Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Communications Officer Nyota Uhura was played by Nichelle Nichols when she first appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series. From the very first episode, Uhura is a member of the Enterprise bridge crew. Given that the Enterprise is the Federation’s flagship, Uhura’s presence on the bridge crew is meaningful.
Over the course of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, Uhura played a significant role. In the TAS episode “The Lorelei Signal,” Uhura even took command of the Enterprise after high-ranking officers were compromised.
Uhura went on to appear in the first six Star Trek movies featuring the original crew.
Strange New Worlds
In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, we get to see Uhura when she was a cadet, played by Celia Rose Gooding. At this point in her career, Uhura isn’t certain where she belongs. In “Children of the Comet,” she shares that she had intended to enroll at the University of Nairobi. However, when her parents died, she followed her grandmother’s legacy of enrolling in Starfleet.
Uhura reveals to Ortegas (Melissa Navia) that her father always said that she was unburdened by conversational boundaries. While this was no doubt meant to refer to social boundaries, we know it goes further than that. Uhura will be personally involved in communications with many new species and entities over the course of her Starfleet career.
In addition to being a linguistic expert, Uhura demonstrated her aptitude for other fields over the course of the first season of SNW. In “Memento Mori,” she worked closely with Hemmer (Bruce Horak) to solve an engineering issue. And in “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach,” we saw her perform deductions that would impress any Security Chief.
In the penultimate episode of the season, “Not All Who Wander,” the death of Hemmer helps her realize where she belongs. The title of the episode alludes to a quote from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: “Not all who wander are lost.” At the end of the episode, Uhura realizes that she is not lost. She has already found where she belongs: Starfleet.
The Real Deal
In Star Trek: Picard season two, a subtle background detail revealed an important epilogue for Uhura’s story. Thanks to some of the ship information recorded at Starfleet Academy, we learned more about Uhura’s fate. She will eventually be promoted to Captain of her own vessel.
But that’s not all: in addition to being Captain, a lower decker under Uhura’s command has quite a fate himself. When Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) first serves in Starfleet, it is under Captain Uhura on the starship Leondegrance.
Why She Matters
Why does Uhura matter? She shows that our human desire to connect can be helpful to humanity on a galactic scale. Even when she is uncertain whether she belongs in Starfleet, she gives her all to the team. And through her relationship with Hemmer, she learns that the joy of connection with others is inextricable from the pain of disconnection. However, the risk is worth the rewards we receive from reaching out to others.
So, be like Uhura. Don’t let anyone put any boundaries on your ability to connect with others. Ensure that you are as loyal to your team as your team is to you. And recognize that while you can’t stay connected to everyone forever, there will always be a new connection waiting to be made.
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