October 3, 2023
Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Subspace Rhapsody REVIEW

The crew of the Enterprise breaks out into a full song-and-dance musical in the ninth episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Subspace Rhapsody.

Subspace Rhapsody is the ninth episode of season two of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. If I was to say that the episode was a full-on song and dance extravaganza, complete with every member of the crew singing their hearts out, you’d look at me as if I’d lost my mind. But I wouldn’t be lying. One of the most bizarre, crazy and hilarious episodes ever created for the almost 60-year-old franchise there has ever been. It shouldn’t work. Whoever thought there would be a Star Trek-The Musical Episode? Well then, here it is.


An accident with an experimental quantum probability field causes everyone on the U.S.S. Enterprise to break uncontrollably into song, but the real danger is that the field is expanding and beginning to impact other ships—allies and enemies alike.

Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Official Stills



Fear not, Trek fans. The episode not only works but is also one of the best episodes ever created. Some long-time fans may be upset with how their heroes have been turned from serious characters into singing showpeople. But they would be missing the point. What in reality shouldn’t work, works brilliantly. The episode starts off with a serious tone and has some serious moments throughout. But once these moments are dispensed with, the episode is a light-hearted, completely engaging one that will go down in the history books.

Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Official Stills

The setup is simple. With all attempts to communicate with an experimental quantum probability field failing, Uhura and Spock decide to try a more musical attempt at the urging of Pelia. This tact actually works. A little too well. Uhura has used a show tune from the Great American Songbook to communicate. The results send a spike through the Enterprise, its crew, and many ships around the quadrant. Suddenly, everyone’s innermost feelings, so deeply hidden from view, are expressed through the medium of song.


Every member of the crew gets in on the act. And every one of them plays it straight. Ok, so some members of the cast’s singing voices are better than others but that hardly distracts us from what we are experiencing. Who would have thought we would ever see Spock singing about the Warp Core? Or Captain Pike singing about lying to his sometime lover on screen? La’an singing her heart out about her feelings for Captain Kirk? Uhura singing about how she connects every member of the crew? Or Christine Chapel singing about how she’s ready to abandon Spock and pursue her dream of attending the Vulcan Science Academy? We even get Riley and Kirk having a duet while dancing in a corridor!

Of them all, it is Christina Chong, Jess Bush, and Celia Rose Gooding that shines through the most. Jess Bush gets her own musical number, complete with a full ensemble, giving the scene a proper musical movie feeling. Christina Chong lets La’an’s feelings for Kirk out in a solo performance that endears her to us all the more. Her big scene wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood musical that we are seeing on cinema screens at the moment. While Celia Rose Gooding gets to show the world her amazing singing talent in a show-stopping sequence inside Engineering. For something we’d never thought we’d ever see, these moments are among the highlights of the episode.


The way the episode concludes is exactly how we think it will happen. The solution to the problem, we can guess from almost the start of proceedings. But it’s the getting there that is so much fun. Of course, the solution presents itself in the form of a big show-stopping, show-ending musical ensemble finale. Cue dancing through the corridors of the Enterprise, the bridge crew banging out a tune, arm in arm in front of the viewscreen, and even something that will have the viewers crying with laughter. No spoilers but I guarantee you’ll never look at a certain breed of characters in the same light again.

Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Official Stills

The way this all concludes will have every Star Trek fan beaming from ear to ear. How it wraps up is perfect. It ends the way a Hollywood musical, whether it be on stage or screen, always seems to end. The way the episode writers  Dana Horgan and Bill Wolkoff have taken everything that the series has and turned it into a musical episode is inspiring. Both seem to have a love of musicals and have combined this with a Star Trek twist into something that will live in our minds for days after. While director Dermott Downs knows exactly how to stage this kind of thing. The way he directs what we see on screen, the staging of the musicality, and the whole look of the episode is terrific.

Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Official Stills


The original musical numbers performed in the episode have been written by Kay Hanley and Tom Polce. And both deserve a huge amount of credit for what they’ve come up with. Who knew we could be hooked by the crew singing about their innermost feelings? Who could predict we would ever see Spock singing about heartbreak? Or the simplest thing we take for granted in the series being turned into a musical number, complete with technobabble? They’ve managed to pull it off with ease and with a huge amount of style.

Star Trek Strange New Worlds S2.E9 Official Stills


Prepare yourself for one of the most bizarre, enjoyable, often hilarious, and once-in-a-while episodes of Star Trek you’ll ever see. From something that should by rights fall flat on its face, and be derided as being completely awful, it actually pulls it off to tremendous effect. In a strange way, I could actually see this episode get a soundtrack release by itself, outside of the usual series score release. And it fully deserves it. The tunes, while completely off the chain and somewhat weird, will actually stick in your head. You actually get the urge at times to put the CD on, or listen to it via digital download and immerse yourself in the songs again.

No matter what you think of the episode when the final credits start to roll, you will agree that Subspace Rhapsody will go down in history as a unique piece of Star Trek. Whether you think that’s a good thing or bad is up to your own opinion. But it is almost certain that you’ll never see the likes of this kind of episode again. As a lifetime-long Trek fan, it is brilliant to see the studio, the writers, and the cast take such a bold risk like this. And it makes it even better that the episode works on every level. Sit back, turn the lights off, grab a drink, and allow yourself to be entertained by the first-ever Star Trek musical episode. Believe me, you’re in for a treat!

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 is now playing on Paramount+. The entire season one is now available to stream. Click here to start your 7-day free trial.





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