Episode 2: Visiting Old Episodes (SNW 1x10 "A Quality of Mercy")

Rob & Kev relive the highlights of Strange New Worlds' season 1 finale, "A Quality of Mercy", then compare it to other memorable episodes that revisited a previous Star Trek adventure.

Kevin: Hey, Rob.

And hey everyone.

Welcome back to Subspace Radio.

Rob: Hello, Kevin.

And welcome everybody to this
third episode in the exciting

new series of white, middle aged
men talking about a nerdy thing.

Kevin: Yeah.

Okay, great.

That's how we'll be known
forevermore, those two white nerdy

guys who do a Star Trek podcast.

Rob: They'll be able to
find us online like that.

Kevin: If this is your first episode,
there's not that many to catch up on.

You could go back and hear everything.

Rob: In fact, yeah.

Pause now, have a two hour break and
listen back to what you've missed and

come back to us, and, and you're back!


How was it?

Kevin: Ugh.

I'm— Yeah, I know, right?

I know.

Rob: We've missed you.

You did a slingshot around the sun,
came back and now here you are.

Kevin: We are here today to talk about
the season one finale of Star Trek:

Strange New Worlds "A Quality of Mercy".

Rob: Damn right, yeah.

And it, I can't believe
the season's already over.

10 episodes.

Not enough.

Kevin: For sure.

Give me another season right now.

Rob: So, The Enterprise is summoned to one
of the bases on the line of the Neutral

Zone between Federation and Romulan space.

Pike is perplexed when he meets the young
son of the man who runs the station.

And the name sounds familiar.

It is the name of one of the people in
his future that does not survive the

accident that severely damages— yeah
that's an understatement, isn't it, Kevin?

—our dear Pike.

So that sends him on a spiral.

Does he get in touch with this young
man and try and change his destiny?

And at that moment, you guessed it.

A future version of Pike
shows up and goes, oh, you're

gonna get into some trouble.

And then we have an awesome experience
where Pike cuts ahead about seven years

and a moment from the original series,
the iconic episode that has inspired

so many future incarnations of Star
Trek is played out in this new form.


Kevin: Balance of Terror!

Rob: —is played out and we what
would happen if Balance of Terror was

played out through Pike's captaincy
and Pike has to make some rough

decisions about what he's going to do.

Kevin: It felt like the movie
to end the season to me.

Rob: Now, I received a message from
young Kevin here before watching

the episode, cuz he is aware that
my Original Series knowledge is not

as up to standard as it should be.

So he did send me the message saying
it's probably best to watch Balance

of Terror before you watch this.

And I went,

Kevin: Yeah.

I sent that to a few people this week.

If you haven't seen it or haven't
seen it lately, it's worth a watch.

Rob: Yes.

So I went in, of course, with my with
my self assured entitled arrogance that,

only comes at someone my age and my
skin color and my sex identification.

And about five minutes
in, I went, you know what?

I should have listened to the expert.

I paused the episode, went and watched
Balance of Terror and then came back

to the rest of A Quality of Mercy.

That was a good morning.

Kevin: Yeah, I got real lucky.

When we were talking last week about
character deaths, the first one I

could remember, like the first time
I remember being hit by someone dying

in Star Trek was young Tomlinson the
phaser crew member in Balance of Terror.

And I went back and re-watched
that episode to see: it was

significant to me; how significant
was it to the show at the time?

And I guess for a, for an
episodic sixties episode, it

was a pretty significant death.

That was the final beat of the
episode is Kirk consoling his,

his now I was gonna say widowed
wife to be, but they didn't even—

Rob: They did even get to yeah.

And they did take the time
in the episode to, go back to

the two of them and reconnect.

So you see their dynamic as a
relationship with, so it's more than

just a, yeah, a red shirt filler.

There was more to it.

Kevin: But I had watched the episode
for that reason, so that when I saw

the trailer for this week's episode
and I saw the Romulan weapons flying

through space, those plasma torpedoes
that have a limited range, famously,

I was like, Ooh, I know what that is.

I are they bringing Romulans in?

Cuz that's gonna be
problematic to the canon.

But they were all over it.

In fact, as soon as Pike was
saying the speech in the chapel, I

paused it and I went, huh, they're
reusing the speech in the chapel.

I guess every wedding on a Starship uses
the same speech and then I un-paused it

and five seconds later, I paused it again.

I went, hang on, this
*is* Balance of Terror.

Rob: And you were.

It's one of those episodes where
they're not only revisiting

a classic episode, they are
incorporating a modern version of it.

And especially this particular
episode, like copying specific shots,

specific lines of dialogue and action.

But from this newer, skewed point of view
with Pike in charge as opposed to James T.


Kevin: We're gonna focus in the second
half on other episodes of Star Trek,

where somehow through some miracle, we
revisit a previous adventure of Star Trek.

I'll leave you in suspense as to
what exact episodes we're gonna talk

about, but before we go there, is
there anything else about this episode

that is a highlight, a low light,
something that you want to talk about?

Rob: Well, yeah, I am interested
in uh, in getting your opinion, cuz

Kevin: Yeah.

I interested in getting your opinion.

Yeah, I got one or two.

I got one or two opinions about…

Rob: Yeah.

And I think it has a lot to do with those
of us who are, quite familiar with the

classic series and know it back and forth.

And those like myself who
have a broad view of it.


Kevin: I feel, I feel like I'm
being subtly called a snob here.

