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“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” Season 2, Episode 2 Review

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Where to stream it? Paramount+

Starring: Anson Mount, Rebecca Romjin, Ethan Peck, Jess Bush, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Melissa Navia, Babs Olusanmokun, Carol Kane, Paul Wesley

Written by: Dana Horgan

Directed by: Valerie Weiss

As Strange New Worlds Season 2 runs into its second episode, it chooses to slow down a moment. While not the most thrilling or exciting episode ever put on television, it’s an episode committed to character development and expanding on the darker side of Starfleet’s history. 

The episode picks up shortly after last week’s explosive Klingon encounter, but this time we’re focused on Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) and her impending trial because of her lying to Starfleet. Given the revelation from last season about her Illyrian heritage, it’s no surprise she now stands trial. As Captain Pike races against time to find her legal counsel, Una stands against Starfleet’s regulations and defends herself. 

For fans of more classic Star Trek, this episode is more for them. Space battles and big showdowns are pushed aside for Galactic politics and deep conversations about ethics and exploration. Una is front and center, with Anson Mount’s Captain Pike also having a much bigger role this time around. And the conversations get deep and meaningful. 

This is a storyline that really tries to get into the big picture. Not only does it bring up the idea of Starfleet’s inconsistent rules regarding enforcement of regulations, but it also paints the organization as something that isn’t as rosy and well-behaved as previous iterations of this franchise would have you believe. It doesn’t go super deep into these ideas, and here’s hoping they circle back around to that, but Starfleet’s treatment of certain alien races comes into play here. 

That doesn’t make it a perfect episode. The pacing sometimes gets very sluggish and I found myself checking my phone a few times. For those who are big into this universe, they may get more enjoyment out of it than a casual observer like myself. But when Romijn’s acting is on point, she delivers a powerful speech and as her trial winds to a close, it’s hard not to root for the Enterprise crew by the end. 

There’s also the case that this is an episode that is squarely centered around Una and Pike. While the rest of the cast is there, they aren’t given a whole lot to do but to join us as bystanders for this trial. It mostly works, but it often feels like there’s a B plot they could have been given. 

However, the episode ends on a high note and it really wraps up nicely. I obviously won’t spoil the resolution of this arc, but it was a very satisfying conclusion and propels the crew on to bigger and better things as we wrap this up. 

But overall, “Ad Astra Per Aspera”, despite how slowly paced it moves along its runtime, is a fine episode. It doesn’t redefine the genre, and it's not quite the best episode of this series, but I still enjoyed it. Thanks to this series maintaining its high production value and some incredible performances, it’s a lot of fun. Here’s to more adventures in the next few weeks. 

Final Score: 7/10

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Chad Shreeves
Chad Shreeves
Chad Shreeves is a writer based in Overland Park, KS. He is a fan of all things in the entertainment industry including movies, music, TV, Gaming, theme parks, and Broadway. He is also a screenwriter with two different projects going through the competition circuit. He can be found on Twitter @chad_shreeves and on TikTok @everythingentertainment.
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