Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Season 1 Episode 1
Strange New Worlds
When one of Pike’s officers goes missing while on a secret mission for Starfleet, Pike has to come out of self imposed exile. He must navigate how to rescue his officer, while struggling with what to do with the vision of the future he’s been given.
The first episode begins with a potential first contact scenario that’s handled really well. The scene then shifts to Pike deciding on his future in Starfleet. The opening has a great sense of style and Anson Mount embodies the hero struggling with both his mortality and his duty. There’s also a great scene with Spock on Vulcan as well as a cool Discovery Easter Egg.
The Enterprise gets underway and one of the themes of the series becomes clear when Pike begins seeing a vision of what will happen to him. It’s going to be interesting to see how Pike’s decisions and behaviors will inform the tone of the season. Thankfully, the episode doesn’t sugar coat it as Pike and Spock discuss the reality of it and he asks the questions that he should.
When the ship enters orbit around the planet, they discover that the ship is intact, but the crew is missing. They also discover that the warp signature detected on the planet might not be a means of travel, but something much more dangerous. Pike decides to try something different to rescue the missing crew. Something that will not violate the Prime Directive. Something that feels like Star Trek.
Most premiere episodes will take a few moments within the story to introduce the rest of the cast and Strange New Worlds is no different. We not only get to see more of the ship as we travel to sickbay and engineering, but we also get to meet more members of the crew including Dr. M’Benga and Nurse Chapel. I love the production design of the Enterprise. Everything looks brilliantly futuristic and practical.
The rest of the plot has a classic Star Trek feel to it as Pike must violate the Prime Directive after discovering that they are responsible for the incident they are investigating and I liked seeing another call back to Discovery and the implications of what happened after they disappeared. It gives a good continuity to the story without being beholden to it.
I hate to use the phrase “classic Star Trek” when talking about the first episode of Strange New Worlds, but it does apply to a lot of the plot elements and characters. That doesn’t make it a bad thing, it actually makes it refreshing to me as a fan of Trek. It also has enough new and intriguing elements within it to make me curious about where the story is going and what evolution the characters will make within it. As a Star Trek fan, I am definitely engaged.