Warp Factor Trek

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The “previously on” lead-in is particularly worth bearing in mind this time. A lot of things in the recap tie into this episode.


The Enterprise, under newly promoted Fleet Captain Pike, is helping set up a deuterium refinery station in Bannon’s Nebula (touchingly named for Melissa Navia’s late partner), along with the USS Farragut. Fans may remember the Farragut as the ship that James T. Kirk was aboard when its captain and various crewmembers were killed by a vampiric energy being, as told by Kirk in the TOS episode “Obsession”. That doesn’t happen here, though.

Almost immediately, a tired Uhura hears a phantom signal. She insists on doing a deep diagnostic, using a recorded instruction Hemmer had made for her. She’s interrupted by Pelia, who reveals that she trained Hemmer. While Una takes over getting the station online two months late, Uhura again hears a distorted metallic sound in the turbolift and comes face-to-face with a decaying zombie Hemmer.

A zombified version of Hemmer appears, frightening Uhura

M’Benga notes that Uhura was exposed to deuterium poisoning, which causes hallucinations as well as exhaustion. He takes her off-duty til she sleeps. Meanwhile, Una and Pelia meet on the station, their command styles clashing, which seems to come out of nowhere but is amusing enough. Uhura’s hallucinations also include being out in the countryside, with smoke billowing from something.

In this episode, Sam Kirk and Paul Wesley’s Jim Kirk finally share some scenes together. It’s also worth noting that this is actually the first proper appearance of James T. Kirk in the Prime universe – or at least in SNW’s Prime universe. He made two prior appearances, but both of them were in alternate timelines, bar a brief comms cameo.

The Kirk brothers

Pelia discovers that a mechanism on the station has been sabotaged. Meanwhile, Uhura asks Spock for logical help but is only offered a sedative by Chapel. So, she goes to the bar, where she meets Jim Kirk. In a corridor, Uhura then has a hallucination of slaughtered crew before fighting herself, whom she knocks out… only to wake up and realise she’s smacked Kirk.

Fortunately, Kirk recognises what was happening with Uhura and helps her, deciding to check if the Farragut’s doctor has anyone with similar symptoms.

Una has a chat with Kirk

On the station, Una and Pelia find Lieutenant Ramon, a stressed and anxious member of the station’s crew. It was he who committed the sabotage.

Aboard the Enterprise, Uhura has a vision of the entire bridge crew being blown out into space. Jim Kirk says the Farragut’s doctor had a report about the captured saboteur the previous day, with the same symptoms as Uhura. Lieutenant Ramon has meanwhile been beamed to sickbay. When they try to question him, he slashes M’Benga and flees.

Pike leading the pursuit of Lieutenant Ramon

There is then a big stalk-and-chase sequence through the third quarter of the episode, with tension and shootouts. Rather oddly, the phaser sound effect more clearly includes the photon torpedo sound within it. The saboteur kills another officer and cuts the lighting while Pike, La’an, Uhura and Jim Kirk search for him.

Uhura finds Ramon by accident in a nacelle control room, preparing to eject a fuel pod and blow up the ship. They have a desperate fight — which is nicely shot and choreographed — but he presses the button to start the ejection sequence. Kirk arrives just in time to call an emergency beam-out for himself and Uhura.

After Ramon blows up a part of the Enterprise, his deceased body is blasted into space

Uhura worries that she’ll become like the saboteur. Meanwhile, Kirk meets and speaks about his background — no birth location given — with La’an, while Una and Pelia also make up.

Talking to Sam and Jim, Uhura realises that all the hallucinations were about pain and loss — of Hemmer, of her parents in a shuttle crash, of her crew — preceded by a sound. She theorises that the hallucinations might therefore be an attempt at communication of pain being suffered. She and Sam realise that the deuterium nebula is sentient and that refining it is torturing it.

Pike and Kirk order their ships to vent all their deuterium, evacuate the station and destroy it, showing they understood the message. With Uhura’s hallucinations now ended, she introduces Jim Kirk to Spock in the bar…

Uhura introduces Spock and James Kirk to each other (Paramount+)


It’s lovely to see Hemmer again, though not the zombie version. Sadly, Bruce Horak’s continuation in Trek is a short one, but it does convey well what the characters and the audience felt at his surprising fate last season.

Both Kirk brothers get some serious and quiet moments, and some family time, which gives us a better insight into their relationship and their differing career paths. That’s a nice touch, and both actors handle it well.

Sam and James T. Kirk

There’s plenty of hints about the proximity of Gorn space to the nebula, and the appearance of a decaying zombie Hemmer, who died because of a Gorn infection last season. Between the darkened station, incidents of sabotage, and mental torment, it’s easy to think that the Gorn might be responsible.

The true cause of all the trouble is simultaneously both satisfying and very unsatisfying. On the level of the ethos of seeking out new life and treating it with respect and understanding, it hits square on. However, it’s only been about eight episodes since the “sentient nebula” card was played here, let alone the number of Berman-era times it happened.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Onitra Johnson and David Reed’s script, though having that too-familiar revelation, handles its characters beautifully, and really helps sell Jim Kirk more than before, while Dan Liu’s direction blends horror, humour, and character-work extremely well. Kudos to the fight choreographers this week too. Also, Kirk talking about his childhood is a nice callback to the Star Trek (2009) movie. Overall, this installment is mostly good. It’s great to see Uhura get highlighted again, even if the episode ultimately relies on an overused plot device.

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