What IS it with JAMES T. KIRK and TIME TRAVEL??? (STRANGE NEW WORLDS editorial review)


“James T. Kirk: seventeen separate temporal violations…the biggest on record.” “The man was a menace.” You might remember those lines from the fifth season DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.” And just to show off my geekiness, here from memory is a list of all the times in TOS and the movies that James T. Kirk traveled in time…

Does that add up to seventeen? Nope. However, one would assume that “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” “Assignment: Earth,” and Star Trek IV each contain multiple violations by Kirk and his crew. So I’m fine with seventeen.

What does this have to do with the third episode of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS‘ second season, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow”? Well, quite a lot, actually! Y’see, there have now been a total of thirteen SNW episodes…and two of them (a whopping 15%) have involved some kind of time travel! The other was the season one finale, “A Quality of Mercy.” Indeed, within the span of the last four SNW episodes, HALF have involved time travel!!! And as fate would have it, both of those time travel episodes have included a significant presence of Captain James T. Kirk—coincidentally from alternate timelines each, uh, time.

Is that necessarily a bad thing? Well, yes and no.

First, let’s deal with the “yes” part, as I invoke this iconic scene from The Simpsons

Just replace “Klingons” with “time travel” and you can quickly see where my head is at.

Of course, it’s not just SNW that’s doing time travel (and will again in four more episodes when Ensigns Mariner and Boimler arrive from the U.S.S. Cerritos in the future for a crossover with LOWER DECKS). It’s also DISCOVERY and PICARD. Both had second seasons steeped in time travel elements. And indeed, Picard‘s second season spent 8 out of 10 episodes in “our time” here on earth. Just like this latest episode of SNW.

In fact, the plot of Picard season two and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” were so similar that, well, I kinda HAVE to point out the obvious parallels…

  • Both start off in our normal timeline, shift briefly into an alternative timeline, and then shoot the protagonists back in time to the mid-2020s.
  • Both are filmed primarily in a large city (Los Angles and Toronto…where Picard and SNW are produced, respectively, so it’s understandable).
  • Both include a sequence where two of our time-displaced heroes are driving wildly through the streets, and both chase scenes include the police.
  • Both feature a very old, non-earthling character living in secret on this planet whom our heroes know from the future but who hasn’t met the time-travelers yet but helps them nonetheless (Guinan and Pelia).
  • Both are stories about trying to stop an alien from the future from doing something in the past that will result in the “bad” alternate future that we saw at the beginning.
  • Both end up leaving a starship captain in the past (although in Picard, Rios is alive, but in SNW, Kirk dies).

So, no points for originality!

However, I did actually enjoy this episode. I didn’t love it as much as last week’s “Ad Astra per Aspera” or some of the stronger SNW episodes from season one. And I probably won’t be watching this one over and over again. But it was still a pretty decent episode. Here’s some of the things that I thought worked well…


It’s not often that a television series with a 10-episode season has three (possibly more) episodes in a row with almost no sign of its lead actor anywhere in sight! Of course, as most fans are aware, ANSON MOUNT and his wife DARAH TRANG welcomed their first child, daughter CLOVER, on December 4, 2021. Filming on season two began the following February. Canada offers a very generous 35 weeks of combined parental leave, and so Anson was still taking some very important and well-deserved (and required by law) time off as cameras started rolling. His limited scenes in these early episodes were, as I understand it, filmed later on in the season as “pick-up” shots.

That being said, the writers have made the most of the opportunity to give the other members of the Enterprise crew some very effective character development time. Episode one allowed Spock, Chapel, and M’Benga to take center stage. Episode two focused almost exclusively on Number One (Una Chin-Riley). And with episode three, La’an Noonien-Singh finally got some decent story exposure.

It’s not that these characters haven’t had their “me” time in previous first season episodes, but it usually involved a lot of shared screen time and, of course, a decent helping of the lead character, since Anson Mount is being paid quite handsomely to be the star of the show. But with Pike all but gone for entire episodes, plots could focus more thoroughly on specific characters.

Of course, Next Gen, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise did this pretty regularly, as there would be multiple “Data episodes,” “Odo episodes,” “B’Elanna episodes,” “T’Pol episodes,” etc. each season. Of course, those series each had 26 episodes per season. SNW has only 10. That’s understandably very limiting when it comes to character development. Most of us don’t know nearly as much about, for example, helm officer Erica Ortegas as we did about Lt. Tom Paris after one and half seasons of Voyager.

