Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 8 Easter Eggs Bring Back Classic Star Trek TOS Movie

In “Under the Cloak of War” we finally get to see what the Klingon War was really like for the characters of Strange New Worlds. Plus, the return of Clint Howard to Star Trek!

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 8
Photo: Best Possible Screengrab/Paramount+

This Star Trek: Strange New Worlds article contains spoilers.

During the era of The Original Series and all the classic films, the Klingons were very often the default adversaries of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. But interestingly, other than for a hot second in Deep Space Nine in the ’90s, we’d never really inhabited an era of Star Trek in which an active shooting war with the Klingons was happening. In 2017, Discovery season 1 changed all that, but even then, the crew of that titular ship skipped over a big part of the war, all because of time travel and alternate universe shenanigans. 

So, now, with an extended flashback to the Klingon War in “Under the Cloak of War,” Strange New Worlds is finally throwing light into the darkest days of the Federation, and along the way, connecting to canon and easter eggs from across the entire franchise. Here are the biggest callbacks from the episode:

Moon of J’Gal: A Few Years Ago

The fact that Chapel and M’Benga served in the Klingon War on the “Moon of J’Gal” was first established in an earlier episode in SNW, the season 2 premiere, “The Broken Circle.” Why does this flashback dating say, “a few years ago?” Well, the Klingon War began in Discovery season 1 in 2256 and ended in 2257. Strange New Worlds began in roughly 2259, which puts Chapel and M’Benga’s service either two or three years in the past. Hence “a few.”

Ad – content continues below

Boatswain Whistle and The Undiscovered Country

When Robert Wisdom’s Ambassador Rah (formerly “Dak’Rah”) beams onboard the Enterprise, he asks about the whistle used to announce his arrival. Pike talks about this being an old-school boatswain whistle. The exact model of this boatswain whistle looks a lot like the same one used in The Undiscovered Country when a Klingon delegation beamed onto the Enterprise-A. The events of this episode predate The Undiscovered Country by 34 years, making this episode a retroactive prequel to all the Klingon politics of that film. Overall, the crew of the Enterprise in this episode behaves very much like the Enterprise-A crew did in that movie. We even get an awkward dinner scene, just like in The Undiscovered Country.


This Klingon coffee was first introduced in Deep Space Nine. Here, Spock unsuccessfully tries to use the matter-synthesizers to make a good raktajino, but fails. Notably, in the DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” on space station K-7, it’s pretty clear that nobody in Starfleet or the Federation can make a good raktajino. Odo tried to order one then while time traveling back to the TOS era and was turned down.

Also, just like in “Those Old Scientists,” when Spock uses the matter-synthesizer, it makes the same sound effect it did in The Original Series, complete with a little “ding” when the beverage is ready.

Clint Howard!

In the flashback on J’Gal, the commanding medical officer, Commander “Buck” Martinez is played by Clint Howard. In real life, Clint Howard is Ron Howard’s brother, and like Ron, started his career as a child actor. For Trek fans, Clint Howard’s face should be very familiar. As a child, he played Balok in the classic TOS episode “The Corbomite Maneuver,” the first regularly-produced episode after “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” He later appeared in two episodes of Deep Space Nine, and in 2018, he appeared in the Discovery season 1 finale as an Orion who is hanging out on the Klingon homeworld, Kronos. This means, around the same time that Clint Howard is on the moon of J’Gal, a green-skinned Clint Howard is getting high with Tilly, several lightyears away.

Storing People’s Patterns in the Transporter Buffer

In order to save patients whose injuries are two severe to treat right away, M’Benga reveals to Chapel that he sometimes leaves people in the transporter buffer. This connects to SNW season 1, in which we learned M’Benga did that exact thing with his daughter, Rukiya, because she had a terminal illness. The idea of leaving someone in a transporter buffer for a very long time is also how Scotty managed to make it into the Next Generation era in the episode “Relics.”


Rah and M’Benga spar in a bout of “Klingon Judo” called “Mok’bara.” This form of Klingon martial arts originates in The Next Generation. Worf taught a class on this, but it was rarely “full impact.”

Ad – content continues below


Uhura mentions “Aenar existentialism” when talking to Rah about his pacifist views. The Aenar are the pacifist species that live on Andoria, alongside the Andorians. First introduced in Enterprise, the most relevant Aenar in Strange New Worlds was Hemmer, Uhura’s friend and mentor from season 1, who died in “All Those Who Wander.” But, as a kind of psychic ghost, Hemmer appeared in this season, just two episodes prior in “Lost in Translation.”

Set Sonic Shower to Full

The fact that starships use “sonic showers,” instead of water-based showers, is an idea that’s existed since The Original Series. Funnily enough, the idea of setting a sonic shower on full-blast, was first shown in Lower Decks season 2 in the episode “Kayshon, His Eyes Open.” Lower Decks just crossed over with SNW over the weekend in “Those Old Scientists.”

The Klingon Knife, the D’k Tahg

The episode concludes with the revelation that M’Benga is the one who took out some of these Klingon war-lords on the moon of J’Gal and that Rah is actually lying about killing his own compatriots. In the flashback and in the present, this deed was done with a type of Klingon knife known as a d’k tahg. The weapons was designed by Phil Norwood for The Search for Spock in 1984, and, despite a few variations, has appeared in Trek canon ever since that point, starting with The Next Generation.

Interestingly, M’Benga’s dislike and distrust of Klingons is similar to Captain Kirk’s in The Undiscovered Country. In that film, Kirk hates Klingons because they killed his son…with the exact same kind of knife.