Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Season 1 Episode 10
A Quality of Mercy
In the season one finale, just as Captain Pike thinks he’s figured out how to escape his fate, he’s visited by his future self, who shows him the consequences of his actions.
The Enterprise is on the edge of the Neutral Zone to help refit a Starbase. In the midst of the mission, Pike reconnects with a familiar face before meeting with the head of the station. When his son comes in to meet the Captain, something he says sends Pike into a panic and he’s forced to leave the meeting. It’s a well done scene that emphasizes the shadow hanging over the character despite his experiences since returning.
Pike decides to attempt to change the fate of one of the young people there the day his life changes and in the midst of writing him a letter, future Christopher Pike appears. It’s a pretty awesome scene because it utilizes a variation of the Robert Fletcher uniforms from the movies. Pike discovers that he has been successful in saving the lives of the cadets and himself, but it comes at a cost. A cost Pike will have the ability to experience.
Pike finds himself in a new timeline with some subtle changes to the crew including a new first officer. There’s also a palpable level of tension between everyone, especially Spock. It is interesting seeing Pike attempt to find his footing on familiar ground. Pike confides in Spock and we get our first look at the Romulans when they attack the base from the Neutral Zone. We also get to see the Farragut and their captain, James T. Kirk. It’s an interesting narrative move to have Kirk in this episode and an interesting way to showcase him.
After intercepting a message from the Romulan ship, Pike and the crew get their first look at the aliens and it leads to some awkward stares at Spock, which I found funny. The revelation prompts Kirk to beam aboard as the two ships continue their pursuit of the Romulan ship. There’s also some great use of classic Trek themes in the episode.
After a failed attack on the Romulans, Pike and Kirk have a disagreement on strategy and it’s entertaining to see their different styles clash respectfully. Their philosophical differences between the two are entertaining and lead to some interesting moments. I also like that the episode finally resolves the issue of changing Pike’s fate. It should definitely add something interesting to the next season.
I actually really enjoyed the tension of this episode. As a fan of the original series, I love the fact that the plot is taken from the episode Balance of Terror. It uses the same plot points but with a twist in the narrative that makes the story more personal while also showing how important the characters are. It also has a great lesson within it both for the characters as well as the viewer. It also has a really interesting and entertaining twist at the end of the episode.