“With superb performances from Celia Rose Gooding, and Paul Wesley, and a surprise cameo, episode 6 of the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is one of the best so far.”
After last week’s episode which was more fun than really dramatic, it’s time for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to go back to the more dramatic this week. What makes this season so enjoyable is the way it focuses on one particular character in every episode. This week, it is the turn of Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura who gets the spotlight. Ably assisted by the returning Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk, the episode is dark as well as emotional on several levels. Add in a surprise cameo, one which will have fans smiling as well as feeling sad, and you get what is one of the best episodes yet.
Uhura seems to be the only one who can hear a strange sound. When the noise triggers terrifying hallucinations, she enlists an unlikely assistant to help her track down the source.
The episode contains everything that a fan or non-fan could ask for. Drama, mystery, frights, emotion, and some great humour all appear throughout the episode. None more so when in one scene, Uhura has a hallucination where she is fighting herself, only to find she’s punched out Kirk instead! You never saw that in the Original Series, I can tell you. But it fits into the episode with style, lightening some of the tension while cementing the relationship of the pair throughout the story.
While the main narrative follows Uhura, a side story has Una Chin-Riley and Pelia attempting to get a refining station up to speed. This plays into the main story during proceedings but it also explains the hostility between the pair. Riley has been cold, and unflinching towards Pelia, who takes it all in her stride. We finally get the inside track on why Riley acts the way she does towards her, a hostility that is all one-sided. And again, it brings some light-heartedness during the episode while moving the story forward.
Again, most of the crew take a step back during events. For the most part, Pike, Spock, La’an, Ortegas and Chapel make fleeting appearances as necessary to move the story along. All are welcome during the events but it is wise to shift the focus away from them for the most part. We do get a scene where Chapel and Spock are playing each other at three-dimensional chess while discussing how to approach their budding relationship. But this is brief, allowing Uhura to take back the focus of the episode. We also get a scene between Wesley’s Jim Kirk and Dan Jeannotte as his brother, Sam. We discover that Sam bears a grudge against Jim, one that is not resolved fully. This adds a nice, nostalgic touch to proceedings.
Babs Olusanmokun gets the majority of the time the rest of the crew gets on screen. And again, we can’t help but enjoy every second we get with him. M’Benga is fast becoming a big fan favourite character and he deserves it. Rebecca Romijn as Riley and Carol Kane as Pelia also bring much to proceedings. Their relationship is cold from Riley, smile-filled and fun from Pelia. Riley throws out her orders to Pelia, and Pelia complies if and when she wants to. The relationship between the two is brilliant for all to see, and both actresses take the ball they have been given and run with it to great effect.
CELIA ROSE GOODING AND PAUL WESLEY
Taking the lead this time, Celia Rose Gooding and Paul Wesley are inspired. We know that the pair will become full-time shipmates onboard the Enterprise in the future. But here, we have the cocksure Kirk trying to keep pace with a disturbed and emotional Uhura. And Kirk is seemingly the junior. Celia Rose Gooding proves, without a doubt, she can take the lead in any episode or movie and pull it off with sheer ease. The emotional weight she provides here makes the episode as good as it is. And she also shows that she can be a badass whenever she needs to be. This version of Uhura reminds us of past incarnations while dragging her into the twenty-first century and how strong females are today. And Ms Gooding gives a superb performance.
Paul Wesley as Kirk has something about him that we can’t help but like. This isn’t the Kirk we remember. This certainly isn’t William Shatner or Chris Pine. This is Wesley taking the character and making it his own. And it works. Kirk isn’t yet the Captain we all expect, he’s only a junior officer at the moment. But we can see he is growing into the great leader he will become. Wesley brings a huge sense of fun to the role. One minute having an argument with his brother. Being accused of hitting on Uhura when he tries to talk to her. And almost gets his nose broken during one of Uhura’s hallucinations. Wesley is wonderful in his recurring role in the series. And we can only hope we see more of him going forward.
THE EPISODE STORYLINE
This is where I found a few problems. The writing is great, providing us with a good old-fashioned episode that we can all enjoy. But that is the thing. Watching the events makes us realise that they are very similar to episodes from The Original Series, The Next Generation, and even the Star Trek: Insurrection movie. Not that we will complain but the comparisons are there for all of us to see. It occasionally feels as if writers Onitra Johnson and David Reed took elements from the aforementioned and combined them into something that is extremely satisfying but feels like we have been here before. And that feeling is saddening slightly. However, the finale of the events will have long-time fans grinning from ear to ear. No spoilers but it felt like a perfect end to the proceedings.
With superb performances from Celia Rose Gooding, and Paul Wesley, and a surprise cameo, episode 6 of the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is one of the best so far. Forget the feeling of Deja Vu, just sit back and enjoy what the episode contains. It is a highly-enjoyable ride, with some unexpected humour along the way, some brilliant characterisation, and paving a road ahead that we can look forward to going down. Some of the events here may be too scary for younger viewers though. There are a few jump scares along the way that may be a bit too much for youngsters to enjoy or understand.
But all in all, there is so much here for everyone to enjoy that any faults can be easily overlooked. Every cast member brings their best to the table, laid bare for all to see and lap up with aplomb. The story flows along quite nicely and ends with everything being as it should. An exciting, intriguing and emotion-filled episode that everyone can sit back and have some great fun with. And with a final scene that will send Trek fans away with a beaming smile. Set course for warp factor fun.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 continues every week. Season 1 is available to stream in its entirety on Paramount+. To sign up, you can find the details here.
Carl Roberts is the News Editor for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!