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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 7, “Those Old Scientists,” is a nearly perfect example of how to do a crossover episode well. This is a smart and engaging way to not only expand the Star Trek universe but how to bring two series together in a compelling and heartfelt way. These characters fit together so well. The story is also a surprisingly sweet opportunity for the crew of the Enterprise to reflect on the future in the present.
Full disclosure, this writer does not follow Star Trek: Below Decks. However, this episode is a heartfelt and effective introduction. The fact that there is no presumption that viewers follow Below Decks makes the story far more universal. The Below Decks characters translate so beautifully to live-action without ever sacrificing the lovable cartoon quality that they are all known for.
Time travel episodes in Star Trek always have a lot of potential. Obviously, disastrous consequences are a major risk any time timelines get crossed. The fact that this episode leans into the silliness of this giant space saga makes it ultimately more meaningful. Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) is a perfect fish out of water to explore Star Trek’s history. His fanboy energy is not only incredibly endearing, but it’s a charming way for this character to showcase his best.
This episode provides a very interesting and heartfelt way for the crew of the Enterprise to reflect on their own legacies. Watching the crew look into a mirror while they’re all still starting out is a heartwarming way to be reminded of how impactful these characters have been through the generations. With a gargantuan legacy, it’s a nice way to look at these stories from new perspectives. The fact that the Below Decks team first idolizes the Enterprise crew and then appreciates their humanity is a relatable journey.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 7, “Those Old Scientists,” fleshes out Boimler as a character. His zany and chaotic energy has the same tone as a Gen Z trying to interact with their elder millennial/Gen X bosses. The humor balances out the genuine admiration that the Below Decks has for this crew. More broadly, it’s important for this story to reflect on how the Enterprise crew impacts future generations in tangible ways.
If there’s anything that isn’t quite up to standard on this episode, it’s the bait-and-switch with Una (Rebecca Romijn). After everything she’s been through up to this point, and having her loyalty questioned simply for being who she is, it falls flat to have her think even for a moment that she’s remembered unkindly in the future. Like the rest of the Enterprise, she should be remembered for the force of nature that she currently is.
The ending of this episode is one of the greatest on this series so far. The humour, combined with a proper animated crossover, just pulls everything together so beautifully. It’s easy to appreciate just how expansive this universe is and the impact it continues to have on so many. Hopefully, this is not the last of such episodes involving these fun and poignant crossovers.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Paramount+.