performances were excellent, with the villain probably my least favorite--a real icky and evil person--but that's OK--the villain is supposed to be...well...villainous. . My heart just breaks for Nurse Chapel--her sizzling scene with Spock on the bridge, and then the last scene together where they discuss it hoo, tissues, please. And that ending nod to the character Sybok, no less. How long has it been since we've seen him? Oh, and news flash, news flash: For you hair-do watchers, Captain Pike's hair got majorly messed up in this episode. Yup, just all over the place. But it was combed neatly again by the end of the show when he was back in the captain's chair rocking a north-of-England pirate's accent. Arrrrrr, arrrrr.(I have to agree with number 1: "Just stop." )
Tobias Schächtele
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Fresh out of watching and can say, can't remember the last time I had THAT much FUN watching a live action ST episode (I think some Lower Decks Eps come close).
And I do not know quite why, but I jumped out my seats giggling and clapping when they casually introduced Stone and also SYBOK OH MY GOSH!!!
Also, I felt the sting when seeing Chapel has to go with Spocks ruse and kiss him – poor thing!!! Chapel is approaching MVP status for me personally fast.

Yes, It was a bit uneven at times and cheesy too, but the finale totally sold this episode to me – it's the best kind of Cheese IMHO.
Rich James
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 11:08am (UTC -5)
This might be the cheesiest episode of Star Trek I’ve seen in a while but it was pretty fun. I think the difference with this is that it’s knowingly camp and corny unlike DSC which does this by accident. Sure, it’s not going to go down as a classic but it’s decent enough.

One issue. Where was Uhura in this episode? And also, where has Hemmer been for the past few? Seems kind of odd with an ensemble like this when characters, especially interesting ones, just kind of disappear. Seeing Hemmer in this kind of campy, cheesy pirate romp but playing it straight would have been quite fun.
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 11:34am (UTC -5)
I wonder if T'Pring dropped Stonn five seconds after Amok Time. She seems like the type, heh.
nacho Picard
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. It was fine.

I didn't much care for "Captain Angel's" acting once she showed her true colors. It was a bit too overacted and hammy, and not in an endearing way.

I enjoyed the B-plot of the Pike team trying to start a mutiny but it needed about 10-15 more minutes. I suppose it made for a funny moment when suddenly Pike is commanding the ship (complete with giant steering wheel like it's an old sailing vessel), but there seemed like at least one or maybe two scenes were missing. It made for a surprise but not the most satisfying one.

Also it seems like the bad guys took over the Enterprise way too easily. It's supposed to be a ship with a crew of 400 or so but it didn't seem like it. The notable absence of Uhura and Hemmer only helped put that much more of a spotlight on how sparse the ship seemed.

Honestly, I think this would have been better as a two-parter, akin to the kind of special event episodes Voyager would have once or twice a season. You could get a lot more mileage out of the mutiny storyline, show more of the attempts to retake the Enterprise with the crew there, and explore the motivations of Cpt. Angel along the way. Instead it was an episode that devoted more than half its runtime to the setup and then rushed through the conclusion. There was no middle.

Good, but not my favorite. It feels like the episode with the most wasted potential, which is not uncommon for a first season episode in Trek history.

7 or 8/10
nacho Picard
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
The Sybok reveal was a genuine twist ending. I don't know if we'll get anything more from him, unless SNW is comitted to completely rebooting the franchise and pretending like the TOS show and movies didn't happen. I'd be fine with that, as it would allow the writers to tell new stories without worrying about continuity.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:15pm (UTC -5)

I was really digging this until the head pirate showed up. Pretty silly character design, they should have gone back to the drawing board on that one. His acting, and the cheesy dialogue written for him, don't help.

I guess that's partially by design, as he is shown to be a poor leader and a bit of a buffoon.

Did I miss when Angel's pronouns were revealed to be "they/them"? That's what Pike said at the end, but for me it came out of nowhere.

Overall, a fun episode. The amazing consistency continues, three stars.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Oops, the "Jammer" up top is just the label on my phone note, and was not intended to be part of my comment.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube: I can't really dismiss any of your criticisms, and you have convinced me to like the episode a little bit less. Such is the peril of participating in online discussions of shows, but overall I definitely feel it is worth the tradeoff.

@Karl Zimmerman: I feel "actor" is the best term to use regardless of the gender of the person doing the acting. As the great Rhea Seehorn of Better Call Saul points out, we don't use gendered names for writers or directors, so why shouldn't actors be the same?

BTW, M'Benga was not missing, but it was close to a cameo.
Eric Jensen
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Not as good as the other episodes. Standard...
Good character exploration of Spock, even if too much done
Good story telling, pace
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Jesse James Keitel is "nonbinary and uses she/her pronouns." So, uh. Whatever I guess.

I am officially old because none of this makes a lick of sense to me. I guess she's a she/her who isn't a walking stereotype of femininity so therefore has an identity that's not "woman?"

I was also confused by the conceit that a nonbinary ex-Starfleet officer was replaced by an imposter who was also nonbinary? Felt like the episode didn't want to lose whatever point it was trying to make about identity despite the twist undercutting the identity of the guest character this week.

Speaking of, does that twist make this kind of a subversive story about gender? Here you have this "nonbinary" who is revealed to be manipulating people using emotion and compassion to get (plural) them to do what (singular) they want. It the weaponization of empathy, done in bad faith, which is very close to contemporary gender-critical views of nonbinary and trans identities.

Which, hey, I'm here for. I'm on board with sci-fi using allegories to touch third rails. It's too bad, then, that the episode reifies the identity by having the villain give Spock a final identity speech that we're supposed to take at face value.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
@Episodenull: I literally laughed out loud at your parenthetical use of "singular" and "plural". It reminds me of a very funny Dave Chappelle joke that I'm not supposed to enjoy.
Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Steve Shives actually had a pretty cogent thought on Youtube, that they explicitly used a nonbinary actor/character here as the antagonist because she's trying to effectively tell Spock he's nonbinary. Not in the gender sense, but in the species sense - that he doesn't have to choose between being Vulcan and human, or even a mixture of the two, he can choose his identity to be whatever the hell he wants it to be. Which is pretty much what enby identity is.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
A fun episode (with an extremely welcome, unexpected surprise at the end).

But I can't help but feel like Orville and SNW had their own little sci-fi "mind swap" experience, because all the fun and jokes are over on SNW now.

Which... I won't lie, makes for some enjoyable Trek (and a slog of an Orville). But because of that lighter tone, it didn't really feel like Pike (or anyone else who wasn't getting shot up while the ship was bring raided) was taking the situation too seriously. It never felt like any of them were in any serious trouble. (I mean, he's cooking them dinner for them, for chrissakes.)

Still, better than the sin of being boring. :)

Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
@ SlackerInc

Oh, I'm sorry! I was thrilled with this episode and enjoyed it immensely. A little bit of clumsiness about some details that really aren't that important and don't have anything to do with the "point" of the episode didn't take away from it for me. Classic Trek was never really great at being consistent with such details either. We gloss over that just fine in our retroactive appreciations of classic episodes that contain them.

I've noticed a lot more malaprops sneaking into television scripts lately (i.e., "symbology" for "symbolism," the example of "colonial ship" for "colony ship" in this episode), overall. Part of me wonders if we're just so awash in informal blog-style writing since the advent of the internet that literally no one involved in the production, from the writers to the editors to the actors saying the lines, even realizes it's wrong. Star Trek unfortunately is not immune. There was one bad one the Federation President said on Discovery last season . . . it slips my mind at the moment, but it was caught and called out in comments here. But it's not just Star Trek. It's literally everywhere, even in "prestige" television series.


I wondered about that, if after the reveal Angel was going to be referred to as "she" rather than "they" because the character has a different gender identity than the person they were impersonating. I think, in the end, the writers were afraid of confusing the issue. If they switched pronouns after the impersonation reveal, certainly a segment of viewers who aren't good at paying attention and understanding distinctions would accuse the show of carelessly misgendering the character through bad editing in the closing acts. Cue the twitter outrage, etc. Or worse yet, people would willfully "misunderstand" just to have something to be outraged about . . .
Jeffrey's Tube
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
@ Karl

I agree that Angel was more "antagonist" than "villain." Their connection with Spock and their empathy for him and their relating to his circumstances came off as genuine. Manipulative nature of their interactions or not, I have no trouble taking their final speech "at face value," as @EpisodeNull puts it, because it still feels like the writers earned it to me. They successfully "showed their work" with that, so to speak.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I so enjoy watching this series.

I was disappointed that our visitor ended up being the villain. I was more impressed with Jesse James Keitel as Dr. Aspen. When she ended up being the bad guy her mustache didn't fit very well.

Lots of great Spock Vulcan/human stuff. Loved Spock's solution to their predicament.

So Vulcan can call Enterprise on a whim but a signal will take two years to get to the federation at the beginning of the episode?

I was all smiles at the end.

Campy, old-time SCI-FI with some great underlying character stuff.

Loved it.

I'm still wanting more Una though.

Did they ever find the colonists?

6 for 6 folks!

I predict no duds in this one.

3 of 4 stars from me.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Oh, forgot one...


I wasn't expecting that.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Oh good lord...

7 for 7!!
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
I'm puzzled why you guys liked this. Soap opera bad in every cheesy way. The big positives for me are that Ethan Peck and Jess Bush elevated the (pretty lousy) material they were given. The cast truly is a strength that this series has (and that goes for discount Cara Gee as well, who is actually pretty good).

Oh, and I'm very onboard for the Sybok reveal, though I did see it coming. If you are going to retread young Spock, in my opinion Sybok is one of the more interesting places you can go. Though we will probably (again) bump into the issue that Uhura shouldn't know anything about him, but perhaps they'll find a way to deal with that.

As an aside: I noticed some musical references to the Star Trek VI sountrack in this episode's score, though perhaps they weren't deliberate.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 5:22pm (UTC -5)

This was so bad I don't know what to say.

From the cringeworthy scene with Spock stroking Nurse Chapel's ego, telling her how amazing she is, all the way to the end with Pike's silly imitation accent, it was all horrible.

Sybok? Really?!? They picked the worse TOS movie to call back to?

And as expected, nobody says anything about the "pro tip" comment even though people were all up in arms about it when Picard's Raffi did it.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, this one didn't quite land for me either. It didn't really feel like Star Trek, more some kind of wacky action-adventure series. I know wacky action-adventure has been a staple of Star Trek since the start, but here it all felt... I dunno what to compare it to, really, but it felt tonally wrong for Star Trek (even within the vast array of styles Star Trek can cover), and just not a great episode on its own merits. It's interesting to see the fan response to the two latest episodes - people seem pretty split on them. I wonder if there's a trend of the people who like this one being down on last week's, and vice versa. Personally I thought both were a bit weak but I'll take last week's over this week's any day.