So La’an’s character benefited greatly from this story. We now know the sorts of things that her day-to-day job on the Enterprise entails. We know that she has a lot of trouble opening up to others. We know that she lives a life where simply introducing herself with her full name will have the same effect as someone named Hitler introducing themselves. And of course, like so many women before her, she falls in love with James T. Kirk. So let’s talk about him…


This debate is rapidly becoming the latest tempest-in-a-teapot for the fan community: do you accept PAUL WESLEY as Kirk or absolutely hate him? It’s almost a litmus test at this point.

Here’s my take…

No one is ever going to be able to play Kirk like WILLIAM SHATNER did…because they’re not him. The closest might have been VIC MIGNOGNA in STAR TREK CONTINUES, who mimicked Shatner’s mannerisms extremely closely. But even then, you always knew you were watching another actor.

On the other hand, CHRIS PINE never tried to mimic Shatner and instead just created his own version of the character. So did ZACHARY QUINTO and ETHAN PECK with Spock. And while KARL URBAN did an amazing job channeling the late DeFOREST KELLEY, SIMON PEGG didn’t come close to trying to be JIMMY DOOHAN.

In other words, there’s only one Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, Doohan, and the rest…and trying to simply imitate them is a fool’s errand. In fact, for an actor, constantly wondering,”Is this how they would play this scene?” would likely become a paralyzing distraction. Instead, a good actor creates their own interpretation of a character, trying to honor the core components but simultaneously making it their own.

And as fans, if we want to enjoy Star Trek presenting us with new actors playing established characters like Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Chapel, we must let their new interpretations into our hearts. We must tell ourselves, “Okay, this is now Captain Kirk; I am just going to accept that.” There is simply no other way. Complaining accomplishes nothing, as William Shatner is 92 years old, and I don’t care how good A.I. is these days or how good 80-year-old Harrison Ford looks in Dial of Destiny, Shatner simply can’t play a 30-year-old version of himself.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I’d want him to.

I enjoyed William Shatner as Captain Kirk for three decades, and I love watching him in reruns. But that style of acting is unique to a certain era of television and cinema. Modern characters behave, react, and deliver lines differently. Paul Wesley and CHRISTINA CHONG as La’an had a tremendous chemistry together, but Shatner would have totally overwhelmed her and stolen every scene. Wesley, on the other hand, allowed Chong and her character to stand out and shine.


Toronto is one of my favorite cities on this planet. I used to joke that they probably have the death penalty for littering…although most Canadians wouldn’t hurt a fly. I remember once being in Calgary on Canada Day (which is today, eh?) listening to the radio as citizens called in to share what made them most proud to be Canadian. And I’ll never forget what one of them said: “My favorite part of being from Canada is knowing that, anywhere I travel in the world, people will like me.” I certainly can’t say that as an American! I’m still proud of my country, but Canada, well, Canada is special.

Now, I realize that SNW is filmed in Toronto, so it’s obvious that they’d go back in time to Toronto (just as Picard, which was produced in Los Angeles, went back in time to L.A.). But it was very refreshing seeing an Earth city in a Star Trek time travel episode that wasn’t Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York (or, in the case of the latter two, Los Angeles PRETENDING to be San Fransisco or New York…and I’m referring to DS9‘s “Past Tense” and not Star Trek IV).

I also admired some of the clever solutions the writers came up with to move the story along. Obviously, clothes and money were going to be problems. Apparel theft was first done by Kirk and Spock in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” but this episode’s pilfering was a different enough to feel fresh. As for getting cash, there were obviously no time-looped spectacles to hock at a pawn shop. But speaking of pawns, why not use Kirk’s mastery of chess to make money the old-fashioned way: hustling Canadians in the park? (All the world seems in tune on a brisk afternoon when you’re hustling Canadians in the park!) And of course, Canucks are so nice that no one has any problems paying Jim after a checkmate. Credit the writers for a (chess)masterful idea.

I must acknowledge that having the “helpful” Canadian conspiracy theorist be the bad guy was something I didn’t see coming. I had figured that she was either the Rain Robinson/Christopher Brynner character (a quirky person from the past who helps out our heroes) or else a temporal agent from the future sent to covertly assist with their mission. But while I got the “she’s from the future” part right, I never guessed she’d be a Romulan temporal agent trying to screw up the timeline! (As a side note, last year I wrote the script for a Star Trek fan film—still just a script—where a Romulan from the future travels back in time to change reality. So apparently, great minds think alike!)

