Strange New Worlds Season 2 Is Already Avoiding J.J. Abrams' Pike Failure

Warning! SPOILERS for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1 finale - "A Quality of Mercy"

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' season 1 finale proves that season 2 will avoid the failings of Captain Pike in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies. "A Quality of Mercy" gives audiences their first glimpse of Paul Wesley as Captain James T. Kirk, when he joins forces with Captain Pike (Anson Mount) to investigate a Romulan attack on a Federation outpost. Strange New Worlds' season 1 finale is an alternate timeline version of the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror," which ends in an all-out war due to Pike's peaceful intentions presenting the Federation as weak to the villainous Romulan Praetor (Carolyn Scott.) In the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror," however, Kirk destroyed the Romulan Bird-of-Prey before things spiraled out of control, as depicted in Pike's alternate timeline.


Throughout Strange New Worlds season 1, Pike has pondered changing his eventual fate. The finale shows him that if he remains as Captain of the Enterprise and never has his accident then Kirk will never avert the war, and Spock (Ethan Peck) will die decades before he can negotiate eventual peace with the Romulans. It's a revelation that highlights the importance of Captain Pike to both Kirk and Spock, lending the character a bigger impact on Star Trek mythology than the Bruce Greenwood version of Star Trek's Kelvin Timeline movies.

Related: Scotty Has To Be In Strange New Worlds Season 2 Now, Right?

Kirk will join the Enterprise as a fully-fledged crewmember in season 2, presumably at the request of Pike. In one of the finale's closing scenes, Pike is consulting Kirk's service record, having clearly been impressed by the young captain in the alternate timeline. In the Kelvin Timeline, Pike was also responsible for bringing Kirk aboard the Enterprise, essentially seeding Kirk and Spock's iconic partnership. However, rather than serving the expository purpose of simply putting Kirk where he needs to be, as in the 2009 movie, the Pike of Strange New Worlds is now aware of the galactic import of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Strange New Worlds Understands The Value Of Pike (Unlike The Kelvin Timeline)

Kirk (Paul Wesley) and Pike (Anson Mount) share a drink in the Strange New Worlds finale

The Kirk in Strange New Worlds season 2 will presumably be working closely with Pike and Spock, as their vitally important future bridge crew is assembled. Rather than the paternal presence that Bruce Greenwood's Pike represented for Chris Pine's Kirk, Anson Mount and Paul Wesley look like they'll be more teacher and pupil. Pike learns Kirk's more bullish, risk-taking nature can be an advantage, while Kirk sees Pike's desire for a peaceful resolution as an admirable trait, despite how things end up. Pike's influence will be hugely important in molding Strange New Worlds' Kirk into the one viewers know from Star Trek: The Original Series. With the cliffhanger ending of the season 1 finale, Kirk may even replace Una as Number One. It would be the ideal position for the young officer to learn about command.

This version of Pike and Kirk would be more respectful than the one presented in 2009's Star Trek. Kelvin Kirk is also a risk-taker, but he's presented as a maverick, with Pike being the only one who believes in him. The Kirk in the Strange New Worlds finale is a risk-taking rogue, but he's ascended to being Captain of the USS Farragut without anyone pulling in favors for him. Pike's death in the Kelvin timeline is used as a cheap narrative device to get Kirk to grow up. By having a better-developed relationship between Kirk and Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2, Pike's departure from the Enterprise, and the horror of his eventual accident is softened by the fact he knows the future of the Federation is in safe hands. A reassurance that the dying Kelvin Pike never had.

NEXT: Everything We Know About Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 premieres on Paramount+ in 2023.

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About The Author Mark Donaldson (128 Articles Published)

Mark Donaldson is a freelance movie and TV features writer for ScreenRant, a podcaster, and a film programmer. Born in Scotland but living in the North of England, Mark has an eclectic love of both television and movies. His taste in movies is all-encompassing, spanning over half a century of blockbuster popcorn fare of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arthouse cinema, obscure archival movies from around the world, and everything in between.On TV his tastes range from gritty prestige dramas like The Sopranos and The Wire to the hopeful sci-fi optimism of Star Trek and Doctor Who. This love of Doctor Who fandom has formed lifelong friendships and sparked the unaffiliated podcast On the Time Lash. As a politically aware arts student, Mark loves to analyze movies and TV shows, drawing connections between media and the context of the wider world. His SR highlight so far has been his comedy hero Tim Heidecker sharing his article about the cultural relevance of Heidecker's villain role in Killing It.

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