Rob: Oh, no, not at all.

I would never, this is one of the
moments where two nerds get together.

This is where I bow down to
your knowledge and absorb it.

So I'm more than happy to
play the little fiddle.

Kevin: My, my high level
summary of my reaction to this

episode is I love the concept.

Rob: Yes.

Kevin: Nothing could make me more excited
than revisiting, with a twist, one of

the most classic episodes of Star Trek,
as we'll talk about it in a minute,

they've done that successfully before.

And if there is one episode
worth revisiting and honoring,

this is one of them for sure.

Balance of Terror, many people's
favorite episode of the original series.

And I wouldn't try to talk them out of it.

Rob: And as someone who watched
it for the first time I just

went, this is… this is timeless.

It is such a well written,
well-acted well-directed episode.

Kevin: Tense, tight submarine…

Rob: Submarine warfare drama.


Kevin: With character beats that
are stronger than you usually

see in that, that early series.

It is so good.

This episode, like I was saying
on paper, I am totally behind it.

I feel like something was
let down in the execution.

Now, I might have just been
hungry when I was watching it.

Sometimes things just don't
strike you quite right.

But as I was watching this, I
was going, I see what they're

doing and it's not quite landing.

It's feeling a little awkward.

Yes, they're replaying the lines in
clever ways that I'm totally behind,

but the line reading is slightly
different, the words feel wrong in

that actor's mouth for some reason.

They're repeating a line rather than
saying something from the heart.

And I just kept having that feeling
of being taken out of the episode

rather than being pulled in.

Rob: Sure, yeah.

One thing that stood out me was
the character, the representation

of the hostile Federation member
angry towards the Romulans.

So in the original episode, yeah, in
the original episode it was Stiles.

And he has that great moment and is
beautifully played by both of them.

Kevin: Never met a good Stiles.

There's never been a
good Stiles in Star Trek.

Styles is also the captain of
the Excelsior in Star Trek III,

when they steal the Enterprise…

Rob: That's right.

Kevin: He's the one with the riding crop.

Rob: Riding crop and the mustache.

Then he went back in time and
became Doogie Howser's father.

That's right.

Kevin: Never met a good Styles.

Rob: But he mentioned that his
ancestors fought in the original

Romulan war a hundred years ago.

and Kirk says that great line, "Their war.

Not yours."

It's a great moment.

And it immediately sets up
where this prejudice comes from.

Whereas throughout the entire
episode, Ortegas is playing that role,

but there isn't any justification
of why it … to her personally.

It's said, they killed all
these Federation members and

stuff, but there was no personal
connection as it was for Stiles.

So that,

Kevin: The idea that just because
she's been portrayed as a bit of a hot

head, is like emotionally front foot.

Does that translate to like subtle racism?

Rob: Yeah, it was a bit of a, it was a
bit of a step and they didn't really,

they didn't really make those connections.


I appreciated those moments where
they recreated the briefing room

with the uh, surprise, surprise, the
arrival at last, which we all knew was

coming because they did spoil it, I
think even before the series started…

Kevin: Yeah.

They said it was coming in season two,
but they gave it to us one episode early

Rob: And they, yep.

They gave us a Captain Kirk played
by Paul Wesley and played very well!

Kevin: That's another one
where we're going to differ.

And I'll say I may warm up to him.

But I really wanted to like him.

Like I was rooting for him.

I was cheering him on, but every moment
he was on screen, I was uncomfortable

that this did not feel like someone who
would grow into the Captain Kirk that

we knew, or indeed at the point in the
timeline where this is meant to be, he

is the same, like he's meant to be the
same age as the Captain Kirk, we meet in

Balance of Terror, a season one episode,
but still having watched that captain

Kirk looks more relaxed, more fun, more
of the ladies man he's reputed to be.

Whereas Paul Wesley, like, I'll give
him this: we've at least once heard

Kirk described as "a walking stack
of books" in his early Academy days.

Like the, he was the nerd at the Academy,
supposedly, Chris Pine's portrayal aside.

Rob: Oh, good, yes.

Can we please put it aside?

Kevin: I actually liked, like my
first reaction to Chris Pine was

more positive than Paul Wesley.

And Paul Wesley, I've
never seen him before.

I know he plays in some vampire show,

Rob: He is in The Vampire Diaries.

Kevin: It felt wooden and, and unlikable.

And if James T.

Kirk should be anything,
it should be charismatic.


Rob: That's true.


Kevin: …just didn't get charisma from him.

Rob: Sure.

Yeah I didn't see him as that wooden.

I liked his I liked his tone.

It clearly, wasn't a, yeah, there's
sort of like this middle ground between

a bit of Shatner and a bit of Pine.

Whereas I think, like I was saying, uh, in
the briefing room, they showed that whole

connection that Spock and Kirk will have.

So those moments where they agree
about the aggressive behavior and

that sort of like puts Christopher
Pike going, oh, hang on, that's not

what— and so that was quite cool.

Also, I loved finally Sam and,
James, "Jimmy" meeting and hugging

and going, ah, yes, there you go.

Doesn't look exactly like him,
but you… and in that moment where

Sam gets to talk about his brother
and all that type of stuff.

And, and, and the fact that
Pike is worried that, James T.

Kirk might be the threat.

It's really, yeah.

I like that kind of play on things.

Kevin: Sam Kirk feels still like
a torpedo in the tube for me.

