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Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds season 1, episode 4 overview: “Embraces each alternative to ratchet up the stakes” By Richard Edwards revealed 26 Could 22 Evaluation

Warning: Our Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds season 1, episode 4 overview incorporates main spoilers – a lot of them set to stun. Boldly go additional at your individual threat…

Whereas it doesn’t fairly match with Gene Roddenberry’s beliefs about exploration and the betterment of humanity, a lot of Star Trek’s most memorable moments have come when a Starfleet vessel has taken a whole and utter pounding. This week, Unusual New Worlds follows within the footsteps of The Subsequent Technology’s ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, Voyager’s ‘Yr of Hell’ and the franchise’s best hour, The Wrath of Khan, by guaranteeing Pike, Spock and the crew spend a complete mission with their backs in opposition to the wall.

The episode’s title, ‘Memento Mori’, interprets as a reminder that everybody should die – an echo of Recreation of Thrones’ well-known ‘valar morghulis’ – and for as soon as, it doesn’t really feel like an empty risk. Whereas Trek canon dictates that Pike, Spock, Uhura, M’Benga and Chapel should dwell to battle one other day, there are moments whenever you consider the present would possibly do a Tasha Yar, and kill off an everyday earlier than season one is finished. That every one the leads make it out in a single piece (roughly) nearly comes as a shock – and a particular aid, seeing as each member of this fantastically assembled crew is worthy of extra display screen time.

The reason for the Enterprise’s woes is an intriguing contradiction, each refreshingly acquainted and the chilling face of the unknown. The Gorn date again to – or, in Trek continuity, technically ahead to – unique collection episode ‘Enviornment’, when Captain Kirk was compelled to tackle his rival captain in hand-to-hand fight. The stiff, rubbery prosthetics of the ’60s ensured that the reptilian species grew to become figures of enjoyable in some quarters of fandom – they have been subsequently given a hokey CG makeover in Star Trek: Enterprise’s Mirror Universe – however there’s no query we’re taking this new incarnation very critically certainly. The reinvented Gorn will be the first genuinely scary ’new’ risk the Federation has confronted for the reason that introduction of the Borg and the Dominion – and since it’s made clear that they like consuming people for dinner, we don’t even need to see them to know they’re unhealthy information.

Their introduction is an Alien-like masterclass in constructing suspense. The season opener already established that Lt La’an Noonien Singh had an in depth encounter with the Gorn as a child, an assault that left the remainder of her household useless. Now she’s compelled to relive the trauma on the deserted colony of Finibus 3, regularly deducing that the ominous bloodstains and the press sounds recreated by a terrified eye-witness can imply just one factor…

With the Enterprise nonetheless tethered to the cargo vessel it’s evacuating, nevertheless, La’an’s determined name to lift shields comes too late, leaving the ship a sitting duck when the Gorn open extraordinarily hostile hailing frequencies. Regardless of being quickly frozen in concern, La’an is generally unscathed by the brutal shock assault, however not everyone seems to be so fortunate – there are quite a few useless, Quantity One is injured, and Starfleet’s flagship is left an inoperable warp drive, medical provides working out and – maybe most ominously of all – its air-con on the fritz. There are additionally numerous random wires left dangling from the ceiling, within the best Trek custom.

Issues are so unhealthy that retreat is the best choice, the one place to cover an unstable brown dwarf that’s being sucked right into a black gap. It’s an unashamed homage to The Wrath of Khan, however it works spectacularly. That film’s director, Nicholas Meyer, famously reinvented Star Trek as a submarine journey, and ‘Memento Mori’ takes the identical strategy, plotting a tense sport of cat-and-mouse because the Enterprise tries to remain one step forward of the enemy. In reality, this episode is so blatant about its nautical influences that the ship’s pressure-induced creaks and improvised tackle radar really feel like they might have been lifted from Das Boot. Lt Ortegas even will get to acknowledge one among Pike’s orders with a tongue-in-cheek, “Aye aye, skipper – dive dive dive!”

From begin to end, the episode embraces each alternative to ratchet up the stakes, regularly introducing a hull breach, a bigger, extra highly effective Gorn vessel, and the specter of a cataclysmic explosion in a cargo bay to a seemingly unsolvable equation. Perhaps it’s a consequence of the present’s determination to embrace standalone tales, however the Unusual New Worlds writing crew is guaranteeing that each episode is constantly loaded with plot – 4 episodes in, there’s been little time (or want) for narrative padding.

(Picture credit score: Paramount)

However as soon as once more, the present’s strongest weapon is its solid. This story wouldn’t have labored as a season opener, however now this glorious new crew is established, you’re completely rooting for them of their darkest hour. Whereas La’an will get probably the most outstanding character arc – the ever-impressive Pike reminds her that, typically, hope is simply as vital as her standard ruthless effectivity – everybody will get a second to shine, whether or not it’s the medical crew making the most of “archaeological medication”, or Ortegas delivering her trademark gallows humour. Crucially, you consider that after they’re collectively, Pike and his crew can accomplish just about something, however not in that contrived, borderline superhuman manner that dragged down the newest season of Discovery. Certainly, the way in which the rookie Uhura and sarcastic engineer Hemmer bond whereas attempting to avert an explosion is without doubt one of the early highlights of the season.

An in any other case good episode is barely let down by the contrivance of its conclusion. Spock utilizing a mind-meld to assist La’an entry outdated reminiscences comes just a little too quickly after Picard episode ’Monsters’ took benefit of an identical plot gadget, and – whereas it’s a long-established Vulcan potential – skirts perilously near a magic trick right here. It additionally appears unlikely that La’an would be capable to recall the Gorn’s light-emitted language in such element, or {that a} technologically superior species may very well be so simply fooled by a faux message. Have they by no means heard of coded transmissions?

That minor slip up apart, Unusual New Worlds has established this new model of the Gorn as a real risk to the Federation. Canonical restraints might make sure that they continue to be bit-part gamers – the ‘Enviornment’ incident within the unique collection is handled as a primary contact state of affairs – however we’ll be eagerly awaiting their return. Who is aware of, perhaps subsequent time we’ll even get to see what they appear to be…


Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds is presently airing now within the US on Paramount Plus. A UK airdate is TBC – although Paramount Plus launches within the UK on June 22. For extra, take a look at our information to the Star Trek timeline.



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