This Star Trek: Strange New Worlds article contains spoilers.
As a prequel to The Original Series, the references in Strange New Worlds always have to walk a fine line. On the one hand, nearly every frame of the show is a reference to TOS, simply because of the way everyone is dressed and the way the Enterprise looks. But the show is also very much its own thing now, and by the end of season 2, SNW has shown it can go big and even make older ideas feel new again. For example, SNW totally reinvented that Gorn species in season 1 and the show has made the bloodthirsty Star Trek alien its own.
In the season 2 finale “Hegemony,” the Gorn return in a big way, and push the crew of the Enterprise into a much bigger conflict than anyone anticipated. Like The Next Generation bringing the Borg out of the background and then suddenly into the foreground, SNW has given the crew a Gorn problem with no way out. Along the way, the series drops a few starships and several references to other parts of the Trek canon.
Here’s all the best easter eggs we caught in “Hegemony,” including the arrival of a classic Original Series character, and what it all might mean.
Midwestern Old Timey Town
Captain Batel’s log tells us that the people of Parnassus B have intentionally made their colony look like an old midwestern US town. This concept echoes various “parallel Earths” from The Original Series, but also, interestingly, feels reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in which a human colony on Mars feels a lot like a midwestern town in the 1940s.
After being awarded a three-month fellowship in Archaeological Medicine, Nurse Chapel is on her way to meet-up with Dr. Roger Korby. This is a character from The Original Series episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” in which we learned that Korby was Chapel’s ex-fiancé who’d gone missing sometime prior to 2266. Right now, SNW is happening in 2260, so somewhere between “Hegemony” and “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” Chapel will fall in love with Korby, get engaged, and then, eventually, come back to the Enterprise.
Space Travel and Keeping Time
Chapel jokes that “In space does anyone ever get there when they say they will?” This slightly lampshades the idea that warp drive is inherently a type of time travel. In the first TOS pilot episode “The Cage,” Pike refers to warp factors as “time warp factors.” In the same episode, Tyler says the “time barrier’s been broken” by Starfleet technology. This nomenclature was dropped after “The Cage,” but essentially the concept remained the same.
Opelian Mariner’s Keystone
When Pike loses contact with Batel, he touches his ancient Opelian Mariner’s Keystone, which Batel gave him as a gift in episode 4 of this season, “Among the Lotus Eaters.”
The shuttle that’s crashing at the beginning of the episode is actually not coming from the Cayuga. Batel says, “Is that one of ours?” and the answer is nope! As we learn later in the episode, that’s Scotty’s shuttle from the Stardiver.
Episode Opening With a Wrecked Sister Ship of the Enterprise
It’s not been confirmed whether the Cayuga is a Constitution-class ship or a Sombra-class ship, but physically it resembles the Enterprise, so based on SNW canon, it’s one of the two. With “Hegemony,” the Cayuga joins several other Enterprise-shaped starships that get destroyed at the beginning of big episodes. Last season, the USS Peregrine was crashed and overrun with Gorn at the start of “All Those Who Wander,” and this season, the Cayuga is also wrecked by the Gorn.
The moment when the Enterprise confirms it’s the Cayuga by scanning the registry on the hull is also reminiscent of the opening of “The Doomsday Machine,” in which the Enterprise finds the Constellation adrift in space. This kind of opening also happens in “The Tholian Web,” in which the crew kinds the Defiant (not the one from DS9!) adrift in space, phasing out of reality.
La’an notices that the Gorn aren’t behaving the way they should be, saying, “They should be fighting for dominance not working together.” This references both “Memento Mori” and “All Those Who Wander,” in which we learn about how La’an escaped the Gorn and lost her brother when she was very young, which is why she references her brother here. Pike suggests there’s “something about the Gorn we’ve yet to discover.” Pike’s optimism could be read as foreshadowing the events of “Arena” in TOS in which Kirk refuses to kill a Gorn, and thus, makes peace.
You’ve Told Me That One Before
Pike says, “There’s always a choice.” La’an retorts, “Yeah, you’ve told me that one before.” This probably references the pilot episode of the series when Pike tells La’an, “There’s surviving. And then there’s living. It’s your choice.”
Martin Quinn’s Montgomery Scott at Your Service!
Pike and the crew stumble upon Scotty, who reveals he’s a survivor from a different Starfleet ship, the Stardiver. Played by Martin Quinn, this is the earliest version of Scotty we’ve now seen in the Prime Timeline. Interestingly, like Simon Pegg’s Scotty in the alternate timeline of the reboot films, this (original!) Scotty appears to become part of the Enterprise crew by accident. This is the second time Strange New Worlds has depicted meetings between classic characters with parallels to the 2009 reboot. When Kirk and Uhura met in “Lost in Translation,” they met at a bar, just like in the 2009 movie. As for Scotty, we know he’ll become the chief engineer of the Enterprise sometime before 2265. But, at the end of the episode, current chief engineer Pelia is very familiar with him, and becomes the first person to call him “Scotty.”
Double Red Alert
Number One says they “can’t make this red alert any reder.” And yet, in “The Conscience of the King,” in TOS, Kirk did call for a “double red alert.” Interestingly, that episode also featured Uhura singing, just like she did the previous episode in SNW!
Spock’s spacewalk at the end of this episode evokes aspects of his spacewalk in The Motion Picture. But when he and Chapel fight the Gorn in zero-gravity, Spock uses a move from The Animated Series. When Spock propels himself to fight the Gorn, it’s very similar to what he does in zero-gravity in the TAS episode “The Jihad.” In that episode, it was established that Spock and Kirk had fight practice in “null gravity” all the time. Clearly Spock’s null gravity fight training started before he became BFFs with Kirk.
Seeing the saucer section of a starship crash into a planetary surface is something of a Star Trek tradition. The saucer section of the Enterprise-D was “hot dropped” onto Veridian III in Generations, while the saucer of the Kelvin universe Enterprise crashed in Star Trek Beyond.
Batel tells Pike that the only way Hemmer stopped the Gorn eggs from hatching out of him was by killing himself. This references “All Those Who Wander,” in which Hemmer died by jumping into a frozen ravine and thus, freezing the Gorn eggs, and preventing them from hatching. Pike reveals here that he felt “[Hemmer] was brave, but he didn’t give us a choice.” Pike loves choices! He hates not having them! This line is small, but it does highlight the basic personality of Pike. Like Kirk, he doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios.
Non-Starfleet Transporter Beam
Well before Spock reveals that the transporter signatures are “non Starfleet,” we’re actually shown that the transporter effect is not the usual one we’re used to seeing. When M’Benga, Sam, Ortegas, and La’an — along with all the colonists — are beamed up, the entire effect is clearly not the transporter from the Enterprise. So, when it’s revealed later that the Gorn snagged everyone, the episode actually hinted at this earlier.
To Be Continued…
Although Lower Decks has dropped a few season-ending cliffhangers, this is the first time one of the post-2027 new live action Star Trek shows have put the words “To Be Continued…” on the screen. The first Star Trek “To Be Continued” ever was “The Menagerie,” which, of course, is where most of Captain Pike’s backstory comes from. But the most famous “To Be Continued” in Trek history is easily “The Best of Both Worlds” in The Next Generation. In crafting the cliffhanger for “Hegemony,” showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers have revealed they were directly referencing “The Best of Both Worlds.”
As of now, season 3 of Strange New Worlds is certainly planned, but nothing has been filmed. Yet.