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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: The Broken Circle

"Vulcans can surprise you."

Does everyone love this new Spock as much as I do?

With half the crew on shore leave and several key positions open, Spock was supposed to simply babysit repairs in spacedock while Pike was away. Instead, presented with a difficult, unprecedented situation, Spock had to take command and prove he indeed has the right stuff.

This isn't the calm, mature, original series Spock, experienced second-in-command. This is a young wild child trying to come to terms with his divided nature. This is a Spock who is experiencing homicidal rage at the Gorn. This is a Spock so worried about Christine Chapel that he actually shed a tear. Spock can even quaff bloodwine with the best of them. I get the feeling T'Pring isn't going to like him like this.

While reuniting Oriana from "All Those Who Wander" with her parents, La'an stumbled upon the Broken Circle, a bunch of bad guys who want to restart the Klingon war so they can corner the dilithium market. They were going to do it by slapping together a Federation starship out of spare parts and attacking a Klingon ship. Not bad as evil plans go.

Let me pause for a moment to say hallelujah! the Klingons look like Klingons again! One of Star Trek: Discovery's biggest missteps was the multi-colored and boringly subtitled new Klingons. It's so nice to see them looking much like Worf again, except sleeker and with ears. But it's interesting that the Klingons seem like slightly scary puppies with big teeth compared to the Gorn, whom Admiral April revealed are on their way to attack.

Cajitar IV was gorgeous and weird. It kind of looked like someone grabbed a bunch of enormous stalactites and stuck them upside down in the ground. I also liked the interstellar rocks in orbit reflecting red, like the blood rain that M'Benga described.

I like M'Benga and Chapel together. They clearly know each other so well, and are so in tune that they were ready to die to prevent another war. Juicing up with whatever drug M'Benga had hidden and fighting their way out of the ship together made for a long and genuinely tense fight scene. Not to mention that there's something visceral and terrifying about exposing your bare face to space. I've grown to love these characters and didn't want to see them hurt. Spock got very emotional at the possibility of losing Christine Chapel, too.

And speaking of women in the crew...

At the start of the episode, Spock called a staff meeting consisting of M'Benga, Chapel, Ortegas, Mitchell and Uhura. Nearly all women. I love that. They're new and young. They're also really, really good. I am assuming that since La'an's mission is now complete, she'll be returning as head of security, and that Pike will succeed in retrieving Una. And yes, I wish we could have Hemmer back. But failing that, I am okay with interesting guest star engineers, and they're starting off with a bang.

Our new chief engineer is Pelia, who helped Spock fake a breach and just took a demotion from Chief Fleet Inspector because she is immortal and bored out of her mind. Carol Kane sounded like she just popped over from The Princess Bride to flirt with Spock. According to Memory Alpha, we haven't heard of Lanthanites before. Couldn't they be immortals from Highlander, please? A crossover of two of my favorite fictional universes?

Apparently, Pelia knows Spock's mom; she came out to Amanda Grayson years ago. Could we have a guest spot this season with Mia Kirshner and James Frain as Spock's parents, please?


— Stardate 2369.2. Starbase One and Cajitar IV.

— Uhura is now an ensign. I don't think we actually saw that at the end of last season.

— Dr. M'Benga prescribed music for Spock's stress. What lovely future continuity. It even looked like the same Vulcan harp.

Duet with hubcap

— Babs Olusanmokun is a third degree Jiu-Jitsu black belt. They must have been waiting to give the guy a huge fight scene. It was a good one. Jess Bush more than held her own, too.

— The drinking scene on Cajitar IV was an obvious homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark with La'an in the Karen Allen role, giving us a resounding and utterly marvelous belch for the ages.

— There was a new transporter chief named Jay. Where was Kyle?

— This is not the last time Spock will steal the Enterprise.

— Lovely dedication to Nichelle Nichols.

— Why did they break the cast in half for the first two episodes? I'm looking forward to seeing the Pike and Una side of things next week.


Pike: "Take it easy, Mister Spock. You won't ever even have to leave spacedock."
Spock: "What is the human expression? Famous last words."
Not the first time they've done the jinx thing.

Pelia: "Another thing I know about Vulcans – they don't do things without a good reason. Do you have a good reason to steal the ship?"
Spock: "I am having what you humans call a hunch."

Spock: "The Cajitar system. Warp factor five."
Ortegas: "You gonna say it? Your thing?"
Spock: "My what?"
Ortegas: "Your thing. You know. Everyone in the chair has their thing."
Uhura: "Captain Pike always says 'Hit it.'"
Mitchell: "My last captain liked to say 'Zoom.'"
Spock: "Must I have a thing? (to Ortegas) Do you have a thing?"
Ortegas: "Well, I've been workshopping 'Vamanos.' But it's supposed to be about you. What kind of commander are you? All that. So. No presh."
Spock: "I would like the ship to go. Now."

