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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Hegemony

"Break in case of Gorn."

And suddenly, we're watching V. Or possibly Independence Day.

The USS Cayuga was destroyed in the first five minutes of the episode and the wreckage was visually stunning, with huge bites taken out of the saucer as if the Gorn had eaten not just the people but the ship itself.

Are the Gorn indeed monsters? Evil space sharks with no redeeming characteristics? Can anything explain or excuse what they have done? Star Trek doesn't usually give us one-dimensional monsters, and there were multiple hints here that something else was going on. Like, the abandoned Gorn younglings weren't fighting for dominance as they did last season; they were working together. What could explain that?

Pike disobeyed orders and led a landing party with special anti-Gorn weapons to Parnassus Beta, and they didn't do so well, did they? At least not until they stumbled over a certain miracle-worker with a jury-rigged Gorn trap. I hadn't read any casting spoilers, so I was surprised and thrilled with the reveal of Lieutenant JG Montgomery Scott, young, brilliant and snarky. Actor Martin Quinn didn't disappoint; his Scotty felt like James Doohan and Simon Pegg had a love child, or went through a transporter and got smushed together.

But Scotty's advent made me think again about where this series is going. Unless we're looking at an alternate timeline (and I'm okay with that), Anson Mount's Pike has an expiration date. And yes, it's a given that if Strange New Worlds continues to be a success, the series could easily segue into a reboot of the original series. The careful casting of Paul Wesley, an actor who successfully led another hit series for eight seasons, suggests that this is where they're going.

Except that I love this cast as it is. Particularly Erica Ortegas and La'an Noonien-Singh, both of whom were just taken captive by space sharks. Ortegas in particular has become a favorite of mine; here, she figured out the best way to cross the Gorn demarcation line was a shuttle pretending to be Cayuga debris. I also loved her in the pilot's seat grinning as the shuttle plummeted down in a death spiral. While I love Sulu as much as the next Trekkie, how can they replace Erica Ortegas? Is she next?

Was it a deliberate choice by the writers to put both Pike's and Spock's honeys in deep danger? If so, Spock got the better story, because that gravity-free spacesuit fight with the eight-foot Gorn on the airless bridge of the Cayuga was my favorite action sequence in an episode full of action sequences.

The only thing that bothered me was that Chapel was the only survivor of the Cayuga. Where were the other air pockets? Where were the escape pods? It was a big ship. One survivor, and specifically the only one we cared about, seemed so unlikely.

I also found the end confusing – at first. There was so much beaming going on, and they sandwiched the remainder of the landing party plus the colonists in all that so that maybe we wouldn't notice right away that their beam was Gorn-green.

So. Cliffhanger-paloosa. Cliffhangers, many. The Gorn have the colonists, along with M'Benga, La'an, Ortegas, and Sam Kirk. Admiral April was ordering Pike to withdraw. How can Pike leave his people behind? And is he about to lose his girlfriend? Or will Captain Batel's infection – and Scotty's jury-rigged contraption – give them answers?

The biggest question is, how long will the strike last, and when will we get season three? Will it even be in 2024?


— Stardate 2344.2, Batel's log. The planet was Parnassus Beta with 5,000 colonists and really nice weather. They looked human. Why weren't they Federation? If they're in the hold of a Gorn ship, I bet they're rethinking that now.

— Scott was the only survivor of the Stardiver, a solar research vessel.

— Pelia said Scott was one of her best students who received some of her worst grades.

— If you haven't been watching The Ready Room, this week's was mostly about Legacy Effects and their Gorn, which are mostly puppets and animatronics. The Gorn that Spock fought was a very tall actor in a hundred-pound Gorn suit.

— This is Strange New Worlds' first official two-parter.


April: "I think it's safe to say that we don't understand the Gorn."
Pike: "Well, I've seen them up close and personal, and they're not hard to understand, Bob. They're monsters."
April: "'Monster' is a word to describe those who don't understand us."
Pike: "Sometimes a monster is just a monster."

Sam Kirk: "Last time I saw the Gorn, I was scared out of my wits. But I'd appreciate another chance to study them up close."
La'an: "With a phaser?"
Sam Kirk: "How else will we determine how best to kill them?"
M'Benga: "I would like to aid in that study."

Ortegas: "You want me to pilot the shuttle."
Pike: "Come on, Erica. Haven't you been bugging me for months about joining a landing party?"
Ortegas: "Yes, I have. Why have I been doing that?"

Uhura: "Old zombie movie trick."
Spock: "Zombie movie?"
Una: "Yeah. Dress up like you're dead so the zombies don't notice you. You've never seen one?"
Spock: "A zombie, no. A movie, yes."

Ortegas: "It's like riding a bike."
Pike: "At the speed of light."

Pike: "Sometimes hope is a choice."
And he would know.

Scott: "I figured out how to hide in plain sight."
M'Benga: "Sounds resourceful."
Ortegas: "And mysterious."
Scott: "When an armada of human-eating lizards come my way, I can get quite, ah, creative."

Spock: "Placing those rockets is a near impossible task. No human can do this. I, however, can."

A strong action-adventure episode with horror and a lot of terrific action sequences, particularly the fight on the Cayuga. And the introduction of Montgomery Scott was a BFD.

But was it four out of four perfectly placed rockets? What did you all think?

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


  1. You mentioned “V” or “Independence Day.” I thought more of “Jurassic Park” and its smart raptors. Or “Alien,” though I don’t believe the Gorn slobber acid.

    The best thing about this episode was meeting Montgomery Scott. Wonderful. And it gave me something to focus on other than the horror. Sorry, I’m a bit of a wimp just lately. I’m sure it will pass.

    I also was bothered by Christine Chapel being the only survivor of the Cayuga. Just too unlikely. And Patel’s infection reminded me sharply of “The Last Of Us.” Bothered enough that I wouldn’t give this ep a 4 of 4 creatively relevant nouns. That’s not even counting the gut-wrenching cliffhanger we’re stuck with. Bleah. Maybe 3 of 4.

    And since I can’t figure out a place to ask a random question, I’ll once again tack one on to the end of a comment….. why is there no review of “Grimm” on Doux Reviews? Just the usual “so many shows, not enough reviewers?” Or something more sinister? Lol. Just surprises me.

    1. Thanks. I figured. Thanks for all the reviews you do manage to write. I suppose if they weren’t so good, we readers wouldn’t want them for all our favorite shows!

  2. Måge, re: Grimm -- it really is so many shows, not enough reviewers. Everyone reviews what they want to review, and that's pretty much it.

  3. The show really has lousy luck with a cliffhanger in the middle of a double-header strike.

    We just need Bones (M'Benga already has a demotion lined-up if somehow his murder of the Klingon diplomat sees the light of day) and Sulu (Ortegas also has a You wanted an away mission? Be careful what You wish for! moment set up) to complete the cast of season 1 Those Old Scientist.

    1. Patryk, I'm hoping against hope for Karl Urban. Probably not a chance, but he was a great McCoy.

    2. Maybe Boimler can convice him to leave the Boys and come back to Trek. :)

    3. Patryk, I should have put that together. Good one!

  4. "how can you replace Erica Ortegas?" Easily. With literally anyone. Even Neelix or Wesley were never this irritating. An irrideemably dreadful character. Maybe it isn't the actor's fault but Ihaven't seen her in anything else. If the writing in this season is anything to go by I suspect she isn't entirely to blame.


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