Strange New Worlds Is Already Repeating Its Own Twists (But That’s Good)


Star Trek: Strange New Worlds repeats exactly the same villain twist two episodes on the bounce – but Captain Pike and co. get away with it.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds pulls the same villain twist twice in a row, but in true Enterprise style, turns this flaw into an unlikely strength. Strange New Worlds episode 6 (“Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”) introduced Lindy Booth as Alora, a minister from Majalis seeking aid from Captain Pike’s Enterprise after an attack by nefarious criminals. Alora is treated as an honored guest and even glimpses Pike’s Captain’s log, but Strange New Worlds shockingly(ish) reveals her as the episode’s secret antagonist. Alora and the other Majalans are sacrificing children to uphold their society, and though Pike can do little but watch in horror, he departs disgusted.


Episode 7 (“The Serene Squall”) once again brings an esteemed guest aboard the Enterprise – this time a humanitarian called Dr. Aspen, played by Jesse James Keitel. Similar to Alora, Aspen’s charitable efforts are being hindered by small-time criminals, and Pike’s Enterprise soon comes under attack from their new friend’s tormentors. Just as Alora gravitated toward Pike in episode 6, there’s a connection brewing between Spock and Aspen, whose personalities resonate in a way T’Pring could only dream of. In the biggest parallel between episodes 6 & 7, however, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds reveals Dr. Aspen is actually a villain hiding in plain sight, and the episode’s secret antagonist.

Related: Strange New Worlds Gives Pike A Huge Moment That Sisko Never Had

Identical betrayals can be found throughout Star Trek eras… but rarely in adjacent episodes. By outing Captain Angel as a secret villain after they developed a blossoming bond with a main crew member, Strange New Worlds can’t help but inspire déjà vu after Alora walked the very same path only one episode prior. Rather than coming across as unoriginal and lacking in creativity, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds gets away with this narrative echo by using the twist in a completely unique way each time. Alora presented Captain Pike an ethical problem: is paradise worth the life of a child? Though the answer is obviously a resounding “no,” Alora and her people strongly believed otherwise, making her a philosophical enemy rather than an “enemy enemy.” The Serene Squall’s Captain Angel in Strange New Worlds episode 7 isn’t just an ethical problem, they’re a problem, period. A callous and ruthless criminal determined to fulfill their goals by any means necessary, Captain Angel cuts the figure of a more traditional baddie compared to the spiritual duplicity of Alora. Angel’s a true “enemy enemy” in the classic Star Trek mold.

Strange New Worlds Dr. Angel

Had Alora started firing phasers and swearing death to the Enterprise if her planet’s child sacrifice didn’t go ahead, or if Captain Angel was a morally ambiguous type who’d only hurt people when absolutely necessary, Strange New Worlds could never have gotten away with dropping exactly the same twist side-by-side. But by placing Alora and Angel on entirely different ends of Star Trek‘s villain spectrum, the déjà vu becomes a weird quirk, rather than a negative drawback.

Looking closer, the eerie similarities between Strange New Worlds episodes 6 & 7 might explain why the Enterprise falls for Captain Angel’s ruse. After encountering the Majalis resistance, Pike and his crew learned how “enemies” sometimes have justifiable motivations behind their actions. When bumping into the Serene Squall pirates in the very next episode, therefore, Pike doesn’t immediately feel endangered, and even cooks his captors a meal to incite a semi-peaceful mutiny. The Enterprise doesn’t realize the level of threat the Serene Squall actually poses until Captain Angel’s pirates have overthrown a 400-strong crew with surprising ease. You might say that being too quick to condemn the Majalis rebels lowered Captain Pike’s guard, and Angel took advantage by seizing the Enterprise from under his nose. Such interconnected details redeem Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ episodes 6 & 7 repetition… just so long as episode 8 doesn’t introduce a guest aboard the Enterprise who makes eyes at Number One before revealing themselves as the main villain.

More: Spock’s Vulcan Brother Sybok Explained

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds continues Thursday on Paramount+.

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