Like the, his reason for being a character
on the show, I haven't seen it yet.

He's been the, he's been the emotional
guy in the horror episode last week, who's

freaking out that they're all gonna die.

There is a bit of, he is the
loose cannon on the ship.

There's a bit of that.

That makes him an interesting character,

Rob: There was a bit of foreshadowing,
like the way that he was attacking Spock

is very much how McCoy attacks Spock
of going your green blooded Vulcan.

Don't you have any emotion?

You're just a, yeah.

Kevin: Yeah.

In that, he's a useful character.

Why is it Jim's Kirk's brother?

I struggle to think it is only so that
he could say, oh, my brother likes

to break the rules to Pike in this
episode, I suspect there is a story to

be told of why the creators— and they
may not have figured it out themselves.

I think they've gifted themselves that
ability to tell an interesting story

with Sam Kirk, that we haven't seen yet.

Rob: Yeah.

And like we were talking about
previously, you know, I don't think

we've heard the full story, obviously,
of all the characters, especially

Ortegas, being denied finding out more
about her character and Sam as well.

But after our talk last week, was there
another little cameo that you noticed?


Kevin: Oh yes.

A certain Scottish engineer.

Rob: Only voiceover!

Kevin: Only voiceover.

Yes, I believe that is one
of the shots that is mirrored

from the original episode.

Spock is in the Jeffries tube and
just Scotty's arm appears to hand

him a tool in the exact same way.

So, it was cheeky, but not that cheeky.

It was true to the original.

I loved it.

I'm in no rush to see Scotty.

I like that, that little taste would
do me for three seasons, honestly.

Rob: But I'm just going, so was
that Scotty from, was he on,

Kevin: Yeah.

He's on the Enterprise at the
time of Balance of Terror.

Rob: So he is on the Enterprise
cause I was thinking, had he

come over from Kirk's ship, or…

Kevin: No, No, I assume he's a crew
member on the Enterprise at that point.

He does eventually get replaced by Scotty.

Rob: Eventually.


Well the one thing that I was trying
to figure out timeline wise and doing

my homework of watching previous
episodes that we'll talk about, I did

realize they've got so much time to
play with we, we don't know how much

time has passed from The Cage to here,
but, from a certain episode, they talk

about, the cage was 13 years ago from,
the original season's first season.

So I'm there going oh, Pike
swimming in gravy for at least

another seven or eight years.

Kevin: Yeah.

I think he said he's he feels, he thinks
he has about a decade, something like…

Rob: Yeah,

Kevin: Other highlights from this
episode: I wanted to talk about this

maroon uniform that uh, future Pike
appears in, cuz I know from our chats

offline, that is your favorite uniform.

Rob: It is, and it was
a little bit jooged up.

Kevin: Do you feel they did it justice?

Rob: Look, I did, I kind, I kind of also
like, um, cuz it jooged up, like the arms

had a different type of texture to it…

Kevin: …been doing that again and again.

It seems like that is their stamp.

This show is putting that
stamp on all of the uniforms.

Even the dress uniform that Uhura had,
had the same… I wanna say rubberized

texture down the arms and shoulders.

Rob: It was definitely, raised
in, in, to I don't wanna say the

word rimmed cuz that'll give.

But it was definitely
for our visual pleasure.

I really um, it was great
to see Anson in that outfit.

He wore it very well.

It's a great fitting uniform.

And it wasn't as much of a deviation
from what we've seen before.

I mean, obviously, from the sixties
to now, they've come back a bit.

And the one thing I have noticed as
well, cuz the costumes they had of

uniforms, sorry they had for Discovery
was completely changed for this.

Kevin: Yeah, I do miss those uh, TOS
Discovery uniforms, look real sharp to me.

Rob: And there's elements of
that, that you see in The Cage

Kevin: When I think of the maroon uniform,
which in fan circles I have learned this

week is referred to as the Monster Maroon.

That's what it's called colloquially.

I haven't been able to figure out
why, but that's what it's called.

Anyway the overriding impression
I get is of a starched jacket.

Like it, it looks stiff
in a formal uniform sense.

And that double breast that goes
right across almost all the way

to your shoulder and then down.

And so you can undo the toggle
and rip it open if you're feeling

emotional uh, like that is the
feature of this uniform for me.

And it's the biggest thing that
let me down in this remake is they

moved, if my eyes aren't tricking
me, they moved that shoulder.

Like that, that double breast that
goes almost to the shoulder, they took

it down and it's, it looks like it's
gone limp so that it's almost doing

a line diagonally down their chest.

Almost the crisscross uniform that
we saw earlier in the season, the

wraparound uniform that Captain Pike got.


It almost looks like that.

And it takes all the formality out
of it for me and the nail in the

coffin for me is that the white
strip that comes down for the toggle.

It's it looks like it's flopping
all over the place, cuz it

needs to go way further down.

So that really bothered me.

Rob: It is the, the

Kevin: it's the alternate future.

It's never coming back.

It's okay.

Rob: And yeah.

And because they're just so caught up with
this punishing war with the Romulans,

Kevin: …did read, someone suggested
that the uniform designers with

taste got killed in the war.

Rob: I think they did.


And let's have a moment's silence
for those superior designers.

Kevin: okay.

Uh, what did you think of this
stuff on board the Romulan ship?

Because for me the most memorable
thing of that original episode is

the captain and his old friend.

And then the old friend dies when
the piece of styrofoam falls on him.

