Published Jul 1, 2022
RECAP | Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 109 - 'All Those Who Wander'
The U.S.S. Enterprise crew comes face-to-face with their demons in the latest episode.
By Jay Stobie
On a Priority One mission to deliver power cells to Deep Space Station K-7, best known for its tribble trials in The Original Series episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles,” the U.S.S. Enterprise holds a festive send-off for Cadets Uhura and Chia (Jessica Danecker), who have each completed their rotations on the Federation flagship. As discussed in “Children of the Comet,” Uhura remains unsure of her path in life, despite Captain Pike asking her to consider staying on the ship.
The Enterprise soon receives a second Priority One mission from Starfleet; while the crew discusses, Pike once again wows everyone with his cooking skills, which had helped spark a mutiny in “The Serene Squall.” The U.S.S. Peregrine activated its distress beacon while making an emergency landing on Valeo Beta V, an L-class planet whose atmosphere prevents communication and transport due to the presence of charged ions. Following La’An Noonien-Singh’s suggestion, Pike decides to lead a landing party to search for the Peregrine while Number One makes the delivery to K-7 with the Enterprise.
Using two Enterprise shuttlecrafts, Pike and his team depart the vessel and land near the Peregrine’s location on the frozen planet. En route to the crashed ship, they discover 20 bloody bodies from the Peregrine’s crew complement in the snow. With nearly 80 personnel still unaccounted for, Pike’s team boards the downed Federation ship, only to find even more blood. Dr. M’Benga certifies that the 20 people outside the vessel perished from hypothermia, a fate which would later almost befall Hikaru Sulu in “The Enemy Within.”
According to an audio log from the now-deceased Captain Alice Gavin (Liza Seneca), the Peregrine rescued three individuals — an Orion, a human girl, and an unknown alien. Unfortunately, the Orion turned out to be infected with Gorn eggs, and attempted to end the threat by setting off a plasma grenade in Engineering. Armed with this knowledge, Pike still hopes to find survivors, ultimately encountering the young girl and the unclassified humanoid alien the Peregrine had saved.
Meanwhile, Hemmer and Uhura work to restore power in Engineering, where the bond they forged in “Memento Mori” shines through. Hemmer surmises that Uhura’s uncertainty about her future stems from a fear of settling into a new home. The Aenar adds some extra wisdom, advising Uhura that the pain caused by establishing close friendships is dwarfed by the benefits and love that one receives from those ties.
Back in Sickbay, M’Benga learns that the girl’s name is Oriana (Emma Ho) and the humanoid is simply referred to as “Buckley.” Given her history with the Gorn, La’An is hypervigilant about scanning the pair for Gorn eggs; however, there appears to be no trace of any. The doctor becomes protective of Oriana, accidentally referring to her as his “daughter,” demonstrating the ongoing emotional impact of Rukiya’s recent departure. La’An theorizes that the three refugees had been picked up from a Gorn-breeding planet and initiates a sweep of the Peregrine.
Not long after the security officer sets out on her mission, Buckley becomes quite ill before several baby Gorn burst out of its body in gruesome fashion. Cadet Chia is killed, as Oriana hides and Nurse Chapel barricades herself in with a protective forcefield. The young Gorn immediately set to work, murdering the recently promoted Lieutenant Duke (Ted Kellogg) right in front of Pike, Spock, and Sam Kirk. La’An assesses the situation, explaining that the Gorn will mature quickly and fight for dominance.
La’An and Chapel locate Oriana in her original hiding spot — the coldest place on the ship — which sheltered her from the Gorn due to their preference for warmer temperatures. The girl details how the Peregrine’s crew tricked the previous hatchlings into going outside into the freezing climate. The current storm prevents the landing party from making a run for their shuttles. Down in Engineering, Hemmer and Uhura witness a larger Gorn asserting its dominance by killing its smaller sibling. The Gorn sprays Hemmer with a defensive venom before being frightened away by phaser fire.
With power and comms restored, Spock deduces that the Gorn have a natural ability that shields them from the ship’s scanners. With the two remaining Gorn the smartest and most hostile of the hatchlings, Pike’s crew develops a strategy to use the Gorn’s aggressive behavior and distaste for the cold to lure them into a trap. Mirror Archer, who fought an adult Gorn in “In A Mirror, Darkly, Part II,” devised a similar blueprint to defeat his reptilian opponent.
In order to draw out the Gorn, La’An encourages Spock to attack it aggressively — a suggestion that causes the science officer to let down his emotional guard and unleash the same rage that would later be witnessed by Captain Kirk in “Amok Time” and “This Side of Paradise.” The ruse succeeds with the final two Gorn clashing with one another, eventually leaving only one for the crew to combat. The growing Gorn chases La’An into the Cargo Bay trap, where the chief of security and chief of engineering take refuge in cargo pods and kill the final Gorn by blasting it with frigid air.
Tragically, Hemmer realizes that the venom he had been exposed to is actually part of the Gorn reproductive process, with him now a host for its Gorn eggs. With time swiftly running out, Hemmer decides he must sacrifice himself in order to protect his friends. In a plea that sounds reminiscent of Michael Burnham’s final words to Spock before traveling to the 32nd Century, Hemmer advises Uhura to open herself up to others and find a home that will bring her joy. The engineer then steps out into the cold and propels himself into a chasm.
Sometime later, the Enterprise leaves the planet with the Peregrine in tow. The crew holds a memorial service for Hemmer, Chia, and Duke, as worthy as the ceremonies presented for The Next Generation’s Tasha Yar and Discovery’s Airiam. The fallout from the mission continues, as Spock is unsettled by intense, released emotions and La’An’s requests for time away from Enterprise to find Oriana’s family. On a more positive note, a confident Uhura enters the Bridge and eyes the Communications station, indicating she might have finally found her calling.
“All Those Who Wander” proves to be a hauntingly thrilling episode that brings together and advances previous plot threads — namely La’An’s traumatic history with the Gorn, Uhura’s search for purpose, and the friendship established between Uhura and Hemmer. It will be interesting to see how Spock’s decision to tap into his emotions will play out, particularly as it relates to his personal relationship with Christine Chapel. Although we are not even a full season into Strange New Worlds, Hemmer’s death hits hard for both the fictional crew and the real world audience. Will the fallout from these events change life aboard the Enterprise? Stay tuned as we continue to explore strange new worlds…