Warp Factor Trek

The Star Trek Fan Website

In this sixty-one-minute episode, Paul Wesley’s James T. Kirk finds himself stuck in the mid-21st century with La’an, and anybody whose enjoyment of Star Trek is tied to established canon is going to go nuclear…


After a quick recap of her issues with her heritage from Season 1 and advice from Neera last week, La’an is recording her security log. She covers making friends, telling Spock to practice music more quietly, and dealing with the (probably) stolen art brought aboard by Pelia. La’an then spars with Doctor M’Benga before, in a corridor, running into a stranger wearing a suit, who has been shot. He tells her that there’s been an attack in the past and, handing her a device, that she must get to the bridge. He dies, then instantly disappears. Suddenly, the ship is at red alert. La’an runs to the bridge and is surprised to find Captain James T. Kirk in the command chair, baffled by who she is.

Kirk and the rest of the bridge crew are utterly confused about La’an’s identity

Kirk takes time to question La’an about her story. Grappling over the device, they are suddenly transported to Toronto of the mid-21st century, along with their uniforms and the device but no tricorders, communicators, or phasers. Kirk reveals that he was born on the USS Iowa. They obtain some clothes from a store but realise they also need finances. Kirk quickly finds a way to earn money — gambling at two-dimensional chess games against some of the locals. He introduces La’an to hot dogs and, at her suggestion, they swap knowledge of the differences between each timeline, looking for the earliest divergence. Soon, they witness a disaster on a bridge — La’an realises this is the “bridge” that the dead time agent referred to.

La’an recalls that the same incident also happened in her timeline, which must mean the timeline won’t change until the next attack. After meeting a videographer, La’an identifies a piece of debris as possibly a bomb. She and Kirk, to follow some shady spy types who are removing the debris, steal a car. A police chase ensues but, when the cops catch them, the videographer harangues the officers about conspiratorial abuse of suspects, which motivates them to let Kirk and La’an go with merely a warning. The videographer, named Sera, suspects UFO involvement and a massive international government conspiracy — pure X-Files territory! With her help, the pair manage to identify the alien ship as Romulan. Our heroes are still without a tricorder and need an engineer to do something similar, to track down and save a cold fusion reactor that the aliens will destroy in Kirk’s timeline but not in La’an’s. As luck would have it, Pelia is around in this period, at what was supposed to be a museum storage facility.

Opening her door, Pelia meets La’an (Paramount+)

It turns out that Pelia isn’t an engineer yet, instead just gathering and dealing in artifacts. Nevertheless, they find an old watch that reacts to certain particles. After Kirk and La’an kiss romantically, the couple use the watch to track the reactor to a nearby facility — the Noonien-Singh Institute for Cultural Advancement. There, biometric locks respond to La’an to let them in — at which point Sera reappears, revealing herself to be a Romulan time traveller, and killing Kirk.

Hastening into and then through the facility, La’an and her Romulan captor are intercepted by guards and have to knock them out. Whereas most of the Romulans have been intending to change history with a more devastating attack, Sera has realised that killing Khan — yeah, that Khan — will make more difference to the future of the Federation. Sera points out that the time device will protect La’an from any changes — she’ll still exist and remember her timeline no matter what — and tries to tempt her to let her kill Khan. La’an instead fights Sera and shoots her twice, killing her. This causes the time device to show a green light, indicating the timeline is safe. La’an still needs to face her relative, though, and goes into his quarters… to find Khan is a ten-year-old boy.

La’an and Khan talk

Rather than kill him, she activates the device, returning to her proper time zone on her proper Enterprise. There, she is more lenient about Pelia’s artifacts and meets another time agent, who thanks her and makes her return the device. She also calls Lieutenant James T. Kirk, who has never met her and doesn’t remember their adventure. La’an, however, does… and still has the watch.


Christina Chong’s La’an does well in this episode. Of the regular characters, she is very much the focus this time.

Christina Chong and Paul Wesley as La’an and Kirk respectively, in 2020s plain clothes (Paramount+)

And then there’s Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk. Wesley is a very personable heroic figure, balancing the comedic and actiony material as well as the dramatic bits all perfectly well. If you called him anything else, he’d be fine. But he’s still just somehow not Jim Kirk. Maybe it’s the different jawline, maybe it’s the voice… It’s not the writing or direction, which are fine. He tends to look more like Jim Carrey than Jim Kirk, really.

Portraying Sera, Adelaide Kane (no relation to scene-stealing Carol) is quite believable in her YouTuber/UFO-conspiracy videographer role. However, she becomes less effective when switching to her last-minute villain role.

Adelaide Kane and Desmond Sivan as Sera and Khan respectively

The segment of the audience for whom established canon is king is going to melt down a bit when they finally get to meet Khan in this episode and he turns out not to be an adult when leaving Earth in 1996 (age ten or so in the 2020s). That said, given that the plot is about changing history and that the guy who gives La’an the time device has already failed, there may be different changes throughout – such as Kirk being born on the USS Iowa, rather than either in Iowa or aboard the USS Kelvin. So, maybe the Romulans already changed things so that Khan is about ten in 2022…

This episode riffs on a lot of familiar material — from the basic concept of trying to avert a timeline change so that the main character will return to their normal timeline, through to more specific riffs like Pelia being the immortal alien living among humans and meeting a shipmate for the first time centuries in the past, just like Guinan in the TNG two-parter “Time’s Arrow”.

Rating: 4/5

It’s a fun episode, but not quite as good as the first two in the same season.

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