Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Battles The Past In “Under The Cloak Of War”

Dr. M'Benga in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' "Under the Cloak of War"

“Under the Cloak of War”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 8 – Debuted Thursday, July 27, 2023
Written by Davy Perez
Directed by Jeff Byrd

A dark war story pivots the tone into a serious exploration of character and morality.

Guess who is coming to dinner…


WARNING: Spoilers below!


“Trust me, I know Klingons”

The Enterprise has been tasked with escorting an important Federation ambassador from the Prospero system to Starbase 12, which would be routine except this diplomat is “special”… he’s a Klingon. While Pike and most of his Enterprise crew didn’t fight in the recent Klingon War, some did, and the arrival of the affable Dak’Rah, son of Ra’Ul, immediately raises the anxiety level onboard. This is played out on the bridge with newly minted Ensign Uhura seeing only how the ambassador’s acts spread the message of unity, while hardened war veteran Ortegas is distrustful, only seeing the former General’s brutal reputation and nickname: the Butcher of J’Gal. The argument is interrupted when the Klingon arrives on the bridge to cut the tension by complimenting the ship and its crew. In the bar, Spock shows his newfound interest in all things Klingon by trying to replicate some raktajino, only to serve it way too hot, burning the ambassador’s hand. The sight of Rah in sickbay hits Dr. M’Benga like a punch, reminding us he is a veteran of J’Gal. Christine covers as the doctor backs into his office to have a panic attack that brings back a flood of bad memories… It’s going to be a flashback kind of episode.

Years ago on J’Gal, a fresh-faced Christine Chapel arrives at a Starfleet forward medical base, finding it under attack and under-resourced as the frazzled CMO appoints her head nurse to replace the one who just died. Soon enough, the ubiquitous warnings of “incoming transport” begin as waves of the wounded beam in, including an Ensign Alvarado with internal injuries that can’t be fixed due to the lack of an organ regenerator. This is when she meets Dr. Joseph M’Benga, who demands she clear the pad to make room for those who can be saved—but her empathy gets the doctor to implement a transporter trick to store Alvarado in the buffer to be dealt with later. Back in their Enterprise sickbay, the pair now has to deal with Pike, who has orders to make Rah “feel welcome,” which includes making sure war vets play nice with him. The doctor and nurse agree to a welcome dinner, refusing to give Rah the satisfaction of chasing them away from the captain’s table. But their shared “we got this” calming mantra only triggers another flashback to a bloody surgery on J’Gal when Christine had to learn how to manually pump a heart with her hands to save a dying Ensign Inman. This pair has been through hell; how bad can a dinner be?

Did you try reading the manual?

“Let’s pretend the war doesn’t bother us.”

Outside the captain’s quarters, M’Benga finds a pacing Ortegas and talks her into going in, proposing that maybe Rah has really reformed. Together, they agree to put on their “Starfleet face”—plus Pike made jambalaya. The Klingon is keeping Pike, Una, and Uhura entertained with funny diplomacy stories as a stewing Christine watches from the sidelines. Spock offers to help, jumping in to change the topic of the conversation. Rah seems genuine talking about how the Federation saved his life after J’Gal as he comes to realize M’Benga was there too, but the doctor is not calmed by talk of “difficult times.” Ortegas goes to the heart of it, asking if the stories are true that Rah killed his own lieutenants before escaping. She presses on, talking about Klingon battle cries she heard before seeing all her friends killed. Una orders the pilot to leave, and Christine follows to check on her. Spock follows but is no help. “J’Gal is not a statistic.” She needs space from him, he doesn’t get it: war “will never make sense.” Sensing more trouble, Pike suggests M’Benga check on Ortegas too. On his way out, Rah physically stops the doctor with a firm grip to brazenly requesting a sparring session. Joseph sternly says he will check his schedule and leaves before there is another veteran eruption. Well, that dinner could have gone better.

Back to J’Gal in the past: M’Benga deals with special ops team leader Va’Al Trask, who has a mission to take down General Dah’Rah and he wants Joseph to join him, knowing before he was a doctor he was a combat “ghost” with the record for hand-to-hand kills. M’Benga prefers saving lives now and also refuses to mix up a batch of “Protocol 12” super serum, ignoring the Andorian officer’s plea to give his team an edge. Ensign Inman is on the mend and M’Benga shows his bedside manner as he helps the young officer remember why they all joined Starfleet. “We have to fight so the people we love can have a chance to live in peace.” Unfortunately, the doctor later sees this inspiring moment worked too well when he finds Inman prepping to join Trask on what he knows is a suicide mission. “I’m a soldier, Doc. This is what I do.” …In case you hadn’t guessed it, he was wearing red.

But did you try the jambalaya?

“We save lives.”

Rah gets his Mok’bara session as he and M’Benga spar on the mat and over the war. M’Benga sees that Rah wants to move beyond J’Gal. As he proves he still has a lot of Klingon warrior left in him during their sparring, the ambassador tries to convince the doctor to work with him to show other vets how former enemies can work together. M’Benga picks up on Ortegas’ questioning and the former general says he killed his top three lieutenants, but only after they ordered the killing of civilians. The doctor gets the upper hand, ends the session with “wars change people.” Back in his quarters, he tries to wash away the pain in the sonic shower only to be pulled back into his J’Gal memories. The attacks had intensified to include civilians and even children, forcing M’Benga to purge Alvarado from the transporter buffer to make room for more wounded to beam in. Trask’s mission was a disaster as he and his entire team were wiped out, including poor Ensign Inman. The doctor has had enough; he grabs a Klingon knife from Trask’s corpse. The colony is evacuating but he tells Christine he will finish the mission to take out the general, giving her some super serum in case the Klingons get through. The hardened nurse says goodbye with “make them pay.” She gets it.

Una decides it’s time to get Rah off the ship for the sake of crew morale, offering Pike a quicker route to Starbase 12. The captain reluctantly agrees, lamenting his crew isn’t living up to Federation ideals. Knowing he has little time left, Rah seeks M’Benga out in sickbay and pushes the doctor to take up his offer. The doctor begs the Klingon to leave him alone until he erupts, revealing he knows Rah gave the order to kill civilians and it was Joseph, not Rah, who killed those three lieutenants. Joseph is the actual Butcher of J’Gal. and he has had enough of this “saint” anointed in the blood of his own hands. Rah justifies himself, saying the Federation needs the lie to allow him to do his good work. M’Benga opens a box from J’Gal, and inside is the knife from that fateful final night. The two begin to struggle… and it ends with the knife in Rah’s chest. Cut to Chapel telling Pike how Rah attacked the doctor, pointing to the Butcher of J’Gal’s blood (and DNA)-soaked knife as proof. La’an backs her up. Pike tells M’Benga there will be an inquiry as a formality, but Chris, his friend, is ready to back him up if there is more to the story he might want to share. After some back and forth over justice and due process, Joseph tells his friend, “I didn’t start the fight. But I’m glad he’s dead.” The doctor returns to his work fixing a problematic biobed, resigned to how “Some things break in a way that can never be repaired. Only managed.” Dark.

Hold my phone while I go kill some Klingons.


War is hell

After last week’s hilarious animation crossover, Strange New Worlds takes its biggest tonal pivot yet with a dark and gritty war story that challenges the characters and even the ideals of the Federation. Picking up on the hints from the first episode of the season, Babs Olusanmokun and Jess Bush delivered raw performances revealing the origins of their unbreakable bond forged in the fire of the desolate battle-torn moon J’Gal. This episode also revealed the divide within the crew between the Klingon War vets and those who were not witnesses to that brutality, like Captain Pike and the USS Enterprise along with Una and Spock. Melissa Navia and Celia Rose Gooding helped sell this divide with Ortegas’ cynicism in conflict with Uhura’s idealism. Some shortcuts were made to create some of these contrasts, including relegating Pike to the background, seemingly helpless in the face of dubious orders from Starfleet to force the war vets to interact with the former Klingon general. While it’s always welcome for a Star Trek series to take on some of the utopian ideals of the franchise with echoes of the great DS9 episode “In the Pale Moonlight,” here Pike comes off as overly naïve to the realities of war.

The catalyst for all of this exploration of war and its lingering effects is the character of Dak’Rah, with a nuanced performance from guest star Robert Wisdom, who keeps you guessing on his true motivations and history. Inspired by real-world examples of former enemies who switch sides like Wernher von Braun, Rah forces viewers (and the crew) to question the limits of forgiveness. Like Sisko tricking the Romulans in “Pale Moonlight” and (perhaps more on the nose) Data firing on Kivas Fajo in “The Most Toys,” this episode relishes in some of the best of Trek’s gray areas of character morality as we come to understand Dr. M’Benga better, including where he learned that transporter trick that kept his daughter alive through season 1. As for guest Clint Howard playing the medical base’s CMO, it’s always fun to see him pop up in Star Trek again, but his style really didn’t match the tone of the episode and seems like a wasted opportunity to use him in one of the lighter episodes.

If looks could kill…

The flashbacks to J’Gal were some of the bloodiest in the franchise, taking episodes like DS9’s “The Seige of AR-558” to an even more brutal level. Like that episode, “Under the Cloak of War” uses the vernacular of war movies to set the tone with the medical angle invoking the great series M*A*S*H without the jokes, but certainly channeling Hawkeye’s nihilism. This was enhanced by good production design and effects to sell the Battle of J’Gal, but these scenes were also bogged down by predictability as the episode overindulged in war movie tropes including the gung-ho guy who obviously isn’t going to make it. By the way, this emotional season, and especially this episode, has revealed that the USS Enterprise really needs a Father Mulcahy-like counselor to help these broken characters and their trauma.

Once again Strange New Worlds picked up the ball dropped by Discovery to do a real dive into the Klingon War—for fans of that show, it was nice to get some callbacks, like Ortegas talking about the savage reality of hearing T’Kuvma’s “tlhIngan maH. taHjaj” (“Remain Klingon”) battle cry. Ignoring the nonsense about how the Klingons shaved their heads during the war, the d’k tahg Klingon knife fight segments with Rah’s lieutenants were visceral and sold how M’Benga can barely keep it together when he comes face-to-face with the general, although Wisdom’s own Klingon makeup seemed a bit off, perhaps simplified to accommodate the guest star. But together with the season opener, it’s welcome for Strange New Worlds to embrace the Klingons and all the lore that comes with them.