The car chase was also fun, but having driven on the slick roads next to Lake Ontario in the month of February myself, let me assure you that someone who has never driven a car before would have skidded into a building multiple times trying to maneuver at those speeds! Indeed, while some people were bothered by the ret-Khanning of Khan’s birth year (more on that next!), my canonical issue was Kirk’s ability to drive so well. “Ah, ah, ah,” you say, “but didn’t Kirk use to steal he step-father’s 60’s Corvette Stingray and play chicken with a super-deep cliff?” First of all, that was an alternate reality where Kirk’s real father died after Nero came back in time and destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin. Second, this Kirk is from an ALTERNATE alternate reality where he wasn’t even born on Earth but in space on board the U.S.S. Iowa. Maybe this guy has seen pictures of a car, but if Earth is a wasteland and humans are living on terraformed planets and moons in the solar system, I doubt he’s had much driving practice.

That said, I just kinda went with it. I was really enjoying the episode.

And speaking of Iowa, I’d also like to tip my hat to Star Trek FINALLY canonizing the lovely town of Riverside—with a population of barely 1,000 people—as the official birthplace of James T. Kirk. Riverside declared itself the future birthplace of James T. Kirk in 1985, and GENE RODDENBERRY not only approved but made sure that the line, “No, I’m from Iowa; I only work in outer space…” was included in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. And despite Iowa appearing at the beginning of Star Trek 2009, in that alternate reality, Kirk was born in outer space. But now, in “our” reality, Kirk was born in Iowa.

Oh, and kudos to SNW for cleaning up it’s own mess with everyone calling Kirk’s brother “Sam,” when TOS established Kirk’s brother’s name was George Samuel Kirk and that only Jim called him Sam. Apparently, no, everyone calls him Sam. There, fixed.


One of the most Khan-troversial aspects of this episode happened at the end where La’an comes face-to-face with her genetically-engineered ancestor, and he is but a wee bairn! Some fans have gone apoplectic over this canonical sacrilege!!

As we all know (well, those of us who are fans of TOS and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Khan and his fellow genetic supermen and women fled Earth in the year 1996, following the devastating Eugenics Wars. Of course, back in 1967, such events were still decades in the future, and none of the writers expected anyone would remember this Star Trek show even ten years from then, let alone forever! And while TOS was extremely careful never to lock down any specific Earth year as canon, 1996 was one of those rare exceptions.

Of course, by the time TNG started, the 1990s were barely a few years away, and the pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint” implied that World War III had happened in the early-to-mid 21st century. Were the Eugenics Wars and World War III different things? It was never quite clear. All we knew is that, by the time of the film Star Trek: First Contact, Earth was only just recently recovering from nuclear devastation when the Vulcans landed in Montana in 2063.

And so we now have kid-Khan at the age of maybe six or seven in what looks to be 2023 or so. Kinda tough to take over a quarter of the planet in 1992 when you won’t even be born for another quarter century! So what gives?

Although the lines were delivered quickly with an almost psychotic mania, this one clip actually solves nearly every problem that fans have been complaining about since the launch of Discovery in 2017…

It’s said that time heals all wounds, and it seems that time has been VERY busy since the “end” of the temporal cold war at the beginning of Enterprise‘s fourth season. In fact, if you think about it, most of the discontinuities that fans have complained about when it comes to Star Trek—from the strange new look of the U.S.S. Kelvin (before Nero’s emergence into the past) to the funky uniforms of Discovery‘s first few seasons to Pike’s altered Enterprise design happened only AFTER the temporal cold war plotline.

Of course, we fans know the real real reason for these alterations in canon come from showrunners and production designers trying to “modernize” the look and feel of newer Star Trek. But consider this! What if the in-continuity explanation for these various discontinuities was, in fact, the temporal cold war from Enterprise? After all, at the end of “Storm Front, Part 2,” Daniels tells Captain Archer that the timeline is reseting itself, but he never says HOW!

Keep in mind that countless temporal agents were probably up to a lot of mischief in the past…and who knows how far back it went and how convoluted the time paradoxes were. So yeah, maybe it’s possible that, in order for Khan and the other augments to seize power and create a world-changing traumatic event, the whole thing had to happen 30 years later…and “time” shifted it to be so.

Ridiculous? Perhaps. But Star Trek has made us accept the ridiculous before (ahem, “Spock’s Brain”). And if this explanation helps my head canon from aching, I’m good with it. So not only do I not have a complaint about the Khan-version of Mr. Singh’s timeline, I actually kinda welcome it! Let’s hear it for wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey explanations!

See you next time.