Another thing is that it's tough to get too invested in the Chapel/Spock stuff because we know that it goes nowhere in the end. Also, while Peck and Bush sell the material with great skill, I feel like this hasn't had chance to build up. We're to take it now that Chapel is deeply in love with Spock, and it's like... we're only seven episodes in. Should have let it all build a bit longer.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 5:52pm (UTC -5)

I largely agree, and wonder what the reception would have been if this were the first episode aired. We would see far fewer benefits of the doubt given. As it stands, many regular contributors to the forum are already highly invested in the series and enjoying it. Which is fantastic. SNW is far too fresh of a series to have theoretical discussions a la DS9 and TNG, and a lesser extent, TOS. But perhaps eventually. It can be more interesting to have meta-discussions to focus on a few more abstract issues - why were certain choices were made, were they effective, and were there cumulative writing lessons learned over time?

Until then, I’ll gladly cede most of the discussion stage to the screeching “loved it!!!!!” types each week. Hey, they are enjoying themselves, and gods love em for that.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
This show gets so many of the little details right that DIS and PIC get terribly wrong. The costumer who had the idea of giving Pike an apron during his turn as galley chef deserves a raise, as does the set designer who slapped a giant ship's wheel in the middle of the Squall's bridge.

Also, I thought we were all supposed to pretend Sybok never happened.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:21pm (UTC -5)

Not nearly as positive as it's been coming as the the seventh episode. I enjoyed it okay but I'll admit something has also felt "off" about the last couple episodes in ways that the first five didn't. If it aired first, I'd be pretty worried about the show.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
The upside is that the trailer for the next episode looks pretty spectacular. Not entirely clear what's going on just from that one minute clip, but could be something akin to TNG's "Parallels" on crack. Plus looks like it's gonna be an M'Benga episode - I think part of the reason that episodes two, three and four were such a solid run of shows is because they were each essentially focused on a character, so hopefully the next episode will bring things back on track in time to give us another run of good episodes through to the end.
C.T Phipps
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
I admit I love how so many people were accusing Uhura of being a Mary Sue last episode only to have her not show up at all this episode because there's no language based problems.

People are way too gun shy.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
My least favourite so far but still a long way above DSC at least (although I'm not sure that says much).

The crew were boarded and taken by these guys in their pirate ship.. all 400 of them and everyones knows how to operate all this stuff instantly? - I can barely use my wife's phone and it's even the same make just with different icons. That could just be me though. Ok I'll let that slide since tos/tng/ds9/voy did that kind of thing many times..

But then Angel Pirate lady reveals herself and does some truly DSC level of "acting". She utterly removed me from the show it was so bad. There can be good scenery chewing and ham definitely but this really wasn't it.

It was just about saved by the charming nature of Pike, Una, Spock and Chapel. T'Pring was great as always too. The stuff with Spock and Chapel was very good indeed.

Somehow I guessed the Sybok thing since they just HAVE to find any name they can from any old Star Trek they can't and they've already done Khan to death...

The mutiny was kinda rushed I felt since they wasted so much time talking about Spock's dual nature.

Still entertaining enough - 2 stars is all I can manage though.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
Why does Kurtzman-era have such an obsession with turning the worst trek movies into essential viewing? First Nemesis (Picard) and now The Final Frontier. May the Prophets help us.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 6:43pm (UTC -5)

There were no colonists. It was a ruse to lure the Enterprise/Spock there - during her mustache twirling villain-lady said so.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
"Screeching loved it!!!!! types." ???

Oh good grief, can't I just enjoy this great new show without it being picked into nitty-gritty, ridiculously serious over-the-top discussions about minutiae to the max. Some people on this forum are too crabby and need to lighten up.

So here I go--get ready, all--I LOVED IT!!!! SCREECH SCREECH SCREECH
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I was THIS close to saying this is the first episode that didn't really work for me. Captain Angel was pretty bleh once revealed. They had a big scene in engineering, and again the chief engineer isn't even in the episode. For an episodic show, T'Pring being around so much lately is nowhere near the most interesting ongoing character story they could be telling. Ortegas and "kaboom" was annoying. The Tholian Web Laser Asteroid Super Weapon Super Trap went nowhere after the one minute threat. The mutiny plot was dumb but at least they didn't do "he put sleeping pills in the spaghetti sauce" or something like that.

But damn it having said all comes Pike behind a giant pirate ship steering wheel with a big grin on his boy scout face and it was so stupid and so awesome. Anson Mount rules. Three stars.

More and more I don't know if this show will be capable of ever pulling off a "City on the Edge of Forever" or "Inner Light," but if not I am OK with continuing to watch something that is simply entertaining, relaxing, and FUN. This is still light years ahead of Disco and Picard. I'll be happy to tune in to a consistently watchable three star show like this for years to come.

And come on. Sybok. Hilarious. I think the writers know how ridiculous they're being here and I'm all for it.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
I was thoroughly enjoying this episode, and taking down notes as I watched it. I love this show, and I really never say that. I recently realized that I've been watching the original series for 50 years of my life now. That's quite a bit. Anyway, I was thoroughly enjoying the episode right up until the time when the counselor changed into her 'TNG villain' catsuit. I knew something was up after that; but when I saw the captain go from being tortured as his crew is threatened with being sold into slavery, to then suddenly cooking?? Annnnd that's where it went off the rails for me. I couldn't take any of it seriously. Not funny, bizarrely mixed, often cartoonish. I think a good story could be pieced together from excerpts from this episode.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode. The drama over Spock's identity doesn't click for me, though. He's anxious about how other Vulcans see him (for good reason--Vulcans are hella racist), but he doesn't seem to have any problems navigating Vulcan society. Angel even refers to him as one of Vulcan's favorite sons. Yet various characters (T'Pring, and now Angel) keep speaking to his human heritage like it's a big deal for him. It feels forced.
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
Well it sounds like I took it a little too seriously, but I take everything seriously. I guess it was fine if you're looking for something like a Harry Mudd episode. And I wouldn't mind seeing that - but I would know what I was getting into.
This seemed fine up until it became very goofy. I missed Uhura and I hope the actress is resting after all of the fine performances she gave. I am really a fan. Also Hemmer - they need to realize how much we love him.
I said before that the episode went off its rails with the captain cooking, but I think it could have recovered if it weren't for two things. The first being that the actress playing Captain whatever really sucked. She belongs in an episode of Captain Proton. And secondly, how is everyone disarmed at the end? At the very least I think that we as an audience deserve the respect to be told that. This isn't children's programming.
Ensign Deathbound
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
As others have noted, a TOS cheesefest of sorts. I award two bowls of Pike soup out of four. While that might seem harsh considering how part of me I enjoyed this episode, the bowls of soup are tasty indeed.

On one hand, it’s a kind of “low stakes” episode. On the other, there are a few head scratching moments. Chief among them for me is how a band of pirates can take over the Federation Flagship so easily. It’s still unclear to me if this Enterprise still crews 203, or if they are up to the TOS complement of 430.

Yes, the enemy captain is in their midst, gathering intelligence, using wiles and deceiving everyone, but pirates being able to capture/round up everyone on the ship really seems a bit dodgy. IIRC, TOS had two instances – “Space Seed” and “Day of the Dove.” We can chock up the takeover in “Space Seed” to the benefits of Genetic Augmentation; in “Day of the Dove”, the Klingons only had partial control of the ship – never mind that the alien entity was always interfering to insure one side would not gain too much advantage over the other.

I suppose we just have to roll with it. I tend put a lot of effort forgetting about TNG’s embarrassing “Rascals” takeover, preferring to think that a clever bunch of pirates would be wise enough to pull any kind of caper on a Starship while everyone is elsewhere – as in the far more satisfying “Starship Mine.”

Colony ships vs Colonial ships: did we have a clear count on the number of missing ships? If the number is twelve, I’ll keep an ear out for Bob Dylan covers.

Captain Angel’s villainous mustache twirling was a bit much. As was the fact that Spock and Chapel were allowed such liberties on the bridge, having a long exchange with T’Pring, even as the conversation was clearly going in a direction that was not helpful at all towards securing a prisoner exchange. Methinks Captain Twirling Mustache would have cut off communications beforehand.

Again, I suppose one should simply “roll with it.”

Pike’s mutinous hijinks were entertaining, but ultimately not the high point (also felt the “Arr Matey” bit at the end to be way over the top for the character). But the highlight for me was the Spock/Chapel interactions.

With T’Pring and Stonn now in the mix, we are looking not at a romantic triangle but a cube. Fascinating. Maybe they’ll move up the theoretical “Spock and Chapel alone at a shuttlecraft crash site” episode to the end of this season?

The final reveal: well, I’m deeply conflicted here. I was momentarily intrigued that they would go there, and bring Sybok back into the mix (perhaps Shatner will see this as a vindication of sorts?). And I will admit that there might be some wisdom in thinking that when one attempts a remake or a prequel, one should revisit the bad ideas and make them better the second time around, as opposed to trying to milk the existing good ones (which were fine enough when they were first aired).

Thing is, I saw STV in theaters, and I still carry heavy PTSD from the experience. If it comes down to a future episode where Sybok plots a takeover of the Enterprise, or the agony booth, please, please just throw me in the agony booth.
Troy G
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Entertaining enough, and with performers like Jesse James Keitel, who needs women as actresses?
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
WHY WHERE WERE THE STRANGE NEW WORLDS AND WONDROUS UNIQUE NEW ALIENS..Wasn't anyone else disappointed this episode had none of thst.that. why hoary old Oruons..or even space printed in general is not original or creative is it??
Thu, Jun 16, 2022, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
SNW laid its 1st egg here in a truly terrible and poorly conceived episode. Immediate downer to see more Spock/T'Pring to kick off the outing -- these writers really need to move on and start coming up with some fresh ideas. But as an examination of Spock trying to indulge his human side, so to speak, what surrounds that weak premise is just ludicrous. I'm truly shocked at how bad this episode was and on how many levels it was idiotic.

One very quickly realizes Captain Angel is deceitful (far too predictable) but once she's out in the open, you just want to strangle her -- she was that annoying. And the pirates led by Remy were just moronic. And complaining about the quality of food? Really??

No way that the Enterprise could be subdued so quickly by the pirates boarding party. Were the shields really down all the time while pursuing the pirate ship and running through an asteroid field??

Pike & co. and their "Alpha Braga IV" -- that subplot was too simplistic. One didn't know what tone this episode was trying to balance -- these pirates appeared fearsome but like magic the mutiny is pulled off and we see Pike & co. in control of the Serene Squall. I think it's like the writers could not find a way to make this come about reasonably, so they just jump to the conclusion they want. Ridiculous.

I did like the introduction of Stonn -- and I found it remarkable that they made him look just like in "Amok TIme"! And note that he is frequently by T'Pring's side. Nice touch here. As for Sybok as Sarek's child out of wedlock and the one Angel wanted released -- I'd rather forget Star Trek V, but I think it's pushing it a bit to try to include whatever canon can be done. Please SNW, don't revisit this character.

As for the development of Spock and Chapel's friendship -- I suppose some more groundwork had to be laid prior to TOS. This time I didn't mind Chapel that much and their interactions were reasonable, but nothing commendable.

Ortegas's schtick has grown very old very quickly -- just zippy (and stupid) one-liners could only work for 1 episode. This is a paper-thin character after 7 episodes and yet is part of the main cast with an opening credit.

Another episode without the chief engineer Mr. Aenar -- what's up with that? No Uhura either, but I think that's her first complete absence from an episode.