Final thoughts

The swing to this dark war story tests the limits of the show’s episodic design, especially sandwiched between last week’s comedy and next week’s musical episode. Yet “Under the Cloak of War” is still a solid episode that doesn’t shy away from moral questions as it adds new layers to familiar characters.

If more looks could kill…


  • This episode was originally scheduled for release on August 2 but moved up following the surprise early release of episode 7 on July 22.
  • The “previously on” includes clips from the Discovery pilot “The Vulcan Hello.”
  • Starts with Captain’s log, Stardate 1875.4. Also includes Chief Medical Officer’s logs, Stardates 1875.8 and 1877.5.
  • The USS Kelcie Mae is a new type and rare single-nacelle Starfleet ship.
  • Writer Davy Perez put himself into canon by naming the “Perez Accords.”
  • Starbase 12 is located close to the Romulan Neutral Zone and has been often mentioned throughout Star Trek, firstly in TOS “Space Seed.”
  • What Pike and the USS Enterprise were doing during the Klingon War is told in the 2019 novel Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War.
  • This is the first use of a boatswain’s whistle and the first appearance of Klingon raktijino in the series.
  • The USS Enterprise bar has food (and drink) synthesizers built into the bar top. While functioning more like TNG era replicators, they make the same “ping” sound food synthesizers made in TOS.
  • This is Clint Howard’s fifth role in Star Trek. His first was playing Balok in “The Corbomite Maneuver” when he was just 7 years old.
  • M’Benga mentions biobed 2 hasn’t worked right since Gorn attack on Finibus III, from the season 1 episode “Memento Mori.”
  • Earth’s moon Luna includes the city of New Angeles, which has shipyards.

Would you like some Tranya?

More to come

Every Friday, the All Access Star Trek podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe and discusses the latest episode. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

Season 2 episodes drop weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+ in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, Latin America, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Season 2 is also available on SkyShowtime elsewhere in Europe. The second season will also be available to stream on Paramount+ in South Korea, with premiere dates to be announced.

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So this episode was imo all over the place with it’s pacing though i appreaticate the writers exploring PTSD.

I do think the Discovery writers did a much better job at exploring characters PTSD and SNW imo continues to not reach the high quality of writing Discovery has set for the new shows.

I found Ambassador Dak’Rah interesting and i wish we got more of him and I’m happy that the Make-up department gave him a TNG/Discovery look and I’m happy that SNW continues to remember it’s Discovery foundation/roots.

I was liking the episode until the end and i feel like there should have been a lot more and it shouldn’t have ended the way it did with a fight/murder.
While i was watching the episode i was reminded of DS9’s flashback episodes (Siege of AR-558, Necessary Evil, Ties of Blood and Water, and Things Past) and I feel like those episodes felt a whole lot more complete than this.

This episode felt like they were rushing the ending from the sparring to the fight. I feel like this episode should have been a two parter if the writers truly wanted to properly explore characrters PTSD and their actions during the war.

What flashback is there in The Siege of AR-558?

Maybe he was thinking about “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, because in this episode there is some flashbacks from “The Siege of AR-558”. But anyway, “Under The Cloak Of War” also gave me a “The Siege of AR-558” feeling.

there aren’t. Nog does have flashbacks later though, I think in “It’s Only a Paper Moon”

It’s not a flashback but that’s where Nog got permanetly injured which would cause him future trauma.

Discovery had a good premise to explore PTSD but they completely ruined it for the twist of Ash being Voq. So it wasn’t really PTSD after all.

I’m grateful that the show is embracing its connection to Star Trek: Discovery. During the first season, it seemed like they were determined to keep it at arms length as much as possible- outside a couple of throwaway references to Michael Burnham.

I found it to be more like DS9 “Duet” – especially the whole “Butcher of XYZ” thing.

the USS Enterprise really needs a Father Mulcahy-like counselor to help these broken characters and their trauma.” – where’s Dr. Boyce!?

I second the return of Dr. Boyce. Combs or Capaldi, I’ll take either of them to play him :)

Since this show takes place after THE CAGE I think it reasonable to conclude Boyce retired or moved on. Doubtful we will ever see him. The best we can probably hope for a name drop.

Yeah it’s pretty unlikely they’d give the character another stint, as much as I’d love to see it. I just really like that scene near the start of The Cage. But yeah, it would be nice for a name drop somewhere along the way.

Interesting you bring up the Mulcahy character. This did look like a Star Trek MASH unit. With M’Benga as a bit of a Hawkeye Pierce knock off.

A Mulcahy-like character that turns out to be a Founder, maybe.


Ha Ha!

Compare to how that episode handled its disruptive character’s motivation, it’s a fairly routine development once it’s revealed what he’s hiding.

But not every episode can be “Duet.”

As long as the character isn’t the whiny – pushy know it all that Lt. Commander Troi was 🤢

Blame Gene Roddenberry dislike for religion for why there wasn’t a ship’s chaplain shown on the series – most likely also the influence of why there was no ship’s chaplain on the NX-01. I for one like the idea of a Ship’s Chaplin.

This was a very strong episode because it treated the experience of war sincerely. From the script to the stage, everyone involved came at this material with their talent dialed up to 11. This episode is a morality play in which there is no clear moral path or conclusion. War is the worst thing we sentient being can do. In the literary tradition, this is a tragedy.

Robert Wisdom delivers a very complicated performance for Ambassador Rah. On the one hand, Rah is seemingly invested in doing good works, in being “the saint” that he feels is needed. On the other hand, Rah is a bully, forcing his agenda on those around him, getting into people’s faces about his reputation, being basically a selfish, manipulative creep. And Wisdom balances those seemingly conflicting motives, resulting in one of those most compelling Klingons I’ve seen in a long while. And in just one appearance!

Babs Olusanmokun had the other daunting task for this episode- we watched a good man, a healer, commit the most egregious act in murdering Rah. And that final scene between M’Benga and Pike had me on the edge of my seat. Mount is a generous actor, he holds up his side of the big tent, but he really gives his co-stars room to shine, he does this week after week without fail.

As for their characters, Pike was wrong-headed in expecting too much of his crew, which he came to realize when talking with Una, and M’Benga was so very wrong for taking a life in the manner he did. And yet, M’Benga was arguably very justified in doing so. That’s the heart of this story (which was exemplified in M’Benga’s talk with the Ensign he and Chapel saved in the flashback)- the stains of war do not wash away, but they must be left to fade if there’s to be a future. What a brilliant bit of storytelling by all who were involved.

But there was the ambiguity about whether M’Benga stabbed Rah in cold blood or self defence. We only saw the outline of the fight behind the screen. We didn’t see what led to the fatal blow. There are strong hints that it was a deliberate act but we will never know for certain.

I don’t love the way they handled that scene. If they wanted M’Benga to own it as far as the audience was concerned, then hiding the act as much as they did feels like a cop-out. But if they wanted real ambiguity then they needed to amp up Rah’s desperation after being found out, and probably show them both eyeing the knife before cutting it the way they did.

This execution felt like an awkward undermining of either POV.

Where were the hints that it was a deliberate act? That was not clear to me.

M’Benga justified ? He is a straight up murderer

I would be understanding as to his actions and willing to say they mitigate his behaviour. I would also agree with you that he should be prosecuted for murder. Chapel is also arguably an accessory.

It’s an awkward thing to do with the characters. I actually thought M’Benga was about to resign his posting and leave the ship at the end of the episode (perhaps setting up McCoy?), indeed maybe that will happen by season end.

M’Benga is a “murderer” like most of the characters on Star Trek. The point your trying to make, makes no sense.

Please explain /.

Think of it this way. How many starships has kirk destroyed in his career? How many people served on EACH of those ships? Were they all as guilty as the captains of those ships were? I’m not judging Kirk, he did what he had to do. But by the strickest definition, he is a murderer.

Heck he even straight up murdered Krudge in ST III instead of saving him

They were engaged in Combat . Kirk never killed anyone in cold blood not even Krudge for killing his son he was tring to save him Krudge was still trying to kill him

Kirk killed Krudge,, “I have. had. enough. of you!”

Ashe was trying to pull him off the cliff to his death !

Yeah, I get that, but he still could have saved him. Kirk was on top and had the upper hand

I didn’t necessarily take the scene the same way. There are a couple different possibilities with this scene.

While the war was ‘over’ for some it never is.

I tend to see it as the Ambassador committed ritualistic suicide to atone for his actions.

HAHA right he came to Dr Mumbles for Help,…. when he could not get it ,he took the Knife Dr Mumbles Had hidden from the war ,and stabbed himself in the middle of the chest in a Suicide ,……but Klingons don’t suicide

Actually Klingon Warriors do believe in suicide and have rituals in reference to it. A suicide that also damages or maims an opponent in someway is considered an honorable death.

While I do truly believe that Dr. M’Benga killed the Ambasssdor, the possibility could exist that the Ambassador would have viewed the suicide as honorable as it damaged how M’Benga was perceived by others.

I’ve counseled too many veterans in my lifetime not to also say that, for many who witness what we view as atrocities, they become trapped in them and they never really end. I could see this as the beginning of a method to write him off the show or explain how the E’s CMO is different in TOS.

Thats EXACTLY what Klingons do. Think of Kurn and Worf in DS9 when Worf lost his family’s honor and Kurn as his brother was shunned from the Empire and came to Worf to commit ritual suicide.

I prefer the think of it as Justice Dispenser. F that Klingon shit bag.

Fuck those people he was saving for the Federation too right?

I took from the whole thing that he was a bad guy, a coward and a shit head who saw that things were not going his way on J’Gal so he jumped ship and defected to protect himself. I didn’t see any benevolence in him, only self serving survival mode. As a byproduct, he ended up doing some good as ambassador (I agree with that) but still a dirty Klingon sissy.

