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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Those Old Scientists

"Tough to meet your heroes, huh?"

Crossovers should be fun. And this one was. Honestly, I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

While a great deal of the episode was understandably about the laughs, the core of the story was what a mixed blessing meeting your heroes can be. There were many good character moments: funny, endearing, and even a bit poignant.

This was Jack Quaid's episode, and he impressed me. He somehow managed to take his nerdy, squealing, purple-haired cartoon character into live action and made him believable and likeable. I also enjoyed Tawny Newsome's interpretation of live action Mariner, although she got less screen time.

The combination of Spock and Boimler (and explosions) was something special, and the funniest scene in the episode, in my opinion, was theirs. I particularly loved how Boimler was creeped out by Spock's experiments with smiling. (So was I.) But it wasn't just funny. Boimler told Chapel that historical Spock never smiled or laughed, making Chapel realize that her influence on Spock will be temporary. Which of course implied that their relationship will also be temporary.

Speaking of poignant, it was obvious that Boimler knew exactly what was going to happen to Pike in the future, and the two of them talked around it in a gentle sort of way. (Mariner even made a gesture referencing Pike's wheelchair.) Boimler knew it was Pike's birthday, and suggested that even though Pike wanted to be alone, the people who loved him would enjoy celebrating that birthday with him. It was really nice. And true.

The bits with Mariner's worship of Uhura and Boimler's recruiting poster of Una were surprisingly sweet. Of course, a 22-year-old Uhura isn't yet the person she'll be in her prime. And Una learning that her struggles will ultimately make her a desirable representative of all of Starfleet was touching.

(Rebecca Romijn's real life husband, Jerry O'Connell, voices Commander Jack Ransom, who called "Numero Una" the "hottest first officer in Starfleet history." A cute way of giving them a moment when they didn't have a scene together.)

It was a given that Boimler would screw up history somehow, but I liked that Boimler was also the one who fixed it. He used his future knowledge to find the Orions (and the SNW crew deliberately didn't watch how he did it), he saved the tritriticale for the settlers on Setlik II, and he was the one who knew that NCC-1701 would have a piece of NX-01 inside of it. I also liked that La'an, just returned from a time jaunt herself, was the one to review temporal protocols with Boimler.

And I absolutely loved that the all important translation on the time portal turned out to be, "This is a time portal."

The animated coda with the crew celebrating Pike's birthday and drunk on Orion hurricanes was pleasant surprise. Nuts, but really amusing.

I've only seen a few Lower Decks episodes, but it was enough to follow the episode. I can imagine the Lower Decks fans are thrilled. One thing I don't get, though – why was this episode smushed in between two other episodes instead of getting a week of its own? Were the Star Trek Powers That Be dissing Lower Decks, just a little?


— Stardate 58460.1 in Lower Decks time, 2291.6 in Strange New Worlds time. We visited Krulmuth-B and its time portal that looked a lot like the Guardian of Forever, except with an extra loop.

— The Enterprise was headed for Setlik II to deliver tritriticale. An earlier version of the quadrotriticale in "The Trouble with Tribbles."

— Jonathan Frakes directed this episode. Of course he did. Loved the blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to the "Riker!" maneuver when Boimler sat on the saddle.

— The SNW credits were animated and included some bits from Lower Decks credits.

— I liked the bit about prejudice against Orions, who were initially all about the pirates and slave girls. It was a way to get Tendi in the story, and in a positive way.

— TOS is what Ransom called this era in an episode of Lower Decks, standing for "Those Old Scientists." Yes, "The Original Series."

— I also liked everyone bonding over fan love for the NX-01 and her crew. Star Trek: Enterprise tends to get dissed. In fact, I wonder – was there an easter egg for every Star Trek incarnation? I bet there was.

Quotes: (I restrained myself but there are probably too many)

Una: "Mr. Spock ran an analysis of his delta. It's not just a badge. It's also a communicator. You press right here."
Pike: "But flipping it open's the best part."

Boimler: "I'm on the bridge! NCC-1701 dash... nothing!"
La'an: "What would come after the dash?"

Pike: "I feel like I'm trying to stop a toddler from knocking over the furniture."

Ortegas: "Hey, what's the future like? Do you have jetpacks or what?"
Chapel: "We have jetpacks now."
Ortegas: "I know. But, like, smaller jetpacks."

Boimler: "There has to be a peaceful solution. And I know diplomacy is one of your many, many strengths. That and patience, forgiveness, benevolence, really great hair."
(Pike, confused, glances at Spock. Spock looks at Pike's hair)

Mariner: "You disappeared in a vortex while I was in charge. For all I knew you were dead, or stuck in a dystopian San Francisco in the middle of a riot!"
Una: "Have you noticed that their references are weirdly specific?"
Spock: "Indeed."

Mariner: "Look, I'm gonna keep this, like, 100% profesh, but I was thoroughly unprepared for how hot young Spock was going to be."

Spock: "I find myself curious about chance. (big grin) Do you feel lucky?"

Pelia: (to Boimler) "There's this one guy I remember. He said to me, 'I always pretended to be someone I wanted to be, until finally, I became that someone... or he became me.'"
OMG. Pelia knew Cary Grant?

Boimler: "Holy Q!"
Mariner: "Don't! Don't yell Q. They haven't met him yet. They had kind of a Trelane thing going on."

La'an: (quietly) "I love grapplers."
Great timing of this line.

So. I didn't love this one quite as much as the Supernatural/Scooby-Doo crossover, but it was still a really good time. Three out of four recruiting posters,

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


  1. Thanks, Billie, for the fun review! You did the episode justice. What a hoot! For me, someone who was slow to warm to the silliness of Lower Decks, it’s funny how much I enjoyed this episode. Here’s some of my not so eloquent thoughts….

    Jack Quaid was excellent in bringing Boimler to live action/3d. I’ve always liked his dad, and you can tell Jack is surely related. :).

    Tawny Newsome was terrific as Mariner. Very funny and spontaneous.

    So interesting how they instantly provided the option of brakes to the growing Spock/Chapel relationship. I’m sure there’s a lot more to be revealed in this plot line, but I wasn’t expecting this rather sad interlude in this comedic episode.

    I liked the respect shown throughout the episode to Pike, Una, Uhura and Tendi. Cool, coming from Lower Decks, such an “irreverent” version of Star Trek.

    But Spock as Clint Eastwood? That’s a comparison I hadn’t considered.

  2. I believe that the reason it was dropped when it was is because it coincided with fans getting a look at the episode at a convention somewhere.

    1. CoramDeo, thanks. I'm sure you're right and it would be Comic-con. But why the new episode tomorrow? Not that I'm unhappy that we're getting a new episode tomorrow, but wouldn't they want the season to last as long as possible?

  3. I loved how, instead of giving us the point of our 3-D characters suddenly discovering that they have been turned into cartoons, that this episode is mostly from the POV of the cartoons.


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