Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is, without a doubt, the best Star Trek series in years. To explain the plot of the first episode of this fantastic series, I need to take you back a couple of years. The Enterprise crew first showed up in its modern iteration throughout the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Captain Pike, played by Anson Mount, and his first officer, along with Spock, played by Ethan Peck, assisted the Discovery with solving a mystery involving a red Angel that prophesized a cataclysmic event. The significant crisis eventually gets resolved, and we meet Captain Pike again, only this time it’s several months later, and he has seen what becomes of his future.
Captain Pike was first introduced in the original Star Trek series pilot, for those of you unaware. The pilot got the show off the ground and was later used in an episode of the show called “The Menagerie.” In that episode, we learn that Captain Pike saves Starfleet cadets from certain death, which causes him to be paralyzed for the rest of his life. There is more to the story than that, but that’s all that the captain knows.
The series premiere focuses on Pike’s return to Starfleet and the gravity of being involved with the federation again. Pike’s glimpse of the future has made him bolder and more fearful of what’s to come. His first mission back on the ship involves stopping a Planet similar to earth from the brink of war. Christopher Pike’s first officer is being held captive and needs to be rescued. At first, this causes a lot of conflict in Pike, not because he doesn’t want to save his first officer. He’s worried about influencing the culture that she is captive under. To influence another culture that doesn’t have the same technological prowess as the federation would violate general order. There’s a lot at stake if the enterprise gets this wrong.
This is a fantastic first episode of the series because it reintroduces all the characters audiences of Discovery met before but smartly chooses not to alienate those new to Star Trek. Anson Mount plays a fantastic Captain Pike. He’s confident but not cocky. He is the kind of supportive leader that many people wished James Kirk would be. Ethan Peck, the grandson of Gregory Peck, does a fantastic job at playing the more Vulcan side of Spock. We have an ancestor of Khan as a key player in Starfleet who is absolutely amazing. I’m sure audiences are just waiting for that character to turn evil.
There is a certain level of fun and fantasy within this show that doesn’t exist with the darker versions I’ve Star Trek currently on the air. It’s precisely that light and humor drive the story forward and makes audiences believe in hope. The fact that the show resolves itself by showcasing what 21st-century earth did to damage each other is a poignant reminder of how far we as a culture still have to go. I love this show because I love the reminder that we can actually get there if we focus on it. I can’t wait for another jump into warp.