Published Jun 9, 2023
Top 10 Moments from the First Season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Need a quick refresher before the second season premiere? We've got you!
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ first season supplied fans with the perfect blend of exciting adventures, dramatic dialogue, well-timed humor, and meaningful social commentary.
In preparation for Season 2’s debut on June 15, let’s look back on some of Season 1’s most memorable moments…
Trapped at an abandoned Illyrian colony during an ion storm, Captain Christopher Pike and Lieutenant Spock were shocked to find themselves facing off against unknown lifeforms that lived within the turbulent atmosphere. Despite the apparent danger, Spock continued to read through records left by the Illyrians. Pike playfully asked if the storage device had a stun setting, to which Spock replied, “I am arming us with knowledge.” The deadpan reply evoked the classic discourse between Spock, Captain Kirk, and Dr. McCoy in the original Star Trek series and underlined Strange New Worlds’ ability to weave humor into even the most intense scenarios.
Thrust into an alternate reality where his infamous training accident had never taken place, Captain Pike found himself commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise as the starship dealt with the same Romulan threat previously seen in Star Trek’s “Balance of Terror.” Quite fittingly, Pike requested backup from the U.S.S. Farragut, which happened to be captained by James T. Kirk. Even though this was Kirk from a different timeline, seeing the two Enterprise captains meet in-person represented a historic occasion.
Although Dr. M’Benga dedicated himself to finding a cure for his daughter Rukiya’s terminal illness, he proved unable to manifest a solution utilizing Federation science. To the doctor’s surprise, a noncorporeal lifeform residing in the Jonisian Nebula was capable of healing his daughter. Sadly, Rukiya needed to remain with the entity in order for the healing to become permanent. Knowing he must let his daughter go so that she could survive, M’Benga told Rukiya it might be time for her to write her own stories. The painful revelation stung the loving father, but he was soon rewarded with a visit from an older version of Rukiya’s consciousness.
Hoping to alleviate T’Pring’s concerns that he did not make enough time for their relationship, Spock suggested that the pair engage in a Vulcan soul-sharing ritual. Unfortunately, the process went awry and caused their katras to switch bodies. When Captain Pike showed up at their quarters, Spock and T’Pring attempted to conceal their dilemma in hilarious fashion. As Spock was needed for crucial negotiations with the R’ongovians, the two Vulcans opted to let Pike in on their ruse, leaving the captain baffled and leading to further hijinks as the day wore on.
Having been invited to the Captain’s Cabin for dinner, Cadet Uhura decided to don her dress uniform at Lieutenant Ortegas’ suggestion. Upon exiting the turbolift, Uhura spotted Ortegas wearing casual attire and surmised a practical joke had been played. Ortegas stated that Uhura could count this as her first complete square in Enterprise Bingo, an unauthorized game played by the ship’s junior officers. The scene demonstrated the friendly bond emerging between Uhura and the crew while also highlighting Ortegas’ mischievous personality, both of which would be explored to a greater extent throughout the first season.
Resolved to avoid the reactor incident that would cost the lives of two cadets, Captain Pike set out to warn the victims about the perils of joining Starfleet. With the help of a Klingon time crystal, a future version of Admiral Pike paid his younger self a visit to explain what would happen if the captain altered the course of history. Decked out in a variant of Starfleet’s “monster maroon” uniforms from the 2280s, the admiral arrived to send the captain on a journey, illustrating the decades-long war with the Romulans which would occur if Pike remained in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
After posing as a local and realizing that the space battle against Control had contaminated Kiley 279’s society, Captain Pike watched on as the planet’s two rival factions argued their way toward civil war. Unwilling to let this occur, Pike beamed down and delivered an impassioned speech detailing Earth’s violent past, ranging from the Eugenics War to World War III. The captain’s account of the devastation, as well as his plea that the future is what we make it, convinced the Kiley to choose peace and join the United Federation of Planets.
While posing as Dr. Aspen, the pirate known as Angel spoke with Spock about the science officer’s human and Vulcan heritage. Angel noted that all species put things into boxes, making people feel as if they need to fit into one group or another. Angel opined that we often try to fit those expectations by suppressing who we truly are. Spock interpreted their words as a suggestion to better balance his human and Vulcan natures, but Angel clarified by explaining that perhaps Spock didn’t fit into either category. The enlightened discussion about reevaluating our thoughts on identity shed new light on Spock’s views concerning his human-Vulcan biology.
Chief Engineer Hemmer mentored Cadet Uhura over the course of her earliest days on the U.S.S. Enterprise. From sharing wisdom to overcoming adversity, Hemmer assisted Uhura as she navigated her doubts about her future in Starfleet. Their friendship reached a crescendo when the pair joined a landing party to investigate the scuttling of the U.S.S. Peregrine. Realizing he had been infected with Gorn eggs, Hemmer elected to protect his friends from the soon-to-be hatchlings by vaulting himself into a chasm. Prior to departing, Hemmer offered Uhura a final bit of advice, recommending she open herself to others and find joy more often than sadness.
Dealing with an outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, Commander Una Chin-Riley disclosed that she was actually an Illyrian and the cure might be found in her bio-engineered blood. However, due to the Federation’s history with genetic engineering, the notion of mixing human and Illyrian DNA was considered controversial. Dr. M’Benga put those concerns to rest when he declared, “Prejudice has kept people from helping each other for centuries with no scientific justification. And after we met our neighbors in the galaxy, we found new bigotries.” The powerful statement continued Star Trek’s tradition of providing forward-thinking social commentary related to the real-world issue of discrimination. The Illyrian conundrum would ultimately resurface in the season finale, bringing us to…
…the moment Starfleet learned about Commander Chin-Riley’s Illyrian ancestry and dispatched Captain Batel to arrest her for violating the organization’s anti-genetic modification directive. Taken into custody over Captain Pike’s objections, the Enterprise’s first officer must now defend her very existence.
Prior to Strange New Worlds, we’ve never known what fate had in store for Number One after the events of “The Cage.” How will Una Chin-Riley’s future unfold? Uncovering this mystery is yet another excellent reason to check out Season 2! Until then, discover what Rebecca Romijn had to say about Una's fate, as what the cast of ;Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' need-to-know's are.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Season 1 Refresher