Well if we are going to put things in that were never shown or hinted at in the episode ,
Then I guess I can too .
Mumbles the reformed killer kept his bloody trophy knife after the war for years and took it out if storage when the Klingon arrived. Waiting till he had the opportunity to get in his final kill of the guy having the nerve to be taking credit for his own slaughter . He fought against the need for to complete his final kill. But was Keeping the box close and the knife at the ready .Finally giving into the urge once again , killing the unarmed man who wanted to help him , was asking for forgiveness and saving lives for the Federation .Letting him die on the floor of his sick bay and doing nothing to preserve life ,like Dr’s do. He then was fine with everyone assuming the Klingon brought the knife and attacked him.
Oh wait all of this was in the episode.

You do realize he is a Doctor right? Hypocratic Oath? Do no harm? After the past 1 1/2 seasons you really think you have the right to jumo to such a ridiculous conclusion?

Sticking his trophy knife in the unarmed man’s chest ,then lying about it is an intresting enterpatation of Do no Harm.

Thats just your interpretation

Cause it is what happened

Again, that is your interpretation. You can not read his mind!!!

None are as blind as those that refuse to see

You can not see someone’s heart or thoughts

You can see what they do

Yes, but pure actions are interpreted by a jury of your peers, not just blindness.

But you can infer his motivations based on evidence. That’s how the justice system works.

The Justice system is based on a jury of it’s peers. If in the 1940’s someone killed a Nazi I’m pretty sure a Jury would not care

Neville, you’re not wrong. M’Benga isn’t necessarily a good guy here. I just ‘interpreted’ the motivations of the Klingon to be self serving and malicious. I could totally be wrong about it.

What are you even trying to argue? It was WAR! I’ve never had the honor of serving but 3 of my best friends have in Iraq. And being that I am Indian they came back and looked at the color of my skin and even tho they knew better all they could think of is Iraqi citizens. It took them a while to get over it.

It was war but The War is over FOR YEARS ! . Yes it takes people time to recover . That does not excuse murdering some one years later and covering it up

Excuses are not the issue. People are human and they act human.

You don’t get to be soldier and kill years after peace is declared

There is such a thing as PTSD and a jury of your peers that judge your actions. It’s not even close to making it as black and white as you seem

No, he was not. He had to take out the general and his high command to stop the slaughter of the civilians.

Who did he save by executing him years later in sick bay/

That is your interpretation. It was ambiguous. I think the Klingon attacked M’Benga.

Right he came to ask for help ,and offered his own help. He just Knew mumbles knife was in the box and attacked him with it .Dr mumbles never tried to save him and s fine with Pike thinking the Klingon brought the knife .

Babs Olusanmokun is just a better actor than Mount.

LOL the actor who mumbles all his lines and has no range of emotion or expression.

Interesting. Not at all how I would describe what he brought to the table this week.


I have been watching this stuff since I was a toddler in the 60s and M’Benga might be my favorite character of all of them now due to the amazing acting of Babs. Wow.

The docs actor is amazing, best actor on the show

I can get behind this, he’s doing a great job with the character. A ton of gravitas.

Babs a great actor with a lot of nuance. He does a fantastic job with the material he is given. No complaints whatsoever with his performance. What I do struggle is believing that this mild mannered, gentle father is a drug-fuelled mass murderer- and that Christine has absolutely qualms with this.

I agree he is great in the part. M’Benga has turned out to be a dark dude with a complicated psyche. I mentioned earlier I was surprised he was still practicing as part of McCoy’s staff but I forgot this is an alternate timeline/reboot. Se we truly have no idea what his future will hold.


It’s an alternate timeline? I missed the official memo.

Episode 2.3 said it was.


It really didn’t – ML31 just really wants SNW to exist in a difference timeline than the prime one.

It really did. It’s not about what I want. In fact I want it to be prime. Next time check with the person you are speaking for before you speak.

Don’t confuse universes with Timelines. This is the Prime universe but an altered timeline.

So is the KU Prime? How can that be How can there be two primes?

Sorry. This is an alternate. Just as alternates are created when you turn left instead of right. Millions of alternates are created every day. It’s a fancy way of creating a reboot. Why is this so hard?

KU is not prime. Thats WHY it is called the Kelvin UNIVERSE. The Kelvin universe has existed since it’s own big bang. Bob Orci and Simon Pegg confirmed this. Also, whether Nero was going back to attack the Kelvin or not, Kelvin Kirk was always going to be born on the Kelvin no matter what

Until the producers explicitly state that SNW takes place in an alternate reality, no amount of you insisting that it does is going to make one whit of different.

And the more you insist, the more you are gatekeeping.

It did. When that Romulan woman from the past said she was in the US since the 90’s waiting for Khan but things have changed because of the Temporal Cold Wars. This is the Prime universe but an alternatre timeline.

No, they did not.

I guess you missed all the stuff where they explained why everything was changed.

No, I missed the part where the producers said what you are asserting they said because they did not say it.

They did by allowing that episode to happen.

Just like if you contact a person you dated and they never respond. They never said they weren’t interested. But the action they took, ignoring you, indicates what is happening.

SNW plays in the prime timeline. This has been established and confirmed by the creators over and over. Just because some of you don’t like the decisions they make doesn’t make it an alternate timeline.

Wasn’t my decision. It was the shows producers. They OK’d that time travel episode 2.3. It firmly established this is an alternate timeline. Or, reboot. And I’m still not a fan of some of the creative decisions they made even with this being an alternate. But at least that does explain away the inconsistencies. But not the overall show quality.

 It firmly established this is an alternate timeline. 

It did nothing of the sort.

They will tell you that it didn’t… but it did. You just have to remember how bad this creative team is at understanding its own fandom, let alone its own history. Fans know how this has worked in the past, and they can tell when something has been altered, far better than these writers can.

They absolutely did. It’s nearly identical to the stuff they did in the KU features. Unless you are one of the fans who think there is one and only one timeline and the KU overwrites the old prime.

Is everything after Endgame a reboot? Or First Contact? Voyage Home? Tomorrow is Yesterday?

After Endgame? Absolutely 100% yes. First Contact? Iffy. Who knows what Archer and the NX-01 would have been if Cochrane was not influenced by the Enterprise E. Voyage home? Doubtful that the disappearance of 2 whales that already were released to the Ocean would affect anything.

Nope. Different situations. Those changes didn’t affect the prime timeline as far as we can tell. If they did make changes then yes,. But everything was the same after so no.

For you they did, in you own private head canon. Out here in the real world, no.

It’s not my own private head canon. It was on the screen. It was said out loud by the characters. Until that episode I never claimed the show wasn’t prime. Just made by people who didn’t care about the lore. It was only after that episode that we can finally for sure claim this is an alternate. A reboot. To think it is prime is just a false hope that goes against what was clearly shown.

It was clear to ML31. Out here in the real world, no.

Sorry. This was an error. I screwed up the user name…

It was clear to everyone who saw the episode.

Sorry but the show isn’t prime just because you want it to be. I want it to be prime, too. The rest of us will react to what is shown to us.

In the TOS timeline, Khan came to power in the 1990s. In SNW, he is still a kid in the 21st century. The Romulan agent explained this. The timeline has been shuffled and patched and rebuilt and stretched and pulled and updated and reimagined so much that, although you can say it is still the ‘prime’ timeline if you want to, it is not what it used to be.
I just rewatched ‘A Private Little War’ that introduced M’Benga. The interaction between him and Chapel is not that of two people who were in a war together.

I think it obvious that so very many things are screwed up in the SNW show, including the admission that things aren’t happening as they are “supposed to” (their words) that it’s a tremendous stretch to think this is still the prime. I consider it false hope to pretend otherwise.

Hi iMike. To be clear… This is the Prime universe but not the prime timeline. We witnessed Khan being morn 30 some odd years after he was supposed to. So this is the Prime universe but an altered timeline

Born The word was supposed to be born not morn

Is the KU the prime timeline, too?

No, according to Bob Orci who co wrote the script it is a seperate universe. It has been it’s own universe since it’s own big bang. Case and point, in that universe Kirk was always going to be born aboard the Kelvin. Nero didn’t change that by attacking the ship. Prime Universe Kirk was born in Iowa.

Well, the movie he wrote showed it split off from the prime with Nero’s arrival. If one were to follow Orci’s logic then SNW has always been it’s own separate universe. Because this show follows a similar formula. Time incursions change the prime creating a new alternate reality. An excuse to reboot it the way the new creators want. We know this for sure because there are just so very many changed elements there is no other explanation for it.

Regarding Kirk being born in Iowa, the explanation given was the stress of the incursion caused an early labor. The plan was for Wynona to go back home to deliver but Nero’s appearance altered it. At least that is what I read one of the writers or producers claim. It has been a while.

SNW happens before the kelvin movies. and they have a completely different Pike that was Captain of the Enterprise for like 5 minutes. They are entirely different…

You misunderstand. I never said they both were different due to the same event. I said it was similar reasoning. The KU came from Nero’s incursion. SNW was a result of other time travel shenanigans mentioned by that Romulan temporal agent in episode 2.3

Also, in the KU Nero’s incursion occurs before the SNW time frame. They are two different realities. But neither are Prime.

Thats exactly my point. It didn’t just happen because of Nero’s incursion. Kelvin Kirk was going to be born on the Kelvin regardless. Whether nero attacked or not Winnona Kirk was already in labor. Prime universe Kirk was born in Iowa, not a starship.

Fine. That same reasoning says SNW has always been a separate reality from the start. Or a reboot. Which makes the most sense. In the Prime Kirk was born in Iowa. He may or may not have been in this one. We don’t know.

SNW is a different timeline, Not universe, you keep confusing the two. For example, Yesterday’s Enterprise took place in the Prime Universe but a different timeline. Conversely the Kelvin Universe is by definition a seperate universe. I have said this before but I will say it again. Winonna Kirk was already about to give birth to Kelvin Universe Kirk whether Nero interfered or not. In the Prime universe Kirk was born on Earth in Iwoa. These are completely seperate universes even before Nero and Spock when there.

You are arguing a distinction without a difference. At least going by what we saw on screen. I’ve already given the possible explanation that allows for Wynona Kirk’s early labor.