44 thoughts on “What IS it with JAMES T. KIRK and TIME TRAVEL??? (STRANGE NEW WORLDS editorial review)”

  1. First and foremost, thanks for the excellent post. All in all, I also enjoyed the episode. It was well done and well thought out.

    A few thoughts, though…

    First, I don’t mind another actor taking on the role of Kirk–that’s just bound to come with the territory. However, in this episode, the part of Kirk might have been any other crew member accompanying La’an. Paul Wesley somehow just doesn’t vibe for me as James Kirk. Chris Pine made the part his own, but had the swagger. And, yeah, Vic Mignogna definitely has come the closest, but James Cawley still had something of a Kirk-vibe. I’m not sure whether it’s the writing, the acting choices, or both, but similar to Brian Goss–who really looked the part more than other non-Shatner actors–Goss and Wesley just never ‘got’ the part and really don’t have much Kirkness.

    Again, this didn’t take away from the story or my enjoyment of the episode, but it kind of made the choice of using Kirk somewhat useless.

    The obvious comparison is to City on the Edge of Forever. The thing that makes City a better script is that Kirk and Edith Keeler develop deep feelings for eachother before Kirk has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. Here, La’an has zero personal relationship with Khan and only meets him in last scenes. She only knows from history of the havoc he will reek on the world in the future, but has no personal relationship with Khan. If she had met up with him earlier in the episode–maybe inadvertently foiling a plot where some anonymous pranking kid tries to blow up CN tower–only to find out in the end that the kid she is saving is Khan. (Okay–bad example… I’m not a writer… but you get the idea.) Any kind of personal relationship between La’an and Khan would have made her final choice all that more poignant. It was a missed opportunity.

    The choice that the writers made was close to the classic ‘if you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler as a baby knowing what you know he will do when he’s grown up’ but even weaker than this. As a baby, of course, Hitler was still innocent. The Khan dilemma is weaker, because La’an saves Khan who hasn’t done anything wrong yet but, also, has to save Khan to save herself–if Khan is killed there would be no timeline where La’an could exist. So it’s as much for her timeline as her very existence.

    I suppose I’m beating a dead horse, but combining yet-another-Khan thing with yet-another-time paradox episode is probably a little much. On the bright side, they didn’t throw a mirror universe on top of that.

    All these, though, are minor quibbles. Picard season 3 and Strange New Worlds have been a breath of fresh air for new Trek. Looks like the crew at Paramount is finally ‘getting’ it. We are getting strong characters, strong plots, and not getting hung up in too many problematic/wonky Sci Fi concepts that have plagued other recent series. Let’s hope more of this gets incorporated into the new season of Discovery.

    (BTW, I have to disagree with your characterization of Zach Quinto’s Spock. I think he absolutely nailed it. He certainly did not imitate Nimoy but Quinto inhabited Spock in a way that only Nimoy had done previously. A very hard thing for an actor to do.)

    1. I’ve thought about what you said about switching Kirk out for another character because, admittedly, I considered it, too. Here’s why I don’t think it would have worked, though…

      The interplay between Kirk and La’an was based, in part, on it being an exchange of equals. Kirk was used to being in command, but La’an was technically not under his command because Kirk wasn’t in Starfleet. Any other character from the series would not retain that dynamic. They would either have been La’an’s superior officer (Pike or Una) or she would be theirs (Spock, Uhura, Chapel, Ortegas)…not sure about M’Benga.

      Additionally, the other major dynamic was La’an developing a romantic interest in her partner. Aside from the fact that nearly everyone I just named is female (and at this point, it seems that La’an is straight), the three males I listed–Pike, Spock, and M’Benga–would NOT fit that role. Spock is already involved in too many relationships! Also, no way they’re hiding those ears under a knitted wool cap again…too much deja vu. Pike is not about to fall in love with a member of his current crew…that would complicate both the character’s life as well as the series’. Also, there’s been no hint of romantic interest between him and La’an thus far, so any interest (even from an alternate reality Pike) would seem forced and awkward. And M’Benga has way too much emotional baggage to be paired up with someone else with so much emotional baggage. That would likewise complicate the series to no end! So the fellow time-traveler needed to be someone from outside the regular cast. Now, the writers could have made the character someone brand new, but I think the idea of using alt-Kirk was just too compelling and potentially much more fun.

