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After Trek's Cadet Training: Episodes to Watch

After Trek's Cadet Training: Episodes to Watch

Every week on After Trek, three episodes from across the Star Trek franchise were listed as “Cadet Training/Episodes to Watch.” Below is a list of all of those recommendations, along with a brief explanation of what connected them to that week’s Star Trek: Discovery episode.

The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle At The Binary Stars

The Next GenerationRightful HeirThis was chosen because it gave some history on Kahless, the Klingon leader spoken of by T’Kuvma.

EnterpriseThe ForgeSurak’s katra was transferred to Archer, which connected to how Sarek saved Michael Burnham’s life.

Deep Space NineCaptive PursuitTosk, like Saru, lived his life as prey.

Context is for Kings

The Next GenerationThe PegasusLike the spore drive, the cloaking device aboard the U.S.S Pegasus allowed the ship to travel in a non-traditional, more stealthy way. (Also, Captain Picard Day is always fun.)

EnterpriseMaraudersThe first mention of Suus Mahna, the ancient Vulcan martial arts used by Burnham in the mess hall (and derided by Landry). T’Pol taught it to the mining colonists to help them fight the Klingons who were taking all of their deuterium.

The Next GenerationLower DecksDiscovery broke new ground by focusing much of its action on non-senior members of the crew, like Tilly, Burnham, and Stamets – and this episode of TNG did the same, with a storyline about four ensigns vying for promotion.

The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry

Star TrekThe Devil in the DarkBurnham’s suspicion that “Ripper” (the tardigrade) is not simply a monster parallels Kirk and Spock’s experience with the Horta. The most classic Trek theme of all.

Deep Space NineThe Sword of KahlessA little more about Kahless here, with some insight into the fanaticism that divides Klingon factions from each other.

The Next GenerationNew GroundThe first mention of Corvan II, which is under attack by Klingons in this Discovery episode. “New Ground” also featured an attempt to travel even faster than warp drive, just as the Discovery is doing.

“Choose Your Pain”

Star TrekThis Side of ParadiseIt’s all about the spores.

VoyagerEquinoxJust as being hooked into the spore drive harms the tardigrade, the nucleogenic lifeforms on the U.S.S. Equinox’s Captain Ransom were  lethally harmed when they were used to power the ship, with similar ethical questions asked and answered.

Star TrekI, MuddHarry Mudd’s second episode of The Original Series revealed his penchant for underhanded behavior and frequent quips. It also gave us a look at what happened to his relationship with Stella.


Star TrekJourney to BabelFor new Star Trek fans, a look at Sarek, Amanda, and Sarek’s complicated relationship with both Spock and Starfleet.

EnterpriseAwakeningA glimpse into radical Vulcans.

The Next GenerationSarekSarek and Picard engaged in a very personal mind meld, and Picard was able to strengthen Sarek’s emotional resolve, much as Burnham is able to help a wounded Sarek. We also saw how Sarek’s career as a diplomat ended.

Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

The Next GenerationCause and EffectTime loop! Time loop! Time loop!

VoyagerTimelessThe value of getting to try again, after failing the first time, although in this case it was to save lives, not harm them.

The Next GenerationThe Nth DegreeStamets is clearly being affected by being plugged into the spore drive, just as Barclay was affected when he plugged himself into the Enterprise. New insights and new dangers for both.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Star TrekErrand of MercyThe Pahvans on Discovery, like the Organians in “Errand of Mercy,” are much more advanced than they seem, and don’t fear the Klingons the way Starfleet would like them to.

VoyagerPrime FactorsThe Voyager crew also faced the challenge of asking for help from a reluctant alien species, and came up against the Prime Directive in the process.

Star TrekThe Paradise SyndromeKirk, like Saru, found a peace he had never known on a faraway planet, and planned to make his home there. In Kirk’s case, however, he was suffering from memory loss, while Saru was on a high from living without fear for the first time in his life.

“Into the Forest I Go”

The Next GenerationParallelsIt hadn’t yet been revealed that Discovery was in the mirror universe, so there were limits on which episodes could be connected to this one. “Parallels” began when Worf finds himself in the wrong parallel universe, and discovered that there are many more, a nice tie-in to Stamets’ exploration of the mycelial network.