But regardless, both are essentially reboots no matter how one decides to justify their existence. In the end it doesn’t matter because both are free to do whatever they want and have no connection to the Prime U.

You could argue that she gave birth to Kirk early because of the attack excellerating her process. But one way or another Kirk was about to be born otherwise nothing would have happened and he would be still born.

Not necessarily. I already gave you the explanation that seems to be the pervasive one regarding that.

It’s not at all clear he was on McCoy’s staff throughout TOS. My read is that McCoy realized he needed someone with Vulcan medical expertise after “Journey to Babel,” so he convinced M’Benga to come back.

Possible. He only showed up twice I think. When I first heard the character would be on SNW I thought he was there because he was a Vulcan specialist and Spock was the only Vulcan in Star Fleet. But there has been no mention of his specialty at all.

The problem is now Spock is not the only Vulcan in Starfleet. You can see that in the court room ep with #1

Yeah… But to be fair my theory was before the first season aired and I foolishly thought they might actually care about the lore. But since this has now been officially branded an alternate reality/reboot, it doesn’t really matter any more.

Like we have all said, different timeline but same universe.

Let’s just stop using the term ‘universe’ then. This is an alternate reality. An alternate where things and even people are different. All because of time travel shenanigans in the past that created, essentially, this rebooted alternate take on Pike & his crew.

We can’t stop using the word universe. It has existed since the mirror universe from TOS. It is over 50 years old.

So let’s just call this a reboot then.

Spock is not the only Vulcan in Starfleet.

He never was (at least in TOS). I don’t know where this myth got started — possibly because there just seemed to be fewer aliens in Starfleet in TOS — but the USS Intrepid was described in “The Immunity Syndrome” as being crewed entirely by Vulcans. Judging by its name, it was not a Vulcan-flagged ship.

I’m not sure either to be honest with you but I have heard it my whole life

Also, correct me if I am wrong, but was not the Intrepid a pure vulcan ship by the vulcan science academy? I could be totally wrong, I am not arguing with you, I am just asking

We don’t know. But I’m extrapolating by the use of a traditional Federation name for the ship. It’s “Intrepid,” not USS T’Planahath.

Whichever name is preferred I am fine with

This is still the prime timeline. I took the mention of this “was supposed to happen back in 1992” as a bit of a wink to the audience that yes, the Eugenics war was supposed to happen in 1992, but well than the real world happen so… Certain fans take things a bit too seriously, just like Worf’s joke in DS9 about the human looking Klingons, or Nog’s mention of how Gabriel Bell looks an awful lot like Sisko.

Which, actually, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, everything since “Past Tense” is technically in alt-timeline, as prior to “Past Tense” Gabriel Bell looked like Gabriel Bell and not Sisko. As such, we’ve been living in an alt-timeline Star Trek for decades now.

It can’t possibly be prime because in the prime the Eugenics wars took place in the 90’s. Just because they didn’t happen for real doesn’t mean they didn’t happen in the fictional Trek universe. The show is not a documentary. It’s pretend. This happens all the time in fiction. Episode 2.3 established that while that was supposed to be the case (hence, that version is the prime) for SNW it’s not. Therefore, SNW takes place in an alternate reality. Or reboot. It’s the same excuse ST09 used. DS9’s Worf gag was merely an acknowledgement that that was how they looked on TOS. That the producers are aware but are just moving on. That’s all. Because the most fans understood the change and are fine with it. Sisko taking over for Bell isn’t a big deal because in the end it didn’t affect anything down the line. Therefore the timeline remained unaltered. There have been time incursions made that didn’t have long lasting effects. But the stuff described in ep 2.3 did. The show went out of its way to say it did. And it explains all the giant inconsistencies just as it explained the KU’s.

Then how could we explain DS9’s season 4 episode “Accession?”

All Bajorans remember that Akorem Laan’s poem, “The Call of the Prophets” was incomplete.

Major Kira later realizes the poem was completed after Akorem was returned to the past.

So, could this be the same for people of the Prime Timeline? Some remember that the Eugenics Wars was in the 1990s, and others remember that it was later, in the 2000s.

Something akin to the Mandela Effect.

No. He had no memory of being gone. The completed poem didn’t affect things. The prophets likely saw to that. So prime timeline remains unbroken.

Then how can one explain Major Kyra, and by extension, the rest of Bajor, remembering an uncompleted poem? Surely the timeline had to be affected.

That’s a good question. I don’t recall the ending of the episode. Are you saying everyone remembers the poem wasn’t finished but now see the finished version? Sounds like the Prophets moving in mysterious ways. But doubtful it has universal or even localized consequences. Being non linear the wormhole aliens likely saw to that.

All I can say to this sort of thing is “so what?” I mean, how important is any of this? You said it yourself: it’s pretend.

It is. So why are you responding to fans who enjoy discussing such things? If it doesn’t matter then why waste your time?

Yeah. The problem is ST basically outlived the predictions it’s creators outlined for the future. As the Eugenics Wars are concerned, it’s impossible to reconcile a timeline that was created in 1967, when the US and the USSR were engaged in a space race that looked like it would never end. It seemed plausible that something like the Botany Bay would exist in 1996; that was a whole generation away.

But none of that happened. So what are ST producers supposed to do? And anyway, what does all this wailing and gnashing of teeth about timelines really accomplish?

What are they supposed to do? Nothing. There is no reason to. Those events happened in their fictitious time line. There was no “problem” to fix.

Why do they have to do anything! It’s fiction, what does it matter? Every sci Fi show and movie that shows the future rarely gets it right. No one thinks they should be remade over it.

Star Trek isn’t real, it’s just a TV show with it’s own fake history and fake future.

The timeline was thoroughly implausible even for 1967, even assuming you could accept the development of sleeper ships within 25 years.

When “Space Seed” aired, 1992 was 25 years away. Khan was older than 25 in “Space Seed,” so he was already born in 1967. If we take Khan to be the same age as the actor who portrayed him, Khan was 47 in “Space Seed.” That means he was born in 1945!

India became independent in 1947. Crick and Watson discovered the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. The original timeline was asking us to accept that Khan was born before both of these things happened.

Even if you say that Khan was ten years younger than Montalban, that still places his birth in 1955 or so, a mere two years after Crick and Watson.

You’d basically have to assume that some kind of Manhattan Project in India (started on the orders of someone like Vallabhbhai Patel, presumably) existed around that time and was able to leapfrog over Crick and Watson’s research. The Indian Institutes of Technology were created around that time, and I suppose you could argue that in the Trekverse they were a Los Alamos-style cloak for a genetic super-project, but that’s still quite the stretch. India was still very much a developing country at the time.
As we saw in OPPENHEIMER, even the Manhattan Project itself didn’t *quite* achieve total secrecy, and US and European physicists knew of each others’ theoretical work. Moreover, any Indian geneticists who hypothetically would have been capable of such a leap would probably have trained in Europe. There is a whole Wikipedia page on “Indian geneticists”; I’m not a geneticist and don’t have time to read all their bios(!), but a cursory glance suggests that, with the exception of some who specialized in plant hybridization, few if any were contemporaries of Crick and Watson.
True, “Space Seed” originally suggested that Khan was the product of “selective breeding,” rather than genetic engineering. But that only makes the timeline even less plausible. You’d need generations to achieve results from selective breeding.

A Khan born in 1945-60 or so would have been the result of a project begun not during the Nazi period, but probably around the turn of the century. That’s not entirely implausible, given that the eugenics movement had its origins in the 1880s, but it still seems difficult a *transnational* eugenics movement could have been kept secret for that long, particularly during the Nazi era in Germany. (Remember that transnational ideologies like anarchism and socialism failed to survive first contact with the enemy in WWI.)

In any event, TWOK and everything since have clarified that Khan was the project of genetic engineering, not merely selective breeding. The only way the timeline makes sense for genetic engineering is if Project Chrysalis had some kind of Borg-style maturation chamber to accelerate the period between birth and puberty. But that’s ridiculous for 20th century technology, even a 20th century that produced sleeper ships.

You’d basically have to assume that some kind of Manhattan Project in India (started on the orders of someone like Vallabhbhai Patel, presumably) existed around that time and was able to leapfrog over Crick and Watson’s research.

Also — while this was kind of implicit, I should add that that’s merely discovering the *structure* of DNA, much less full-scale genetic engineering an enhanced human from scratch, something we *still* can’t do. Indeed, a full map of the human genome was only completed last year, in April 2022, about two decades after the project started.

Occasionally you find scientific historians making arguments that the theory of relativity could have been advanced decades earlier than Einstein, or that had a few historical pathways gone differently, the atom bomb might have been created in the late 1800s. All this gets a bit beyond my bailiwick, but I’m dubious; and in any event, it happened when it did.

Situating an advanced human genetic engineering project in the 1950s, or for that matter in the 1960s, goes beyond even those theories in its absurdity — and we *knew this in 1967*.

I can’t agree more. M’Benga has been a great addition to the crew, even in season 1. But seeing him expanded in season 2 has been a welcome development, considering the season overall has been questionable at times. So far, it’s my opinion that Pike, Uhura, and M’Benga are the top three characters in SNW. Una could easily be in that mix, but I don’t feel like they give her enough to work with. But, overall, I feel like Babs Olusanmokun could eventually end up with an Emmy if given the right material. I don’t think this episode is enough to do it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually at least got nominated.

Another, separate thought- this episode adds to the larger universe’s arc about Federation-Klingon relations. Two key things I like about this episode:

  1. Admiral Cornwell’s decision to keep Enterprise out of the fight. The fruits of that decision are on display here- Cornwell wanted to protect some part of Starfleet from being “changed” by the war. She likely knew there would come a time where healing is needed, and to do so, the flagship and Pike in particular, would be needed to shine the light for others emerging from the darkness.
  2. Starfleet personnel being complicit in the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon. One aspect of STAR TREK VI that always felt off to me was how Starfleet personnel could be so willing to participate in a cabal to throw off the peace process. Well, this episode makes that feel a lot less of a stretch by reframing the context of Federation-Klingon relations in the ensuing 30+ years since the war ended. Exceptional people like Ortegas, Chapel, and M’Benga couldn’t sit through a social function without showing their cracks. That sounds awfully familiar in a not coincidental way to the dinner scene from STVI. I really appreciate the parallels, intentional or not.

