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Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 3 recap – stitch in time

Check out our detailed Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 3 recap for everything you need to know about the new episode of the Paramount Plus show.

Paul Wesley as Kirk in Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 3

If last week’s episode was Star Trek Strange New Worlds’ attempt at creating its own The Measure of a Man, then this week’s Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 3 is the same, but for Yesterday’s Enterprise. No pressure.

After watching a cute compilation of La’an resolving various petty disputes across the ship, the latest episode wastes no time (pardon the pun) in getting straight into it. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow opens with La’an on her way to the bridge, when an injured and unexpected intruder appears in her path. With a bullet wound, he begs for help and tells La’an there’s been an attack in the past. He gives her a device, before disappearing.

However, when La’an gets to the bridge it isn’t Pike in the chair. It’s Captain Jim Kirk, played by Paul Wesley who debuted in the season 1 finale. What’s more, in a rather neat coincidence, the captain is having a conversation with a certain Captain Spock of a nearby Vulcan ship.

Confused? Despite La’an’s bewildered expression, it’s clear that the Star Trek character is now in an altered timeline where the Federation doesn’t exist. The Vulcans are at war with the Romulans and are getting crushed, and things aren’t going well for this version of Starfleet (the United Earth Fleet) either.

La’an explains to Captain Kirk that events have changed and the timeline has been severely shifted thanks to the attack in the past which has erased her reality. But, as Kirk points out, she has no explanation for her situation. Getting increasingly frustrated, he tries to grab the device from La’ans hand, accidentally presses a button, and they’re both catapulted to Toronto in the mid-21st century.

Department of Temporal Investigations in Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 2

Back to the past, again

Stuck in the same place and time, they resolve to help each other to get back to their future by fixing whatever’s gone wrong in the past.

As La’an begins her sleuthing in earnest, they hit their first stumbling block: fixing the timeline to restore hers would erase Jim’s. This leads to an argument over the respective virtues of their timelines, though La’an eventually wins Jim over, telling the Star Trek captain that in her timeline his brother is still alive. Mic drop.

Their conversation is interrupted by an explosion in the distance. Believing it could be linked with the timeline-altering event, they investigate. Among the wreckage, La’an recognizes the blast marks as being from a photonic bomb; a weapon from the future. The debris is already being taken away, and Jim steals an outrageous, indiscreet sports car so they can pursue.

Christina Chong in Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 3

Pelia’s past

A fun car chase later, the local police arrest Jim for his dangerous driving (without a licence, too), before a local reporter named Sarah intervenes to shoo the cops away. She was tracking the debris too, believing it to all be linked to some alien conspiracy to slow human progress, hidden by the government. As La’an says, she comes across as unhinged, though she does help to get them onto their next lead: Pelia, the hidden Lanthanite and now-chief engineer, living in Earth’s past.

The ancient alien helps La’an and Jim find their way to a nuclear reactor which they believe will be the next attack site. On their journey, the pair share a convincing scene of connection, as they poke at one another in what feels like genuine flirting. It culminates in a kiss, just before they find the nuclear reactor (in what turns out to be the Noonien Singh institute).

The journalist from before, Sarah, is also there, and she’s not so friendly this time. She’s a Romulan from the future in disguise sent back to rupture the timeline. This is the fracture point.

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Romulan spies

She ruthlessly kills Kirk where he’s stood, placing a bullet through his chest. Doing so raises the alarm, and now she changes her plan. She was initially going to destroy Toronto by blowing up a nuclear reactor, but instead, she’s going to assassinate a young Khan Noonien Singh. She predicts this will throw-off humanity’s path to the stars, removing one of the Romulan’s most significant adversaries.

The pair brawl, and La’an gets one over on the Romulan with two well-placed bullets. She has the chance to kill Khan, and in a very ‘would you kill baby Hitler?’ moment has to decide whether or not to murder the young future-dictator too. Of course, the answer is no.

She zoops herself back into the future aboard the Enterprise again, except this time, Pike’s there. It’s all back to normal. By preventing the attack, the Star Trek timeline is restored.

She’s visited by an agent of the Department of Temporal Investigations, who tells her she saved the timeline but she can’t share her experiences with anyone around her. Once she’s gone, La’an breaks down at the thought of all she’s done and had to and bear witness to.

The verdict

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is, firstly, far too long. If you want to make a two parter make a two parter; no one wants a standard episode with a 60 minute runtime. What is this, Rings of Power?!

The biggest issue with the episode though, before we get to its strengths, is that it compares itself unfavorably to Yesterday’s Enterprise; one of the best TNG episodes (and best 40 minutes of the franchise) of all time. It’s about a fracture in the timeline creating a grim future, and the lengths someone will go to rectify that. The predicaments (fixing your timeline will erase mine) are the same, as is the outcome (Starfleet being locked in a brutal war).

What the episode lacks though, is the tone of Yesterday’s Enterprise, as well as its visual creativity. Neither in the dialogue nor visuals is it implied that there’s a real threat here; the Kirk from the dark future is just as chipper as we’d expect. Unlike in TNG, the alternate Enterprise (though it’s not even in Starfleet) looks the exact same, and the costumes – but for the combadge – are the identical too, which seems lazy.

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It only served to remind me just how good Yesterday’s Enterprise is.

But it’s not bad, in and of itself. I like the relationship between La’an and Jim, which feels genuine. La’an can be quite one-note as a character, but she gets good stuff to work with here. Paul Wesley is also, still, great. I don’t question for a second that he is Kirk.

The Romulan in disguise is also a good villain in theory, though she needed to be in the episode more to really make an impact. And, La’an telling Spock to keep the noise down is fun, as are the Toronto shenanigans, and Carol Kane’s second outing as Pelia.

‘Turn your brain off and mindlessly enjoy it’ isn’t the best genre of Star Trek episodes, but it’s the one that Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow falls into. Until I do a full rewatch, it’s not an episode I’m likely to revisit again, independently. But it’s fine.

For more on the latest of Star Trek, find out which Star Trek captains would survive in a zombie apocalypse, and check out our Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 review, as well as our explainers on the Crossfield classIllyrians, and Neera.

You can also find out how we celebrated Captain Picard Day, before learning how Patrick Stewart’s pride nearly killed Picard season 3. Or, check out ranking of the Star Trek movies and Star Trek series, before seeing our picks for the best TV series of all time (yes, Star Trek’s on there too, twice).