Crossovers are difficult. The balance of time, fandom-winking wish lists, and needing things to still matter to your characters can make matching heroes from a franchise a challenge — a challenge star trek wasn’t afraid rise in the past. Then that’s good news Strange New Worlds And Lower decks‘ Cooperation is a successful balancing act that represents hike at his best.
“Those Old Scientists” – almost out a whole week earlier Presented to audiences last night as part of a San Diego Comic-Con celebration, it already had many tricky hurdles to overcome even before the logistical tightrope walk of merging the worlds of a live-action series with an animated series. Lower decks And Strange New Worlds are somewhat close siblings who share similar episodic structures and loves star trekhistory and form. While their tones can vary from week to week — and the way they differ when it comes to exploring that love and how that tone impacts their characters can be vastly different — the way they do it is Are Trying to unite these worlds is a bit of a headache. And the crew is sure to have a headache Pursue receives. After an animated opening interlude, Ensigns Boimler (Jack Quaid), Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Tendi (Noël Wells) investigate an ancient, seemingly defunct portal, only to find it far from being found. Boimler is thrown back a few centuries and straight into the ways of Captain Pike and his bridge crew.
When the episode transitions into live action with even just Quaid walking around Pursue At first like a runaway anomaly, “Those Old Scientists” is at its most obvious cross-over attitude, and it takes time for things to settle. It seems it lasts for the audience and Quaid alike few A bit to make flesh-and-blood Bradward feel right, and the awkwardness is only partly due to Boimler’s intentional fanboy persona. It’s all geeky, hints at travel tropes and whatever, and Brad awkwardly plants himself face first into it. It’s cute and annoying, and as soon as it gets awkward on the internet intended Things sound a bit more that way – but then the episode actually starts to reach another level.
Because yes, the whole point Conditions-era fanboy Brad Boimler comes to the Conditions In this era, he’s said to freak out when he meets the likes of Captain Pike, Mr. Spock, and Number One, people who have become icons of a golden age as he comes of age and applies to Starfleet Academy. It allows you to do the crossover fandom thing, characters you love getting to know each other, and being happy about how they love each other too (although the feeling is less mutual). Pursue for Boimler as he is for being Boimler, full of borderline annoying, awkward puppy energy). But the other point that comes to mind the longer Brad puts his foot in his mouth – and it seems like it becomes more and more impossible for him to go back to his home time or maintain the timeline as he knows it – is to juxtapose his and, by extension, our idealized images of these people in his head. Never meeting your heroes is one thing, but it rocks Boimler and the crew of the Pursue Likewise, that these expectations and reality do not match.
This is played both for fun – Boimler anxiously finding ways to get out of Una’s sphere of influence literally every time he sees her, leaving her both amused and deeply concerned about her legacy after her trial – because it’s a genuine emotion that really makes “Those Old Scientists” shine brighter than it could have been. Boimler’s main concern is how he views Mr. Spock, who in the course of his burgeoning relationship with Nurse Chapel has begun experimenting with being more open with his human emotions – and that this is totally inconsistent with Boimler’s fanboy image of Spock as the perfect, clipped Vulcan logician. When Mariner accidentally goes back in time during the… alongside Boimler PursueThe first attempt to bring him home is expressed in her relationship with her idol, Uhura – the latter struggling to reconcile Mariner’s hero-worship of a badass, outspoken Starfleet legend with her reality as a shy, book-addicted workaholic.
It is in this Moments of emotional conflict that the crossover really shines because it plays with the metatext of Strange New Worlds‘ pure existence. Boimler and Mariner are us When we first learned that a Captain Pike spin-off was happening, we had the future of these heroes ingrained in our past and the idealized versions of them ingrained in our minds from generations of fan bases. We knew the Spock and Uhura that our underdeckers made fun of, but now, after a season and a half Strange New Worldswe were also very struck by the reality that the versions of the characters that we’re seeing on screen right now are not these pictures. They have to get there, they have to experiment and doubt and overcome and grow as people and experience the true joy of it Strange New Worlds is to see this journey take place, as well as the cheerful fan emulations of star trekis retro future past. Again, this emotional subplot adds additional nuance to Boimler and Mariner as they realize that their heroes are just as flawed and human as themselves – and at the end of the day, they’re all just Starfleet officers trying to do their best and what’s right.
This makes this crossover – which could have been a harmless, isolated adventure full of knowing gags that is promptly never addressed again – a wonderful combination with that other result of Strange New Worlds we have this week, last thursdayLost in translation“, which explores the themes of these characters who need to explore themselves and grow and change as people. And while yes, Those Old Scientists is mostly a harmless, isolated adventure that’s certainly full of knowing gags (thanks to Mariner for lecturing on Boimler about the possibility of ending up in the worst time-travel location imaginable: 2024 San Francisco), which adds that shock to the system that Boimler and Mariner both have to contend with, and who in turn have the crew of the Pursue Pointing out these dissonances to them gives the whole thing a spark of life that lifts it above harmless nonsense.
As I said at the beginning of this summary: star trek has a good history of crossover episodes – often affectionate, nostalgic celebrations that highlight the idealized view of their past legacies. Those Old Scientists does that too, but also uses the opportunity to throw back in time in a decisive and clever way, to question the paths that the fate and providence of our heroes have all taken – and brings us an episode that, while very funny and cute, will hopefully stay with us for a while after the charm of this crossover fun wears off.
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