The latest episode of STC, “To Boldly Go” (a homage to the famous opening narrative to Classic Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation) is a fun trip into the Trek universe that pays homage to “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the original 1966 pilot episode for Star Trek. (Okay, that was actually the second pilot, the first being “The Cage”, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike, but I digress.) It shows the fidelity and affection that the makers of this show have for the source material; which is why they chose to end their series that way Star Trek began.
The episode has Captain Kirk and his crew meeting an ‘ESPer” (someone with telepathy and telekinesis) who drags them into a situation that harkens back to the plot of the 1966 pilot episode, wherein former first officer Gary Mitchell (played by Gary Lockwood, who also appeared in 2001: A Space Odyssey) gained corrupting, Godlike powers after crossing the galactic barrier. “To Boldly Go” references the classic pilot several times, creating a ‘bookend’ for the voyage of the Enterprise and its crew.
This is the 10th of a planned 11 episodes. The first part of the two-part series final, it tells the story of the last adventure of the 5-year mission of the starship Enterprise. Although this series isn’t considered canonical by Paramount/Viacom, Rod Roddenberry (son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) said he considers it canon. Certainly, the makers of this series do a superb job making sure that continuity remains faithful to not only classic Trek, but also to its spinoffs (Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise). Unlike the poorly written Star Trek Discovery which runs roughshod over the franchise’s history, this one manages to keep continuity while not being a slave to it.
The episode was scripted by award-winning sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer, who has written several books, and his work on television includes the underrated series Flash Forward, which I was a big fan of. James Kerwin directed and co-wrote the show.
Honestly, even though I’ve watched the whole STC series, I didn’t realize until seeing this latest episode that the character of Lt. Smith (played here by Kipleigh Brown) was meant to be the same Lt. Smith who appeared in a small role in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. The name is so common I never made the connection until now, so that was a personal ‘how-did-I-miss-that’ moment.
The cast has really settled into these roles and found a style that respects the characters without falling into a blatant imitation of the original actors. As always, Vic Mignogna knocks it out of the park as Captain Kirk, while Todd Haberkorn gives one of his best performances as Mr. Spock. Grant Imahara gets some good moments as Sulu. Chuck Huber as Dr. McCoy and Chris Doohan as Scotty give their usual spirited supporting performances. Michele Specht as counsellor McKennah is given a new subplot regarding Spock. Kim Stinger as Uhura and Wyatt Lenhart as Chekov don’t get a whole lot to do. Nicola Bryant guest stars as the ESP-gifted Lana. Bryant is best known as Peri, the lovely companion for Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor on BBC’s classic Doctor Who series.
The episode has several references to the classic show, including the return of the Romulan Commander from “The Enterprise Incident”, now played by Amy Rydell, and acknowledges the concept introduced in Star Trek: the Next Generation that Romulan ships are powered by a singularity. Another notable aspect is that a redshirt actually lives to get back to the ship! (Although a few others later in the episode don’t fare as well.)
One complaint I have is the sudden introduction of the close, personal bond between Spock and McKennah. They seem to have a very strong connection here which wasn’t hinted at in any of the previous nine episodes. Introducing it so late in the show without a proper set-up is a bit jarring. I would guess, if I were asked to speculate, (I have no inside information) that this is being done because McKennah will probably be killed off in Part 2, which will be the catalyst that causes Spock to leave Star Fleet and return to Vulcan to undergo the ritual to purge his emotions, which is where we found him in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (That would explain why McKennah is not with the crew when they get back together for the events of the films.) That’s my guess, but I may be wrong.
The show ends on a cliffhanger and I’m split on whether I want the next episode to come out quickly or to make us wait. On one hand, it’s a good cliffhanger and I’m anxious to see how the series wraps up, but on the other hand, once Part Two is done, there will be no more Star Trek Continues, which will make me and other fans very sad. It’s a shame we’ll only get 11 episodes of this excellent show, because it’s so good.
Series star/producer Mignogna (who co-wrote the episode) promises that the end of the series will properly segue into Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the film series, and that the finale will blow people’s minds. As a 45-year Trek fan, who grew up with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and company, I’m very curious to see how Star Trek Continues concludes. I’m confident it will be an enjoyable ending, since the whole series has been so much fun.
We’ll review Part Two when it comes out. If you’re a Star Trek fan, watch this show. You won’t be disappointed.