Rob: And they act very well at trying
to give it some weight, even though

five seconds earlier, you're gone that
has clearly bounced off that old actor.

Kevin: And he sacrifices his friend by
loading him into the torpedo tube and

throwing him out into space as a decoy,
like none of that is present here.

The captain on the
Romulan ship is all alone.

Rob: Yes.

And I mean, maybe it's also because the
unfair expectation, once you have an actor

of Mark Lenard's stature and especially
his stature within the Star Trek universe,

Kevin: Mark Lenard the actor who
played the Romulan captain in

the original episode, also played
Sarek, Spock's father, and at

least one Klingon over the years.

Rob: Yeah, there is that, that
lofty, yeah, incredible performance.

So anyone who has to fill
that role have a, you know,

Kevin: Oh, I felt bad for the actor.

The close up on the face, where he was
delivering that iconic line "In another

reality I could have called you friend,"
and I just went, you're no Mark Lenard.

Rob: No, and I didn't feel it either.

I did not feel it either.

I went, ah, see what
you're trying to do, but,

Kevin: Again and again, that's what
I left this episode going is they set

themselves up for failure by mirroring one
of the best episodes of Star Trek ever.

And they brought way more money to the
table, but the gravitas just wasn't there.

Rob: It's interesting.

You know, we've been so behind it, and
I'm, we're both still very much behind

this series and just how consistently
strong and solid this show has been.

And even before it went to air,
they'd already had season two,

pretty much all wrapped up.

So they already knew in some way, shape or
form, what they had in the can, so you can

see them shooting big and they had that
confidence, or, dare I say, arrogance to

go, you know what, no we're gonna do it.

We're gonna take on Balance of Terror.

And we are going to do
our copy version of it.

But it seems once they get to
it going, oh, we need to get an

actor who can match up to it.

Oh, well.

And no discredit to the actor who did
fill the role of the leader of that ship.

But like you said, he just, he
wasn't able to shine like Lenard was.

And in the original that's what
made it so beautiful is his right

hand man was supportive and going,
I've been with you on all these

adventures and they talk about the
hierarchy within the Romulan system.

The two of them talk together about
that, really clever little detailed

stuff for the first appearance
of the Romulans is incredible.

Kevin: Yeah, overall I'm a bit
disappointed, but you know what?

I'm still with them and I
congratulate them on the attempt.

Rob: So we've explored the most
recent episode of Strange New

Worlds, and that got us inspired to
go through a bit of, a a worm hole

to find some similar type episodes.

And we're mixing things
up a bit this week.

We've agreed on three episodes
that sort of like revisit a classic

story and do a new version of it.

So we've agreed on three and let's
talk through those, shall we?


Kevin: I almost missed this first one.

But it came to me in a
flashback, if you will.

The Menagerie, which is the Star Trek
episode, partway through season one,

it's about halfway through season one
where, and I'm gonna steal something

from podcaster, Jason Snell here.

So a hat tip of the hat, here.

This is the episode of Star Trek, where
the crew of the Enterprise sits down and

watches an episode of Star Trek together.

Rob: Yeah.

Yeah, it is the ultimate in
and it's, I think it's the

first instance of ah, meta in—

Kevin: Yes.

So, famously, the original pilot of Star
Trek, The Cage was never aired and they

had it just sitting there on the shelf.

And so as they were working
their way through season one,

they thought, you know what?

We can use that.

And in this episode, we get to see the
story of Christopher Pike, who gets

broken out of Starfleet jail by Spock,
so that Spock can take him back to Talos

IV, the banned, restricted planet where
the Talosians can make your dreams come…

Rob: Mm.

And if you do visit there,
threatened of death!

Kevin: Yeah, And so Christopher
Pike gets his happily ever after.

And Spock gets a course martial,
wherein transmissions from the planet

replay the events of The Cage for the
assembled court, so that they can decide

whether Spock's actions were justified.

Rob: And in classic Star Trek, fan
fashion of Star Trek characters watching

a Star Trek episode, they complain about
the quality of the picture they call,

they're going, oh, is this good sounds?

Or the effects are pretty, you know,
outdated and, oh, it's just, the

reflective nature of it is hilarious.

Kevin: On the surface, this one on
paper would underwhelm me, but every

time I watch it, I am reminded it's one
of my favorite episodes of the series,

because it does some world building,
I think, that we don't usually get.

They go from a star base to a
ship and to a courtroom, the whole

procedural of the court case.

But also Spock's caper of breaking Pike
out of his uh, I said prison at the start.

It's a prison of the mind, isn't it?

Rob: …is, yes, he's being cared for
rather intensely by, by Starfleet

officers in very short skirts.

Oh, the hell of it all.

Kevin: But this idea that Spock is more
loyal to this character that we've never

seen before than to his crew mates on
the Enterprise is a delectable mystery.

Rob: And it's really interesting, cuz this
is the first time I've actually seen it.

I'd watched The Cage when they
first released it on VHS, Kevin.

And I was always fascinated by it.

The sort of what could have been.

And so I'm always a sucker for the
underdog franchises, so my favorite

era of the Disney franchise is the dark
ages, like the seventies and the early

eighties, when Ron Miller's in charge
and they do stuff like Something Wicked

This Way Comes or The Black Hole or
Watcher In the Woods, all these failed

movies, but it's so dark and watching
the original Cage I went, oh, what could

have been with Pike and Number One.

