This week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, “The Serene Squall,” features something I’ve not seen in a while–space pirates! We’ve also got angst, a bit of unrequited love, and a reveal that I definitely wasn’t expecting to see in a current Star Trek series. We’re in for a bumpy ride this week, so grab your phaser and let’s chat episode 1×07, “The Serene Squall.”
Dr. Aspen, I Presume
The show-stealer this week is guest star Jesse James Keitel as Dr. Aspen/Captain Angel. Keitel really had me going all episode. The reveal that Dr. Aspen wasn’t actually Dr. Aspen was a good surprise. I’ve not seen Keitel in anything before and her performance really blew me out of the water. I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Captain Angel, and with that big reveal at the end of “The Serene Squall,” I don’t think it will be. More on THAT reveal later.
The Serene Squall
Space pirates always make for a good time. I feel like it was just an opportunity for the costume and makeup departments to show off. And show off they did! If you want a deeper look at the costuming and makeup that went into this episode, you’ll want to check out this week’s episode of The Ready Room. The pirates of “The Serene Squall” are a fun motley crew. Remy’s bluntness about Pike’s handsomeness is hysterical in the midst of an interrogation. I also love how easily they could be convinced to mutiny. I don’t think the pirates are that dumb, but I do think it’s telling of how much they did not care for Remy’s leadership. They just needed a little nudging and a little backup from our captive crew. Alpha Braga IV, anyone?
“The Serene Squall” is the episode of Strange New Worlds that really broke my heart. We’ve watched the attraction between Nurse Chapel and Spock grow all season. I don’t think it’s entirely unrequited either, but Spock is a man of honor and honesty. He would never cheat on T’Pring. Chapel also isn’t the kind of girl to be “the other woman” either. So here we are, at an impasse.
But let’s talk about that kiss. WOW! Ethan Peck and Jess Bush really sell it. I couldn’t take my eyes off Chapel either. She doesn’t close her eyes at first because she can’t believe Spock is really kissing her. Then she just goes for it. She knows she has to sell it, but this is something she wants too. Then when they break apart, she looks just a little heartbroken because she knows this is all she’s going to get.
AND THEN that conversation they have afterward? She looks so heartbroken. My heart broke right along with hers. None of this is even to mention how T’Pring just sidesteps Spock’s feelings, completely dismissing any chance that he just might have feelings for Christine. And Spock, being ever dutiful says, “Of course not.” Who are you trying to convince, Spock? I don’t know if we’ll dive any deeper into this relationship, but it just makes my heart ache in the best way possible. Here’s hoping.
Okay, I did not have Sybok on my Enterprise Bingo Card, but that’s who we’ve got. I am pleasantly surprised to see him, as we really only encounter him in Star Trek V. My only trepidation with them bringing in Sybok is that I think this might cause a bit of division in the fandom. I think people will either love it or hate it. As for me, I don’t feel strongly either way. I’m just interested to see what they will do with another legacy character. Will we get more Sybok this season? We’ve only got a few episodes left to find out!
“The Serene Squall” is perhaps the best all-around episode all season. It strikes a solid balance between action and character-driven moments. I still stand by what I said earlier, Jesse James Keitel stole the show, but Jess Bush and Ethan Peck made me feel ALL the feels. It was delicious agony. I really want more of that delicious agony this season! If you want to hear further thoughts from me on this episode, check out this week’s episode of We Are Starfleet where Star Trek podcaster, Brandi Jackola and I got to chat and fangirl over “The Serene Squall.” Brandi is a delight and is part of several Star Trek podcasts, so be sure to check her out!
What did you think of “The Serene Squall”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will premiere on June 23, 2022, on Paramount+.