1 star for "The Serene Squall" -- really an episode to forget. Shocked that after 6 decent to excellent episodes, they'd come up with this turkey. Amateur level of writing on full display. As for Spock & T'Pring, they seem to have gotten closer after this incident -- T'Pring understood Spock's gambit with Chapel. So what worries me is we might have another episode with these 2 that pushes them further apart and Stonn will get developed some more. I'm not looking forward to that.
Rich James
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 12:51am (UTC -5)

I wouldn’t take the title of the show so literally. ‘Strange New Worlds’ doesn’t mean they have to visit a new, exotic planet every episode or even at all. Sci-fi has always been about exploring ideas rather than places necessarily.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 5:27am (UTC -5)
‘Battlestations’ meaning, - when one cowers under furniture. Fucking hilarious.

‘Watch your 6’. Sorry Cap, we’ve only learnt watch your 12. Ha.

Pike make up your mind. Break the rules or follow regulation. What’s it going to be in the next ten minutes.

Lordy fucking lord.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 5:34am (UTC -5)
It is definitely NOT edible. It’s shit. Enjoy people.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 6:54am (UTC -5)
@skyelord, thank you. That should have bene obvious to me.


"More and more I don't know if this show will be capable of ever pulling off a "City on the Edge of Forever" or "Inner Light," but if not I am OK with continuing to watch something that is simply entertaining, relaxing, and FUN. This is still light years ahead of Disco and Picard. I'll be happy to tune in to a consistently watchable three star show like this for years to come."

I so agree with this. This episode obviously had it's issues, but at the same time it's seemingly not going out of it's way to piss me off like... well lets say like Discovery and Picard does. I just enjoy spending an hour or so watching it. I enjoy all the characters, but I'm forgetting the Chief Engineer's name (maybe this will be remedied next week). We don't have anyone like the first mutineer in the history of Star Fleet that "fails up" to be the Captain of a Star Ship.

If this episode is as bad as SNW's gets, I'll be more than happy. I'm not putting a classic past this bunch just yet.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:52am (UTC -5)
After I much praised last week’s outing, this one leaves me un­im­pres­sed. I feel there are se­ve­ral pro­blems with this script, and the acting. Or maybe I just don’t like T’Pring, since I con­sider her two epis­odes (#5, #7) the weakest in the sea­son so far.

(*) What is this BS about not entering non-Federation space (“ti­mid­ly go where every one has been be­fo­re”) and suf­fer­ing day-long com­mu­ni­ca­tion delays? Hey, T’Pring can show up with­in mi­nu­tes in per­son with an en­tire ship of her own, and the Fe­de­ra­ti­on HQ can’t even talk?

(*) The ‘Serene Squall’ is mentioned by Una first (5:38); Pike has never heard the name before. Spock and Cha­pel are pre­sent and stay si­lent, so I guess they didn’t know any­thing about it be­fore that conversation.

(*) Yet at 31:30, Aspen reveals herself as Cap­tain Angel. Spock says “The ´Se­re­ne Squall’ is your ship”. How does he know the name of the pi­ra­te cap­tain? Also, at 44:40, Pike uses the pro­noun ‘them’ for Angel. Who told him?

(*) When Pike and Co beamed to the fake colony ship, they did not re­cog­ni­ze it as a pi­ra­te ves­sel. I guess co­lo­ny ships come with big guns in those days?

(*) At 20:51, Remy sarcastically tells Pike “Welcome to the ‘Se­re­ne Squall’.” Pike as­su­mes Remy is the cap­tain of the ves­sel; he clear­ly does not know of Cap­tain Angel.

(*) The crew of the ‘Serene Squall’ are manipulated into a mu­ti­ny against Remy, be­cause Remy is a bad cook I guess, and they don’t like bar­gain­ing with Klin­gons. But they should know that Remy is not the Cap­tain and that he can­not de­cide about Klin­gon bu­si­ness, so why would they go along with Pike’s suggestion?

(*) The entire cooking subplot was like “Brain, Brain, what is Brain” but less fun­ny. I am proud of my cook­ing skills, but this was too much even for me. Also, that pi­ra­te ves­sel has an awe­some­ly func­tio­nal kitchen.

(*) The takeover of the ‘Enterprise’ was very easy (shdes of “Rascals”). On re­watch, it be­co­mes clear that the shoot­­out on the bridge is poorly executed. Most funny line “You are for­tu­na­te their wea­pon was set to stun” (Spock to Aspen, 27:14). But Aspen was not even stun­ned, so the pi­ra­tes must have three settings on their pha­sers: Kill, Stun and Fake.

(*) The acting of Jesse James Keitel was very good as Aspen and equally bad as Angel. Is a mustache-twirling lady a non-binary in-joke?

(*) Angel is completely unable to prevent Spock from a lengthy dis­solu­tion-of-en­ga­ge­ment-by-leng­thy-ri­tu­al-word-ex­chan­ges scene. Worse, she orders her crew to fire on the Vul­can ship (and kill her lover, 41:23) as her only plan B. How did she be­co­me so suc­­cess­­ful? Tac­tics doesn’t seem her strong side.

(*) We don’t see the mutiny happen, probably because no one could think of a way in which it could pro­ceed with­out tear­ing more holes into the pathe­tic rem­nants of a “plot”.

I give that script praise for two things only: One is the cha­rac­ter stuff for Spock, which while not new or ground­brea­­king, is interesting enough. The other is the expert way how Aspen ma­ni­pu­la­tes him.

There is also the Chapel material, which leaves an ambi­gu­ous taste in my mouth: On one hand, it’s just great. Chapel, an in­de­pen­dent, strong badass,­ bravely goes along with the de­cep­tion and fake-kis­ses Spock, well know­ing that he will ne­ver kiss her for real. Rather, she ac­cepts her­self being moved to the friend­zone. I really like that move.

On the other side, NOTHING in this dynamics resemb­les any­thing we know from TOS. Cha­pel, now an en­­er­ge­tic and joy­ful per­so­na­li­ty, will be­co­me a pale sha­dow of her former self, litt­le more that a piece of com­pe­tent but other­wise un­inter­esting sick­­bay fur­ni­tu­re. This is in­cre­dib­ly sad, and I wish they had come up with a dif­fe­rent nurse for SNW.

Probably both Angel and Sybok will reappear later. I ha­te STV like al­most any­­one else, but I com­pli­ment the au­thors for plun­der­ing not the best but the worst parts of the fran­chi­se, but this is on the as­sump­tion that they can im­pro­ve on them (it certainly did not work out with “Ne­me­sis” and PIC or the 2009 film). I’m sitting on the fence to see how it will end (but please, make Angel’s acting different next time!)

In the end, I give this episode rather generous 1½ stars for being mostly dumb en­ter­tain­ing with a few bright spots.
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 8:53am (UTC -5)

"More and more I don't know if this show will be capable of ever pulling off a "City on the Edge of Forever" or "Inner Light," but if not I am OK with continuing to watch something that is simply entertaining, relaxing, and FUN."

@1 star for "The Serene Squall" -- really an episode to forget. Shocked that after 6 decent to excellent episodes, they'd come up with this turkey. Amateur level of writing on full display.

The following isn't directed at anyone in particular, and the selected quotes above are more of an example of the variety of comments we get here. Some seem to really enjoy SNW, some think it's nothing great but okay/watchable (maybe in a TOS-nostalgia kind of way), some folks don't really like it, and then there are the variety of opinions as to each individual episode.

For my money, I think we are bound to get some variety in quality no matter what. No matter how good the writer's room is, you're always going to get episodes that are sub-par. No matter how bad the writer's room is, you're bound to knock a home run once in a while (or at least a solid triple). Others have made this point before, but the episodic nature of SNW is a welcome change in NuTrek, not least because we can now judge each episode on its own, as opposed to having to rate it as part of a segment in a season-long story, which succeeds or fails on the merits of the arc.

That said, I suppose that because we now get something like 10-14 episodes per season, depending on the NuTrek show, viewers will feel they are owed some level of quality. The kind of money and effects poured into those productions now is probably why we get fewer episodes, so we expect the writers to ante up, and provide us with solid consistent quality, every time. We expect them to brainstorm a number of stories early in the process, and then shoot down the bad one in order to focus on the good ones. I can understand that.

In my mind, I keep contrasting this with "old Trek", which had seasons of ~26 episodes on average. There was a lot of room back then: a lot of room for the average, basic Trek fare. Also, more than enough room for the really bad episodes -- mostly in the early seasons, while the writers are still finding they way -- but also later on, when there is a turnover in writers, some new showrunner takes over, a pet project that should have been shot down gets green-lighted, or someone in the quality control department is sleeping at the switch. Finally, there was room for the outstanding efforts -- the 4 star episodes that not only succeed as a self contained story, but come to exemplify all that is great about the franchise. Not as many episodes as we'd like, but every old Trek show had at least a few of them.

I guess my point is that I'm expecting that SNW will dip from time to time, and while we are still in the early days, I really don't see any way in which this show won't produce a 4-start at some point. Maybe I'm wrong, but by virtue of the episodic structure alone, we are bound to have standouts which will gather near-unanimous acclaim, even on a board like this one where the continuum of opinions seems to run large.

I grew up with/love TOS, but I'll be the first to admit that the show itself was pretty uneven at times. Maybe even as a whole. I think what saved it then was that you had 26 episodes per season to watch -- something for everyone to like and dislike -- and you could still have great moments of character interactions within an otherwise bad episode, a saving grace, if nothing else. The same went for TNG, DS9, etc.

I guess point is that we would probably be less definite in our judgement about SNW (from either a praise or critical standpoint) if there were more episodes per season. A 10-episode season gives us a bit of tunnel vision; the good episodes seem to shine brighter, and the less-stellar ones seem to suck more. In a 26-episode run, we'd probably have a lot more basic two/two-and-half efforts -- "workhorse episode" one might say -- and those in turn would prove more watchable (?) because they would be what is expected in a longer season. It's another reason why I think comparing NuTrek to OldTrek is difficult.

For my part, I don't think we'll start getting a proper read on SNW until the third season is done. I confess, I'm optimistic -- enthusiastic, even -- about what I see so far (even if I'm irked now and then, or will quibble on/argue a point), but the show hasn't come into its own. We can be hopeful (or distraught) at what we see, but it'll be a while before we get the full picture.
Ensign Deathbound
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 9:02am (UTC -5)

"The crew of the ‘Serene Squall’ are manipulated into a mu­ti­ny against Remy, be­cause Remy is a bad cook I guess, and they don’t like bar­gain­ing with Klin­gons. But they should know that Remy is not the Cap­tain and that he can­not de­cide about Klin­gon bu­si­ness, so why would they go along with Pike’s suggestion?"

Thank you. I had meant to bring up that point earlier, but never got around to it.

This is definitely the Achilles Heel of the episode for me. Clearly, Captain Twirling Mustache is in charge, and evidently not someone the crew would mess with/challenge. The scenes in which Pike sows the seeds of mutiny really don't make sense, as Remy is not really captain at all.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:20am (UTC -5)
@Jimmy said, "I largely agree, and wonder what the reception would have been if this were the first episode aired. We would see far fewer benefits of the doubt given. As it stands, many regular contributors to the forum are already highly invested in the series and enjoying it.”