STVI made total sense for the time in which it was created as a post cold war metaphor

Totally agreed. I still to this day do not think Admiral Cartwright was a bad person. He was a seasoned Starfleet officer at the height of the Federation-Klingon conflict. He saw a way to end the threat as quickly and as efficiently as possible and he took it. He didn’t want Kirk or McCoy to be arrested and sent to Rura Penthe but those were the casualties of War.

Any military officer who fails to defer to civilian leadership, at least in a democracy, by definition a “bad person.” The Federation civilian leadership had made its foreign policy decision to assist the Klingons, and it’s not Cartwright’s place to override that decision, even if he personally disagrees with it.

That’s before we even get to the fact that his disagreement was kinetic, and extended to killing people, including Federation citizens.

I get that, I really do. And that’s why Carwrite was arrested. But his actions given his long service were understandable. How can you just blindly trust the Klingons because a moon blew up and their Chancellor says lets be friends? Peice is not even close to simple as that

The wholwe point of Star Trek VI was Kirk getting over the death of his son and accepting that maybe the enemy can one day be friends. That does not mean everyone feels the same. Carghtright said flat out when Kirk was assigned the mission, “I don’t know whether to congratulate you or not Jim”

Another impressive episode with some very strong performances by Babs Olusanmokun and Jess Bush. It was refreshing to see a rather raw and dark story, and nice to finally see some views of the Klingon War, which was so heavily referred to in DSC but never shown in any satisfying way, imo. I agree with Anthony that Pike was written a bit limp in this one, kind of a shame. Always a pleasure to see Clint Howard appear on Trek! Diving deep into the doctor’s past was pretty effective in the way it was done, I thought, giving good insight into his PTSD. And I loved the twist ending that he was the actual butcher. Good messaging at the end, how sometimes there is no healing, only managing. I can relate to that. I’ll be watching this one again. Oh, and the Klingon makeup looked absolutely fine to me!

This is the first episode of SNW I’ve gotten to see the day it was released! I’m finally caught up with everything (not just this show, but the whole franchise, having finally finished up the last of my backlog yesterday).

I… think I like this one, but it’s one of those episodes I need to sit and mull over a while, let it stew in my mind; I don’t think it’s one I can really assess right after an initial viewing. But I’d be really interested in hearing actual veterans’ perspectives on this one.

The only veteran I personally know who actually saw combat (I had friends and colleagues who were in all branches of the armed forces who never saw combat) was my grandfather. Who never spoke about it whenever I asked about. I’ve heard many rarely talk about it except to others who have gone through it. And even then it’s kinda rare. The end of THE RETURN OF THE KING was sorta of like that for the 4 Hobbits. They shared a harrowing experience no one else could relate to and would mostly exchange knowing looks with each other.

I know 3 that fought in Iraq and they completely disagree.

That’s how the old timers saw it.

Fair enough but these are not the old times. I wish they were because things were a lot better back then. The truth is our current world resembles the Trek Mirror Universe much more than Roddenberry’s utopia

The truth is our current world resembles the Trek Mirror Universe much more than Roddenberry’s utopia

No, it *absolutely* doesn’t. There has been no great power conflict to speak of since 1945. The care that Biden has taken to avoid a direct NATO-Russia clash only emphasizes this point.

At the National Nuclear Museum in Albuquerque, there is a wonderful graphic that shows wartime casualties declining precipitously, almost overnight, after the dawn of the nuclear era. There have been some exceptions, such as the Iran-Iraq war and Ukraine, but the kind of mass slaughter, where casualties on the order of 30,000 in a single battle, that was common in WWI era has become exceedingly uncommon.

Most political scientists who study the question (there are exceptions) think that conflict itself (not merely that between great powers) has become significantly less common since 1945.

On governance, we have seen decolonization and, more importantly, several waves of democratization. Yes, there has been some democratic backsliding over the past decade, but each wave of democratization has had a “two steps forward, one step back” character. Samuel Huntington wrote about this pattern extensively in his book THE THIRD WAVE.

On economics, the number of people living in extreme poverty — generally defined as having an income of less than $2 per day — has also declined precipitously. According to the World Bank, in 2015, the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty declined from roughly 40% in the 1980s to about 8% today.


I wish that was true. But it’s not. We live in a world of terrorism. There is no chance in hell NASA or anyone else will create WARP drive. Ever since 9/11 we’ve lived in a world of horror. I know this particularly because I am Hindu. I havw brown skin and since 9/12/2001 when I went outside everyone told me I was a terrorist. Here is the ironic part. Christiantisy, Judisam, and Islam all have a common ansestry. I am hindu. I may be brown but my religion (hinduism) has NOTHING to do with any 3 of those religions. Also, my parents were born in a county that got it’s independance through pieceful means, not war. SO EVERYONE CAN GO AWAY!!!!

The dividing of India was hardly peaceful. Millions were killed unfortunately due to ethnic conflict. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are better examples of peaceful independence from British.

My point was not the fight between Hindus and Muslums and what we now call Pakistan which was once a part of Hindustan. My point was about the fact that England retreated without a war

There was also the forcible seizure of Goa from the Portuguese.

I posted a rebuttal with a link to a CFR study indicating that terrorism (which was never a particularly existential threat, serious as 9/11 and Mumbai were) peaked in 2014. Probably uncoincidentally, that was also ISIS’ peak. It appears to have gotten lost in moderation. Don’t have time to retype it in full.

I am very torn on the ending to this episode. A doctor committing murder and getting away with it sits very badly with me. But I think they did do a good job setting up why he would feel justified in taking this course of action.

On a different note, this stretch of episodes is again showing the limits of a mostly not-serialized 10 episode season. Can you imagine if DS9 had done “Trials and Tribble-ations,” “In the Pale Moonlight,” and then something like “Take Me Out to the Holosuite” in three consecutive weeks? Tonal whiplash.

I was thinking the same while watching – we’re only a week away from an all singing, all dancing episode. Especially if you’re watching these three episodes in a single sitting later down the road. Tonal whiplash and then some. Also, going by the name of the final episode, it sounds like we could back in similar territory to this week again, come episode 10. I know it’s the most copy and paste, over said comment on this site, but more episodes a season would benefit this show no end. Even if it’s just 5 or so more. Discovery season 1 was a 15 episodes season if I remember rightly.

I don’t see the problem with the difference in tones week to week. This is Star Trek, that’s what this show does.

Let’s not forget, TNG did Deja Q in between much darker episodes about terrorism and sexual assault.

And DS9 put several comedy episodes smack in the middle of some pretty dark stories.

If the episode is good— and this one is— the “whiplash” is up to your own inability to reset after each episode.

I’m rewatching DS9 right now and last night I watched “Little Green Men”, “The Sword of Kahless”. “Our Man Bashir”, and “Homefront”. That’s about as big a tonal shift. Star Trek was always like this.

With only 10 episodes, the tonal shift makes sense, but I also agree with other posters that this was common with Star Trek through the 90’s/2000’s. It made more sense back then because syndication meant that the episodes could technically appear in any order. And it now makes sense because there’s not enough episodes to even things out if you wanted to.

DS9 Season 6:

The Magnificent Ferengi
Who Mourns for Morn?
Far Beyond the Stars

and later on:

In the Pale Moonlight
His Way
The Reckoning
Profit and Lace

The second stretch didn’t have any reruns to break it up.

Star Trek did this a lot, and DS9 in particular took some big tonal swings to try to temper its reputation as the darkest series.

[Ensign Inman’s] shirt may not be red, but it might as well be.

Actually, if you take a look at his armor/shielding at the end of that scene, I think it actually was red, if I recall it correctly.

You’re right. We’ve updated the review.

I don’t like being judged by my religion!!!

I can think of a man who did what M’Benga did for the reason he did it: Worf. Lying about it is just going to make other Klingons think that Earthers have no honor. Boasting about it…..that would make peace!!!!

That’s honestly an interesting point. If he said that he murdered him for his cowardice (which is kinda true), the Klingons would’ve loved it.

Are you taking about when he killed Duras?

On its own it seems like a perfectly fine episode. But for anyone who has actually watched some Star Trek in the 90s (or those shows later) it rings incredibly hollow.

The futility of war from an outsider on the ground has been done sooooo much better in DS9 (Nor the Battle to the Strong and The Siege of AR-558). Even the PTSD Angle after the the battle is over was done so much better (and with a lot more subtlety) over there (It’s Only a Paper Moon). What’s left is a story about the problem that the people who fought for a better future might not be the ones suited to live in it due to carried over resentments (which has been done to utter perfection in The Undiscovered Country) and – albeit very briefly – a story of of a warmonger who isn’t actually one but wants to be seen as one (DS9 again: Duet)

At least they’re taking their „inspiration“ from Star Treks good material but if you’re doing something that has been done before, you better have a new angle or way, to actually tell the story better than the first time around.

Honestly I don’t think it all that fair to compare nu-Trek to new-Trek. And DS9, the best of those shows, in particular. They just had better writers directors and producers. To expect that from this current group is just setting up failure. DS9 did everything better.

I don’t think it’s wrong to have those expectations, and I’m not even sure that SNW couldn’t get there. Episodes like this and “Ad Aspera Per Astra” have glimmers of greatness that, if practiced more often, could lead to performances and products like what we saw in DS9. The problem to me is that episodes like “Under the Cloak of War” just don’t feel earned. We haven’t endured as much with this crew, and the inconsistencies from episode to episode make it hard to relate to SNW like we could DS9. When the Dominion war finally broke out, we knew those characters like family – and I think the writers and producers did as well. Making 10 episodes per season and jumping all over the place with differing story and character arcs, changing relationships, and motivations that don’t always make sense make it hard to really give depth to episodes like this. If we had more of the war in previous episodes AND THEN understood the importance of a character like Dak’Rah, the ending and the theme may have meant more.

