Spock and Chapel share an emotional hug in the hallways of the Enterprise.

Let’s Bask in the Best Moments From ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 1

Uh oh, hijinks

Season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is on its way, coming to Paramount+ on June 15! Are you pumped? I hope so. If you’re not yet sufficiently pumped, though, why not revisit some of the best moments from season 1?

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a delightful return to form for the Star Trek franchise, devoting each episode to a different alien planet, science-y dilemma, or high-concept thought experiment. As a result, the series isn’t afraid to be equal parts wacky and poignant, with emotional character arcs sitting right alongside stories that are downright kooky.

Here are some of the weirdest, funniest, and most moving moments from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1!

Warning: major spoilers for Strange New Worlds season 1 lie ahead.

Spock comes dangerously close to hijinks (“Spock Amok”)

Spock and T'Pring sit on a rug in Spock's quarters, surrounded by candles.

It’s hard to choose just one moment from “Spock Amok,” since this was the episode that made me officially fall in love with Strange New Worlds. Spock’s spit-take when he finds out T’Pring is researching human sexuality! The part where he punches a guy out in T’Pring’s body! The whole episode is bursting with hijinks. Priceless.

“Spearmint again. Wow.” (“Spock Amok”)

La'an and Una argue on the turbolift.

While Spock and T’pring are dealing with swapped bodies, Chin-Riley and Noonien-Singh find out that they’re known as fun-killers, so they decide to try the “Enterprise Bingo” game that all the youngsters are playing. The whole B-plot is great, but my favorite moment is the chewing gum experiment. La’an chews all the flavor out of a piece of gum, and Una sends her briefly into the transporter. When she comes out, the flavor has miraculously returned. Should we be making a bigger deal out of the fact that people in Star Trek have discovered the secret to everlasting spearmint gum? Willy Wonka would shit himself over this.

Pike walks away from Omelas (“Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”)

A child looks up at the camera, with glowing wires coming out of his face.

“Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach” is the best of what Star Trek has to offer: it’s cerebral and compelling at the same time, not to mention a fresh twist on a classic concept (in this case, one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s most beloved stories). In this episode, Pike visits the planet Majalis, a utopia where everyone lives comfortably and there’s a cure for every disease. However, Pike soon finds out that Majalis has a dark secret: the only way to maintain their prosperity is by sacrificing a child to years of suffering in a subterranean machine.

TV convention dictates that Pike will do the impossible: he’ll save both the kid and Majalis, figuring out how to make everyone happy with no sacrifices. What makes this episode great, though, is that he doesn’t. That poor kid is screwed, and Pike has to live with knowing that he failed to save him.

Dr. Aspen’s secret identity (“The Serene Squall”)

Angel smirks as they point a phaser in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

In “The Serene Squall,” we meet a counselor named Aspen. Aspen is calm, composed, and rational—until it turns out they’re actually Angel, a space pirate! Suddenly they’re a sly, giggly diva, taking the ship hostage in a plot to free their equally unstable lover. Angel’s personality change is so over the top that it warps right through cringe into absolutely fantastic. I’m Team Angel forever. Give this pirate whatever they want.

Sir Adya and Z’ymira know each other quite well (“The Elysian Kingdom”)

Una and Ortegas smile and hold hands in "The Elysian Kingdom." Una is dressed as an archer, and Ortegas is dressed as a knight in leather armor.

The Elysian Kingdom, in which Dr. M’Benga’s daughter Rukiya’s storybook comes to life, is definitely the silliest episode in season 1. But as someone who could watch the Holodeck episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation a million times and not get bored, I’m a fan of Star Trek silliness. There are so many great moments in this episode—La’an cooing at her lapdog (who’s apparently Christina Chong’s actual pup), Pike as an eye-rolling coward, Rukiya’s heartbreaking decision to leave her father and live in the nebula that can cure her—but my personal favorite moment is the implied romance between Erica Ortegas (as a knight) and Una (as a woodland huntress). Exchanging a knowing glance, they tell M’Benga that they know each other very well. Meanwhile, a thousand fanfics spring, Athena-like, from the heads of viewers.

Hemmer’s final scene (“All Those Who Wander”)

Hemmer looks through a snowy doorway in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

In “All Those Who Wander,” the Enterprise is sent to find the missing USS Peregrine. When they find the ship on a frozen planet, though, they discover that it’s overrun by the Gorn, the ruthless predatory race that killed La’an’s family. Although they manage to kill the Gorn hatchlings, one of them infects Hemmer, who walks out into the cold and throws himself off a cliff to protect everyone else.

Sure, Hemmer’s death scene has some well-worn tropes in it, like Hemmer giving the young Uhura some life advice before dying. Still, Hemmer’s death scene is poetic, as he remarks on how similar the ice planet looks to his home of Andoria.

Spock and Chapel’s hug (“All Those Who Wander”)

Spock and Chapel share an emotional hug in the hallways of the Enterprise.

This is another great moment from “All Those Who Wander.” Spock realizes that he has to let out his anger in order to fight the Gorn, and that release—combined with everyone’s grief over losing Hemmer—leaves him feeling overwhelmed. He and Chapel share a heart to heart in the corridor, followed by an embrace.

It’s a poignant moment on its own, but it also advances the slow-burn romance between Spock and Chapel that’s still in progress when season 1 ends. It looks like it’s going to come to a head in season 2, and Spapel boosters everywhere are cheering.

Pike comes to terms with his fate (“A Quality of Mercy”)

Captain Pike, along with Spock and Sam Kirk stand on the bridge of the Enterprise.

In the season 1 finale, “A Quality of Mercy,” Pike is faced with another double bind. When he tries to prevent the accident that will leave him with life-altering injuries in the future, his future self comes back to show him why he has to let events play out. The meat of this episode is great, with a tense space battle and James Kirk outsmarting the enemy as only he can, but for me, the best moment is when Pike realizes that no matter what he does, suffering will follow. His best course of action is to take on some of that suffering himself, so that he can prevent even greater tragedy.

(featured image: Paramount+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>