Well said. We are :-)

@Marc said, "I thought we were all supposed to pretend Sybok never happened.”

Actually, I’m quite a fan of ST:V
Rob Parry
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Really enjoyed this episode. It was so absurd like some of my favourite episodes of TOS but it also had some lovely character moments. I also loved the Sybok reveal at the end, I actually unashamedly love Star Trek 5. Good fun all around, solid 3 stars for me. It was fun
Keith Dalton
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:28am (UTC -5)
“Please stop.”

Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 10:39am (UTC -5)

Oh, I certainly agree. I suppose I’m talking about different views on quality that emerge from how people view SNW as a coherent whole. A lot of us, me included, try to put ourselves in the heads of the producers, albeit with perhaps more knowledge of the fandom. We analyze what we see as misssteps, inconsistencies, etc., though personally minor retcons don’t bother me.

Contrast this with people who view SNW as simple episodic entertainment. Every week is a roll of the dice independent of weeks prior. These folks weren’t entertained by DSC or PIC, and see what they would ordinarily view as marginal TV as if it were ice water served in hell.

That’s my main definition of “loved it” types. It is simply a weekly recalibration of a surface level desire to be entertained. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it needs to be politely distinguished from carerful analysis, both for and against.


An odd response to what I thought was a generous tone, i.e., let folks have their fun. Screeching? YES. If someone says “LOVED IT!”, it is shorthand for saying “My reaction is emotional and I can’t be bothered by analysis or nuance.”. And as I said, that’s fine! Incidentally, it isn’t isomorphic, as several contributors say they “loved it” AND add plenty of discussion. These aren’t the folks I’m talking about.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Love these discussions--I was kind of teasing the group when I said I was going to SCREECH. Hey guys, I have malice toward none and charity toward all. And I'm just thankful that we have plenty of Trek to view and dissect.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
@Galadriel "Also, at 44:40, Pike uses the pro­noun ‘them’ for Angel. Who told him?"

I wonder if Angel was actually a member of an androgynous alien race, all of whom are addressed as "them". This would make sense and help to ease the issue you mention, as well as the even more confusing issue of Angel also referring to the real Aspen as "them". If Angel's a member of an androgynous race who stole the identity of a scientist of the same race, it makes sense why everyone just defaults to referring to both characters that way.
ned the hyena
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
In which Chef Pike saves the day with great food, a sneaky trans fool us into thinking they someone they're not, Spock's identity crisis keeps on going, and also Sybok.

Pike starts us off with a delicious Lasagna Meeting to greet Dr.Aspen who is suddenly on board, except that Nurse Chapel doesn't like lasagna so she has All You Can Eat Sandwich Wraps instead. I love a good lasagna but there no shame in finding out how many wraps can fit inside you.

Dr.Aspen is a great character cuz she do the philanthropy, instinctively knows the contents of Spock's soul despite having just met him, beats him at logic ("shoot the one with the most energy!") and even knows how to counsel all the men into submission with her dominatrix catsuit and sultry feminine charms. She basically everything Rick Berman wished Counselor Troi was, but wasn't.

But that's not all. She also secretly pirate Captain Angel with a tragic past and just loves being DELICIOUSLY NAUGHTY. This episode would not be much more than an author self-insert fanfic, except the actress takes it to another level by making the amazing Dr.Aspen a mere fabrication capable of deceiving even Spock: "your deception was quite thorough." High praise from a Vulcan! Captain Angel may SEEM like a cartoonish caricature until you realize that this babe has LAYERS that the actress executes so well that even the clever audience can't foresee it until the big reveal. Someone give them an award!

Then after a HUGE mix-up about the colony ship actually being the Squalid Squall pirate ship with almost no sensor range, Chef Pike and company find themselves captives, are slapped around a bit, and fed terrible gruel. You can tell by how greasy the pirates are that they are very stinky and barely getting by. That's when Pike has the brilliant idea that the pirates' problem is that they just don't know how to cook. That's something he can help with! After raiding the pantry, he discover that the pirates have all these fine gourmet ingredients that they didn't know what to do with, so they had instead been eating rancid gruel in a can this whole time. Pike's homestyle gumbo wins hands down with the pirate crew and they mutiny over how stupid their second-in-command is. I guess they don't care about what Captain Angel would think about that. But that's okay since Angel only cares about Spock and Sybok.

Other thinks:

- Uh oh. T'Pring knows Spock well, but perhaps not well enough! I love his D: face when she say "I knew there was no way you could have the feels for her!"

- I hope they don't make a Flanders out of Ortegas, like the CON is manned by nothing more than silly one-liners

- Happy to see they rebooting Sybok and not introducing yet another unknown sibling that steals Burnham's thunder as the only one that matters

- Someone said they confused by "conceit that a nonbinary ex-Starfleet officer was replaced by an imposter who was also nonbinary" but they have it all wrong! Did anyone say that the original Dr.Aspen was non-binary? Maybe she's an ordinary woman and Captain Angel is such a convincing imposter that it never occurred to anyone that she's not an ordinary woman either until she revealed her true identity as a THEY! THEY are so good that THEY didn't even have to tell Pike that THEY are a non-binary THEY. Pike just absorbed that knowledge through sheer force of conviction.

- How did Aspen/Angel get on the Enterprise to begin with? Did she dock there with her fake humanitarian shuttle? But wait... then how many ships does she have? She couldn't have got there with her secret remote-controlled shuttle because then the gig would be up. Pike would also wonder why it flew away after dropping her off then went lurking behind all the nearby asteroids. It seem like she wouldn't need three ships unless she somehow foresaw that the mutiny on the Squalid Squall would happen and would need to beam out to somewhere else.


(3 whoops out of 4)
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@Descent: Good fanwank!

@Galadriel: "What is this BS about not entering non-Federation space (“timidly go where every one has been before”) and suffering day-long communication delays? Hey, T’Pring can show up within minutes in person with an entire ship of her own, and the Federation HQ can’t even talk?"

Definite plot hole there. A lot of your other points are also fair. I still enjoyed it precisely because of silly, fun stuff like "Aarr, matey" and so on that seems to rub many others the wrong way.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Fun episode with a wonderful scene between T'Pring, Spock and Nurse Chapel toward the end. Capt Angel was mustache-twirling which fits the tone of this episode. Seems like she has a Seska vibe though we'll see. I'm sure she'll be back. 2.5 stars which is about as good as an episode like this can reasonably aspire to. The fun, campy manner in which the episode is told creates a max ceiling for me of 3 stars. To have a chance for anything above that, the writers / showrunner can't play it like this. They have to play it straight and create something truly wonderous and provocative.

As a few, level-headed folks have noted, the show still hasn't hit those heights. But, it's got a long way to go.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
It does feel a bit unfortunate that this show is limited to ten episodes while Discovery gets to sprawl itself across 13-15. If anything the latter should be limited to a "miniseries" feel.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
I realize @Jammer's ratings don't traverse series, but I have liked most everything from Strange New Worlds more than anything from Discovery or Picard. Just a tad odd to see a 1 1/2 star rating here when I would sooner rewatch this episode than most any from Discovery or Picard, including those with much higher ratings. Might suggest these episodes are slightly underrated, and those from the other two are overrated. No big deal though.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's review completely misses the ridiculous tone of the episode. Pike and Una are basically there for comic effect. The mutineering ruse is of course unrealistic. Pike is basically laughing at the camera-- ho ho, of course this will work. It's the Alpha Beta gambit!! Jammer's taking this far too seriously.

Angel/Aspen is a messier element. Jammer is right that her reveal diminishes her character in this episode. Mustache twirling and all. But she serves to push the true plot - Spock's introversion re the human element of his identity. Angel pushes him, admittedly in an abrupt fashion. But the T'Pring / Chapel sequence with him is very potent.

The episode is certainly no classic. But Jammer short changes aspects of the episode that easily grant it additional credit.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
No question SNW >>> DSC, PIC which is why this episode was very strange but I do think SNW has lost momentum in the last 3 episodes. That being said, there are enough DSC and even PIC episodes I'd rather rewatch (if a gun was put to my head) than this disaster.

I think @Jammer's review is on-point as is his rating. I thought this episode should be rated 1.5* as well but had to further haircut it for the terrible characterization of Capt. Angel, Remy and his pirates, not to mention how ridiculous many of the plot events were. I really think we've had Spock/T'Pring overkill thru 7 episodes.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Evidently, this episode is worse than just about every episode of DSC and Picard according to some. I call bullshit on that.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
" (how did she get here so fast when we're supposedly so far out on the edge of Federation space?)"

Warp travel in the Kelvin era is the first Abrams film the trip from Earth to Vulcan took about the length of a casual conversation.

A visit to the Caretaker Array would be a day trip.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
If that's true then maybe they should skip subspace communication entirely and have Messenger Ships used exclusively to rely messages back and forth.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Haha, yeah.

I agree that Jammer took this too seriously when it's just supposed to be a lark. But it's also legitimate to not want episodes of that type. I enjoy them from time to time, but YMMV.
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
i can kind of agree that this is likely the weakest SNW outing yet. but one and a half stars?

that kind of makes me think that jammers ratings are less "absolute" and more relative to the average quality of a series than i would have previously assumed. cause i will take a weak SNW over even the "strongest" DSC material any day, that much is clear at this point.

having said that, i hope that over time SNW starts to become a bit more..."daring"`? to allow itself some more drama and higher stakes. of course, please (please!) no Universe Ending Threats That Only Burnam Can Stop (TM), but, well, higher stakes in the 90s trek area. you know, high enough to make you wholeheartedly care, not as high as to break any suspension of disbelief.

thats a sense of balance that trek has lost ever since VOY. yes: while i would love to give the credit to loosing any sense of what is a believable threat and what is not to DSC with its amazingly stupid marvel-ish over the top threats, that balance was already lost with enterprise, with its ridiculous temporal cold war brabble and later the xindi "threat" that tried to pretend for 20+ episodes that "earth is in danger" is a credible plot for a prequel series. credit where credit is due...

but who cares when we now have this basis to work from. come on, SNW! you can do it!
Jeffrey's Tube
Fri, Jun 17, 2022, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
I feel like we didn't even watch the same episode. Maybe you just need to be in a different mood or mindset when you watch this one for it to work for you. I hope you'll enjoy it more on a repeat viewing, Jammer.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 12:02am (UTC -5)
@Rich James I see your point but remember the CREATORS PROMISED US THIS SHOW WOULD VISIT NEW WORLDS AND EXPLORE and focus on isn't it onto expect that most week? I care more about that than exploring characters or ideas not related to new worlds or aliens..hopefully next week will get back to EXORING as will most that not what you want from the show? To each his own if you don't Thanks for answering.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -5)
@Jammer, how did you know the Angel actor is non binary. I honestly thought they were a disrespect just saying..
Joseph B
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 12:28am (UTC -5)

I have to disagree with Jammer on this one!

Sure — This was a “Cheesefest”; but TOS had plenty of those and most were still entertaining.

Bottom line: This ep entertained me! I had it at 2.5 stars *before* the Sybok reveal. That upped it to 3 stars for me.

