The fourth episode of Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds, “Memento Mori,” delivers nail-biting motion, life-and-death conditions, and a glimpse into La’an’s (Christina Chong) backstory. Whereas she has divulged some data to Pike (Anson Mount) about her childhood trauma, “Memento Mori” forces her to reckon with it in harmful new methods. The episode, directed by Dan Liu, begins out on Starfleet Remembrance Day, because the crew of the USS Enterprise prepares to pay homage to their fallen comrades who paid the best worth to uphold the tenets of the Federation.
La’an relays to her Safety Officer’s log that they’re embarking on a mission to ship an Atmospheric Processor improve to a colonist planet. When the touchdown crew arrives, they uncover that not solely has the communications satellite tv for pc been destroyed, however the colonists have been massacred. Pike has the touchdown crew return to the Enterprise as soon as they make contact with a small group of colonists that managed to flee the bloodbath on a transport car. With a purpose to carry the colonists aboard the Enterprisethe crew has to decrease their shields—which causes them to play proper right into a lure that has been set.
Slightly lady from the colony begins speaking a couple of monster that she noticed and La’an realizes what’s about to occur, as a result of it is what occurred to her as a toddler. She tries to lift the alarm that they’re about to be hunted down by the Gorn, but it surely’s too late to avoid wasting the Enterprise from the assault. With the transport vessel connected to the ship, they can not increase their shields and the Gorn fires upon the Enterprise inflicting swift and horrifying destruction. However the worst has but to return.
Most of “Memento Mori” is a cat-and-mouse sport between the crew of the Enterprise and the Gorn, which takes them into the center of a brown dwarf star. The Gorn usually are not simply outsmarted, they usually’re greater than prepared to sacrifice their very own crews so as to seize their prey. Among the ways that Pike is compelled to make use of are paying homage to the oft-mentioned Kobayashi Maru, as a result of they’re caught in a no-win situation. To flee the Gorn, sacrifices should be made. Pike is compelled to make a whole lot of tough selections, which performs into the somber nature of Starfleet Remembrance Day.
Whereas the central plot of the episode is devoted to the battle with the Gorn, there are a number of subplots that neatly fold into that storyline. Dealing with off in opposition to the Gorn once more forces La’an to course of outdated trauma and he or she finds sudden camaraderie in Spock (Ethan Peck) who continues to be therapeutic from the trauma of dropping Michael (Sonequa Martin-Inexperienced) in Star Trek: Discovery. La’an permits Spock to thoughts meld along with her, in hopes that she will be able to discover one thing in her reminiscence to assist them escape the Gorn alive.
Persevering with her coaching as a cadet, Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) begins out the episode working down in engineering with Hemmer (Bruce Horak), who appears lower than thrilled about coaching a cadet. By the top of the episode, the scenario with the Gorn forces Hemmer to depend on Uhura to outlive. This train provides Uhura a possibility to check, and additional show her mettle, in addition to present additional perception into why Hemmer selected to hitch Starfleet.
Hemmer is not the one one compelled to depend on somebody to outlive, as Una (Rebecca Romijn) receives a near-fatal harm firstly of the episode that requires M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) to check their expertise with restricted sources at their disposal. Una is prepared to sacrifice herself to make sure that the opposite members of the crew are cared for first, however M’Benga finally ends up giving her a much-needed blood transfusion that saves her life.
The whole thing of Unusual New Worlds has featured exhilarating storytelling, however “Memento Mori” is well the very best of the primary 5 this season. Not solely does it skillfully deal with a no-win scenario, but it surely reminds audiences of the gravity of life in area. Even the very best intentions, and doing the suitable factor, can have devastating penalties as a result of not everybody they encounter goes to be prepared to compromise. Episode 4 additionally units La’an as much as have among the finest potential for character development throughout the collection. She suffered devastating losses at a younger age, which have coloured her views of the world, absolutely these experiences might be examined, modified, and molded transferring ahead. Even inside this episode, she involves phrases with accepting grief as part of life, and one thing worthy of providing remembrance to.
“Memento Mori” is a visually gorgeous episode that completely bookends the inciting motion firstly of the episode, delivering a extremely highly effective storyline as issues come full circle in the long run.
Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds is accessible to stream on Paramount+
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Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Leisure at Wealth of Geeks the place she covers her favourite matters: Starwars and popular culture nerdery. She can also be a contract author and information editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Drive. She can also be a member of the Hollywood Critics Affiliation.
When she isn’t masking entertainment information, she will be discovered on certainly one of her quite a few podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she can also be a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Display Actors Guild.