      As for kid-Khan, yes, that did seem tacked on at the end. But remember that the Romulan time agent said that La’an would be protected from any time-shifting effect, so that killing Khan would not wipe out her existence…only her “mark of Cain” or “scarlet letter.” The choice was simply: do you murder an innocent kid or not? Granted, you’re right in pointing out that, unless you’re a fan, you don’t even know who Khan is/was. Showing is better than telling, but this was a case where such a thing just couldn’t happen. Killing Hitler as a baby must be a pure act of murdering an innocent. Had kid-Khan done anything even remotely suspicious or questionable during the episode, the audience reaction would have been, “Yes, shoot the little bastard!” So the bombing of the CN Tower or even just ripping the wings off of a fly would have ruined that moment. Kid-Khan was a pure innocent at that moment. La’an knew everything he would do, but this was still a sweet, helpless kid. And of course, his actions would usher in an age of enlightenment for humanity and the eventual birth of the Federation. The alternative, as she saw at the beginning of the episode, was unimaginably worse. So letting kid-Khan live was definitely the lesser of the two evils.

      And finally, I never said that Quinto didn’t nail Spock…only that he chose not to imitate Nimoy and instead make a new Spock character that, while loyal to the original, was also uniquely his (Quinto’s) own.

      1. Excellent points.

        My point, though, about Kirk could have been any other character, was that the Kirk portrayal (scripting/acting) was vanilla enough that it really didn’t matter whether the La’an was with Kirk specifically. Without inherent Kirkness, he seemed more of a placeholder and could have been any of the other major or minor characters… heck, you could have brought back Lt. Spinelli from the original episode… Sure, they used Kirk’s chess skills, had him drive badass on the streets of Toronto, and couldn’t help fall in love by the end of the episode, but this showing wasn’t backed up by depth in the portrayal of the character. And they could have contrived other plot points for other characters–there was no specific need for La’an to have a romance. .

        I see your point about La’an’s existence not being threatened by any of her actions, but she didn’t know that until AFTER everything went down. So part of her motivation in saving young Khan had to involve questions regarding her own survival.

        Not sure how they would have done it, but what made City such a strong episode was that Kirk had to make a horrible sacrifice in the end to save humankind. It was a moral dilemma and also a profound personal sacrifice. I know that Ellison’s original screenplay was different, but the kernel of what made that script great was still there–I guess it’s hard to outdo a master writer.

        I’m certain that a real writer could think up a better subplot. But La’an they could have cooked up some relationship between La’an and Kid-Khan that could have made La’an’s final choice that much harder. It’s kind of like the problem with Airam’s death in ST Discovery–we just didn’t know Airam well enough to be emotionally connected. If Airam had had more relationships cultivated with Brunham and the rest of the crew before she made the ultimate sacrifice, it would have hit home. (That’s why there’s that trope that the most likable character in almost every movie has to die in the end. It pulls harder on the heart strings…)

        Thanks for the clarification of Quinto’s Spock. I have no idea how he pulled it off, but I tend to think he simply groked Spock. He made Spock part of him so he didn’t have to imitate Nimoy to make it work. (I hated that the writers contrived to have Spock meet Spock in Star Trek 2009, but even if the meeting never should have occured, seeing both Spocks on screen together was worth the price of the entire movie. I guess that’s why they did it…)

        1. I beg to differ on your “there was no specific need for La’an to have a romance…” comment. Thus far, the only real romance any of the characters have experienced so far is Spock’s love triangle mess with Chapel and T’Pring, which is played mostly for laughs. There’s been no serious romance/romantic tragedy so far. Now granted, the show has only produced 13 episodes, but by that point in TOS, nearly half the episodes had already featured some kind of romance (granted, one was McCoy with a salt vampire and another most of the crew was drunk). In TNG, most of the characters were given some kind of romantic storyline, even Wesley. DS9 began with Bashir courting Dax, but we had Miles and Keiko from the beginning, as well. Later, Sisko and Kassidy Yates, Bashir and Leeta, Rom and Leeta, Worf and Jadzia, Garak and Zeyal, Zek and Ishka, Kira and Odo, and even Winn and Dukat (blech!). Heck, even Quark had a couple of romantic moments! Voyager started with Neelix and Kes, moved on to Tom and B’Elanna, and ultimately to (blech, again!) Chakotay and Seven. But again, many of the Voyager characters got romantic episodes…even the Doctor!

          My point is that SNW needed a serious romantic episode, and maybe even one with a tragic ending. This story provided it. And remember that Star Trek has always been about the people, not just the events. A story should have some kind of an effect on a character. La’an opened up her heart for the first time ever, began to fall in love, and then lost that love. I would say she grew…although maybe two steps forward, one and a half steps back?