And, BTW, T’Pring got to the rendezvous point so quickly because she was at the Vulcan rehabilitation facility on a planet located not too far from the area Enterprise was in. That was established early in the ep when Spock and T’Pring were engaged in a private conversation from Spock’s quarters and then a few minutes later we were told it would take 48 hours for a communique to reach Federation headquarters. So she was *obviously* in (relative) close proximity.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 1:27am (UTC -5)
There we are again. Jammer going against the grain. Keep in mind people that Jammer isn't sitting in a lab running a statistics program mumbling to himself, while a young intern runs in and shouts:"Sir, we have to add these variables and an omega factor or the rating will be off by 0.073%."

He is also not living near a stone circle in England meeting with a bunch of guys with long beards doing mystic rituals until a star rating appears in the sky.

It's well written, it's well thought out. Still, it is "just" his opinion.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 1:38am (UTC -5)

That's because the actor is a woman. "Non binary" is just an internal state that some people seem to think overrides physical reality. Trust your perceptions.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 2:59am (UTC -5)
“Gambit was middling.” Lol. Jammer dumping on one of TNG’s best two partners does a lot to kill much of the credibility of his criticisms.

Other than a pretty weak final 10min, Gambit is fantastic.

Seriously. Lol @ this
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 4:50am (UTC -5)
I'm happy for people who fully enjoyed the episode, but at the same time I feel like a few people are saying "don't take it too seriously, it's a bit of fun" as a defence which is something that winds me up. The problem isn't that the episode has a fun, breezy tone (although obviously that'll turn some people off), it's that nothing that's happening makes any sense and isn't internally consistent.

Take other fun episodes like "A Piece of the Action", "Menage a Troi", even "Gambit". They're fun and the premises are ridiculous, especially in the case of "A Piece of the Action", but the writers ensure that the story is tonally consistent from start to finish, they set themselves rules and make sure to follow them, they make sure to put the characters in believable peril even if the ultimate goal is to make the viewer laugh, etc.

Though the "Gambit" comparison is obvious, "A Piece of the Action" may be the better comparison. In that episode, the gangsters do pose a genuine threat to the crew, Kirk's victory is hard-earned and won through guile, and - beyond the silliness of the initial gangster-planet premise - everything that happens makes internal logical sense. In "The Serene Squall", Pike wins by magically appearing in the pirate ship's cockpit with his senior staff. The main villain sits in the chair doing nothing while T'Pring, Spock and Chapel save the day. The tone jerks around oddly and abruptly a few times. There don't seem to be any rules as to what's happening or what the characters can do - we're out of sensor range but we transport down, we're out of comms range but we can talk to T'Pring with no delay, we're locked in a cell but somehow we all made it to the (unguarded???) bridge during a mutiny where said bridge would surely be a key battleground...
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 5:04am (UTC -5)
The Pike parts where entertaining even if silly.
The Spock ones..
I don't think I like this version of Spock.
I think it is a combination of how the actor plays him plus the writing.
It seems like there is too much Spock talking, or just too much Spock.
And everything Spock seems repetitive.
And also too much T-Pring. I can't find their relation interesting, especially after what we know from TOS. But I guess with need her for Sybok.
Aspen was fine until she became Angel and transformed to a villain caricature.
Troy G
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 11:20am (UTC -5)
I just rewatched this episode, and Ethan Peck is almost unintelligible. He seems to speak too fast for the lines he is given; I’m surprised the director didn’t notice or is anything about it
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
I saw Jammer was getting backlash in the comments, so gave this one another watch. Jammer is entirely correct, and his warning about the series trend is more clear on second viewing. As well as a look at the writing credits. I would encourage all of you to study the SNG writing credits and their past work.

All my criticisms come back to one notion - the writers are too present in the story, and it is clear that they are writers of YA science fiction directed at teenagers, leaning toward but not exclusively, teenage girls. There isn’t anything wrong with that as a demographic, or even the use of feminist/feminine tropes in the writing. But just as there is such a thing as too much masculine energy, there is also too much feminine energy, and that is SNW’s central problem.

Oh, and if the colonists emerged from Captain Angel’s imagination, why did the Enterprise earlier scan 200+30 aboard a ship?
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Well, complaining about too much feminine energy is pointless. The show audience is heavily tilted towards 45+ and male. It's worse than ST Picard and Discovery in both aspects. Expect more themes that are aimed at younger feminine audience or at least what the current Trek leadership perceives as such.
Janeways Labrat
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
After this episode I’m convinced we WILL get a Pike space nazi episode in short time.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 5:10pm (UTC -5)

I trust my perception that you are wrong.

Well looks like this is the episode that finally broke Jammer, I will now proceed to list his star ratings for every show from TOS to ENT and compare the averages and complain that he is not grading this individual episode based on the numerical average ratings of other every other Trek series. Instead he's just... Watching individual episodes and giving his opinion. Outrageous.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Ouch, one and a half stars.

Fantastic episode IMO. Weaves the action story really well with the theme of split identity, the twist really caught me off guard. Ethan Peck as Spock is marvelous and Jesse James Keitel as Aspen/Angel was really good.

Some plot holes, such as couldn't they verify Aspen's identity via a photo? Or do Aspen/Angel look very similiar, down to their fluid gender-thing? That was a bit confusing.

And where the heck was Uhura isnall of this?

But these nitpicks aside, I found the episode very enjoyable and well-made. Very solid series we got here.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
Just a small correction fro Jammer's review, the power struggle was not about cooking (although that was the initial instigator), but because Pike identified that a) Orion Pirate's second in command doesn't like him and 2) that she's afraid of dealing wirth the Klingons.

I guess he just quickened a process that was bount to happen anyway. But... where was Angel in all of this?

That's why I wish we had a scene where Angel was talking with Orion Pirate. As it is it felt like these two crews were totally separate and disconnected.

I do agree I preferred thje character of Dr Aspen over Angel. Much more interesting and subtle. But I can't help but admit that the actor's performance was deleciosly evil when the switch happened.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
"I just rewatched this episode, and Ethan Peck is almost unintelligible. He seems to speak too fast for the lines he is given; I’m surprised the director didn’t notice or is anything about it "

You didn't notice this earlier? It was a standout to me in the first few minutes of the pilot, and one of the reasons I didn't continue watching after that episode.

There are many impressions I get from someone who feels the need to talk that fast, and intelligence may be one of them. Wisdom is definitely not.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 8:23pm (UTC -5)

You watched it again?!? That’s brave Jimmy. After the Aspen subtext speech, the ridiculous paint by numbers Chapel disarming and the dumb, just so dumb, Pike reaction to being pushed in the cell, I turned this ameteur rubbish off. After reading what occurred after I’m glad I did.

It’s one thing to have a fun episode but again the fact the writers are allowed to change the tone of the characters so much where they are devoid of any intelligence (Pike has a lighter side but he’s not a complete buffoon) reflects the direction of Discovery and Picard.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
I do have trouble parsing what M'Benga says, as I've said, but no trouble understanding Spock's dialogue.

@Mal107: "Other than a pretty weak final 10min, Gambit is fantastic."

I'm not familiar with that episode (I've only seen about 10% of TNG, though I've seen all or most of all the other series except TAS up to and including ENT), but that's quite a caveat! I'm hard-pressed to imagine an episode of any TV show that I would rave about if it had a "pretty weak final 10min". Like, to me that sounds like "ugh, so disappointing after it was looking like it was going to be really good".

@Descent: "we're locked in a cell but somehow we all made it to the (unguarded???) bridge during a mutiny where said bridge would surely be a key battleground"

Seemed obvious to me that the pirate lady they were talking to took them up on the offer to enter into an alliance with her and anyone else who wanted to mutiny. So she presumably let them out and gave them weapons. Showing that play out, beat by beat, would not have been nearly as fun IMO.

@Booming: "Well, complaining about too much feminine energy is pointless. The show audience is heavily tilted towards 45+ and male. It's worse than ST Picard and Discovery in both aspects. Expect more themes that are aimed at younger feminine audience or at least what the current Trek leadership perceives as such."

You're saying because they want to make their audience less unbalanced? That's an interesting idea, but it seems like a very dangerous game to play. It could very easily alienate the audience you already do have, without attracting the other demo. Imagine for instance if you reversed it and the CW decided to add storylines to their teen soaps to make them appeal to older men. Maybe some mafiosos, hardbitten sheriffs, that sort of thing. Would that really work? Or would the teen girls turn it off and the older men never even try it?

@Lynos: "I do agree I preferred thje character of Dr Aspen over Angel. Much more interesting and subtle. But I can't help but admit that the actor's performance was deleciosly evil when the switch happened."

I agree with you on both counts.
Trek fan
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Jammer, what are you smoking? With due respect, there have been countless pirate episodes on Star Trek. The definition of piracy is hijacking a ship and that happened many, many times in TOS from “Way to Eden” to “By Any Other Name.” If you want a more obvious “pirate” character, Harry Mudd hijacked the Enterprise in I Mudd. That’s not even counting Sybok in Star Trek V.

Happened many times in TNG and Voyager, too, including the Kazon two parter in the latter. Don’t recall it much in DS9 due to the space station setting, but Orions figured in Enterprise and Discovery. Etc.

Bottom line: Ship takeover plots are a very stake trope in Star Trek and nothing particularly stands out as rare or unique about this episode of SNW. I do like that Jammer notices how boring it is here: My whole knock against SNW is the lack of originality in the plots. Classic Trek had polemics and ideas; this series is a flat imitation of the TOS style without the substance.
Tim C
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
Disagree on this one, Jammer - I'd rank "Ghost of Illyria" as the weakest effort of the season so far, where it was taking the Mysterious Virus trope too seriously and not paying enough attention to the characters within. The argument that we've had too much Spock/T'Pring stuff I could be persuaded by, but I've been enjoying the material myself.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:22am (UTC -5)
" That's an interesting idea, but it seems like a very dangerous game to play."
Sure, I'm not a network executive. Maybe that is a bad plan.

Still let's look at the issue in a broader sense. The Star Trek shows are the major draw of paramount+, maybe the most important shows. Having them attract a fairly old and male audience could cause problems down the line. These shows are essentially there to draw people into their streaming service. At the end of what Americans obviously had to call the streaming wars, because everything is a war in the US, there will be a few general streaming services, a little like the big TV channels. They will have a complete catalogue and an audience from all walks of life. The rest of the market will go to specialized niche streaming services. CBS does want to own one of the general streaming services but so far Star Trek is pushing them down a niche.

" Imagine for instance if you reversed it and the CW decided to add storylines to their teen soaps to make them appeal to older men."
That is actually a good example for what I'm saying. The CW is a niche channel for younger audiences and as far as I can see it CW will slowly be incorporated into either HBOMax oder Paramount+ to broaden their catalogue.