And so that's why I think I'm into
Strange New Worlds so much is that I'm

finally getting to see these characters
that I saw when I was in high school.

I went, oh, if only, now it's…

Kevin: Yes.

So it's interesting that this episode
that shares so much in common with this

prominent episode of Strange New Worlds is
also deeply linked to the series itself.

It's where those characters originate.

It's where they appeared
on TV for the first time.

And it's also the payoff for the final
moments of A Quality of Mercy, where Spock

almost with, so few words understands
what Pike has been through and the debt

of gratitude that, that he owes to Pike.

Rob: It's incredible work from Ethan
Peck, who just— I'm, I'm gonna say this.

Leonard Nimoy is a giant and an
incredible presence in Star Trek.

And I never really got
into Zachary Quinto.

I never really got Quinto's performance.

Everyone went oh, but he looks
so much like him, but then when

he, the performance was there
going, but he isn't Spock.

He never felt Spock for me.

But as soon as Ethan Peck came along,
even in Discovery, and especially now

in the series, I've gone, this is Spock.

This is a perfect tribute and a good
companion to Nimoy's iconic version.

And that moment, he's a wonderful
actor and that moment of nuance

and going, that's the type
of stuff Nimoy did so well.

That, that show of emotion
through subtlety, as opposed

to, oh, I think Spock's angry.



I think Zachary Quinto's
having a bit of a hissy fit.

But that moment was a beautiful
moment and it does connect directly to

Menagerie of why Spock is willing to
do… risk everything, risk death, risk

his career and his life for this man.

And this is the thing there's so
much weight in Strange New Worlds

about about Pike and sharing it with
Spock and Una, about this is my life.

This is what happens to me.

But they don't know.

Kevin: They don't know that he gets
a happily ever after at the end!

Rob: And you get to hang
out with Melissa George.

Kevin: Vena, yeah!

Rob: Aussie's own Melissa George
was Vena in the Discovery episode

when he had the visions in The Cage.

Yeah, so it was interesting to finally
watch, cause I'd seen The Cage,

but I hadn't seen The Menagerie.

So to see what, how they structure
showing The Cage within it, especially

that final shot of when she goes,
I'm returned to my beautiful form and

Kevin: They replay the moment
as a completely different scene.

Rob: And he goes "…and
more," and she just smiles.

He goes, yeah, she could smile before.

And because they didn't wanna show from
the original, when she grabs onto the

imaginary Christopher Pike, they wanted
to use that as the real imaginary.


Kevin: Right!

It's so clever.

Rob: And the look on
Shatner's face at the end.

He looks, it's a beautiful moment and
I don't care what people say about,

oh, the hokey acting in the sixties.

There's some beautiful stuff in there
and it doesn't care what era it is.

He, the look on his face when he's just
looking at a blank screen of him finally

seeing this character, this person,
Christopher Pike, get the happy ending he

deserves and this nice knowing smile is
is a beautiful bit of acting from Shat.

Kevin: We've talked about two, three, if
you count Menagerie as two parts, we've

talked about three great episodes of Star
Trek in the first season of that series.

It's amazing what…

Rob: I've been going back and watching
a lot more, thanks to this podcast,

and thanks to your encouragement.

And season one, man, is like so
much killer, not much filler.

And like in an episode, like there's The
Menagerie, then there's another episode.

And then you're in Balance of Terror.

It's just wall to wall classic stuff.

So it's not so much of an
incorporation that episode.

It's more of a, yeah,
just sit back and watch.

Kevin: Yeah.

Well, then let's do a true incorporation
with Trials and Tribble-ations.

Rob: I have been bringing this up a lot,
and so I, I like, I liken your thought.

Let's go.

Let's just get it outta the way, okay Rob?

You've been talking about it every week.

Let's talk about it in full,
then get it outta your system.

And we, there is so much more for…

Kevin: …us the excuse.

Trials and Tribble-ations,
I hadn't seen it in a while.

I re-watched it before this,
so I'm all freshened up.

It is the episode where they revisit The
Trouble with Tribbles the classic comedy

from, maybe the only comedy from the
Original Series where deep space station

K-7 suffers an infestation of tribbles,
which apart from nearly overtaking that

Starbase, are responsible for unmasking
a hidden Klingon agent in their midsts.

Rob: That's right.

And for the 30th anniversary of Star
Trek, Deep Space Nine decided to do

a tribute where they go back in time.

That's right.

Sisko and Dax and Odo and Worf and
Bashir and O'Brien all travel back in

time to find a time traveling bandit who
threatens to blow up the space station.

And it's the same actor they
get for Deep Space Nine,

Kevin: Arne Darvin is the character.

Rob: That's easy for you to say!

I mean, it was cutting
edge at the time and

Kevin: It was amazing!

They must have spent a entire
season's worth of their visual

effects budget on this one episode.

Rob: And it shows the
proof is in the pudding.

I mean, We will never get fully restored
Deep Space Nine, or, enhancement of

the CGI effects, which fans are crying
out for, but it's just not gonna

happen, but this one still holds up.

Whether you watch it
streamer or on the DVD.

Kevin: I think this episode might be
one of the reasons we never get an

HD DS9 because to do, to redo this
in HD would be next to impossible.

Rob: Yeah.

It's an incredible episode.

It's incredible feat in special
effects, and it is that really—

Well, I think you mentioned it's
like the Back to the Future II.

