Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Children of the Comet

"We've got a planet to save before breakfast. I love this job."

An enjoyable episode about fate and faith. And Uhura.

Anyone who has seen original Star Trek probably thinks they know Uhura well. But we just learned more about her than in the entire run of the original series and all six of the movies.

Surprisingly, Uhura didn't grow up longing to join Starfleet. She emotionally rebounded from a career in academia when she suddenly lost her parents and brother, and moved in with her grandmother, who had been in Starfleet. And 37 languages? Uhura speaks 37 languages? Big wow. I know there are people who can do such things, but it seems superhuman to me. Even when 22 of them are Kenyan dialects.

We went along with an uncomfortable Uhura on her first away mission – to a comet with an impossible force field where Uhura's specific talents in linguistics and music turned out to be important, because of course they were. The comet interior reminded me of Aliens, even though the huge egg was just gorgeous. I especially liked Uhura and Spock singing together in harmony as the egg opened up like Cinderella's coach, and did not eject an acid-producing face alien.

Ethan Peck's Spock continued to impress me. The pep talks for Uhura. The not-flirting with Chapel. Telegraphing a carrot toss to Hemmer. Spock went from telling Uhura that she shouldn't be taking a Starfleet slot from another who desperately wanted it, to telling her that Starfleet would be lucky to have her. That was surprisingly nice of him, and showed people management skills.


Not to mention Spock laughing in the shuttlecraft because he absorbed the lesson that sometimes things go so badly, you have to laugh. Spock is making a genuine effort to bond with these illogical humans in order to do his job well. As far as Spock portrayals go, Ethan Peck is already surpassing Zachary Quinto. In my opinion. Please feel free to disagree.

I also can't help gushing about Anson Mount as Christopher Pike. The dinner in the captain's cabin where he was so open and casual, relating an embarrassing story about his own mishap as an ensign, made his crew laugh and relax with him. I loved the sneaky way he outwitted the "crazy space monks" by positioning the Enterprise in front of the comet and then innocently surrendering and asking them for help while Spock and his shuttlecraft were melting the comet off its deadly course.


But apparently, Spock was always supposed to adjust the orbit of the comet M'Hanit and save Persephone III, not to mention change its climate for the better. The Shepherds insisted that it was preordained, just like Pike's future is inalterable. But Una thinks Pike can make a different choice, to save the cadets and himself.

I thought continuing with the story of Pike's gruesome fate would be repetitious and/or unpleasant, but instead it's intriguing. Pike knows the names of the five cadets his sacrifice will save, and he just looked them up – they're currently all children, which makes sense. How could Pike choose another course and let them die?

Fascinating.

Bits:

— Stardate 2912.4. The desert planet was Persephone III, and the primitive people were called the Deleb.

— We were introduced to Chief Engineer Hemmer, a blind and curmudgeonly Andorian. I liked him.


— Ortegas was also featured, playing a practical joke on Uhura, and suggesting phaser harmonics to get through the force field. In this week's hair report, Ortegas's hairdo looks a bit like she has racing stripes. As a hot shot pilot, it suits her.

— Uhura made a face just before beaming. Maybe, like Leonard McCoy, she really doesn't like it. I've written in other reviews that I find the transporter exceedingly creepy, although I'll readily admit it is an important and irreplaceable plot device.

— Sam Kirk got too close to the egg and was knocked out. Maybe he thought it was just a really big joystick.

— This week's episode had elements that reminded me of "The Paradise Syndrome" since it also included musical notes, comet deflection, and a guy named Kirk getting knocked out by an energy beam.

— Did you notice this misspelling? I didn't.


Quotes:

Ortegas: "Consider it your first complete square in Enterprise bingo."
And I bet fans are already creating their ideas for what such a bingo board would be.

Pike: "I'm starting to like the mustache."
Kirk: "Maybe you should try one for yourself."
I'm thinking no. And this seemed oddly personal and flirtaceous, didn't it?

Chapel: "You ready for this?"
Spock: "I'm more than capable of managing any pain you can produce."
Chapel: "Mister Spock. Now you're toying with me."
Spock: "That was not my intention."
Loved this.

Sam Kirk: "Yahtzee."
Reminding me of Dean Winchester.

Uhura: "Too honest?"
Spock: "I am a Vulcan. We are 'too honest' by nature."
Uhura: "Your girlfriend must love that, huh? (Spock looks at her) Nurse Chapel."
Spock: "Nurse Chapel is not my girlfriend."
Uhura: "I know. But she was flirting with you. (pause) It was a joke, you know, to break the tension."
Spock: "Do you not think this is an inappropriate time for jokes?"
Uhura: "It's like the captain said, sometimes things go so badly you just have to laugh."
Spock: "I find the best way to diffuse tension is to apply rigorous logic."
Uhura: "Okay. That's always an option, too."

Sometimes when a show gives us a terrific pilot, the second episode is a let down. Not this time. Three out of four applications of rigorous logic,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

1 comment:

  1. Watching Spock and Uhura communicate with an alien artifact by singing together may be my new favorite thing. I'm loving SNW so far!

    ReplyDelete

We love comments! We actively monitor, and feed mean, nasty comments to our cats. It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.