"Would that really work? Or would the teen girls turn it off and the older men never even try it?"
Soap operas and other shows that appeal mostly to a certain demo exist like that for a reason. They are fast food. The Star Trek shows are front and center, as I said, probably the major draw for Paramount+. They want them to have a fairly young and all gender appeal. The fact that SNW has an even "worse" aka old and male (worse in a capitalistic sense) audience than the other NuTrek shows is probably setting off alarms. That's the reason why they are throwing in all these modern themes. Old male trek fans are kind of like the left of the democratic party. Sure, they never really get what they want but there is nothing else out there. What are you going to do? Not watch Star Trek? (I'm not but that's another matter:)
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Best part of the episode - that catsuit!

worst part - turning from potentially multilayered well acted character to mustache twirling hammy villian

I do like the subtle (or not so subtle if you are familiar with non binary people) discussion with Spock about his struggle with trying to be Human or Vulcan (a very nice metaphor for trying to be Male or Female). Non binary people do not identify with a specfic gender and spend their lives trying to make a choice or fit into a box to be accepted by society (something Spock struggles with throughout all of Trek). I found it a very clever way to give pause and reflection to Spocks' life time of struggle until he finally was just Spock and not having to be one or the other.

Assuming Captain Angel comes back, the writers need to tone down the hammy nature but about 30 percent ; we can still have a good time with the character but not be overloaded to the point it comes off as satire

I saw chatter onilne about the 2 days to send a message but the quick travel for the Vulcan ship. She was on a rehabiliation colony; I can assume it was much much closer to where the Enterprise was (which makes sense as Angel would need to do this in an area that was too far to ask for quick Fed help, and close enough to get T'Pring there fast). So timing this plan when she was working on the colony seemed to be a sensible plan. I don't see an issue with the distress call time.

Jammer was tough on this one, I wouldn't have gone above 2 though .its fun but got so hammy and not serious that it is hard to give it more stars

Still , I had a lot more enjoyment here than with anything in Picard Season 2, so there you go.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:26am (UTC -5)
For the "wheres Hemmer" people... I think, and maybe someone can give a better answer, due to covid and the actor being added after they filmed a bunch of episodes, he just was not in some of them.

I would assume he will be full time in season 2. He has a tremendous opportunity to be a hugely popular character if given the screen time. Interestingly, this series has a pretty large group of characters that can and will be significantly popular. I would say the largest number of likeable characters since DS9
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Guys, use subtitles... I understand there is a resistance to using subs in the US ("why do we need to use subs? We hate reading while we're watching. They should make the actors speak intelligibly", etc.) but really, it will make your life so much easier and less frustrating. Just use subtitles, and everything will be as clear as day.

Got something to say about the complaint that SNW keeps using old Trek tropes: look, there's only so much you can do with an episodic starship-exploring-space premise. TNG used Trek tropes all the time. What i like about SNW is that it's not just recycling stuff, it's doing something interesting and entertaining with these tropes.
I think the strongest asset of the show so far is not in the plots but in the character work. There is real attention to character and each episode seems to have a very clear thematic throughline. The writing feels consistent and purposeful. You might not like the tropes or the recycled ideas, but this series is a winner for me because it combines interesting, likable characters, with bonafide Trek sentiment and themes.
I mean, isn't that what we always complained about? Isn't that EXACTLY what's missing in Disc and Picard? The FEEL of Trek? The charactization of Trek? Well, we got it here. So while the show is ultimatley lighthearted and mainly works as entertainment, and is yet to produce an instant classic, I'm REALLY optimistic about where it's going. And I think once the writers and showrunners start having a little more confidence in their show we might start getting some truly great episodes.

Essentially, SNW is what we asked for. And we got it.

Not to mention the show is extremley well-made on all accounts. People are working very hard to make this show as satisfying as possible, and I'm for once am thankful for that.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 3:06am (UTC -5)
For the "wheres Hemmer" people... I think, and maybe someone can give a better answer, due to covid and the actor being added after they filmed a bunch of episodes, he just was not in some of them

The actor probably said count me out of this until you get some half descent writers. The script for this had Hemmer in full pirate guise, with 2 eye patches, just so us idiot viewers understood he was blind.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 3:43am (UTC -5)
@Tim C: I agree, "Ghost of Illyria" was the one weak link in an otherwise incredibly consistent series so far. Even that did not break the consistency too much, as I gave it 2.5 stars, while the pilot was 3.5 and all the others were 3.0. Whereas The Orville this season has already demonstrated a higher ceiling and lower floor, with ratings of 3.5/2.0/4.0 over its first three episodes.

@Lynos: Subtitles are a no-go for me (not because I find it strenuous to read them but because I read them very quickly and then wait for the actors to say them, which takes me out of the scene). But I cosign the rest of your points.

@Booming: To steelman your point, perhaps this show will catch teenage daughter's attention while dear old dad has it on when she comes home from soccer practice. 🤷‍♂️
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Slackerlinc, I think the problem you're describing re:subtitles is also something that can be remedied through experience and getting used to it, no? I mean, I don't know how often you use subtitles. I'm not in the US so I've been reading subs since I was a wee lad, and I'm just used to everything you're describing. I don't even think about it.

I just think the downside of substitles is more than compensated by the ability to understand what everyone's saying at all times. Isn't struggling to understand what a character is saying also takes you out of the scene?
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 5:13am (UTC -5)
@Ed Spock

"Love the characters and the storytelling, and after 600+ Trek episodes, I can accept the near impossibility of coming up with entirely new episode ideas. I’m just happy to hang with these people."

It can't be impossible. It just can't.

How about: Three Mycenaeans walk into a bar....

Oops I think we did that one. :)
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Just saw it. Wow. That was a very boring outing with some painful writing and plotting. Angel's flip into camp overacting mode landed like a thud.

This can take a seat beside The Outrageous Okona and Stardust City Rag on the Shitty Space Pirate Episode bench. At least we were spared Joe Piscapo.
Troy G
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 9:34am (UTC -5)
“You didn't notice this earlier? It was a standout to me in the first few minutes of the pilot, and one of the reasons I didn't continue watching after that episode. “

I noticed before. But it was bad enough here that I get the need to chime in.

Some here complain of not understanding M’benga. Sometimes I don’t but it had nothing to do with his accent; it’s because the actor doesn’t project. It’s as if the actor is speaking barely above a whisper and his voice is corrected to audibility in later editing.
Troy G
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 9:35am (UTC -5)
*felt the need…
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -5)
@Lynos: I'm pretty used to it because my wife of 15 years, and my kids, insist on watching everything that way. So anything I watch with them, I am watching with subtitles--and years and years of this has not lessened my dislike. If anything, the opposite! I really don't see how you can "get used to" knowing what someone is going to say before they say it, and still taking it in as a natural performance with suspension of disbelief. I'm also a stickler for cinematography, preferring to watch content in a darkened room in 4K on my 70 inch TV. And subtitles really mar the cinematography.

The only times I get to be free of the infernal subs is when I'm watching something by myself. And as I say, if I don't pick up a certain line, I can press a button on my Apple TV remote and ask "what did they say?" It will jump back a few seconds, play the subtitles for those few seconds, and then automatically turn them off again and continue with the show. Some might consider that more disruptive, but if it's just occasional I prefer it. (Whereas when I watch THE BOYS, I have to turn subs on whenever the Karl Urban character, Billy Butcher, is on screen, because his accent is so thick.)

I would also quibble with your sweeping characterization of Americans versus non-Americans. Going back to the late Eighties when I first started watching foreign films as a teenager, those of us Americans who styled ourselves as erudite cinephiles have always watched foreign films with subtitles. Dubbing was virtually unheard of and certainly sneered at. Whereas I also (relatedly) became a Francophile, fluent in French and deeply interested in French culture, and was surprised to find that French people tend to like to watch movies and TV shows dubbed into French. I have heard that other Europeans do mostly watch things with subtitles though.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 11:08am (UTC -5)
I perused some other Trek forums to see what kind of opinions are coalescing, and was actually surprised by a few things. Not surprising at all was that Jammer’s little corner has a better mix of die-hard fans, cynics, and optimists alike. And whether we agree or not, grist is always good.

But the surprise? It seems a large proportion of SNW fans don’t even care about the stories. As in not at all, NIL. I counted at least a dozen comments saying something along the lines of “these characters are so over with the fans that we don’t care how silly the story is, its so much fun!!!”. It distinctly reminded me of the observation made here that SNW might be (intentionally?) out-Orvilling the Orville. Part of me suspected a studio influence in these opinions, as they are extremely unified in language for such a new fandom. But it does explain the episodic “loved it!” fans here better than my conjecture did. It very well may be that fans were so turned off by characters in DSC and PIC, that they will by default accept the offerings of SNW, whatever situation they are in. As long as they are entertained weekly, any larger plot is who-cares territory.

I think the changing role of fan-fiction might play a role here. Perhaps modern fans view the characters as a detachable lego piece, who fit into their own imaginations as well as they do the canonical stories, and they are more likely to place these character in their own fan fiction creations than accept their limitations on screen. To these fans, quality is NOT a function of story and character, but of character alone.

The lesser themes from the more critical people was very similar to what Jammer and others have essentially stated: 1) after a remarkably strong start, the show is beginning to sputter; 2) the laziness and quality of writing is declining concomitant with #1.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 11:37am (UTC -5)
@Jimmy: That's an extremely patronizing attitude. I'm more willing to simply acknowledge that people have different tastes and preferences. In fact, I explicitly stated that I can enjoy episodes that are just silly and fun, but I also understand why some people might not like that sort of thing.

That said, I don't think I am in the "love it!" camp. I *love* THE BOYS, BETTER CALL SAUL, and two of the first three episodes of THE ORVILLE. I watched the pilot of the new Jeff Bridges FX/Hulu show THE OLD MAN last night and loved that too. SNW, so far, I consistently *like* but don't love. I don't know that it's really even trying to be "premium TV", and that's OK by me as long as it is fun and entertaining.

I should note, after saying that, that there are lots of B+ shows out there, and I don't have time for the vast majority of them. But a B+ Star Trek show? I do have time for that, because it's a particular area of enjoyment. Which is why I gave PIC and DSC as much rope as I did, when they were hovering in the C- to D or even F range, because I hoped they could pull it up to a B+ average. They never consistently did, so I dropped them and didn't watch the most recent seasons of either. Thus it's nice to have this show to scratch that particular itch.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
I'm not going to watch anymore.

The first couple of episodes were great but since then its just descended into more of the same nu trek rubbish.

Maybe there will be the odd good episode and Ill keep my eye on the reviews, but I certainly wont be tuning in every week.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:37pm (UTC -5)

I’m sorry you viewed my comment as patronizing. It certainly wasn’t intended that way, but I can see where it appears that way in a certain reading. I left out the fact that people with all sorts of tastes are equally capable of applying deeper analysis, but not many will invest time in analyzing what they don’t enjoy.

In other words, some nature of SNW (e.g. story complexity) may determine someone’s enjoyment of it, and that enjoyment, in turn, creates a desire to analyze it. But this doesn’t imply that the presence of this nature determines someone’s *ability* to analyze it.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Just want to say that M'Benga doesn't have much to say or do in this episode, except he does have this one great line when he's in the holding cell with Pike and company: "They look like they may be malnourished. I know this because I'm a doctor." I bring this up because I heard this line loud and clear without the need for subtitles. It's because M'Benga was deliberately PROJECTING his voice so that the pirate crew would overhear his conversation. More evidence that it's not his accent that's the problem.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
I stopped watching SNW after Ep 4, once the Orville came back. Looks like I haven't missed anything other than it reverting into typical nuTrek.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
SNW, whatever you might say about it, certainly did not revert into NuTrek. I anything it reverts back to TOS.

