Tomorrow we return to the strange new worlds of Star Trek’s latest series, Strange New Worlds, for season two of the smash hit breakout of 2022. But while season one was certainly full of memorable moments, if you haven’t quite remembered all of them, we’re here to help get you adjusted from your time on shore leave.
Captain Pike Is OK With His Future
One of the few through lines in Strange New Worlds’ first season was Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) trying to come to grips with the vision of his future fate during the events of Star Trek: Discovery season two. Fully aware his destiny would see him grievously wounded saving Starfleet Academy students during a training exercise, Pike grappled not just with having the knowledge of his fate, but whether or not he should attempt to change it.
After a harrowing glimpse of what could be should he try that saw him thrust into a recreation of one of the greatest Star Trek episodes ever made, “Balance of Terror” in season one’s finale, Pike has ultimately decided to be at peace with his future — and accept what he can do in the time he has.
Captain Kirk Is Back, Sorta
We knew since before Strange New Worlds even began that Paul Wesley’s Captain James T. Kirk would be playing a role in season two — but what we didn’t know ahead of time was that he’d actually make a surprise early appearance in season one’s finale. However, this wasn’t the Kirk we’ll meet in season two, but the Captain Kirk of an alternate timeline where he is not the captain of the Enterprise by the events of “Balance of Terror,” but still aboard his old ship the Farragut.
So we’re technically actually meeting Wesley’s Kirk for the first time in season two, but given the bond Kirk and Pike forged during that haunting experience, it’ll be interesting to see what their relationship is like when the duo cross paths for the first time for real.
The Enterprise Has a New Chief Engineer
Life aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise is a dangerous one, and the bridge crew learned that the hard way in season one when the ship’s Aenar Chief Engineer Hemmer (Bruce Horak) was forced to sacrifice himself during a chilling encounter with the Gorn. With the crew clearly shaken by his loss — especially young cadet Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), who had been contemplating leaving Starfleet behind her altogether before Hemmer took her under his wing — coming into season two, Hemmer’s replacement will have a lot to live up to.
So we’ll have to see how then Pelia, Hemmer’s replacement as Chief Engineer, will get on in season two then. Played by the legendary Carol Kane, we don’t know much about her yet, but hopefully she has a better fate than her predecessor.
La’an’s Out of Action…
The Enterprise was rocked by a series of organizational re-shuffles at the end of season one beyond Hemmer’s death. Its head of security, La’an Noonien Singh (yes, of those Noonien Singhs), after multiple harrowing encounters with the Gorn throughout the first season — dredging up trauma from her past, having been captured by them as a child — stepped down from duty to go on a leave of absence to help another young survivor of a Gorn attack, Oriana, find her home.
Pike forced La’an to promise she’d return to duty some day, and it seems like that moment’s going to be sooner in season two rather than later, considering freshly released images from the premiere see the crew reunited with La’an during a new mission.
… and So Is Number 1
The other big departure during season one’s finale was not by choice, however. It was revealed earlier in the season that Commander Una Chin-Riley, aka Number One (Rebecca Romijn) is actually secretly an Illyrian, a species of near-human genetic augments that re-engineered their bodies to suit the worlds they colonised. In the wake of the Eugenics Wars, the Federation and Starfleet banned augments entirely, including the Illyrians, who were forbidden from Federation membership or joining Starfleet. Oopsie, Una!
While Captain Pike kept her secret and stopped Number One from resigning her commission when he learned, eventually things came to a head when Starfleet discovered it too, arresting Una at the climax of season one.
Poor Spock (Ethan Peck) went through a lot in season one. Whether it was trying to navigate his strained engagement to his wife-to-be T’Pring (Gia Sandhu) and his divided duties as a Starfleet officer and a Vulcan, or dealing with some underlying emotional traumas that have caused his usual, logical restraint to slip, Spock comes into season two in a strange place. Especially so after the aforementioned encounter with the Gorn saw Spock unleash a primal rage he then struggled to control, leading to him nervously seeking out Nurse Chapel for help.
Oh God, Sybok
Oh and then there’s goddamn Sybok. Spock’s older half-brother from The Final Frontier. In season one it was revealed that Sybok was a member of the V’tosh ka’tur, a group that pushed back against traditional Vulcan ideology regarding emotions and logic in an an attempt to bridge the gap between the two sides of all Vulcans, rather than repress one in favour of the other. In rehab at a prison facility where T’Pring works, it was revealed in season one that Sybok had been working with the mysterious space pirate Captain Angel (Jesse James Keitel), who attempted to infiltrate and take over the Enterprise during season one to liberate Sybok, who had become romantically intertwined with them.
Will we see more of Sybok in season two? Who can say! How are we writing about Sybok in 2023? Who can say!
Nurse Chapel’s Love Life Is Getting… Fascinating
Speaking of Vulcan romantic dalliances, one brief subplot for the Enterprise’s head nurse, Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) in season one was trying to address her burgeoning feelings for Spock. The two’s chemistry deepened over the course of the season, but after they were forced to share a kiss as part of a ruse to stop the aforementioned seizure of the Enterprise by Captain Angel, things came to an intriguing head at the climax of season one when Spock confided in her that his logical control over his emotions was slipping… which could see sparks fly even more in season two.
Old Enemies Return
While Strange New Worlds’ largely episodic nature meant there were plenty of threats across season one, it’s not unfair to say the big bad was largely the Gorn, who menace the Enterprise team multiple times during season one, establishing them as a serious threat to the Federation and its citizens. But while the finale also introduced us, through alt-timeline shenanigans, to Strange New World’s take on the Romulan Star Empire, another Trek classic will be making their way to season two: the legendary Klingons.
Given that at the time of Discovery’s earlier seasons and the original Star Trek the Federation and the Klingon Empire are not exactly on good terms, it’ll be interesting to see just how they appear here. But also, yes, they do look like TNG-style Klingons instead of the distressingly racist makeup employed in the original Star Trek — it’s not a continuity error or a retcon (at least, a new one — go watch that episode of Enterprise).
Familiar Friends, Too
James T. Kirk isn’t the only famous Star Trek face we’ll see in season two — although as far as we currently know, he’s the only chronologically congruent star we’ll encounter. Through timeline shenanigans, the heroes of Star Trek: Lower Decks, Ensigns Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) and Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) will appear in Strange New Worlds’ first official crossover episode. Newsome and Quaid will portray their Lower Decks characters in live action for the first time. It remains to be seen if any other lower deckers show up, or if the Strange New Worlds crew will find themselves flung into the animated antics of Lower Decks’ future timeline, but we can at least make the assumption that hijinks are going to occur either way.