          Next up in responding to your points, the Romulan assured La’an (and her experience shifting into the alternate timeline proved it) that her time device would protect her from ending her existence by killing kid-Khan. The writers needed to (and did!) make it very clear that La’an had a free shot at saving millions without putting her own life in danger. But what kind of a reality would she be traveling back to? It was a no-win scenario.

          As for having a relationship between La’an and kid-Khan (other than the obvious), there just wasn’t time. Remember that the presence of Khan in the super-secret facility had to remain, well, super-secret! Those kids weren’t taken out on many field trips, I’d guess. But just looking at her experiences in Toronto–getting clothes, chess-hustling, staying in the hotel room, watching the bridge get bombed, investigating, chasing the perps, getting caught by the cops, being let go, traveling to Vermont, and coming back to find the super-secret facility–that was a LOT of shit to do! Adding in any scene with the kid and making it salient would have given away too much. Having it be subtle would eliminate it being salient enough to establish a relationship, as you suggest.

          I don’t mean the following to sound condescending and/or insulting (no, really, I don’t!), but if you’re not a writer, don’t assume that “a real writer could…” Sometimes you just can’t jump across the Grand Canyon. I know I often criticize the writers of Discovery and occasionally Picard. But I try not to set impossible tasks for them or expect them to simply “figure something out. When I say, for example, “They’re writing to the bests,” it simply means that they’re rushing the characters to the next major plot moment without giving the character(s) a chance to breathe or react emotionally to trauma. I’m not asking the writers to do anything more difficult than slow down the pace, even for a minute or two (the length of a single scene) to write a “moment” for the characters to process. That’s just the mark of good show writing, and it was certainly done in Picard’s third season…and Discovery is getting a wee bit better at it. But in the first two seasons of Discovery, writing to the beats was a huge problem, solved with elements taught in scriptwriting 101.

          Back in the late 1980s when I worked at a New York City advertising agency as a copywriting intern, my boss chastised me once for sitting in a meeting simply be critical and shooting down ideas without suggesting any of my own. Following that meeting, the team I’d been assigned to asked for me to be assigned elsewhere, but instead, my boss told me something I’ve never forgotten: “Jon, if you can’t think of a better specific suggestion, then you haven’t earned the right to criticize someone else’s idea.” It’s not an absolute rule. And I have, at times, been critical without pointing out a different/better solution…most specifically many years later when I became a creative director and needed to allow my team to ideate themselves without placing too many creative constraints on them. In other words, saying, “This suggestion from me is better than your idea…” just makes for angry and frustrated employees! Eventually, I learned ways to criticize that didn’t sound like criticisms, and ways to redirect without shooting down ideas. But I always knew in my mind and heart, before I spoke, whether I did, in fact, have a better solution in mind. And if I didn’t, I needed to ask myself, “Do I have a right, in this moment, to tell them their idea isn’t good enough?” Occasionally, the answer was no, and I would actually say nothing because, in that moment, theirs WAS the best idea. 🙂

          Anyway, I realize that I’ve just criticized you, JL, and I do apologize for that. I simply want to convey that writing decently is WAY harder than it looks, especially with a television franchise that carries a 57-year history with 850 hours where nearly every clever idea that you might come up with has probably already been done! So please cut the writers a little slack. Sure, if they blatantly screw something up, call them on it. But if you think there should be something-something that you can’t imagine yourself but a real writer could, well, since you’re not a real writer, maybe there isn’t. Just allow for the possibility that they did their best and the episode turned out quite decently.

  2. I caught quite a few Easter eggs in this episode, especially attached to the publicity photo that you used in this article. The one I’ll mention though is with the comment that Sera said regarding when she arrived in Toronto. The year was 1992 or ‘92. William Shatner is currently 92!

    1. But remember that, in “Space Seed,” Khan ruled a quarter of Earth from 1992-1996. So her mission was probably to kill Khan just before he grabbed power. I don’t think Shatner’s age had anything to do with it…specially since Shatner was just short of his 91st birthday when the episode was written and shot, and likely no one on the production team suspected the season wouldn’t air until nearly 16 months later!

  3. Here are several more items of interest to me. Kirk mentioned 2-d chess as “idiot’s chess.” One of the original series’ time traveling episodes (like you mentioned) was All Our Yesterdays. Those three words and “idiot,”as well as the episode title was referring to- Shakespeare’s Macbeth. As Leonardo da Vinci was famous for saying, “It’s all connected.” In addition, Kirk forcing the revolving door and entering it backwards is to me an Easter egg for him time traveling unwillingly (?).

  4. I absolutely *loved* the scene in the changing rooms with Kirk and La’an emerging wearing practically identical outfits.