@SlackerInc my sweeping note about Americans and subtitles was certainly not meant towards cinephiles, but towards the average joe. However I did recognize a lot of complaints in the forum about unitelligible dialogue and assumed people don't turn the subtitles on because they don't like subtitles or not used to them. There are always exceptions.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
This episode isn't really *good*, but it did feel eerily, exactly like a mid-season Voyager filler episode. Which is kinda neat.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Slacker, Jimmy's opinion isn't simply patronizing, it's boring and predictable. Studio sycophants interfering, fans with no critical abilities, some half-assed philosophical point re the eroding structures of coherent thought and storytelling.

Some like the recent episode and others didn't. Both sides presented some coherent points. Hell, I overreacted to the last episode but apologized for being overly aggressive. On a second viewing, I could genuinely see why a good portion of the people here liked it..

What's pathetic is a second-rate mind thinking he's got things figured out. Thanks Jimmy but I think you've patronized this place enough.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
I knew SNW would have a lighter tone. Honestly, it's a little too light for my tastes, to the point I feel no sense of danger or jeopardy. If it's all a lark to the characters, why should I care?

Kinda wish Discovery had got it right. There was potential for compelling drama there. Seems as though they've overcorrected.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
I mean, TOS had "The Trouble With Tribbles" but also "City on the Edge of Forever". We'll see.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 12:57am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc - Indeed! It remains to be seen whether they're edging in with the lighter stuff before tackling something weightier, or light & breezy is as far as they'll take it.

If I could I'd tinker with the variables a bit. The pieces are there but the calibration is off. Everyone is likeable but it all feels a little too superficial and quippy.

As for Ethan Peck's delivery, I was reminded of one of those rapid fire back-and-forth dialogue sequences from Gilmore Girls.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 1:31am (UTC -5)
The issue with Spock is not about comprehension or watching with or without subtitles - I'm actually partial to subtitles. It's the fact that show equates faster talking with Vulcan intelligence and wisdom. In my view it's the opposite.

In TOS and TNG you see Spock and Sarek speaking slower than normal, not faster. When you develop wisdom you take more consideration with your words and more respect for your audience understanding you, whereas nuSpock's lines are delivered like a tween who's frothing at the mouth to tell his or her friends over the latest social media faux pas.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 1:42am (UTC -5)
Vulcans are also semi-telepathic so shouldn't need to talk that much, or at least not as much as in Spock's date on Episode 1 where we're bombarded with dialogue.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 1:50am (UTC -5)
@ Tom

That's an interesting observation about Spock and the way the character is portrayed here. This could be simply down to performance, but having said that, I still find Ethan Peck's portrayal of the character very true to its core. I dunno, he feels like Spock to me. He's not as self-assured as Kirk's Spock, and he's more like Data in his puzzlement over humans, but he's still Spock. I wasn't sure about Peck's performance when he appeared on Discovery but I think here he's got the character down pat.

@ Starman

I feel like the tone of the show is being dictated very mucn by Pike's personality and style. He's a very amiable captain, close with his crew, and has a healthy sense of humor and lack of self-importance about himself. And let's not forget he knows he's not gonna die in any of these away missions so he allows himself to be flippant, but of course he needs to protect his crew since their fate is not as sure as his.
This is interesting seeing how when the show started, lietrally the very first scene, we see a depressed Pike who became passive.

I actually wish the show will do something more interesting with Pike's knowledge here. As was established on thsi show and in other Trek shows, the future is not set in stone. Who's to say that by being flippant Pike is actually endengering himself because he changes the variables? Part of me wants this show to give us an alternate future for Pike. This will be super ballsy so I don't know if they will go there. It will also fly in the face of established continuity which is what inhibits this show to begin with, like most other prequels. How many risks can you take when the character fate is pre-ordained (see the current Obi One Kenobi show).

On the other hand, a show like Better Call Saul was able to do wonders with these same limitations, so never say never. One big difference from SNW: Saul Goodman's fate is actually not yet determined. We STILL don't know what end-game will ne for him as the show uses a flash-forward structure.

You know what I wanna see? I wanna see how Pike is doing on Talos IV. That's a show I would watch.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 8:55am (UTC -5)
One Trek show I'd really be interested in is something about the period from the conclusion of TOS and the start of TNG (perhaps the 20-30 years prior to TNG). There's something like an 80-year period here that could touch on longer-term consequences of TOS episodes, prequel stuff for TNG, more about the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, etc. Much has been written about it. More about geopolitics, sci-fi (or course), but I think there can be some good character stuff in this setting.

I don't know why the Kurtzman team seems to be obsessed with the period right before TOS -- it floundered with DSC but I can understand a bit that Mount as Pike was a hit on DSC and so they figure they can do a series with him as lead. And SNW has been good thus far overall.
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
They should do Deliverance in outer space - several crew members take a shuttle to an idyllic, rustic planet that they believe is uninhabited. Perhaps the crew members intend to start a romance on the planet. Pike and Una smile knowingly when they leave. Upon their return, Pike gives a big smile and says, "I hope it was as good as advertised! Haha." One of the crew members tells Pike to go fuck himself, and the episode ends.
Steve Peeve from Cleeve
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
The problem with this episode is Captain Angel was obvious from the get go, and on top of that the actor just isn't great.

Probably give it 2 stars. Still better than anything Discovery throws at us.
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 4:51am (UTC -5)
Before SNW started, I predicted that NuTrek producers were once again conning us by saying this would be an Old Trek-style show, and that their lack of creativity and intellectual depth would prevent them from delivering a steady stream of those type of stories anyway.

My feeling now is that I was wrong on the first part of my assertion, but still correct on the second. NuTrek has made a true effort to get closer to an Old Trek setup, and the result is a pleasant episodic premise with decent characters and a willingness to explore some topics in the vein of TOS. But they clearly have nothing to fill this promising container with. This season is ONLY TEN EPISODES LONG and they are already grasping desperately at straws: They already did the contagion episode, then did a riff on "Balance of Terror," and then just plain stole an Ursula K. Le Guin story. The rest has been superficial fluff.

The good news is: With this set-up, they need only bring in good guest writers and we could have great standalone stories. The bad news is that, when it comes to the show's creators themselves, make no mistake: they got nothing.
Bok R'Mor
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
A little late out this time, but I found this to be a mediocre episode - the worst of SNW so far. It felt like a mix of DSC and the weaker parts of ENT. I didn't find the pirate/mutiny premise or the rather telegraphed reveal of Angel (and, later, Sybok) particularly engaging or interesting. Nor was the T'Pring/Spock/Chapel ruse. The Enterprise being taken captive just seemed embarrassing, frankly.

Ortegas continues to be given utterly woeful lines. You can almost see the actress herself cringeing as she finds herself having to deliver them.

I was genuinely surprised they didn't cover up the tattoos on Jess Bush's hands which stuck out a mile.

That's how excited I was by this episode.

Hoping next week will be much better.
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Paramount Plus finally debuted in the UK and the first three episodes of Strange New Worlds are on there. Apart from that there isn't much on there. Nothing to get excited about. Can I really sub for one show?
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 6:29pm (UTC -5)

Good heavens, man. I seem to have somehow aimed a stream of urine that arched directly into your previously unperturbed bowl of cheerios. Second rate mind? Thinking I’ve got things figured out? All capped off by an implied invitation to leave? And you write this in a post noting your previous apology for aggression!

My blatherings are exactly that, blatherings. Like anyone else here is doing. I would suggest that you take them with precisely the amount of seriousness that you wish, and leave it to everyone else to do the same. Invitations to leave are beneath contempt, and against the spirit of the forum that Jammer has given us.

By the way, I have no issues with SlackerInc, llizzii, or any screechers, “love it types”, zealots, apologists, etc. And I’m pretty sure those individuals know that.

Seriously unreal… but at least there’s…. (achievement bell - “Gain a Forum Bully”)
Only kidding, smiles all around.
Jeffrey's Tube
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Bok

"I was genuinely surprised they didn't cover up the tattoos on Jess Bush's hands which stuck out a mile."

Why should they? Because she didn't have them during TOS? We know removing and applying tattoos is a simple matter for a dermal regenerator. The Doctor did it a bunch to Chakotay on undercover away missions and it took only seconds.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Because one tatt read ‘Gold Coast Leavers 2016’.

Enjoy those blatherings mate. Keep ‘em coming.

‘I predicted that NuTrek producers were once again conning us’
You stick by your guns. The con is on.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Looks like from the ep 8 sneak peek more rollicking crazy hi-jinks are afoot. Assume the position.
Bok R'Mor
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey's Tube

'Why should they? Because she didn't have them during TOS?'

Well, yes. But primarily because they simply stuck out a mile in the hands-up scene.

I like Jess Bush and 'Chapel', by the way. I wasn't actually trying to ruin your enjoyment of SNW by pointing the silly tattoo thing out.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Obviously one can not always reay on Jammer. That is good becaued this was a quite enjoyable.

I agree with ali those who had problem with Jesse James Keitel's acting quaility when Aspen became an Angel.

As a grumpy old man who not really understands these modern genus things, still I enjoyed the dress or whatever Aspen / Angel was wearing. I hope that is ok.

I am quite fond of who they use Ortega as a solid side actor. If they manage to always have her present that way as a sidekick, fine for me. I like Chappel more and more. She came through as the clever nurse using her way to solv problems.
T'Pring and Spock realtion is not so interesting any more but it is a good try to explore humans and vulcans.

Pike sometimes behaved similar to Archer in ENT Acquisition. Silly? Yes, but I smiled.

A fun episode.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Jimmy, I apologize. Third rate mind.
Luigi Novi
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
*** Jamahl Epsicokhan: "There haven't been a lot of pirate episodes on Star Trek (they were long forbidden by Gene Roddenberry in the TNG days), with "Gambit" being the only notable exception." ***

What about TNG's "Starship Mine"? Or "Rascals"?
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@Steve Peeve from Cleeve

"Probably give it 2 stars. Still better than anything Discovery throws at us."

Yeah I entirely agree. In fact I gave it 2 stars despite finding it the worst SNW episode so far. However strangely DSC only actually got 1 star rating below 2 stars (1.5 stars for "That Hope is You Part 2" - which is a half a star episode if ever there was one).

I guess enough people like DSC for them to keep making it.

With Paramont Plus launching around the globe I'm guessing SNW is their flagship show like Voyager was for UPN back in the day. Hopefully that means we'll get at least a few seasons of SNW before the streaming bubble truly bursts and we'll be left waiting for someone to revive Star Trek again.

Actually I'd imagine a lot of people will sub just to see S3 of Picard for their nostalgia fix.
Thu, Jun 23, 2022, 7:50am (UTC -5)
@Alienatbar I dunno. I feel they want to deliver on their promise, if only because "old trekkers" are a niche audience they want to retain as part of their multi-pronged content onslaught. I just don't think they can come up with enough material to fill this nice container they've created for very long.
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 3:01am (UTC -5)
"But it does explain the episodic “loved it!” fans here better than my conjecture did. It very well may be that fans were so turned off by characters in DSC and PIC, that they will by default accept the offerings of SNW, whatever situation they are in. As long as they are entertained weekly, any larger plot is who-cares territory."

