Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Children of the Comet

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Hazing the newbie just never goes away, it seems. On Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2, we get a close look at life from Uhura's perspective as a cadet, and it's a unique one even among cadets.

Star Trek series rarely feature cadets as regular crew members. Both Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were recurring characters who enrolled in Starfleet and became cadets as part of their arc.

Revealing that Uhura -- who we know will become a long-time Starfleet officer by the time the era of Star Trek: The Original Series rolls around -- comes to Starfleet as an emotional escape and without knowing whether it's really her calling defies a lot of assumptions made about the character.

Smiling Uhura - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

Celia Rose Gooding does a phenomenal job here, carrying the gravitas of the script with a bright and authentic openness that underscores the strength that sustains Uhura through tragedy and launches her into space.

As Gooding mentions during the Strange New Worlds press day roundtable interviews, Uhura starts out feeling like the universe happens to her.

Pike: Y'know, the Enterprise only gets a handful of cadets a year from Starfleet. You gotta be pretty impressive to make the cut.
Uhura: Thank you, sir.
Pike: I hear you speak twelve languages.
Uhura: Um, thirty-seven.

While she recognizes her abilities and accepts her prodigy status as fact, she is still profoundly unsure about her role in Starfleet and on the crew of the Enterprise.

Sharing that indecisiveness with Pike et al. demonstrates a guileless nature utterly uninterested in "playing the game" of pandering or politics, a game I can't see Pike or Una ever encouraging in any case.

Pike: That is an impressive and heartbreaking story, cadet.
Uhura: That's me.

As a prodigy cadet, she is intensely observant of everyone around her, and, through her eyes, we begin to suss out the connections forming among the crew.

La'an and Kirk - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

It's interesting to note that while Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 1 highlighted La'an's backstory, we saw some softer aspects to the stoic security officer.

Now that the focus has shifted to Uhura, we see La'an from the cadet's perspective, and she's TERRIFYING.

Pike: There's more to serving Starfleet than just individual excellence. Our ability to work together, that's our greatest strength.
La'an: Other people are... challenging for me.

The makeup of the away team is carefully set up to provide optimal interaction between Spock and Uhura. Once Sam Kirk's downed, and La'an is clearly prepared -- as is her wont -- to die, Spock is the officer left to encourage their linguistics expert to carry on.

Spock: Your humming suggests you may be experiencing distress. May I remind you that circumstances are less dire than they were. Mr. Kirk identified one error you can avoid. By eliminating that option, he has improved your odds.
Uhura: Was that actually your version of a pep talk?
Spock: Yes, I've been working on them.

Not only that, but he's conscripted to sing counterpoint to her as they decipher the relic's harmonic language.

Collaborating - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

Knowing how long Spock and Uhura's relationship runs through the canon of Trek, there's something deeply satisfying about seeing the very beginning of their working association.

The Spock and Chapel dynamic is equally intriguing, although the vibe is less like Star Trek: The Original Series's pining Chapel and more a mischievous and bold flirtation.

Chapel: You ready for this?
Spock: I'm more than capable of managing pain...
Chapel: Mr. Spock, now you're just toying with me.
Spock: That was not my intention.
Chapel: I've noticed.

Spock, of course, is befuddled, while Chapel just finds him... fascinating.

With T'Pring a very active presence in the series, I wonder if the Chapel-Spock tension will travel the path of TOS. Jess Bush hinted at her roundtable interview that her Chapel would be quite distinct from Barrett's.

She already runs around a lot more. She's a very energetic nurse.

Cheers - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

In discussing the Strange New Worlds premiere with friends who didn't watch Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, it's been a revelation that they don't instantly love Pike.

It never occurred to me that the fan love for Mount's Pike and his senior team needed the anchor of the Red Angel/Search for Spock adventure.

That being said, I'm relatively confident that dinner in the Captain's Cabin will bring the newcomers around.

Spock: I've never understood the human inclination to laugh at others' misfortune. It feels impolite.
Chapel: That's why it's funny.
Spock: Because it breaks the social expectation?
Pike: Sometimes, Mr. Spock, things go so badly, you just have to laugh.

Again, seeing it through Uhura's eyes adds a glamor to the occasion.

From her perspective, these are not only the ship's senior officers and seasoned veterans of Starfleet; they are professionals who have found their purpose in life and are doing exactly what they should be doing in exactly the right place.

A Carrot - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

That confidence is daunting to one standing at a crossroads of infinite possibilities.

Hemmer's curmudgeonly welcome probably didn't help. Wow, do I ever love my Star Trek grumps. Bones, Worf, The Doctor, Jet Reno. They give the crew some zing. Go ahead and call me #TeamHemmer.

Uhura: I've read that among many things, the Aenar have a form of pre-cognitive ability.
Hemmer: I knew you were going to ask that.
Uhura: Because you sensed my question before I asked it?
Hemmer: Because everyone always asks that.

From a technical construction perspective, I appreciate that Uhura's penchant for humming her Kenyan folksong is the thread of familiarity that conveys the team's well-being to Pike and Una later.

In fact, as a script, it's very impressive in its cohesiveness.

Not only does the humming Pike notices become a key to unlocking the relic on the away mission, the message of, "Sometimes things go so badly, you just have to laugh," is recurrent through both the comet dilemma and its solution.

Away Mission Spock - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

And finally, for those playing along at home, the question of whether one's fate is preordained or shaped by free will -- introduced first on the premiere with the Kyliens -- is answered here in a tantalizingly ambiguous, almost mystical, manner.

M'hanit's eerily prescient message is compelling enough to give Una fuel for her theory that Pike doesn't need to accept a future with horrifying disfigurement.

So, just because you receive a message from the future, doesn't mean you understand it.


It's also enigmatic enough to spark a bit of hope in Pike. I'm pretty invested in seeing how this plays out, remembering that the monks on Boreth were pretty clear that taking the crystal meant Pike's future would be exactly what his vision showed him.

While I suspect it'll never be confirmed or denied by anyone of repute, the best theory for M'hanit's ability to communicate and convey future potentialities is that the relic has temporal capabilities to see those possibilities and predict the most probable outcome.

(If this were true, one could hypothesize that one of M'hanit's sibling comets' relics might've been assimilated by the Borg to give the Collective, via the Queen, the ability to see the time streams the way pre-Jurati Queen did on Star Trek: Picard Season 2. Just spit-balling here.)

Uhura in the Corridor - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2

With these first two offerings, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has not only established itself as episodic, but it has declared its intention to be a true ensemble cast, where we'll get to experience adventures at every level of the ship's operation.

Seeing a mission through the eyes of Cadet Uhura provides insight into her character as well as interpersonal dynamics on the crew.

And held up in contrast, these first two hours demonstrate the production team's skill at crafting diverse narratives and multi-faceted perspectives.

Who would you like to spend the next outing with? Ortegas? Hemmer? M'Benga?

What strange new world holds the Enterprise's next adventure? Hit our comments with your wishlist!

Children of the Comet Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Ortegas: Captain wants, y'know, regular people to hear what's actually happening on the ship, so he'll probably ask you questions.
Uhura: Great.
Ortegas: That a problem?
Uhura: How do I put this? My father liked to say that I was unburdened by conversational boundaries.
Ortegas: So this will be fun for you then.

Ortegas: Relax, cadet, it's tradition.
Uhura: Hazing the newbie?
Ortegas: All in good fun. You get bored. It's a small ship.
Uhura: Y'know, it's really not.