    However, my one and only criticism of the episode (and it’s a tiny small wee one) was the absolutely *horrendous* Photoshop compositing job on the photo of young Khan’s schoolmates. A couple of the kids heads were quite out of proportion to their bodies.

    1. For anyone curious, here’s a still of the photo in question:


      I wonder if those heads were from photos of the children of some of the production team. It makes sense that they’d need to photoshop the photo to save money. Otherwise, they’d need to cast a half-dozen extras, get them into costumes and make-up, just to take the photo. Using an existing photo would require getting releases from the photographer and for all of the children pictured in it. Both would cost much more that finding someone’s old school photo, having production members or cast members bring their kids to work one day (obviously, all would sign releases), doing a green screen shoot, and photoshopping in the heads. But you’re right in that the photoshopping itself was rather slipshod. Not only is the sizing off, but three of the faces are super-sharp while the others are blurry.

  5. Ok, I surrender! Waving the white flag on all the timeless shinnanigans the writers can dream up. I’ll buy the Enterprise postulation you put forward, about the Cold Temporal War having various effects on multiple timelines. And I’ll even accept the various versions of Kirk. But, let’s see where you land after this week’s upcoming episode 4 airs. I’m curious to see if you & RMB gell or flip.

  6. Ok, grab a cola and Doritos as this is a deep dive into the instant that Kirk and La’an arrive in 2022 Toronto. That point in time is probably the most widely seen photo of the episode offered up to promote Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Paramount. It is the photo that is at the beginning of this article. It contains many Easter eggs. There are a lot and I don’t know if I got them all.

    Just as they arrive, Kirk taps repeatedly on the time travel device trying desperately to return to his future and his Enterprise. As he tapped away, I immediately recognized the seven-tap pattern. It was the quite famous “Shave and a Haircut” challenge sequence in pop culture. What was interesting to me was that Kirk also tapped out the “Two Bits” response and did it without any pause. He pounded it out on the time device several times. This complete code (it has its roots in International Morse code) has been used at the end of many things as a finale. Looney Tunes has too many to count.

    Although it only occurred to me after viewing the episode, it was a foreshadowing that Kirk wasn’t going “back to the future.” In the first Back to the Future film was Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd. Of course Christopher Lloyd also played a Klingon in Star Trek The Search for Spock. It is well known by Star Trek fans that Kirk stole his ship and used it in STIV to time travel and save the Earth.

    Although it was a Klingon Bird of Prey, we also saw a photo of a time traveling Bird of Prey (a Romulan one) in Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. In yet another connection, Christopher Lloyd played Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. To lure out Roger Rabbit, he uses the Shave and a Haircut challenge knocks until Roger can’t help himself. He breaks through a wall to complete it, shouting “Two Bits!!!” In this context, we might think of it as “Shave and a Hare Cut” lol. Like Leonardo da Vinci is famous for originating, “It’s all connected” or something similar.

    I hope that you haven’t run out of snacks yet because there is more. I had also noticed that while Kirk was tapping away, there was a “2247” on the nearby trash dumpster. The first thing of course was that 47 permeates Star Trek. While it is said that the 47 references began in TNG, I have noticed 47s before then. It appears in movies and series that preceded TNG. It is in some episodes of the original Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and more. I noticed it in the first televised episode The Man Trap. That was interesting to me because it was on an environmental suited crewman and it was recycled from an Outer Limits episode called Production and Decay of Strange Particles. What was interesting was that Leonard Nimoy has a small part in it.

    I digress. So what I now believe, that the Shave and a Haircut followed by Two Bits can be connected to the trash dumpster, prepare to go down more levels like in Inception.

    The full number 2247 is its own rabbit hole. Used as a stardate, I found some additional interesting things. First, 2247 is the birth year of Oriana. This character was in last season’s SNW episode of All Those Who Wander. This was another La’an centered episode that just happened to be released one day after this one, a year ago.

    More importantly though, although I have not read it, the novel The Janus Gate: Future Imperfect also had an alternate timeline where Kirk also died in 2247 (!). Thus, we have a three way foreshadowing of Kirk’s death with 2247, a trash dumpster, and a complete Shave and a Haircut code sequence. Just when I thought that this (Roger) rabbit hole was getting deep, it seems that Alice fell further towards the center of the Earth. Are you out of snacks yet?

    1. I am certain the writers carefully and meticulously worked through all of that during the week that they rushed to write up and tweak that script, Darell.