I don’t disagree that one should be aiming high. Even DS9 levels high. It’s just that given what I have seen from Secret Hideout I just don’t think they have it in them to reach the levels even new-Trek reached. That’s all.

Understood. You’re probably right. I just want to be optimistic that maybe someday we’ll get back there. But you also may be right that it might take a huge change in leadership/control of the franchise.

The real issue is DS9 was made by Trek fans for the fans. This is not what is happening now. This is simply trying to keep Paramount+ afloat.

From what I have read it seems that Yellowstone has been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting on that front.

Yellowstone is aired on Paramount TV, not Paramount +

It’s all over my P+ menu. Has been for quite some time. And I’m just repeating the reports that I read.

I completely disagree. Star Trek used to do this all the time; the Cardassians were introduced and magically the Federation fought a war with them like 15 years before AND here’s a guy that fought in the war and hates Cardassians.

Indeed. Nu-Trek is continually bashed on these and other threads for its preference for personal drama (often uncharitably described as “soap opera”) over hard SF. Yesterday I saw a YouTube retrospective on TNG’s sixth season, which I haven’t watched in decades, and was struck by how many of the episodes were about reunions and conflicts with long-lost family members, friends and colleagues we’d never previously heard of. Was any of that “earned”? Not that all of those shows were well-received at the time, but many of them were, and I don’t recall a lot of fuss or fan accusations that Rick Berman and Co. were singlehandedly destroying the Trek franchise.

Number 1: There was no social media when TNG, DS9 and most of Voyager was on air, and it was in it’s infancy during ENT (although there were discussion boards). Reception was based on your friends group and word of mouth. And if you’re like most people in real life, you usually don’t surround yourself with people who constantly disagree with you.

Number 2: SNW is being criticized specifically THIS SEASON for the “preference for personal drama” because the show is literally called “STRANGE NEW WORLDS”. You could say that the title is really just a metaphor to describe how these character are exploring themselves and their relationships, but this is Star Trek, so I don’t buy it. The title of the show was specifically chosen to excite the fan base that Nu-Trek was FINALLY going to focus on what the franchise was established to do – explore new worlds, aliens, galaxies in a sci-fi show with allegories and messages that connect to our world with new story EVERY WEEK. Season 1 seemed to do a better job of that, but now season 2 has barely scratched the surface of any “Strange New World”.

Finally: Using your example of TNG season 6, yes, the show had EARNED the right to delve into the cast, their back stories, and relationships without having to introduce the planet or alien of the week every episode. Even so, most of those episodes had sci-fi back stories that were MUCH MORE interesting or relevant than what we get in SNW. In fact, out of 26 episodes (geez, that sounds like A TON these days), I count only 6 that really don’t have a strong sci-fi A- or B-story driving the episode. And all of those are very Picard or Worf heavy stories: Chain of Command (Parts 1 & 2), Tapestry, Birthright (Parts 1 & 2) and Lessons. The remaining 20 episodes do include stories where characters get a lot of screen time with some development (e.g. Aquiel stands out as a Geordi episode, A Fistful of Datas is obviously a Data episode – although really more of a Brent Spiner showcase, and Face of the Enemy is a strong Troi episode), but I can clearly remember the sci-fi plot or device in pretty much everyone of those stories that helps drive the episode. Honestly, I’ve already forgotten most of the details of why the SNW crew even interacted with Klingons in the season 2 premiere, I have to work to remember what the purpose was for La’an going to the past and meeting Kirk, and I’m pretty sure I’ll forget about the “portal” from the SNW/LDS cross over in the next few months. And I also just realized that SNW used time travel as a plot device for TWO episodes out of 10 this season. Wow…

I know this is the tiniest of tiny complaints regarding the episode, but after rewatching ‘The Andorian Incident’ a few nights back, I really really miss those animatronic antennae the Andorians had on Enterprise.

Me too. That has by far been the best alien update ever in the franchise. Including the Klingon ridges.

Definitely. They added to the overall performance too. If, for example, Shran was being defensive, or feeling like he was on the back foot, the position of the antennae would reflect it by cowering. They could convey an extra layer of emotion with them. It was great.

That was the actual intent of the antenna. That they convey emotions like facial expressions. It was brilliant.

I was actually thinking the same thing…

You know, I knew something has been missing in the couple of Andorian appearances we’ve seen this season. Thanks for helping me figure that out! But I also think a lot has to be credited to Jeffrey Combs. He just defines what I expect an Andorian to be.

Happy to help! Oh without a doubt, yeah, Jeffrey Combs set a high bar when it comes to Andorian performances. I also think he helped set the general tone of how the other Andorian support actors played those parts around him, resulting in a specific feel to those Enterprise Andorians.

There’s no question that he was the blueprint for the ENT Andorian. ENT had its flaws, but I always liked that they explored the Andorian race.

Me too, and generally how it brought back a lot of TOS aliens that had been sidelined during the 90s – Tellarites, Orions etc

The only thing I was not a fan of was they latched on to a stereotype uttered by Sarek about Tellerites as a trait for the entire species. But at that time I was just happy to see the classic aliens back.

Blueprint, I see what you did there.

100%. It’s hard to go back to the simpler take on them.

I’m just glad SNW dropped the Andorian facial micropenises.

Ah yeah, I’d forgotten about all the extras they added to the design.

It was an interesting premise for sure, but felt like a retread of the morality dichotomy presented in Trek VI. Not just in subject matter, but the flawed idea of mirroring modern society by eschewing Roddenberry’s vision that humankind has evolved by making the crew xenophobic towards Klingons. This ignores that the 23rd century is supposed to be a better place. OFFICERS are blatantly racist, and seem that way because… trauma. No ability to cope on any level. We’ve apparently come nowhere from modern times to the 23rd century in helping people deal with it. People on a starship, who need to be able to set aside or properly compartmentalize their trauma, so they can do their jobs. M’Benga should have been court-martialed, and I refuse to believe a Starfleet officer would lack that kind of control and it be tolerated. Or that Pike would have let him tackle diplomacy duties through sparring or dinner or anything, let alone allow his officer’s trauma to validate murder. I don’t believe that they couldn’t sniff this out from a psychological assessment done on people who were exposed to the worst parts of the Klingon war. M’Benga, as presented, is deranged, and if he is THAT compromised, he shouldn’t be serving on a starship. The stupidity is mind boggling. The actor that played the ambassador was pretty great. Great presence and gravitas. He was charming. Such a great opportunity to deal with the conflicted emotions of knowing he was this military leader who did horrible things, against the fact that our officers should want to like him while in his presence. They could have done so much better. Such a wasted opportunity. Don’t even get me started on crew morale being low and needing to find a quicker way to get to their destination. It’s like 10 year olds are writing this stuff.

Yeah… I didn’t really feel like getting into that with what I wrote but M’Benga has gotten away with some pretty awful crap.
It’s one thing to have a one guy like Stiles show a public bias against what he perceives to be an enemy. But everyone who was involved is feeling it? Chapel outright covered for M’Benga. She should be tossed out, too. This seems like something that could easily get uncovered.

But I think it has been made pretty clear by now that this is not a professional crew. Pike looks like he’s aware and has no idea how to handle it. He’s coming across as being overwhelmed and not like a leader at all. If Kirk saw Sulu snap at Spock like Ortegas does He’d “remind” him that he’s an officer. He wouldn’t tolerate it. Suppose O’Brian responded to Kira like that? What would Sisko do? How would Picard react if Wesley spoke to him or Riker that way? Doesn’t matter how much of a wiz kid he is. He’d have him removed from the bridge.

The ultimate problem with being unprofessional, is the continued insistence that this is the “flagship”, and Pike is one of the best commanders in the fleet. And yet.. he’s enabling and worrying about their feelings. It makes zero sense for these characters to act this way.

If this is the best Starfleet has to offer, I guess it’s in pretty sad shape. At least in Discovery there were indications that the crew (having been picked by Lorca) may not have been the best representations of Starfleet, but you would think the Enterprise being the “flagship” would feature the best and brightest who know how to conduct themselves as such.

Not sure where they got the idea that the Enterprise is the ‘flagship” but… It’s an alternate reality/reboot so have at it I guess.

We both agree on the alternative timeline, so I concur on the “flagship” designation. Just saying that, in context of SNW, seems like flagship should mean more.

Yes, and it was uttered that it was the Flagship in a recent episode.

You mention Star Trek: VI, but DS9 does similar things and we also see a similar situation with Miles O’Brien and Cardassians in TNG, and even in TOS, the Klingons are still reviled and it appears the general consensus among the crew is that they don’t like them.

All that said, the issue directly is that this is the writers ONCE AGAIN rehashing a plot that has been done by Star Trek MULTIPLE times before (and better, in my opinion) when they could have been doing something new and different like, I don’t know, exploring “Strange New Worlds”??

That said, I think it’s unrealistic to assume that humanity (I won’t speak for other aliens in the show) could suddenly just grow past the point of judging others based on past experiences. I think that is engrained in us, and hard to avoid. I think the point you make that is most relevant is that Starfleet leadership (like Pike) should be able to handle this better. And, if nothing else, the crew should KNOW BETTER than having full on debates about controversial subjects on the BRIDGE. Don’t you have anything else to do??

I’m not as familiar with DS9. I watched the series, but don’t readily recall as much as I should. 100% agree, and appreciate the additional input.

TNG explores O’Brien’s lingering feelings in “The Wounded.” Compared to his former captain he’s a modicum of professionalism, but puts up a front, even to his wife, that the war is over and he’s fine with the Cardassians. But he can’t put that into practice when he actually comes to face to face with them, even when they try to be pleasant. DS9 pulls on that thread a little more with him but it’s TNG which gets most of it out of the gate in his first big episode.

DS9 also deals with xenophobia with how almost everyone judges the members of The Dominion as evil until we start to get some back stories on how the Vorta and Jem’Hadar are basically slaves. Also, the Changelings are pretty much treated as un-trustworthy once the war starts with the exception of Odo, and there’s not much in the plot that changes that by the end. Beyond the Dominion, there’s also a pretty common negative vibe towards the Cardassians (understandably) by a lot of the DS9 crew with some exceptions, but it seems like they are almost always approached with questions as to their motives at the beginning of each plot. I would say the same could also be said about the interaction with the humans and Ferengi. Most of the crew grow fond of Quark and Nog, but usually when new Ferengi show up, there’s always the assumption that they are up to something no good.