Kevin: Yes, that's right.

For those who haven't seen it,
our crew of, uh, Deep Space Nine

on the Defiant, which can cloak,
conveniently for this episode.

Rob: That's right.

Kevin: They, they share scenes
with the original cast of TOS.

So they replay scenes of the
original Trouble with Tribbles with

Deep Space Nine characters in the
background, in the foreground, even

interacting with characters from
the original episode in the most

clever split screens you have ever…

Rob: So beautiful.

You get to see Kirk getting angry
at O'Brien and Bashir, who got

into a ballroom brawl with Scotty.

Love it.

Kevin: Yeah, there's a
lot to talk about here.

I wanna start with the way they get into
the past, which is to use the Orb of Time.

So the Prophets of the wormhole
famously have these orbs that they

gift to the Bajoran people and each
one has a different magical power.

This one lets you do time stuff,

Rob: And if you get it all in
a gauntlet, you can control.

Oh, no, that's a…

Kevin: That's a different franchise.

But compare that to the Klingon
time crystals that were used in

Strange New Worlds this week.

As soon as that came out I groaned.

I was like, ah, are we seriously
going back to the Klingon time monks?

I was hoping we could, we could set that
aside and pretend it never happened.

Rob: …Kevin!

In time!

Kevin: They are angry,
Klingon monks in time.

Rob: If you just touch the
crystal, it'll send you forward.

Kevin: So yeah, that's the thing, this
whole idea that it, it will send you

forward, not into a vision of your future,
but into an interactive simulation of

your future in which you can tell Spock.

I am here from the past, and Spock will
give you a mind meld to confirm this.

Like, it's that interactive.

Rob: Lot of levels, lot of levels.

Kevin: At the end in the very last
scene, somehow old Pike has traveled

with him into this vision because
Pike is in his future ready room.

I don't get it at all.

Whereas at least the Orb of Time,
they get it outta the way quickly.

They're like, it's an orb of time.

It does time.

Oh, look, we're in the past.

That's all you need to know.

Like, that's it.

They don't even bother with the
return to the future at the end.

It's just like we, we did it.

Rob: Yeah there.


We've got the agents
from the time disruption…

Kevin: I guess I wanna say if you're
gonna break the rules, do it quickly

and don't draw too much attention to it.

No loving shots of a
green crystal in a case.

And you're like, who made that case?

Uh, like,

Rob: Wonder what happens to
their seven year future plan.

Kevin: Yeah, it… I think they
gilded the lilly a bit too

much in Strange New Worlds.

And in DS9, they knew how to
get it outta the way quickly

and not make it a distraction.

Rob: And it's fun.

You get to see the cast
in your original uniforms.

Kevin: They cosplay!

For the 30th anniversary, the cast
of DS9 cosplays as TOS characters.

Rob: And Sisko has to get a voucher,
a token, go up to his star and

get an autograph like we all do…

Kevin: Right at the end, yeah.


This, to me, I wrote this down,
cuz up until this point, I felt

like— and this is fifth season DS9.

So we were deep into it by this point.

But at least me as a casual
viewer at that time, I— not

that casual; let's be serious.

As a viewer…

Rob: Nice try though.

Nice try.

I like how you tried to cover that.

You went, "Look, as a casual viewer."

Oh really?

You want me to believe that?

Nice try.

Kevin: As a viewer at the time, I still
felt like DS9 was too cool to be fully

connected to the rest of Star Trek canon.

I felt like they were doing their
own thing, and they were almost

holding themselves at arm's length
to the rest of Star Trek history.

Rob: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: And in this episode, these
characters that I thought were too

cool for school are dressing up and
geeking out about Spock and Kirk and…

Rob: …and, and talking about
why the Klingons look human and

they just do the beautiful line.

"It's a part of our history
we don't talk about."


All right.

All right.

My, my favorite moment is right at that.

One of my, the whole episode is one of
my favorites, but at the start, just to

set that tone, when they mention James T.

Kirk and the two guys from the
bureau do classic Star Trek

references to time travel.

"Oh, that guy.

He's broken so many time travel laws."

And then you just have
Sisko when they say James T.

Kirk and he lights up and you
see him, like when he talks about

baseball, he goes "The very same."

Kevin: And he gets 'em by the end, he gets
one of the agents to go, "You know what?

I probably would've done the same thing."

Rob: And it's great.

Like, you've got O'Brien with
his daggy sixties haircut.

That's awesome.

You've got Jadzia…

Kevin: …O'Brien.

Bashir's got the most amazing slick…

Rob: He's got, he looks, he, it looks
very sixties, about 150 years beforehand.

Um, and Jadzia, having a
bit of googly eyes at McCoy.

McCoy getting some love.

Kevin: She googly-eyes Spock
and then reveals she has she's

had a, an affair with McCoy.

Rob: That's right.

That's right.

Kevin: Yeah.

Not afraid to get around, our Dax.

She's had many years to
do it, so good on her.

Rob: …old man is a player.

I love it.

I love it.

And Terry Farrell looks great.

They all look fantastic.

The boys' haircut could be a bit
better, but Terry Farrell's sixties

hairdo, the updo is amazing.

Kevin: My favorite scene in this
episode is in the turbo lift.

They bump into the uh,
attractive crewperson in the

lift for the second time.

And she's like, "I'll be in uh, sick bay
later for my physical," and she leaves

and Bashir's like, "You don't know!

