Strange New Worlds – Children of the Comet – I Love This Job
In this week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – Children of the Comet, the episode opens with Cadet Uhura on her way to dinner at the Captain’s table. She’s suffering some hazing at the hands of her colleagues – showing up in a dress uniform to a casual event. At dinner, Captain Pike is sharing stories of his time chasing a naked Nausicaan. The Captain then engages Uhura, asking about her childhood in Kenya and the achievements that got her assigned to the Enterprise (a coveted assignment). She tells him that she speaks 37 languages; she has a knack for them. He then asks her where she will see herself in ten years (pausing at the phrase “ten years”). She confesses that she joined Starfleet as a way to run away from the death of her parents and her brother in a shuttle accident. She doesn’t know where she will be in the future.
After dinner, Una and Pike talk about his fate. She tells him that perhaps it isn’t written, and he can escape it. He responds by reciting the names of the cadets he saves in the accident. They’re interrupted by Spock calling them to the bridge to inspect a comet. It is on a collision course with an inhabited M-Class world. They plan an intercept plan to move the comet and save the Deleb. They fire photon torpedoes to change the comet’s trajectory and are surprised when it erects force fields to shield itself.
In the briefing room, Number One shares that they have tried hailing and scanning the comet, but have not identified any life forms. However, there is a structure on the surface – indicating intelligent life. They decide to investigate the structure of the comet and the away team: La’an, Uhura, Spock, and Samuel Kirk. The team suits up and beams to the comet’s surface. On the comet, they make their way to the structure. They determine that the atmosphere within the structure is breathable. They continue their investigation and find markings on a cone/egg-like object. Uhura notes that the markings have a distinct pattern. Lt. Kirk takes a closer examination and the object comes to life, zapping him and stopping his heart. The team is able to restart his heart, but he’s unconscious and in need of medical care. If I didn’t already know Sam’s fate, I might have been a little worried about him.
After this attack, the force fields on the comet go back up and the team is cut off from the ship. Spock directs Uhura to work on deciphering the markings and determining an escape. It’s quite an ask for a cadet on her first away mission.
On Enterprise, Pike and his team try to re-establish contact with the away team. They decide to use phasers and try to take down the forcefields. Before they are able to engage, they are hit by weapons fire. A large (and significantly more advanced) ship, next to the comet attacked them! They identify themselves as “The Shepherds.” They tell the Enterprise that they escort the “Mha’anit,” which they seem to worship as a kind of bringing of life and death. They tell the Enterprise that they will destroy them if they tamper with it again. Pike tries to reason with the Shepherds, explaining their mission. However, they don’t care. They say that Mha’anit’s path is preordained and their role is to protect it. They tell the Enterprise that if they try to rescue their people, they will treat it as an act of war.
Back on the comet, Uhura is still working on deciphering the carvings. She starts to hum songs from home again and the structure reacts to her singing. It seems that it responds to music! Uhuru and Spock crack the code of how to communicate with the comet. After singing a duet with Spock, the egg opens. Uhura continues her song and the forcefield drops.
On the Enterprise, Una continues to try to make contact with the landing party. She picks up the song that Uhura has been humming. Once the force field drops, they beam the team back on board. The Shepherds, livid and launch photon torpedoes at the ship. The team takes evasive action and targets the Shepherds’ systems with their phasers, temporarily disabling the Shepherd’s ship.
Sometimes Things Go So Badly, You Just Have to Laugh
While the ship continues to evade the Shepherds. As they get closer to the comet, the Shepherds stop shooting (to protect it). Pike hails the Shepherds and surrenders (while also pointing out that if they try to blow them up or refuse to help them, they will blow up and hurt the comet). As the Shepherds haul the Enterprise away, Spock launches a shuttlecraft into the comet. The sublimation from the shuttle nudges the comet off course, saving the planet.
As the comet skirts the planet, water vapor from the comet enters the planet’s atmosphere, permanently changing its ecosystem – allowing for more plant growth and making it more sustainable.
After their successful mission, Uhura finally translates the message from the comet. The comet was communicating to them that it would not impact Persephone 3. However, it would require Spock to correct the comet’s course. It seemed to know its fate.
Children of the Comet Episode Analysis
This episode seems to confirm that Strange New Worlds will conform to a more episodic form of storytelling; feeling a little closer to the original Trek. I will admit that the nature of this storytelling does satisfy my nostalgia for the Star Trek of my youth. Uhura’s development in this episode was also powerful. She took an under-developed role in The Original Series. I love that they are delving into her history and it seems they plan to do so with the rest of our cast.
Pike is also clearly haunted by his future. While Una tries to convince him that his fate is his own, he seems to know better. It’s troubling to him, but he seems to accept it more every day. Pike has always been a man dedicated to honor and duty; even knowing that his confinement to the chair awaits, he never shirked his responsibility to the crew.
As this season is more episodic than the other current Trek series, there are no real mysteries to be solved… at least not yet. Let me know what you think of this new (or rather old) format in the comments below!