Thursday, June 30, 2022

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' - The Crew Gets Trapped on a Ship With Dangerous Creatures in 'All Those Who Wander'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Episode 1.09 "All Those Who Wander"

The U.S.S. Enterprise crew comes face-to-face with their demons - and scary monsters too - when their landing party is stranded on a barren planet with a ravenous enemy.

"All Those Who Wander" was written by Davy Perez and directed by Christopher J. Byrne

The drama dives into the horror genre this week. As such, various tropes can easily be identified. That means certain twists are expected. It was strange when the show introduced a new cadet and a recently promoted lieutenant. It was all done with the intention of killing them off when the crew carries out the mission. It elevates the stakes without putting anyone serious in danger. These characters were just introduced after all. The audience has no emotional connection to them whatsoever. The show then chooses to buck those expectations by producing an incredibly devastating ending. Sure, Hemmer's demise was telegraphed the moment the Gorn fluids landed on him. That moment happened and no one really acted with much urgency to ensure he wasn't infected with the same disease. That was odd given how intensely La'an interrogated Oriana upon discovering her. She couldn't allow any threat from the Gorn to compromise the safety of the crew. Of course, she only communicated with the one survivor who could understand her. The other wasn't recognized by the universal translator. The crew still did their best to save Buckley. He exploded and unleashed the four baby Gorn hunting everyone down. They mature quickly. La'an demands everyone think strategically and quickly to stop this threat. She doesn't want this crew to end up precisely like the original members of the ship. It's her duty to protect people. She analyzes threats and gives her honest opinion to Pike. He trusts her judgment. The crew is still trapped in this environment with an enemy they don't know well. Of course, La'an quickly throws out some knowledge that proves useful. They can manipulate the temperature to ensure the creatures only go where the crew wants them. They can make a trap to kill them off. The Gorn don't know how to work collectively at this age. It's all about dominance. That means it's easy to pin them against each other. That's in contrast to how the Starfleet officers engage. They rely on each other's skills. They acknowledge the brilliance of those around them. It's only by working together that they can overcome any threat. That doesn't save Hemmer in the end. Again, it's devastating. It's the show actually going through on the death of a main character. It's meant to motivate several others into action heading into the season finale. Hemmer is at peace with this outcome. He was already willing to die in service to the crew previously. He and Uhura survived that fate. It's unavoidable here simply because time has run out. His body is mutating too quickly. All he can do is pass along some final wisdom. It's helpful. That too proves how the crew must rely on each other outside of the field as well. That's just as pivotal as whatever mission they are working on.

And so, Uhura discovers her path leads her back to Starfleet. She questioned if this was where she belonged. She has been surrounded by a crew that led with absolute certainty in their actions. They fought for their positions on the ship. They are honored to serve and willing to lay down their lives if necessary. They are that devoted to the higher purpose of Starfleet. The ideals are inspiring. Uhura joined because it was a convenient way to escape the pain she was feeling on Earth. She has done the job excellently. No one has any complaints about her abilities. She still questions her path in life. She doesn't have purpose. She hates goodbyes. She is certain of that. She believes this is an ending. This will be her final mission. Losing Hemmer could solidify that path. Getting close to people only invites pain and heartbreak into her life. He cautions against that thinking. Forging those relationships is the whole reason behind living. She must not cut herself off from those connections. She must embrace them fully. As such, it's rewarding to be around people who challenge her and push her to be better. They champion her even when they demand so much. But now, she can look at the bridge and be inspired about what's possible. That's a huge development. One that's incredibly earned while still being wrapped up in personal tragedy. Meanwhile, Nurse Chapel is once again called upon to recognize Spock's emotional state when others can't. He too finds himself trapped in some of the horror genre hallmarks. He walks into a room in the dark following a mysterious noise. He's startled by his fellow crew members appearing behind him. He feels emotions. He just doesn't process them the same way humans do. That aspect of his personality is still accessible. He doesn't want to embrace too much of it because he's been dictated to always place logic above all else. He understands Hemmer's sacrifice. It's the only rational conclusion. He still mourns the loss of the three crew members who don't return from the mission. He's angry. He can't allow himself to go off in front of his fellow officers. Instead, it has to be a more private experience. That's the only way to be professional and logical. Chapel picks up on those clues. She's very attuned to his needs. Others can hear what he provokes in himself to lay the ultimate trap against the Gorn. He can't shut it off immediately afterwards either. Once he allows those emotions in, his mind is chaotic. It takes more than a minute to get everything in order once more. That's an arduous process. One where he is lucky to have someone notice and help guide him. That's still a lot of responsibility to put onto Chapel. She was terrified during the mission as well. Her priority extends beyond having a crush on Spock she can't act on. That's still the go-to action despite everything else that occurs.