All episodes from Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2, ranked from worst to best. This article contains minor spoilers for the new season of Strange New Worlds.
When all’s said and done, this has been a good – and often great – season of Star Trek. In its second season, the freshest Star Trek series has taken more big swings, and that’s led to more bit hits, as well.
In between all the adventures, we’ve gotten to know our favorite Star Trek characters with more depth too, especially as they come head to head with some infamous enemies. Now it’s done, and the wait for the Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 3 release date is on. Before the wait really begins, here’s every episode of Strange New Worlds season 2, ranked.
Strange New Worlds season 2 episodes ranked from worst to best:
- Among the Lotus Eaters
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
- Ad Astra per Aspera
- The Broken Circle
- Subspace Rhapsody
- Under the Cloak of War
- Lost in Translation
- Those Old Scientists
10. Among The Lotus Eaters
It’s ironic that, even after repeat viewings, I struggle to remember anything distinctive about an episode which deals with memory loss. The subplot aboard the Enterprise is unintentionally very funny as Ortegas’ repeated mantra, ‘I’m Erica Ortegas and I fly the ship,’ neatly sums up how weak her characterization has been over two seasons, because that’s literally (not literally, figuratively) all we know about her too.
Among the Lotus Eaters is a meandering drag from start to finish, squandering an otherwise moderately interesting premise.
9. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Look, the thing is, I don’t really like La’an. Shoot me, I guess. She’s not a likeable character, and while that’s partly the point (she’s meant to be cold and guarded) it means that an episode focussed entirely on her is unrewarding. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow also really wants to be SNW’s Yesterday’s Enterprise, which is a deeply unflattering comparison given the gulf in quality between the two.
On the plus side: Paul Wesley’s Kirk! He gets dealt some iffy dialog, but he manages to mostly nail the character of Jim Kirk, feeling familiar without being a Shatner impression.
8. Ad Astra per Aspera
Speaking of episodes which want to copy from the very best of TNG, now we come to Ad Astra per Aspera. This has all the trappings of a modern The Measure of a Man, but fails to understand what genuinely makes it brilliant. In The Measure of a Man, the day is saved after Captain Picard convinces Captain Phillipa Louvois of the importance of Data’s rights with a point of moral principle. He wins the ideological argument.
In Ad Astra per Aspera, this disagreement in ethics is settled by a loophole; a technicality. It sidesteps the issue, leading to a resolution which is completely unsatisfying.
7. The Broken Circle
The Broken Circle is fine. It’s mostly mindless fun, and everything with the Klingons is very entertaining. Their latest new design is a breath of fresh air.
What I like less is super-soldier M’Benga. His slow motion action scene very silly, but the episode plays it off as if it’s totally badass (it’s not). Between this, Picard season 3, and The Search for Spock, let’s all stop stealing Starfleet starships now.
6. Subspace Rhapsody
Unlike some, I genuinely have nothing against the idea of a Star Trek musical episode. In fact, this episode gets points for the scale of its ambition. Good job. There are even a few fairly catchy tunes.
Sadly, the execution (from the thin plot, to some… less impressive vocal performances) does leave a lot to be desired. There are a few good comedy moments but the episode mostly struggles to justify itself. A* for effort, though, and I’m looking forward to the increasingly contrived ways in which they can manufacture Kirk’s presence aboard the Enterprise.
5. Under the Cloak of War
Under the Cloak of War is what you get when you mix the personal conflict of TNG’s The Wounded with the Federation-Klingon animosity of The Undiscovered Country. It’s good, but isn’t as great as either, mostly because it feels like the first part of a two-parter. I want to see the political and personal fallout of all of this.
But, Dak’Rah is an intriguing character full of contradictions and having him at the heart of the episode is a great choice. The flashbacks to M’Benga and Chapel’s war memories added some fascinating context too, both to them as characters and to the war itself.
4. Lost in Translation
The season’s most important Uhura episode, Lost in Translation is very solid. It feels a little like TNG’s Home Soil – a seriously underrated episode, I think – as microscopic (or, more accurately in this case, tiny inter-dimensional) beings try to communicate with the Enterprise to prevent their destruction.
Here, that results in some very light-touch horror visions for Uhura, putting her linguistic ability to spot and interpret recurring patterns to the test. Watching Number One become frazzled by Pelia’s freewheeling is fun, too.
Just like the first season’s A Quality of Mercy, Hegemony is one of the great Star Trek finales. The closing: ‘To be continued…’ promises a Hegemony Part 2, with Pike now forced to choose between two impossible options. It’s all very The Best of Both Worlds.
I enjoyed the personal stakes with the focus on Captain Batel and the destruction of the USS Cayuga, and love the new design of the mature Gorn. My only real gripe, and a minor one, is the introduction of Scotty.
His presence in the episode is distracting, shifting the focus away from the hard decisions at the episode’s core. It isn’t too contrived or forced, but I’ll never understand this show’s obsession with cramming in every TOS-era character possible. I’d much rather see new characters, but I guess this stems from the nature of it being a prequel.
It’s honestly stunning that, over the course of three long seasons and six movies, Star Trek has only now done a story where Spock turns fully human. Perhaps even then it was seen as too obvious, but Charades takes this premise and crafts it into one Star Trek’s funniest episodes to date.
With deft skill, the story sees Spock simultaneously learn to embrace his human side – under the tutelage of his mother Amanda Grayson – as he’s forced into acting more rigidly Vulcan than ever. Ethan Peck is quite brilliant here, and his final outburst at T’Pring’s cruel and deliciously hateable mother brings wonderful catharsis.
I’ve long thought that Strange New Worlds is at its best when it leans into lower stakes and keeps things light, and Charades helps to prove this. Speaking of which…
1. Those Old Scientists
Ensigns Boimler and Mariner make the jump from animation into live-action, joining Pike’s crew for a day as they attempt to find their way back through an Orion time portal and get home. Brought to life with total perfection by Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome, Boimler and Mariner are a whirlwind of chaos, potentially breaking the Star Trek timeline with every conversation. At the end of it all, Boimler has learned a lesson and prejudice and stereotypes too.
It’s shocking how brilliantly the duo work outside of their animated series, and Those Old Scientists may well be the best Star Trek crossover episode of them all. It understands one crucial truth: Star Trek can be funny, but it’s at its funniest when it still takes itself and its ideas seriously. All this makes Those Old Scientists easily the best episode of Strange New Worlds to date.
That’s every episode of Strange New Worlds season 2, ranked. For more Strange New Adventures, read our interview with Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn, and check out our Strange New Worlds season 2 review.
You can also see our picks for the best Star Trek captains and best Star Trek starships, as well as our guide to watching the Star Trek movies in order. To look to the horizon, see what’s new on Paramount Plus and find out what’s going on with the Star Trek Discovery season 5 release date and the Lower Decks season 4 release date.