  7. Recently, several times I have quoted Kirk at the end of TWOK when McCoy asks “How do you feel?” as Kirk really meaning “Jung. I feel Jung.” 🙂

  8. My answer? It was inserted from the future of course. They have all the time that they need. 🙂

  9. Here’s another “gotcha” of this episode. How Does La’an recognize Toronto so easily and so quickly? It’s about a century in the past the city that they find themselves in, and unless I’m missing something La’an isn’t from “the 416” (or even close).

    Also, for non-Canadians, and those that have never visited Toronto, the bridge depicted in the episode–that appears to start and end nowhere (at least nowhere that isn’t Lake Ontario as witnessed by the skyline of T.O. through the arch of the bridge) is non-existent…at least in Toronto. My wife commented that the bridge bears a striking resemblance, if not actually is, to a bridge in Boston, Mass.; a different city, a state not a province (a much smaller state than province) and in a completely different country.

    1. Well, if you want to pick nits, then how did La’an know that the Romulan had had her features altered? In La’an’s time and reality, no one knew yet that Romulans looked like Vulcans! Kirk obviously would have, but I doubt the two of them had had enough time or occasion to discuss it…until it actually came up.


      1. Another wayward reply, apparently…

        When La’an & Kirk first meet their “wierdo friend” they are shown an image of a Romulan BoP; recognized by Kirk. He also mentions their involvement in the current situation in his universe. Similarly La’an is unaware of an incursion by Romulans in her timeline.

        So, when it becomes obvious that their “wierdo friend” isn’t so much a friend, it seems to me to be a logical conclusion that their now foe is Romulan despite her altered external appearance.

        It really isn’t that big a leap…it’s barely even a skip.

      1. It might be “time” to end this loop by mentioning the name of the first episode of this season. I don’t know if I need to type this once or three times for effect but here it goes. There does seem to be something magical with the number three. “The Broken Circle. The Broken Circle. The Broken Circle.” You’re welcome. 🙂 #threepips Also, I’m claiming synchronicity as this episode is production number 111.

          1. Oh, I don’t have a problem with calling Michael Keaton to appear as someday I’ll tell you that “Yeah, I’m Batman.” 🙂

  10. Seems my first comments on this episode got lost in the ether… and the second received the expected “proof of reality” e-mail that the first did not. Aw, well, these comments are lost to eternity.

    In, very short summary, I will say that for the vast majority of what you comment on in this post Jonathan (may I call you Jon?) I indeed agree with.

    ‘Nuf said…

    1. As I like to tell people who ask me, “Do you prefer Jon or Jonathan?” I will respond, “Usually Jonathan…unless I’m about to be run over, in which case, ‘Jon, watch out!” is fine.” 🙂

  11. That recognition is because of the earlier mention of Romulans when the three are looking at the image of the BoP. The rest was straight-forwars deduction after Kirk says the she is the time traveller they are seeking.

  12. Here’s a little nod to olddie-timey Trek folk… When Kirk goes to move the car take note of the “problems” he has initially…the jerking motions seem familiar?

    (P.S. Damn he learns how to stunt drive, let alone drive, REALLY fast!! )

    1. Here’s another interesting fact about Kirk and cars. Whether Kirk time-travels, he almost always nearly gets run over by a car. Not this time, though, but almost every other time.

  13. She saw the really big sign that included “Toronto” and when Kirk thinks that they are in NYC she points to it.

  14. I’ve had a couple of comments never get posted – I’m not sure why. The last one was to the first episode of this season. But I’m trying again:

    If the crazy car chase and the stupid mistake that assumed they could cross the Canada/US border with no documentation was eliminated it was a great episode. I’m too old and have seen too many chase scenes to get captivated by yet another impossible one. And the border issue could and should have been avoided.

    Finally, the conclusion to me asks for a treatment like the “Inner light” where later episodes acknowledges an earlier one.

  15. One more observation of mine on the episode. This is me having fun. My previous take on Kirk dying and saying that the dumpster with 2247 was one of several foreshadows of his later demise can be now modified by me, being reminded of the end of this classic music video. If we think of the character in this music video as the “alternate Kirk in the trash bin,” he is rescued from the trash bin in the music video by the girl. Appearing to be dead on the floor (like Kirk), the music video ends with him doing a reference to “Altered States” (!) and THAT character being rescued by yet another woman. Btw, that actor (Blair Brown) later played a character in Fringe, which also had an alternate world. Like I said before, just me having fun. The music video is one of my all time favorites. I hope it’s okay to post a link of it. I don’t think you missed my connecting “alternate Kirk and Altered States” https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914

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