Above is an ample example of why it's silly (and often wrong) to psychoanalyze fans.

I fall into the "love SNW" category and I have openly said it in my comment for "Spock Amok." Never mind that saying "love,love,love" was already psychoanalyzed then. Nice welcome (!) to a first-time poster on this board. Sigh.

And now more psychoanalysis of the "love SNW" crowd... Sigh again!

First of all, I am not an "episodic 'love' fan." I prefer serialized format. Nor am I "so turned off by characters in DSC and PIC." I like both shows, and I thought season 4 of DSC was one of the best Trek rides produced.

Secondly, I don't "by default accept the offerings of SNW" with or without the (wrong) assumption on the dislike of DSC and PIC. I thought this episode was dull for example. I agree with Jammer's review.

And yes, I am still in the "love SNW" crowd as in "love, love, love" and it will take more than one or two below average episodes for to change me my mind.

Parker Green
Fri, Jul 1, 2022, 6:23am (UTC -5)
Are you kidding me? Your reviews are absolutely ridiculous.
Mon, Jul 11, 2022, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
It was an okay episode, but again Star Trek seems to have a lot of trouble with '' ship takeover'' episodes, proven time and again in TNG and VOY .

I don't get why you qualify the plot twist with Sybok a '' wrong turn in canon'' . To your point DISCO pretty much went overboard with Spock's sister in terms of canon, somehow reintroducing Sybok felt like a grounding centerpiece as far Spock's '' canon family '' tree goes.

Now if somehow in later season's they introduce Sybok and say Uhrura , or any other of the original crew is present in said scene then yes , I would also have reason to complain.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
I re-watched this episode tonight with the subtitles on to be sure and catch everything. I enjoyed it for its light tone and cheesy, hammy fun. I didn't mind Captain Angel's acting as much as I did the first time when she turned into the Evil Pirate Queen. Maybe I was just more ready for her, since I knew what was coming. Yes, Pike's role was a little dumb--cooking for the pirates and all that. I think part of the reason that his cooking and his Alpha Braga IV mutiny worked--allowing him to take over the Serene Squall--was that Remy the green-faced guy was not actually the captain. We didn't know that until later. Angel/Aspen would not have fallen for Pike's rather silly stratagems. I think my favorite scenes are still the two with Chapel and Spock on the bridge and later in sickbay talking it over. There is more chemistry between those two than between Spock and T-Pring. Fascinating.
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 1:07am (UTC -5)
Just one question. Are Dr. Aspen and Cpt. Angel supposed to be the same person? It seems that the writers couldn't make up their mind, as Spock asks what happened to the real Dr. Aspen. But the idea of an imposter makes no sense since Dr. Aspen was a former Starfleet officer and would have had a photo on file, and Cpt. Angel isn't shown by the text to have any particular skill in impersonation.
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
dba, I took it that Cpt. Angel was impersonating Dr. Aspen. Maybe the real Dr. Aspen was with the colonists that Cpt. Angel marooned. I don't think the story really told us.
Thu, Jul 21, 2022, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
One great thing about the whole lgbt/non-binary character is that we're at an age where we can have gay or lgbt characters not be "perfect". Yeah, we can also be evil or insane. But it has to be done in a very precise way so that their queerness isn't part of the "devilishness".

For examaple, mirror Kira was super sexual and lgbt, but her sexuality being "warped" was part of the character.

Here we have Captain Angel, yeah they're non-binary, but that's got nothing to do with why she's a pirate or why she's an antagonist, and they don't even highlight or emphasize it.

I thought the parallel with her and Spock was a bit on the nose but very astute. I wish we could just retcon all of TOS spock's identity drama because it was made during a time where you had to be American or a Communist. We thought very much in black and white at the time and the series, however progressive it was, was still stuck with labels.

As someone who's of mixed race, I always had that feeling growing up, I'm too white to be a latino, but too foreign to be American. And people have literally come up to me and asked, "Do you call yourself American?". Like they want to know. They need to label me. And the truth is... I'm both... and neither...

My life is too complex to be properly labeled with one race. I honestly wish it was, it'd be simpler.

I think Spock in today's age would realize that he is neither vulcan nor human, but both vulcan and human. He is something new.

I'm just so excited to see how much Star Trek has evolved after it's such a key series that helped so many minorities with representation and discussion throughout decades. I don't think we would be where we are in the world with rights without Star Trek, which is funny to say but it's true.

25 years ago did we ever think we'd one day have an episode where a lgbt evil space pirate queen tricked Spock into losing his ship?

Which brings me into the only few qualms I have about SNW. The ship is taken over in NuTrek way too often. Gosh when the ship was taken over in TNG, DS9, VOY it was a big deal. We were like, "Oh crap how the heck are they gonna fix this...". In NuTrek it feels like, "It's ok they'll put those 4 people in the brig and just take it over back in a few". This needs to stop.

And one more pet peeve... I really wish they would fix the aesthetics of NuTrek. Everything is lit with lights to look "futuristic"... Like everything... the tables, the chairs, the desks, the walls... I cant imagine living in a place like that. It doesn't feel realistic. It's a bit jarring at times because during certain scenes I'm like, "Doesn't that hurt their eyes?"
Kamikaze Squirrel
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
I really, really hated the Aspen/Angel character after he turned. Yeah, "he". The acting was fine when it was subtle, but when the reveal came, the camp was turned up to 200%, and the character became shrill and annoying. Kind of like what the actor does in his "other" life. If I wanted to see a Drag performance, I would go to the library.

I really like this new Star Trek, but not if they are going to ask us to pretend this much. Tell us the actor is transgender, and quit muddying the waters. If they want to be accepted, the first step is to acknowlege who/what they are - at least be honest about it. At least in Shakespeare's day, everybody knew "who" the female characters were.
Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Sep 14, 2022, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
The heel turn of Dr Aspen not only sunk the episode but gave us one of the lamest villains in recent memory. Even worse, it seems they’ll be making a reappearance at some point.

The episode could have at least given Aspen/Angel an interesting villainous persona, perhaps as someone so desperately in love, so consumed by irrational intensity that they take the most profoundly foolish risks (like, uh, hijacking the flagship). It would have been a nice counterpoint to Spock’s struggle, and eventual re-embrace, of his logical side. But nope, Aspen/Angel just chews scenery and makes smart ass remarks. BOOORING.

And the less said about the B story the better.

1.5/4 stars.
Mon, Oct 10, 2022, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
I found the acting to be quite strong in this episode, but the plot really let it down. A lot of the elements didn’t make sense, and this was the first episode of the series I actually felt really bored with. 1 star from me.
House of Mogh
Thu, Jan 12, 2023, 12:37am (UTC -5)
NuTrek really struggles with villains. There’s campy and there’s whatever the actor does after the evil turn that was obvious five minutes in. Appreciated using a transgendered actor but the snark was like a drag show geared toward cis women at brunch. Felt like the script was mostly to blame for giving them nothing to work with. Really they just wanted to get with Sybok? Retconning in the villain in easily the worst ST movie was dumb. Yes - ST5 is worse than Insurrection.

B plot was better and a huge miss not running with that. Criminal waste of Anson Mount, easily the best part of the episode.

Worst episode of the season but not awful.
Lars Tarkas
Tue, Mar 21, 2023, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Seems to me if you capture a top of the line Federation Starship, you could sell it and use a small fraction of that money to buy an elite team to rescue Sybok rather than attempt to play on T'Pring's emotions. The rest of the pirates would want the money they could get from the sale of this ship.
Sat, Mar 25, 2023, 7:27am (UTC -5)
Regrettably, I fully agree with your review. As I was watching the show, I realized that the drawback with doing classic Trek is that viewers somethings get classic bad Trek themes along with good classic Trek themes -

1) A massively powerful ship gets taken over by a few pirates/outlaws, due to rampant stupidity by Captain and crew - check.

2) A villain who is a mustache-twirling "charming" rogue - check.

3) Rampant stupidity by the villain to be outwitted by the Captain and crew - check.

4) All along, winks at the camera, for the cleverness of this caper episode - check.

This one was a chore to get through. As you write, a shame, because the earlier episodes were quite good.
Mon, Mar 27, 2023, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
"Regrettably, I fully agree with your review. As I was watching the show, I realized that the drawback with doing classic Trek is that viewers somethings get classic bad Trek themes along with good classic Trek themes -"

Yes, but it is well made with a smile. DS9 made a very fine homage with "troubble with tribbles". This is much more free, with a twinkle and very glossy.

I made an serious atempt to rewatch disco4 but I still don't understand it. The only character I have a little problem with in SNW is Dr Mbenga but so what.

I enjoyed it the first time and I enjoyed it even more the second.
Sun, Apr 23, 2023, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Um... Spock won't die under Captain Luke's command. Killing him is an empty threat totally devoid of drama.
Mon, Jun 12, 2023, 11:08am (UTC -5)
7 for 7 for me. Not the best episode by any stretch, but fun, cheesy TOS style sci fi hits the right notes for me. Someone mentioned it before, but it feels like Pike's/Mount's humor pervades the show, and I like it.

I take each episode as they are, and as they present themselves, rather than judging my some "Objective" standard, and this episode was clearly intended to be mostly silly fun. The Spock/T'Pring story is more serious, as is Spock's self identity, but I felt that fit perfectly here into the bigger story.
SpaceTime Hole
Thu, Aug 10, 2023, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Just started watching this show - really enjoying it -

up until this particular episode, which is a befouled heap of stinking rubbish.
Wed, Aug 16, 2023, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Was... Was that Contrapoints?

(It wasn't of course but if you know you know)
Wed, Aug 16, 2023, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Huh... So I looked up and found that the actress in question is also trans

Coincidence! Makes my comment sound now like something it's not!
Thu, Aug 17, 2023, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Holy hell was that bad.

Aside from the cringe-inducing performance from Angel - and the prospect that, since she (?) escaped, we may very well have to suffer through this awful performance again in future - Angel couldn't even get her own history right. "I've been using emotion to control you all day" she says to Spock. But that's simply not true! In sickbay, she tried to convince Spock to use the escape pods by telling a story of her 'logical' lover who lost his life, and how she wishes he had allowed himself to be scared. Spock's response is to still reject trying to escape. The attempt to manipulate was a failure.

(Or maybe the writers are suggesting that she's going 'ha ha! I KNEW you would do the opposite of what I suggested due to my emotional appeal!' Which is nonsense. And also unnecessary, since Spock was going to try to retake the ship anyway.)

I'm working through this series for the first time now, and something that seems to be a recurring thread is that the writers seem to do well in putting all the narrative pieces in place, but suck in making them fit together: a solid 'moral of the story' is gracelessly telegraphed; a story pretends a complicated issue is actually about something black-and-white; a character moment isn't given any time to breathe. Which is disappointing, because there have been some good episodes and some good moments.

Less of this, I hope.
Fri, Aug 18, 2023, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
As soon as Angel changed costumes into that... thing between scenes, I was like "what the hell is that and why would they be wearing it?" The pirate reveal made it make sense but it was still weird as hell.

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