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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 1 Review: “The Broken Circle”

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors and writers involved in the project(s) mentioned here, Pages and Pictures would not exist. Pages and Pictures stands firmly behind WGA and SAG-AFTRA members as they fight for fair labour conditions. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 1, “The Broken Circle,” brings back the series with a bang. While the premiere may not hit every note perfectly, it’s an excellent reminder of what makes this series so endearing. This episode highlights one of the most endearing aspects of this series, which is that it is an incredible ensemble. Additionally, continuing the inaugural season’s trend of having the team visit a new world every episode. 

Immediately, seeing the crew have to navigate the fallout of last season’s finale effectively shows how this team responds to pressure. The stakes are established, and it’s clear that Una’s (Rebecca Romijn) situation has massive implications for this team. Additionally, this is a chance for Pike (Anson Mount) to prove his friendship. They trust one another completely. It’s very effective to show how the very core of their team is shaken absolutely. 

Dr. M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) are the stars of this episode. Watching them reflect on their roles within the team and their respective expertise in real-time makes them both all the more endearing. Their continued faith in Una, in particular, is frankly inspirational. Clearly, she is still so loved by her team. This sense of hope that permeates everything is what makes this season premiere so charmingly magnetic.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 1, “The Broken Circle,” also sets up a dynamic that may or may not serve the overall story in the long run. Of course, many people have already shipped Nurse Chapel and Spock (Ethan Peck). The tension built on this episode is certainly an effective argument in favour of further developing these two characters within a romantic context.

While this might work out in the long run, there hasn’t quite been enough time to get to know these two characters as a couple. The argument could be made that Spock is committed to his fiance, or at least the idea of her. Hopefully, as the season continues, the story can delve deeper into the complexities of what a romantic relationship between Nurse Chapel and Spock would look like. There’s at least some foundation to go on as their work relationship has been established. 

Finally, this premiere effectively sets up the rest of this season and the interpersonal drama that makes this series magnetic. While the stakes may be gargantuan, at the end of the day, these are all characters worth caring about. Their stories are compelling, and each character is endearing in their own way. Hopefully, the deeper stories that are set up in this season premiere will continue to be explored in greater depth as the season continues. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is back with a new lease on life. It’s clear from the premiere episode that the best of this show has been captured. The group dynamics, coupled with the compelling character arcs, will hopefully serve the rest of the season well. This is just the beginning of what is sure to be an enjoyable journey.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Paramount+.

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