La'an: "Stole the Enterprise?"
Spock: "Yes. You said it was urgent."
La'an: "Wow. I would have lost so many bets."
Chapel: "Yeah. Vulcans can surprise you."

Spock: "You do not die!"
Chapel: (touching the tear on his cheek) "Why you got to be so rough?"

Pelia: "You want to know the worst thing about living almost forever?"
Spock: "The loss of those you love?"
Pelia: "Oh, you sweet un-Vulcan Vulcan. No. That's a pain shared by all those who live with even a half-open heart. No. It's boredom. And on that ship of yours, there seems to be a shortage of that."

Welcome back, Strange New Worlds, my new favorite show. Three out of four stolen starship parts,

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


  1. To answer your question “Does everyone love this new Spock as much as I do?” I can’t be certain, but I do love this Spock. I struggle a bit that he is quite far from mastering his emotions, but it is logical, pardon the expression. Seems like his Vulcan mentors would want him more in control of himself, though, before he was a Starfleet officer. But Spock at this point in his life is very intriguing. He’s going to grow significantly if he is going to become the Spock I know and love in the OS.

    “One of Star Trek: Discovery's biggest missteps was the multi-colored and boringly subtitled new Klingons.” So true. It’s what made me jump ship early in the series.

    Spock: "I would like the ship to go. Now." Really?????

    Chapel & M’Benga were GREAT.

    I really liked Pelia. Can we keep her?

    I missed Pike.

    “Famous last words.” Lol. Can we get a Yahtzee?

  2. I do like the material they're giving Ethan Peck when it comes to Spock's struggles balancing his Vulcan and Human sides. He's able to bring a lot of nuance to such a normally stoic character. And maybe I'm just not remembering all of Season 1 enough but it feels like La'an has loosened up a little bit, which is good. I like Carol Kane, and I'm intrigued by her character, but I'm not sold on the voice yet. It's not about the accent so much, at least not in normal conversations. But I worry about the accent and her slower pace of speaking in high-pressure scenes where a Chief Engineer is often spouting technobabble in urgent situations. I'm not sold yet, but I want to see more.

  3. I like the new Spock, or the young Spock, I guess. Spock being more overtly emotional will certainly create more story ideas for the show to play with.

    Oddly, it made me appreciate Leonard Nimoy as an actor. His Spock was a mask but he was able to act through that mask and still convey emotion (especially annoyance!). It helps that our species evolved to read emotional ques from others, not logic. So we’re gonna see emotions leaking out of any face.

    If SNW sticks around long enough we may get to see how and why the Peck Spock becomes the Nimoy Spock. That would be… fascinating.

  4. Just saw a news article that said the reason why Pike was largely absent from the season premiere is that Anson Mount & his wife had just had a baby, so Anson needed some time at home. Since they knew the due date well in advance, they planned accordingly.

  5. I’m a little late to the 2nd season party as I’ve been finishing up my binge re-watch of Lost, but I adored season 1 of SNW and am so hyped to get into season 2.

    Or at least I was. For me, this episode was just…ugh. It was kind of like watching Star Trek V and wondering what they did with the real Kirk, Spock, and McCoy from the first 4 movies. With the exception of Spock (I think Ethan Peck is tremendous in this role) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush steals every scene she’s in), everyone else felt….off.

    There were two things I really struggled with. One, the directing:
    - Didn’t like M’Benga knocking out that Klingon at full speed? Here’s one in slo mo. Still not good enough? How about SUPER slo mo??
    - Have to jump down a hatch? Let’s flip the screen to make it look like you landed on the ceiling, and then turn it back, because…directorial reasons.
    - Klingons need to get into a sealed room? Have them scratch and claw at it like Zombies!

    But the plot is certainly better right?
    - Introduce La’an and then sideline her for the entire episode except to place her directly next to where an entire ship rises out of the ground so she can be there to report the mercenary groups plans. Not coincidental at all!
    - When Spock finds out Nurse Chapel is in danger he does exactly what you would expect by…beaming back to this Enterprise??
    - I won’t even go into the dull Klingon captain or the Admiral finger wag to Spock about stealing the Enterprise.

    Wow, I’m a total downer today. I’m sure part of it is not having Pike positivity in this episode. Or I could chalk it up to watching this right after the finale of Lost and still being too emotional. Anyway, did not enjoy the episode but still love the characters and concept. Hopefully it gets better once the whole crew is back together.


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