I might be destined to meet her,
fall in love with her and have

children, and I might be my own
grandfather, for all you know."

And O'Brien's like, "Oh boy,
are we ready to beam out."

Rob: That guy is so desperate to get laid.

Look just, let's just go
to the holosuite, okay?

We'll pretend to do a World War
II bombing raid… But yeah, it's

just beautifully structured.

It's more than just a comedy episode.

It's there.

Like you said, it's that moment,
especially in season five, we're getting

into the heart of Dominion War stuff.

We're going into some dark territory and
for them to just go, let's get this really

cooler-than-thou crew to just let loose.

And the whole cast, cuz they're
just incredible, really lets slip.

And that final moment where you
have Sisko and Kirk together,

and they make you wait for it.

They go, you wanna see
the two of them together?

It's not gonna happen.

It's not gonna happen.

Of course is gonna happen.

Kevin: Also for the 30th anniversary
of Star Trek, Star Trek Voyager was on

the air at the time and they did their
own homage to the past of Star Trek.

This episode, Flashback season three,
episode two of Voyager actually aired

before Trials and Tribble-ations.

So we're doing these out of order.

Um, but, to me, another one of those
ones that on paper, it's a loving homage.

In practice, it doesn't quite work for me.

Rob: Yeah.

Look it's just, when you bring back
an iconic character like Sulu and

especially when it's his time on
Excelsior, you want that to be where

the meat and potatoes of the episode
is, but this one does like veer more

into, Tuvok and Janeway's relationship.

And they could do that in any
way, shape or form, like with

Trials and Tribble-ations, they
go, let's go there and let's lean

into it and let's just embrace it.

Kevin: They get there quick and they spend
a lot of time there in Deep Space Nine.

In Voyager, I was looking at the
progress bar and it's not until halfway

through the episode that they land in
what is the iconic opening scene of

Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country.

And I'm gonna say it, also my favorite
opening of a Star Trek movie of perhaps

my favorite Star Trek movie of all time.

Rob: And look, it's— Oh, wow!


That is a big call.

You just slipped that under
the radar, Kevin Yank.

Just went.

Oh yeah, by the way one of my favourite…

You always want to know when you've
got a captain on a Federation

vessel, how they do certain things.

So of course Kirk had, many opportunities
to do a variation of "Fire."

And in Star Trek VI, he does the
dramatic one where his hand comes up

and he grips it and goes, "Fi-yah!"

But for Sulu, he gets his moment when
he sees the waves of Praxis coming

towards him, and he calls out "Sheilds!"

Ah, and I was just going there you are.

why he gets the captain's role.

Kevin: It's so great.

He's such a great captain.

I remember around this time, there
was lots of speculation off the

back of the movie of would we
get the Captain Sulu TV series?

Rob: Such a missed opportunity.

Kevin: But we get a taste of what it
would be here because we get to, like,

peek behind the scenes of those very few
moments on the Excelsior in the movie.

We get to see a bit more of a
day in the life on the Excelsior.

We get to see Commander Janice
Rand doing her thing, being like

a competent officer on a Starship.

It's amazing.

And the other guy, Dimitri Valtane
was, to me, a very memorable

presence in that opening scene
on the Excelsior in the movie.

Like, his reports back to the
captain are so efficient and logical.

He's sitting at that point on the bridge
where the famous Vulcan usually sits.

Rob: Yes.

Kevin: But we get to see a
human with a beard in that role.

And I just remember at the time
going, yeah, well done, sir.

You're filling those shoes nicely.

Rob: Exactly.

And is it cuz it has been a while
since I've seen it because Tim

Ross does appear, but I'm not.

it in Star Trek IV or is it in,

Kevin: I don't think we
see him in Star Trek IV.

He's very conveniently put over
in a corner of the bridge that

it would be natural not to go to.

He's he's a cadet.


Oh yes, yes.

He's plays another
character in Generations.

Rob: That's right.

He plays a human in…

Kevin: Yeah.

But in this, at this point in Tuvok's
career as a cadet, it's his first

deep space mission on the Excelsior.

He's naive.

He's the one who's quoting regulations
to his captain and getting a little

smacked down by the first officer for it.

And all that stuff is delightful.

Rob: But where is that, that shadowy
cadet who has to wake up Sulu?

Kevin: Ah, Christian Slater.

Rob: Yeah!

Where is… why did… where did he…?

Kevin: Why they couldn't get him?

Rob: Why couldn't they get
Christian Slater back to do…?

But in every shot, he'd
always be in shadow?

Even if he's in, like on the deck
and it's bright light, he's just,

got his own shadow that just
follows him around everywhere?

Kevin: So like this week's episode
of Strange New Worlds, I think the

difficulty level was extraordinarily
high for what they set out to do, here.

And not downplaying what Deep Space Nine
did by seamlessly editing themselves

into an episode of television from
the sixties, but here again was a

case where this feature film had
come out just five years before.

It had a feature film budget, feature
film production values, and here was

Star Trek: Voyager episode of the week
in four by three, trying to insert

itself and replay the same events.

And to me, things just… again,
the gravitas wasn't there.

That opening scene of the wave hitting
the ship, it is entirely scored in Voyager

with generic Voyager dramatic music.

And I went back and watched the
movie that entire scene has no score.

It has played out to
silence, and it feels real.

Rob: Yeah, the music of the
opening credits is so good.

And it's that ominous build up to it.

