Star Trek: Strange New Worlds had a unique task in episode two. The writers had to introduce a character that many fans of Star Trek already know. Cadet Nyota Uhura is still finding her feet in Starfleet. She doesn’t quite know where she belongs. She attends a captain’s dinner in the quarters of Captain Pike, and we learn her true origins. Beyond that trauma, the ship and its crew are tasked with trying to stop an asteroid from colliding with a planet. This collision could wipe out most of the life on that planet. Still, interference with planetary events is strictly forbidden because of federation guidelines. Much like doctors, however, the captain and his crew have the oath to preserve life. An away mission has to take place to stop the asteroid from destroying the planet.
Celia Rose Gooding is an extraordinary talent. This episode showcases every single skill a good actress can possess. She isn’t trying to be Nichelle Nichols. She’s creating her interpretation of the iconic character. I always knew that Nyota Uhura was a communications expert; I didn’t think she could use that knowledge to disarm people who chose to dismiss her and her accomplishments. This version of the character is very strong-willed but profoundly unsure of herself. This confidence issue is because she joined Starfleet. After all, it’s something one of her family members previously did. Uhura’s Struggle is the inability to know what a true home is, considering she lost her family at a very early age. This makes the character much more compelling than I’m sure many fans thought possible.
It is helpful that captain Pike works very hard to remind the young cadet that she always has a place in this world and needs to carve it out to go on a true journey. Anson Mount continues to surprise me as Christopher Pike. The layers of kindness and consideration within his version of a captain endear me to the experience she is moving through despite knowing the ending. This is the great thing about the series. It’s not that you know everything and everyone within this universe. This show can pull back layers on anything in anyone within the time frame the series is set.
The real highlight of the episode is watching Rose Gooding utilize her considerable singing talent to communicate with the asteroid. The fact that music is a form of communication with the asteroid is a fantastic science fiction idea. This gives the audience insight into the incredible stories that can be told in this series. I can only hope future adventures will follow suit.
The one thing that makes this particular episode stand out is that Pike and his crew are constantly looking at the humanity on a planet of people they do not know. Realizing that she can communicate in so many ways to demonstrate care and kindness to species she knows nothing about inspires the cadet to stay with Starfleet. We can all use a little bit of that inspiration in our lives, and I’m glad that this Star Trek series continues to give it to us.