1×06 – LIFT US WHERE SUFFERING CANNOT REACH
1×07 –THE SERENE SQUALL
Orion(?) Pirates capture the Enterprise and attempt to resurrect the plot of Star Trek V. Someone stop them!
I didn’t love this week’s episode but I didn’t hate it either. It wasn’t that it was consistently “meh,” either. It was more like the episode would occasionally creep up to the line of “great” and then one thing or another would drag it back to the realm of “fine.”
My biggest problems with the episode revolve around the acting and the rushed plot, two pretty big components in a TV episode. For one, I didn’t much care for “Captain Angel’s” acting once she showed her true colors. Everything leading up to the heel turn was subtle, mysterious, and intriguing. The actor showed capable skill, and then it all went out of an airlock as soon as the twist occurred. At that point, everything went overboard. The acting went to mustache-twirling levels of hammy, and not in an endearing way.
I enjoyed the B-plot featuring Pike’s team trying to start a mutiny but the storyline needed about 10-15 more minutes. I suppose it made for a funny moment when suddenly Pike is commanding the ship (complete with a giant steering wheel like it’s an old sailing vessel), but there seemed like at least one or maybe two scenes were missing to get from where they were (in a brig) to where they ended up (in control of the whole ship). It made for a surprise moment but not the most satisfying one. Also, I didn’t care for the way Pike’s character all season long seems to waffle between stoic and contemplative and, as here, sarcastic and flippant. At least they tried to justify it as Pike not wanting to appear so “boy scout” all the time.
A minor complaint might be how easily the bad guys took over the Enterprise. It’s supposed to be a ship with a crew of 200-400 officers but it sure 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 a far better episode had it been filmed and released as a two-parter, akin to the kind of special-event episodes Voyager would have once or twice a season (think Future’s End, Killing Game, Workforce, even TNG had Gambit in season 7). A two-parter would have given the writers the chance to expand on the mutiny storyline, as well as show more of the attempts to retake the Enterprise. Along the way, we could have explored more of the motivations of Cpt. Angel. 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.
The biggest story coming out of the episode was the reveal of Sybok. That was a genuine twist ending. I don’t know if we’ll get anything more from him, though I don’t see why we wouldn’t with an ending like that. On the other hand, I don’t see how much can be done with him in light of Star Trek V. We can hardly say the writers don’t know that the two brothers remained estranged since the movie is the only time he appeared and it’s specifically stated that the two had nothing to do with each other until then. It’s possible that Strange New Worlds is committed 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. Let the original continuity exist in preservation forevermore. Let this be a new adventure entirely.
7/10 (almost an 8/10) – Overall, it was an alright episode, occasionally good, but not consistently. It felt like an episode with a lot of untapped potential, which is not uncommon for a first-season episode of a Star Trek show.