The Next GenerationWhere No One Has Gone BeforeThe first TNG episode with The Traveler, in which the Enterprise found  itself stranded in a completely unfamiliar part of space. There were also a lot of fan theories at the time about Stamets being The Traveler.

Star TrekThe Enterprise Incident"Forest" co-writer Bo Yeon Kim said that this was one of the episodes that was “pretty influential” when they were breaking the story in the writers’ room.

“Despite Yourself”

EnterpriseIn a Mirror, DarklyThis episode explained what the U.S.S. Defiant was doing in the Mirror Universe, ten years before Kirk and the Enterprise NCC-1701 found it in interphasic space.

Deep Space NineCrossoverThis was the first of the DS9 Mirror Universe episodes, and the first time a Trek crew ended up there without a transporter accident.

VoyagerLiving WitnessWhile this was not a mirror universe episode—in fact it’s an incorrect recalling of Voyager’s history—it’s fun to see what the crew of Voyager was like in an “alternate” and crueler reality.

“The Wolf Inside”

Star TrekMirror, MirrorFinally! This was the very first episode to show the mirror universe, and Burnham’s efforts to protect the rebels on Harlak while impersonating her mirror self are similar to Kirk’s attempt to save the Halkans.

EnterpriseUnitedCaptain Archer tried to unite Andorians, Tellarites, Humans and Vulcans, much as Voq (the Firewolf) is doing on Discovery.

Deep Space NineTrials and Tribble-ationsVoq is revealed in this episode of Discovery, just as Darvin, in both the past and the present, is revealed to be Klingon.

“Vaulting Ambition”

Star TrekThe Tholian WebEmperor Georgiou tells Burnham how the crew of the Defiant went mad in interphasic space, and this is the episode that tells that story, explaining why the Discovery crew should try to find a different way home.

The Next GenerationSecond ChancesTwo Stametses, two options for the way their lives would go, just like Riker when he’s split by the transporter beam.  Both Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz speculated that Mirror Stamets was let astray by not having a Culber in his life.

VoyagerTuvixL’Rell removes Voq from Tyler, raising some similar moral questions as when Janeway sent Tuvix into the transporter to be split back into Tuvok and Neelix. When two beings are fused, which one has the right to survive?

“What’s Past is Prologue”

VoyagerDeadlockA little more on parallel universes, as Voyager encountered itself and the two ships teamed up to ensure one of them survived.

Deep Space NineResurrectionBurnham’s emotional turmoil over dealing with the mirror universe version of the dead Captain Georgiou, and the weakness she has for her, is reminiscent of Kira facing the mirror Vedek Bareil.

Star TrekSpace SeedWriter Ted Sullivan was inspired by Khan awakening his people in “Space Seed” when he wrote and produced the scene in which Lorca’s people emerge from their agony booths.

“The War Without, the War Within”

VoyagerScorpionThe Federation worked with Emperor Georgiou, Voyager worked with the Borg. Tough times, desperate measures.

EnterpriseBroken BowThe very first episode of Enterprise covered the first visit by Starfleet to Q’onoS, mentioned by Admiral Cornwell.

The Next GenerationA Matter of HonorProof that the Federation would eventually try to learn more about Klingon culture, when Riker was sent aboard a Klingon ship as part of an exchange program.

“Will You Take My Hand?”

Star TrekThe CageAt the end of the season finale, the U.S.S Discovery comes face-to-face with the U.S.S. Enterprise, putting it right in the era of Pike’s Enterprise, from “The Cage,” with Spock on board.

The Next GenerationRightful HeirThis recommendation is repeated, this time because of the story involving Kahless trying to unite the Klingon factions.

Star TrekJourney to BabelAnother repeat, this time to connect the dots on Amanda’s role as a human mother in a Vulcan world.

Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Austria. Seasons 2 and 3 are also available on the Pluto TV Star Trek channel in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Discovery is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

---Laurie Ulster is a transplanted Canadian who fell in love with Manhattan about 10 minutes after her arrival at NYU. She's been a TV producer, website director, cookie baker's assistant, and editor of her local paper. These days, she’s the Supervising Producer on After Trek (dream gig!), regular TrekMovie contributor, and a freelance writer, with a focus on pop culture, parenting, feminism, and Star Trek. Lots of Star Trek. (twitter: @floobish)