And then,

Kevin: It drops out, and Praxis explodes.

Rob: And that's it.

You have no music, you just
have the sound of everything.

It plays for real.

It's, yeah.

It's a fantastic opening.

Kevin: But what I did like— I like
that Tuvok tells Janeway, "Praxis has

just exploded," and we all as fans know
exactly what that means, but we get to

look around this bridge, seeing them
going about their business, unaware

of what, what is about to hit them.

And that is a delicious bit of dramatic
irony that we get to play through.

Then the, the moments of the upset of the
ship as the wave hits them goes through.

And a lot of lines are replayed, but to
me, the line readings aren't quite there.

I know those, I feel that opening
of Star Trek IV deep in my soul.

And when captain Salus says,
"Turn her into the wave!"

in the movie, it feels heroic.

And in this, he goes, "Turn her
*into* the wave," and I'm like,

oh, you didn't quite nail it.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: I think you were in
a bit of a hurry, there.

Rob: Yeah.

It's a difference between having
Nicolas Myer directing you or not.

Kevin: Yeah.

And ultimately, the episode, it
does not fully honor the source

material because they kind of bail
out of the story halfway through.

They get to that critical moment for the
plot where Valtane dies on the bridge,

and they discover that is the moment
Tuvok got infected by this parasite

that's causing him a false memory.

They extract themselves from the
mind meld, they're in the Voyager

sick bay and they resolve the issue.

And the rest of Star Trek IV happens
in a couple of lines of dialogue

where Tuvok says, "Oh, so we had,
a significant role in the Khitomer

accords that happened after that."

and Janeway says, "Oh, aren't
you nostalgic about that time?"

And Tuvok says, "Vulcans
don't feel nostalgia."

The end.

And it's a bit of a "Wah-wahh."

Rob: It is, yeah.

And like I said, if you're bringing
these people back, give them the

focus they deserve, you know?

On the Original Series, they're doing
it for the first time, they dedicate

two episodes and the entire regular
cast sit and watches the unaired pilot.

In Trials and Tribble-ations, you
have a perfect balance of what the

Deep Space Nine characters are doing,
plus you give that revered focus from

a different perspective, as opposed
to just cutting away from them.

You actually see the same shots, but
from the lower decks, almost, level.

But yeah, with this, it really
smacks of we'll do a little bit of

nostalgia; our main focus is our cast
and our show, and it's a disservice.

It doesn't take anything away from
your Voyager cast if you give that

full attention to really capturing and
having a bit of a nod to this missed

opportunity in, ah, Star Trek lore
with the Excelsior crew led by Sulu.

Kevin: Yeah, they have flown close to
that particular sun once or twice, though.

There is some peril.

I'm reminded of the Enterprise series
finale, These Are the Voyages, where

effectively the the cast of the show that
is ending play second fiddle to Commander

Riker and Counselor Troi who are just
watching it as a holodeck simulation.

Rob: That's right.

Kevin: And so, I think I see the opposite
side of that coin, that if Voyager had

played this as a retread like a true
revisit of Undiscovered Country, the

risk there is that it doesn't feel
like a Star Trek: Voyager episode.

So there is a perfect balance.

And I think we can agree
Deep Space Nine struck it.

Rob: Got it perfectly.

Yeah, and I think we did a good
exploration of revisiting an episode

and the success and the failures.

So I think us revisiting those
moments is uh, up there with

Trials and Tribble-ations,

Kevin: Oh write in if you agree
or disagree with Rob's take.

Rob: That bold statement is
demanding some retribution.

Kevin: If you do want to write into
us, we have a Twitter account, now.

You can reach us at @subspacedotfm,
that's D-O-T-F-M at the end, and

uh, yeah, send us your thoughts.

We'd love to hear them.

Rob: We also have a
website, don't we, Kevin?

Kevin: We do have a website.

And you may have visited it on your way
here, but if you found us some other way,

you can visit subspace.fm to find all our
old episodes, of which there are now two.

If you missed episode zero, I could
understand, it's a little sneaky of us.

We did an episode zero.

But it's a full episode, go back
and watch it if you want more of us.


What's happening next, Rob?

can't believe we actually
have not discussed this.

Rob: I know, we haven't actually
talked about what we are gonna do…

Kevin: We're going into
uncharted space, here.

There is a gap of Star Trek episodes
in which we could choose to do

something or we can hold fire.

What they have told us is that a third
season of Lower Decks is coming soon

and we can reconvene for episode one of
Star Trek: Lower Decks, season three.

Rob: Do we hold off until Lower
Decks or do we do one before then?

So like a bit of a free for
all about whatever topic we

want to bring to the table.

And I dunno what to do.

I've spoken about Trials and
Tribble-ations for the last time I'm out!

Kevin: I… If I had to make a call
here and now, I would say let's

wait for Lower Decks, season three.

Rob: All right.

That's good.

Yeah, let's.



Let's leave 'em wanting more.

Kevin: Okay.

Dear listener we've talked about
it and, if not before, you will be

hearing from us with the premiere of
Star Trek: Lower Decks season three.

I hope it's not too far off.

My, my gut feel is it's in the
next month or so we will see that.

So we'll see you then.

We may surprise you with something
else, so stay subscribed to the feed.

But otherwise, see you with
the return of Boimler and crew.

Rob: Hit it.

 Episode 2: Visiting Old Episodes (SNW 1x10 "A Quality of Mercy")
Broadcast by