This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds being covered here wouldn’t exist. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
This week’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation” combines horror, a good old-fashioned mystery, and the return of a couple of familiar faces. This is an interesting one, so let’s unpack Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation” together.
Touch of Horror
As a horror fan, I love all the different horror movie tropes we’re exploring in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation.” Seeing things that aren’t there, crazy noises/voices, and horrifying images, complete with Zombie Hemmer™ and an Us-inspired Uhura vs.
Uhura faceoff all make for an effectively spooky episode. It’s not often that Star Trek does true horror, but this is the second time Strange New Worlds has done it and I am here for it! What I especially enjoy about the horror elements is that they’re tastefully used.
The scary stuff is scary, but not to excess. The elements are just spooky enough that they serve a narrative function without being too overwhelming for those that don’t enjoy horror. This is definitely an episode that’s great for both Trek and horror fans alike.
The Return of Kirk
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation” finally gives us a full episode with Paul Wesley as Kirk in this timeline. I mentioned in my review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×03 “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” that Paul Wesley has grown on me as Kirk.
I was delighted to finally get to meet Kirk not from an alternate timeline. And I’ve got to say, I like this Kirk. He’s definitely got the charisma and charm you’d expect from Kirk, but he’s not doing a Shatner impersonation either. It’s a good balance, and I’m excited to see where this Kirk will boldly go.
One thing I appreciated about this story is that it would be have been easy to pair him up with La’an again and highlight the tension there. Instead, they pair him with Uhura, which is a great call forward to Star Trek: The Original Series. It gives layers of nuance and meaning to the friendship we will see in that series.
Coping with Grief
The big theme in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation” is grief and how to cope with it. To be clear, I think it’s more than just coping with grief; it’s wrestling with grief as well. The weight of the grief felt by Uhura at the passing of Hemmer, but also the buried grief of the loss of her family comes to the surface.
Unfortunately, as humans, no one gets out of life without experiencing grief of some kind. I love what Kirk has to say about it. “You can let death win or you can fight back.” You can either lose to the weight of grief by ignoring your emotions and forgetting about what you lost or you can fight it.
We have the choice to carry the weight of that grief because it’s more important to remember those you’ve lost and celebrate their lives, even if that celebration is twinged with pain.
Celia Rose Gooding delivers mightily in this episode. She gives the best dramatic performance we’ve seen thus far from her in this series. Watching her go from fear to grief to courageous determination is powerful.
Her physical performance is phenomenal. I was especially impressed with her fight scene with herself. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t help but think of Us during that scene. I can’t wait to see her bring this kind of gravitas to the screen throughout the rest of the season.
Adding an extra layer to the theme of grief is the name of the nebula they’re at—Bannon’s Nebula. Bannon’s Nebula is named for Melissa Navia (Lt. Ortegas)’s late partner, Brian Bannon who tragically passed in December 2021, just days after receiving a leukemia diagnosis.
Melissa’s written extensively about Brian, his life, his music, and the wonderful kind of man he was. This is an episode that deals with the idea of fighting against death, and not letting death have the final word.
We think the way Melissa honors Brian’s memory is the embodiment of its theme. Even though Melissa is not the lead in this episode, because we’ve watched her share Brian’s story, that knowledge gives “Lost in Translation” an extra layer of meaning for me.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff packed into Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2×06 “Lost in Translation.” La’an’s brief interaction with Kirk is perfect. The butting of heads between Pelia and Una is fantastic.
We love the sibling rivalry between James T. and Sam Kirk. Most importantly, the return of Bruce Horak as Zombie Hemmer™ is poignant. Like many folks, I’d hoped that we’d see Bruce Horak show up as another regular character in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Unfortunately, it looks like we may only see him return in this way as Zombie Hemmer™. A request? Can we bring Bruce back into the crew? Please and thank you.
La’an’s interaction with Kirk is interesting to me, but I’m glad they didn’t make it a bigger part of the episode. It could have easily overshadowed Uhura’s storyline because well, he’s Kirk. I’m going to enjoy that slow burn. Here’s hoping we get a little more of that later in the season too.
Overall, this is a solid episode of the series, and I’m eager to see what we’ve got in store for the rest of the season.