With new episodes of five different Star Trek shows, to say 2022 was a good year for Trekkies is an extreme understatement. With the debut of a new episodic series, the continuation of two ongoing animated shows, and the return of two serialized ongoing live action shows, there was no shortage of Boldly Going this year, no matter where your Trek sensibilities may lie.
Here are Geek Girl Authority’s 11 best Star Trek episodes of 2022!
Coming Home – Discovery
After successfully protecting the Alpha Quadrant from the threat of the DMA, Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the rest of the Discovery crew got to return to their home planet. As Earth rejoined the Federation, we finally met the United Earth President (Stacey Abrams).
Preludes – Prodigy
In “Preludes,” a Canterbury Tales-style anthology Star Trek: Prodigy episode, the supporting crew of the Protostar share their backstories. This gives Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui), Zero (Angus Imrie), and Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas) the opportunity to deliver stellar turns as their respective characters.
Meanwhile, The Diviner (John Noble) has a conversation with The Vindicator (Jameela Jamil) that reveals more about the fate of Captain Chakotay (Robert Beltran). This twist of temporal perspective gives another level of meaning to the episode’s title. Elsewhere, Vice Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) has a revelation. Like the rest of Prodigy, these stories are more complicated than they might at first seem.
The Serene Squall – Strange New Worlds
One of the best parts about an episodic series like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is the opportunity to bring in scene-stealing guest stars. In “The Serene Squall,” SNW did just this with Captain Angel (Jesse James Keitel).
In addition to incredible chemistry with Spock (Ethan Peck), Angel also has a connection to Sybok. Hopefully, this means we’ll see more of the character in future episodes.
The Stars at Night – Lower Decks
In last year’s Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2 finale, “First First Contact,” Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) declares that she’s “a Kirk.” In the season 3 finale, “The Stars at Night,” she proves the validity of this statement, if only to those of us beyond the fourth wall. Arriving with a fleet at the eleventh hour, Mariner’s actions in this episode echo those undertaken by Captain Kirk (Paul Wesley) in the season 1 finale of SNW, “A Quality of Mercy.”
While her peers may not realize it, this proves to the audience that Kirk and Mariner are of a kind. In a different reality, they might have called one another “friend.” Meta Star Trek at its finest.
Monsters – Picard
Technically, Star Trek: Picard‘s “Monsters” is a retcon, adding foundational context to the long-unrevealed backstory of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). However the heartbreaking repressed trauma seems to inform every chapter of Picard’s story so well, right down to the way he shatters the glass above his little toy ships in Star Trek: First Contact, you’d think this was all in the show Bible from day one.
In addition to amazing performances by Stewart and Orla Brady (Tallinn), guest stars James Callis and Madeline Wise portray the complex characters of Picards’ parents.
Memento Mori – Strange New Worlds
There’s a difference between surviving and living. But in the fourth episode of SNW, “Memento Mori,” La’An Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) demonstrated that you have to do one in order to achieve the other.
This episode is designed like a “submarine movie” and fueled by incredible performances (shout out to Melissa Navia as Erica Ortegas) and a Wrath of Khan-inspired score by Nami Melumad. A perfectly constructed sci-fi thriller.
Rosetta – Discovery
In the fourth season of Discovery, the crew of the titular ship made First Contact with Species Ten-C. This was a far more complicated proposition than it might at first seem, thanks in part to the difficulty in communicating with a species from beyond the Galactic Barrier.
In “Rosetta,” the science fiction elements of the season’s serialized xenobiology storyline are foregrounded as an away team, led by Captain Burnham, investigates evidence left behind by the enigmatic extraterrestrials.
Assimilation – Picard
In “Assimilation,” directed by Trekkie Lea Thompson, Picard’s crew enlists the assistance of the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) to travel back to 2024 Los Angeles. There are plenty of visual references to previous Trek time travel tales, especially Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and incredible Borg imagery, rivaling the Queen in First Contact.
This episode also includes the foundation for the assimilation of Anges Jurati (Alison Pill). Plus, you just can’t beat the montage to a cover of “California Dreamin'” that culminates in the single funniest transporter accident in Starfleet history. Look at it this way, Rios (Santiago Cabrera) – the love of your life is just on the other side of those injuries.
All the World’s a Stage – Prodigy
Whatever happened to Ensign Garrovick (from TOS season 2’s “Obsession”)? How about the Enterprise shuttlecraft Galileo? These questions are answered in a standout episode of Prodigy that helps Captain Dal R’el (Brett Gray) crew better understand what Starfleet is really all about.
This episode also features a guest appearance by Fred Tatasciore as Ensign “En Son” Garrovick. Elsewhere he may play bridge crew member Lt. Shax, but Tatasciore always has been – and always shall be – Lower Decks.
Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus – Lower Decks
Devastated by the unexpected and untimely death of his identical transporter clone William, Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) faces his own mortality in a holodeck sequel to Mariner’s season 1 “therapy” movie, “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus.” Meanwhile, the power of representation reveals to Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) that she’s destined to go where no Orion has gone before: a Starfleet Captain’s chair. Elsewhere, the Cerritos computer struggles to interpolate incredible data points like the smiling transdimensional Koala and Minooki the ancient mask into its programming.
All this is set against an extended riff on the content and production of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, written and directed by William Shatner. But that only serves to subvert your expectations for a scene-stealing cameo by Captain Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), who delivers a legitimately meaningful reflection on the relationship between life and death. Plus, Stevens leans on the warp core twice in one day.
Strange New Worlds – Strange New Worlds
The series premiere of SNW could have easily collapsed under the weight of the many expectations placed upon it. Instead, it soared above and beyond. “Strange New Worlds” isn’t just a great introduction to the series, but a standalone story worthy of the show’s episodic mission statement. Plus, it foregrounds important Trek themes like self-determination and empathy. And has any single shot this year been as breathtaking as Pike’s Enterprise appearing in the sky above Kiley 279?
Using The Day the Earth Stood Still as a keystone text, “Strange New Worlds” gave Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) the chance to win over new viewers the way he won over Captain Burnham in the second season of Discovery. In addition to introducing the rest of the crew, this episode delivers action in the moment but leaves you thinking about its cerebral themes long after the credits roll.
All of these episodes of Star Trek are available to stream on Paramount Plus.
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