The problem is that the Vorta and the Jem’har were evil. They were programmmed to be that way since birth

10 year olds are all they can afford to staff the show with

I know, they want to draw parallels to historical and contemporary warfare by including ground troops but I can’t imagine this makes any sense for an era in which an entire planet could be obliterated by wide-spread phaser fire and gazillion of torpedos.
They had those ground troopers on DS9 too but I guess this is just for storytelling purposes. Same with Star Wars. Why even care about Stormtroopers when you can just blast all ships out of the sky and obliterate entire planets? Any military position in those universes would be burnt and vaporized within seconds.

maybe you want to retain the infrastructure or target only military objectives instead of razing an entire civilization

True. That’s something I often wondered about on DS9. But the stories were interesting and well told so I was able to move past it.

In the prime universe though I don’t think there ever was an outright war with the Klingons. They closest they came was when they butted heads at Organia and were denied their war. That scene where Kor & Kirk were yelling at each other about what led to it was great. They got so heated they were annoyed they couldn’t have their war before Kirk was reminded what he was doing and backed off. It always felt an allegory to the two sides of the Iron Curtain. Perhaps a skirmish here or there but no outright war.

Well… Seems M’Benga is a really shady character. I did like how things are awfully gray here. But ultimately M’Benga is just not a trustworthy guy. Does Pike know about his shady off the books transporter thing from last season? I forgot. I can only think that this stuff will come out which is why he was no longer CMO. But with this sort of thing it’s actually quite stunning he was even still on McCoy’s staff. The guy really ought to get discharged.

While watching the episode I was thinking that while not great it would probably work better if I really cared about the characters of Chapel & M’Benga. After M’Benga’s subterfuge last season I lost respect for him as a character and that led to a steady lack of caring. And Chapel’s change was just not something I was able to get on board with. Not because it’s an obvious canon violation. This show has already shown why that’s not a thing anymore. But because the creative direction they went with her I felt was not an interesting choice.

Technically, unlike most of the other episodes, the story didn’t flow very well. If felt like it suffered directorially. Unusual as that usually hasn’t been a big issue. It was choppy and generally not structured very well.

Ultimately while it didn’t suck as hard as most episodes it still was a tick below “meh”.

Other things… Interesting to see a Star Trek style MASH unit. But that “super serum” stuff just is a terrible concept they really need to stop running to. And does Clint Howard have some sort of deal that he has to appear in every Star Trek show at least once now?

Agreed on all points. The issues in this episode aren’t what’s on the surface, It’s not even canon.. it’s the subtext and contradictions behind people’s actions, and what that says about their job, and what kind of leaders they are. I’m not a writer, but I could do a better job than this.

well let me ask you this?? Why did he get repaced by McCory? Maybe this makes sense in canoon

It’s never been covered but I have head canon for that in the Prime. I’ve no idea what’s going to happen in this SNW version.

This episode makes you wonder why Kirk has McCoy running medical instead of M’Benga in TOS.

Not sure McCoy outright murdered someone before he got his position. And at the rate M’Benga is going, it’s highly possible he had a full mental breakdown before Kirk took over and McCoy might have just brought him back because of the recommendations of other crew such as Chapel (seems like he seems to respect her). And all that said, I still think it’s highly possible that McCoy and Kirk were old buddies who had worked together before similar to what we saw in ST’09. As close as they seem, I would believe it. Lastly, most versions of Star Trek have shown us that whoever is in charge gets to make crew personnel decisions – even if it is based on the buddy system.

That’s my feeling about Kirk & McCoy, too. And while there would still be a bit of a “buddy system” I’m doubting the Captain would take advantage of his authority to select lesser people just because they are friends. Kirk certainly doesn’t come across as the type. And I’d wager Kirk, knowing this was his first command, knowing his friend was completely qualified for the job also felt needed him as a sounding board. That he was someone who would tell him he was overstepping or being a jerk. My best friend who recently passed on would have no problem telling me when I was being as ass. Mrs ML31 does that to. It’s good when we have people around us who care enough to be blunt with us.

Except that Kirk had a different CMO, Piper, in the first episode of TOS. If he specifically recruited McCoy, he had to wait until the position opened up.

My head canon was always that McCoy was a good friend of Kirk’s going in and James brought him over with him when he was named Captain. My other bit of head canon was that Scotty was probably already on the Engineering staff and was promoted, by Kirk, when he arrived.

McCoy came in and fixed Biobed 2 straight away. :P

I really appreciate them trying to take on something serious. Just because it’s been done before or better, doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying again.

I really didn’t like the fight scene in Ep 1, so, after this… I’m much more on M’Benga’s side now. I suppose.

Totally agree on the fight scene, but disagree on trying to do the storyline again. Not when you have plenty of other avenues to explore these concepts without almost directly rehashing the same storyline from a previous plot from the SAME FRANCHISE. For me, it just goes back to the basic question that I’ve had throughout most of the season: When will they actually start exploring “Strange New Worlds” again?

I have that fundamental question too (about exploring).

The way this story was handled, I think about the people I have met who are both victims and perpetrators, and how the people around them reacted. How do you capture realistically in an hour? Not everything worked. A lot did.

Importantly, they did not seem to give M’Benga an easy way out. I think this storyline will return.

At least this is interesting.

Welcome back real Klingons.

Well, it was inevitable: I think this is the first episode of SNW that I genuinely don’t like at all.

From a technical standpoint, I think it was probably edited down too much. I felt like there was footage missing from the fight in sickbay, and I had to rewind to see if I missed a vital moment. Similarly, during the mok’bara scene, there was a long bit of ADR used, which screamed either ‘missing footage’ or ‘repurposed audio.’ Those and some other little things, and it just didn’t come together for me.

From a writing standpoint, I don’t buy that Klingons call him “the Butcher” because he (supposedly) killed 3 of his own men. We’ve seen Klingon captains kill subordinates / be killed by subordinates enough times that I don’t think killing 3 officers would make someone a “butcher.” But that’s what was needed so that M’Benga could be all “I’m the real Butcher,” which felt like some serious false equivalence. I’m not saying that M’Benga shouldn’t have PTSD, or have complicated feelings about taking Temp-V Protocol 12 and killing 3 men. Just, ehh, that didn’t line up for me. I also felt like it lacked an element of driving tension on board the Enterprise. Yes, veterans don’t like Rah, but he’s doing nothing more sinister than existing and talking to people. If there was a hint of him maybe snooping around, or asking more technical questions about the ship, I could see that helping motivate the unease and give more handholds for the story to take.

Ultimately, the episode made me like M’Benga less, and I don’t like that feeling. Did he bait Rah into a fight so that he could kill him? If so, that’s messed up. If not, it should be more obvious. Given the missing footage around that scene, I don’t know if M’Benga is being truthful saying that he didn’t start the fight, and not knowing if one of the heroes is lying about something like that is not what I want out of Trek.

I liked seeing Clint Howard, and thought he was fine. Weird for the tone, but I’ll go along with it.

My guess is the writers aren’t done with this story, at least the events in this story. M’Benga has been dealing with a lot of pain since last season, and it was nice to see some of the layers peeled back like exposing a raw nerve. We probably won’t see the resolution of his actions until Season 3, but this isn’t something they can just let go. The stories may be episodic, but the character arcs are not. At some point M’Benga is going to crack.

Yeah, I don’t think we’re done with M’Benga either. Something in it just didn’t sit right with me. It seemed to want to give M’Benga a similar moral complexity to Sisko’s from “In The Pale Moonlight,” but rather than sit with the uncertainty that Sisko felt at the end, he’s just kind of like “yeah, I’m cool with killing that guy”

I watched it a few hours ago now, and had totally forgotten about that ADR moment. It was very glaring and, as you said, such a long bit of dialogue. I’m wondering if they slowed the footage or manipulated it somehow, seeing how his head was facing away for so long. And, yeah, the end fight scene felt like a ‘did-I-just-pass-out-for-a-second’ moment. I was a bit confused by it. Definitely felt like something was missing.

This is very unlikely but I wonder if the name Trask came from the character of Trask Ulgo in Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. That one was human, Alderaanian, but he was the first character you met when you start playing and dies halfway through the first level trying to fight one of the antagonists to buy everyone else time to escape.

Does Clint Howard hold some sort of record for most years between first and last Star Trek appearance?

Wow, that was intense. Got to where I was hoping the next scene would be on the Enterprise, not the battlefield. And the

Help me out a second: Wasn’t there a movie recently where we found out that the guy claimed heroism actually performed by someone else? Almost tip of my tongue.

I was worried for Clint Howard there. Or I was hoping he’d have some grapefruit juice at the end.

And…an Andorian named “Trask” with a Southern accent? OK then.

This episode demonstrated what Discovery might have been had they not lost focus heading into the second half of season 1.

That said, it was attempting to be a bit more than it actually was, exploring and revisiting themes better handled by other Star Trek series.

And as much as I enjoy this cast, I’m not entirely sure if I would want most of them serving under me as part of my crew. This episode also seemed to demonstrate a disconnect between Pike and somewhat of a breakdown in the chain of command. Ortegas insubordinate behavior, which has been a big part of her charm, seems unsustainable as an enduring character trait.

So, yeah, very mixed feelings on this one.

One thing that always made scenes of tension crackle for me a little more in Trek was when characters would still channel their feelings through gritted teeth and follow protocol. They could be angry as hell but they’d either always request to be dismissed through gritted teeth or be reminded by their superior officer that they haven’t been yet. It made things like Seven of Nine’s insubordination more memorable.

Everyone leaves that dinner like it’s a regular fractious thanksgiving. I don’t hate the chummy vibe like some here do, but there are times when that formality does actually help with the character dynamics and tone of the show.

Agree with all of this. Yup.

