This week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has a lot to unpack. Episode 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” has alternate timelines, potential timeline adjustments, and some serious emotional beats. If you were lucky, you were able to catch this one early this week when I can only assume Murf sat on a control panel at Paramount+ after the unceremonious cancellation of Star Trek: Prodigy (more on that later). Otherwise, you had to wait until its normal drop date. Either way, this isn’t an episode to miss. Let’s dig into my thoughts on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.”
Let’s get the
Canon Police elephant out of the room. Yes, this is an alternate timeline. BUT, if you’ll recall, in the pilot of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Pike cites the Eugenics Wars as the lead-up to World War III in the mid-21st century. They’ve been pushed back about 30 years or so. Why is that? My co-host on We Are Starfleet, Craig McKenzie has a keen sense of the Star Trek prime timeline and what I think is a pretty solid theory about the adjusted timeline. Here’s what he had to say about it.
The fudging of dates with what we’re originally told in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode 1×24 “Space Seed” starts all the way back in Star Trek: First Contact, due to the TNG cast’s involvement with Zefram Cochrane’s first warp flight. The effects of this rippled into Star Trek: Enterprise, because Cochrane got a look at the Enterprise-E, presumably influencing the design of the NX-01. There’s also a Borg episode in Star Trek: Enterprise, which is a direct effect of Star Trek: First Contact. Specifically, watch episode 2×23 “Regeneration,” or read the real-world notes on Memory Alpha for reference.
Take note also of what Sarah, the Romulan time agent says during her fight with La’an. She says, “All this was supposed to happen in 1992 and I have been trapped here for 30 years!” Further, she says Romulan time agents have delayed the events of the Eugenics Wars, which eventually results in the formation of The Federation, but haven’t been able to stop it entirely. This is what La’an prevents in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.”
What Craig has said on our show is that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is giving us hints that it might be leading to a soft reboot of Star Trek: The Original Series. If his theory about the timeline shift begat in Star Trek: First Contact is correct, then I think he’s on the money.
I think Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is glorious and works well within this theory.
Strange New World’s “City on the Edge of Forever?”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” probably won’t be the last time we go back in time to set the future right in the series. It’s definitely not the first time Star Trek has done it either. In fact, I would argue that “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is an inverse of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode 1×28 “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
Instead of allowing the death of a person to happen, La’an and Kirk must prevent it, even if that person is a little boy who would grow up to become the leader of a genocidal faction. That is a hard pill to swallow, and yet, as Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse and Doctor Who would put it, it’s a “canon event,” a “fixed” point in time. It’s an event that cannot change or if it does, it drastically alters the timeline.
However, what really works as La’an faces this reality is that she finally accepts that part of her heritage. When she says, “My real name is La’an Noonien-Singh. My ancestor is Khan Noonien-Singh. And his legacy is genocide…torture..and me,” I got chills. We can’t control who our parents are or the actions of our ancestors, but we can control who we are as humans. We can own that heritage, for good or ill, and do our best to do better. I love that message. More of this, please.
I’ve watched Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” four times now. The thing that really works for me in this episode is La’an finally getting to have emotions other than serious, angry, and seriously angry. We saw a little bit of this in episode 2×01 “The Broken Circle” in her interactions with Oriona. Her heart’s on full display in this episode and it’s beautiful.
La’an is finally spending time with someone who doesn’t flinch at the first mention of her last name. She clearly finds Kirk attractive. Is there any woman that isn’t attracted to him, regardless of timeline? Is she considering asking him to share the bed with her in the fanciest hotel room I’ve ever seen? (Just how much money did Kirk win playing chess anyway)?! It didn’t even have to be sexy times, but she really considered it until she thought he was asleep. Then when he looks up? He looks like he’s considering it too, but decides to stay put. So much longing there on both sides of the equation.
Then that “People have always been difficult for me” KISS?! Goodness. And it’s not just ONE kiss. He kissed her, but then in an act of emotional bravery previously unseen by La’an, she allowed herself to kiss HIM! UGH. Are they going to make me ship it? They keep doing stuff like this and they sure will.
This romance is doomed from the start, considering that Kirk will be gone once the timeline was corrected. However, Kirk getting shot just broke my heart alongside La’an’s. Poor La’an. Poor Kirk. But then calling him on Space FaceTime once she got back just to see his face? To see that he’s alright? Then finally getting to mourn him? UGH. THE FEELS. If there’s one trope I love in a story, it’s watching a tough girl let her walls down. More emotional beats for La’an, please!
There are a lot of little details in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” that I love. The whole car theft/chase scene is great! To be honest, I half expected “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys to start blasting as soon as they took off, a la Star Trek (2009). The discussion of “indiscreet” middle names is great. It makes me think that when La’an uses the name, Vanessa, it’s her middle name. That’s my headcanon until I’m proven wrong anyway.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the brilliant musical choices in this episode. Everything from the modern pop and rock tunes to the gorgeous musical cues from Nami Melumad just heightens the emotional depth of each scene. In particular, Nami’s instrumental pieces in the final scenes moved me nearly to tears with their beauty. I sincerely hope we get vinyl releases of Nami’s scores. My record collection is in dire need of more Star Trek scores, especially with incredible pieces like this.
This episode did exactly what I hoped it would for me—it improved my opinion of Paul Wesley as Kirk. If you’ll recall, I was not thrilled with his first appearance as Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1×10 “A Quality of Mercy.” I wasn’t sure if it was me being annoyed at that episode or if it was because this was an alternate timeline Kirk. Well, if nothing else, I think watching him play off Christina Chong‘s La’an, a character that I love, even in an alternate timeline, really showed me what Wesley can do as Kirk. And with that, I’m eager to actually see him show up in the prime timeline. This episode is an emotional gut punch in all the best ways, and I can’t wait for the next one.
What did you think of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will air on July 6, 2023, on Paramount+.