Star Trek: Strange New Worlds continues to impress with its second season, delivering an episode that combines courtroom drama, character exploration, and progressive storytelling. Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2, titled “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” is written by Dana Horgan and directed by Valerie Weiss and successfully achieves multiple goals and showcases the strengths of the series as well as Star Trek as a whole.
In Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2, the focus is on Enterprise First Officer Una Chin Riley (Rebecca Romijn). The Illyrian officer faces the legal consequences of her hiding her true species and genetic modifications from Starfleet in season 1. The story is a continuation of those events and was briefly explored in the season 2 premiere as Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) went off on a solo mission to support Una. To tackle this, “Ad Astra Per Aspera” dips into the court procedural drama as it effectively concludes Una’s season 1 arrest storyline and explores her backstory, motivations, and aspirations.
Anson Mount takes another back seat this week allowing the supporting cast to shine. Rebecca Romijn finally gets the showcase episode fans have been waiting for. Season 1’s “Ghosts of Illyria” began to explore Una’s secret as an Illyrian but it’s in Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 where Romijn’s performance as Una hits new heights as her performance is powerful and compelling as the episode delves into her childhood experiences and the archaic race views held by Starfleet.
Continuing the trend of highlighting more than just the captain of the Enterprise, Yetide Bataki‘s guest appearance as Una’s lawyer, Neera, is remarkable. Bataki and Romijn’s chemistry adds depth to their characters’ complicated relationship. Neera serves as a great mouthpiece to call out the evident hypocrisy and xenophobia that exists in Starfleet. Her monologues stand as some of the best delivered in Star Trek that speaks to the roots of justice and equity that we as fans hope that Starfleet should embody.
Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 not only serves as an engaging courtroom drama but also embraces the best of Star Trek‘s open-hearted, progressive politics. “Ad Astra Per Aspera” urges Starfleet, the Federation, and viewers at home to strive for personal growth, empathy, and service to a greater cause. It reminds us that Star Trek is not just about aliens, futuristic technology, or space battles but about the characters who embody a world where we should all aspire to be better.
The episode’s portrayal of Una’s court case allows the show to address the prejudices faced by marginalized groups, using the science fiction setting to explore contemporary issues. It handles the topic with subtlety and tact while still highlighting the importance of standing up for those who face persecution and celebrating the support Una receives from her crew. The testimonies from the crew and their willingness to go beyond the law to prove Una’s innocence is commendable.
The character-driven nature of the episode stands out, relying on well-written dialogue and solid performances rather than flashy visual effects. I was worried that the threat of yet another war in the season 2 premiere would detract from the character moments and exploration of difficult themes that make Star Trek so great. Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 more than answers those concerns. In addition to quality interactions, the pacing is effective, and the inclusion of humor is well-judged enhancing the overall experience.
“Ad Astra Per Aspera” exemplifies the depth of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. By combining genres, the episode explores important themes and delivers a compelling narrative that engages viewers as a courtroom procedural. With its outstanding cast, especially with Rebecca Romijn and Yetide Bataki, nuanced storytelling, and progressive ideals, Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 continues to uphold the best traditions of the franchise while forging its own path in the Star Trek universe.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 is streaming exclusively on Paramount+ with new episodes every Thursday.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 — "Ad Astra Per Aspera"
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 2 exemplifies the depth of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. By combining genres, the episode explores important themes and delivers a compelling narrative that engages viewers as a courtroom procedural