I want more than ten episodes of this series each year, at least fifteen. Really loved this episode, this season continues to feel like TNG-era Trek. But just when the season gets going it’s over. Only two episodes left and the next one is a musical, so the last episode must be something pretty epic. Really wish they’d up the count and just make two quality series each year…

The prevailing theory about the final episode is it will be a Gorn driven cliffhanger.

I hope so. I love season cliffhangers!

And yes, it would be nice to have more episodes in a season. This show really deserves them.

We probably won’t see a new episode until 2025 so not really looking forward to a cliffhanger this season.

Good point. I didn’t consider that.

I wonder if this cliffhanger will lead to a revamped show in season 3, just like Enterprise season 3 (and Disco season 3) was changed. Compared to season 1, this season is not that exciting.

If I were a betting man I would say no real changes will get made. I think this show’s producers and writers think they are producing the greatest Trek ever and as such would see no reason to change anything.

That is assuming the Hollywood strikes don’t last long. If they go on for a very long time all bets are off. As all sorts of possibilities will be on the table in that event.

“Star Trek” has always been about looking at the human condition, but, I’ve long felt that the franchise didn’t do a good job of depicting PTSD and combat trauma. Even in the last 2 seasons of DS9, with dozens of episodes about the Dominion War, that brilliant storyline didn’t do an adequate job of portraying PTSD (with the notable exception of Nog, brought gloriously to life by the late, great Aron Eisenberg).

Between this year’s performances of Liam Shaw, Joseph M’Benga, and Christine Chapel, though, we’re finally getting a dark, gritty, disturbing portrayal of combat trauma, not shying away from what war does to a Veteran but also portraying these characters as resilient men and women who still move forward and serve in spite of their trauma. And THANK YOU to the creative team behind this episode for showing future warfare as bloody and gruesome — something that previously “Trek” episodes shied away from.

My main disagreement with this review deals with the performance of Clint Howard, as his light-hearted demeanor while immersed in the nightmare of ground combat was spot on, based on my experiences in Afghanistan with mortuary affairs.

When my team and I were getting overwhelmed by the task of processing the remains of young men killed just hours before, dark humor and light heartedness was an effective way of venting the emotions in a safe direction. The best example of this was when I was helping an NCO move a stretcher that contained a body bag of a fellow Soldier whose corpse was so mangled that the blood was leaking out of the bag. He was moving too fast; I dropped the stretcher; and I went face-first into the body bag. Pretty soon, everyone could hear me dropping “F-bombs” in my loudest command voice. A few minutes later, though, my Soldiers and I were busting out laughing at my reaction. We all needed something to break the tension of the moment, and I provided it. Years later, we still laugh about my reaction.

The fact that this cast could pull off episodes as widely different as this one and “Those Old Scientists” speaks volumes about their quality as actors and actresses. Although I long gave up on “Discovery,” the other 4 series have been routinely providing high quality “Trek” entertainment. Kudos to the NuTrek team!

I agree with a lot of what you say. I just want to say that I think Damar was also an example of what you’re talking about. Also Sisko himself from the pilot episode at least.

Of course my trauma is not from combat but from uhh being assaulted and abused but it still manifests in all of the same ways. I’ll be reminded of it and either get aggressive or start doing something to drown it back out (like Damar with his kanar) so I appreciate this episode for that too.

Damar is an example of what made DS9 so great — whether it be Nog, Damar, or even Rom, even the secondary characters had magnificent story arcs. And you’re right that, by the end, you got the sense that Damar recognized the brutality of what the Cardassians did during the Bajoran occupation. He became someone you could respect even with his past sins.

Of course, Sisko is THE man. He had his trauma and always had those scars, but, he could be a diplomat when the situation called for it; he could be a Soldier when the situation called for it; he never stopped being a father; he was the best Trek captain for being a combat commander who never stopped caring for his people even when he had to order them to die for the sake of the mission; etc.

In the case of your trauma, my only thought is to channel it towards serving others and caring for others. It never takes away the memory of what happened, but, if you use it to serve others, then it makes the pain easier to bear because it helps serve a greater good rather than corrode your soul. I’m a firm believer in “post-traumatic growth,” in this way.

Thank you for being you — you matter. :)

you mean the sisko that poisoned a planets biosphere and threatened to go on doing it to other planets to get eddington? very measured.

So now M’Benga is a M’Urderer, too. Along with the serious lack of judgement and ethics he showed over his daughter in the first season. I can see this stuff coming out being the reason he is no longer CMO in the Kirk era…

Wasn’t this episode suppose to be on next week? Its kinda wierd that the episodes “Those old Scientists” and this episode appeared at the same time.

Those Old Scientists came out Saturday

That Klingon war era emergency medical unit flashback reminded me so much of Robert Altman M*A*S*H movie…the realistic battlefield injuries and blood.

So why did M’Benga let this guy escape during the war?

It was right on Pike’s personal device. “Mobile Armament Starfleet Hospital”. Maybe Clint Howard does a killer Groucho Marx impression when the hospital isn’t getting shelled.

I kinda saw M’Benga in that role. Which would make Howard more like Col Blake.

I love the subject matter and the tone, but I feel the episode failed at everything it was trying to do. I found it narratively and visually confusing. For me it commits the cardinal sin of telling us how to feel rather than showing. Furthermore this episode assassinates nearly all of its characters from M’Benga to Pike in order to serve the story. The twist of M’Benga being the butcher landed flat and just added to the narrative confusion and character assasination. Furthermore the episode was badly shot and edited which made this an uncharacteristically shoddy episode of SNW. But what stood out in this mess of an episode is Bab’s amazing gravitas, he did a ton of heavy lifting to elevate this story. Furthermore, what M’Benga had to say about the roll of Starfleet in times of War was really meaningful. And oddly enough, Spock ended up showing a greater capacity to empathize than Pike or Uhura. I feel like Spock is the only one to come out of this episode without some damage. Either way, I’m very glad to see they remembered the Klingon war and its aftermath, but sadly this episode didn’t have what it took to tell this story right. There is a better episode in there somewhere.

Haters take note: this is how you criticize an episode. I don’t agree with a single thing you said, but you said it really well and this is an opinion I can fully respect.

This is Clint Howards 6th decade on Star Trek. I think he is the only actor to hold that distinction. Can anyone think of somebody else?

Wow, north of the border CTV Sci Fi aired Those Old Scientists and this episode back to back. I can’t imagine two more polar opposite stories and a real demonstration of just how talented the cast, crew and writers are for SNW .
I first of all have to say I did not enjoy watching this episode but I strongly recommend fans see it. Cloak of War reminds me a lot of some of the darker DS9 episodes, but I imagine it takes viewers one step closer to the reality of the horrors faced by ground troops and medical personnel during combat – I dont know this as fact having thankfully never experienced war. As others have mentioned, some of the medical scenes reminded me of the MOVIE version of MASH. It also graphically reminds us of the sacrifices and horrific trauma faced by returning soldiers and medical staff – and why so many have to deal with PTSD.

As the saying goes, war is hell. Often times tv sanitizes the depiction of why this is so and it is left to the viewer’s imagination. Cloak of War does no such thing and it is an “in your face” reminder of the price paid during and after combat and just why war needs to be avoided as the very last option.

A final comment, as for Chapel and M’Benga, this was a credit to Jess and Babs for their ability to drive home both the trauma endured and the crimes their characters are guilty of. This is something DS9’s In the Pale Moonlight did with Sisko and Garak, but Cloak of War does so with much more viewer effectiveness. As for how they and a suspicious Pike will deal with what happened – they “will live with it!”

For the love of God, can someone contact the showrunner and tell them the Ranks are all screwed up?

Ha. This bothers me too, although in the grand scheme of themes it is the least of the visual continuity issues this show has. They don’t even honor the continuity of their own Disco universe. In the flash backs, based on the time period, they should have used the Discovery combadges. Not the Enterprise combadges. Certainly not a big deal but in my mind it just shows a lack of attention to details that other shows do a better job maintaining. And yes. I know it is just a TV show, ha!

“If there is to be a brave new world, our generation is going to have the hardest time living in it.” -Gorkon

As it applies to characters with PTSD and Old Treakers.

The Trek quote that I think applies to nu-Trek is this:

After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” -Spock

This was the best of the episode of the season. You know why? Because it managed to take the burning pile of garbage that was Discovery’s Klingon War and actually give it some meaning, a little validation. It did all this while giving its outstanding characters a solid hour to build up more of who they are, where they came from, why we should care. They brought in Clint Howard, and gave him a perfect role. Strange New Worlds is not perfect, and does some pretty loony things like the ridiculous Khan angle a few weeks ago, but on nights like tonight it can be absolutely brilliant.

Episode 8 was pretty impressive, especially the way the story was told. Glad to see old Klingons again, but I didn’t like the hair on this one. It was too human. That’s actually a thing that has been bothering me a bit during the season, come to think of it: aliens feel too human. The same goes for the Andorian. I’m talking about their behavior now. I feel like all nuances the different alien races have gotten over the past 30 years have been wiped away. They all talk and act human (accept for maybe the Vulcans, but even some of them). That might be closer to old Trek, but I miss the 90’s era ones and the Enterprise Andorians.

This was one of the better ones of the season. I love the fact they’re looking back at the war, that was cut short during Disco S1. I would’ve giving it a 9 but there were some clunky martial arts scenes and dying in the end. So it’s an 8.5/10 for me.

By the way, I agree with the thing about Pike. I actually miss Pike during this season. He feels not only absent but also incapable at times.

Since the writers don’t get any residuals for this show I’m okay with them shooting first drafts.

I finally got to see the episode and found it to be intense and riveting. This is probably the darkest episode of Star Trek I have ever seen. Even darker than DS9’s “The Siege of AR-558”. Probably a good thing it was sandwiched between the cartoon comedy and the upcoming musical. Kudos to Babs Olusanmokun for a great performance. 

A couple thoughts…

  • I wonder if Scotty learns the transporter suspension trick from Dr. M’Benga either directly or perhaps indirectly while eventually doing maintenance on the medical transporters. Maybe just a retcon to how the technology was known to work?
  • This episode seems like it could be the reason why McCoy eventually becomes CMO on the Enterprise.

Definitely one of the top episodes of the series, in my opinion. I will be watching again.