Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) visits the USS Enterprise in the highly anticipated Star Trek: Strange New Worlds crossover, “Those Old Scientists.” The episode, which everyone will be talking about (indefinitely), was written by Kathryn Lyn & Bill Wolkoff and directed by Jonathan Frakes.
Ensign Boimler’s Log, Stardate 58460.1 (between the Stardates of the Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 episode 5 “Reflections” and episode 9 “Trusted Sources“). The USS Cerritos arrives at Kruulmuth B, the location of the Kruulmuth B Portal. Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) wonders how Boimler can be so excited about the portal. Boimler explains the portal was discovered by Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and the rest of the Enterprise crew. Mariner is unimpressed. The portal has been inactive for 120 years.
Boimler says this is as close as they’ll get to Spock (Ethan Peck), Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn), and Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding). Mariner concedes Uhura was cool, but says it’s because she had a life outside of work, recommending it to Boimler. Ensigns D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) and Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) arrive and share Boimler’s enthusiasm. Mariner reveals Commander Jack Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) placed her in charge of the mission.
Beta Shift beams down to the portal and approaches it for scanning. Tendi tells Boimler the portal was actually discovered by an Orion science vessel. Boimler insists it was discovered by the Enterprise. Tendi says her great-grandmother was on the ship that discovered it. Boimler asks if Orions were even doing science back then, offending Tendi. As she walks away, Mariner tells Boimler, “I know what Starfleet tells us and I know you know everything about everything but let’s maybe listen to Tendi on this one.”
Gonna Go Back in Time
Rutherford’s scan reveals Hironium in the portal. Boiler notes Hironium was used in the hull of the NX-01 Enterprise. Mariner says they were all there for “that fun time at the Starship History Museum.” She further questions why Boimler doesn’t live in the moment. Boimler stands in front of the portal and does a Spock impression. Rutherford tells Boimler to pose for a holo-image. But taking the image causes the portal to activate, and Boimler falls through it.
On the other side, he lands (in live action) at the feet of Number One, Spock, and La’An Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong). He comments that they look very realistic before passing out. An animated version of the SNW theme song (in which that alien from the LD theme song sucks the Enterprise’s nacelles instead of the Cerritos’ and the Cosmic Koala makes an appearance) ensues.
Aboard the Enterprise, Pike’s records a Captain’s Log for Stardate 2291.6. Pike recounts that en route to deliver grain to a colony, they encountered a time traveler. In an Enterprise hallway, Una explains to Pike and La’An that Boimler’s badge is also a communicator. They arrive at Sickbay, where Doctor Joseph M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) is administering care to Boimler. Upon awakening, Boimler says, “Computer, end program.” However, this is no holodeck simulation.
Boimler realizes he’s traveled back in time. Pike reveals they already ascertained this. Una gives Boimler his badge back. Boimler freaks out at her presence. After Boimler leaves Sickbay, Una says she hopes he doesn’t know something horrible about her future.
Yesterday and Yesterday and Yesterday
In the Enterprise hall, Boimler geeks out over, well, everything. La’An reviews Temporal Protocols with him. “One: no interfering with past events. Two: no sharing knowledge of the future.” Boimler says it won’t happen again: “Worf’s honor – dang it!” La’An concludes with “don’t make any attachments.” Boimler says he isn’t familiar with that one. La’An reveals it’s her advice based on “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.” She cautions him that a small change in the past could erase his future.
Ensign Boimler’s Log, Stardate: the past. In the ready room, Boimler Rikers the displayed saddle. Uhura questions Boimler’s behavior. Boimler observes that Mariner would be freaking out right now. He further observes that she is “so work-focused.” Boimler is ordered to return to the transporter room so as to be returned to the portal.
On the surface, Boimler stares at M’Benga and Spock. He geeks out over the TS-120 Tricorder M’Benga is using. Spock asks him to recount the portal’s initial activation. Boimler recounts Rutherford detecting the Hironium and taking the holo-image. He says the radioisotopes seemed to activate the portal and calls it “dumb luck.” Spock laughs at the phrase, causing Boimler to freak out.
The landing party is recalled to the Enterprise as an Orion vessel approaches. Lieutenant Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia) and the rest of the crew assume this means pirates. Scans indicate the Orion ship’s shields are down and weapons inactive. However, La’An points out that some Orion ships are designed to fool sensors. Boimler arrives on the bridge and geeks out some more.
The Other Scientists
Pike orders Boimler to stand near Ortegas. Boimler immediately begins commenting on the ship and Orion situation and sharing personal anecdotes. Pike orders La’An to prepare a full torpedo spread “in case.” Knowing Tendi’s great-grandmother is on the ship, Boimler freaks out. Boimler says it’s a science vessel. Pike asks if Orion even have science vessels. Boimler notes that that’s considered offensive when he comes from. Una says there have been many reports of Orion piracy in the area. Boimler hints that he knows it’s a peaceful vessel. Pike warns him not to share future knowledge.
The Orion Captain Harr Karas (Greg Bryk) of the Orion science vessel D’ar contacts the Enterprise. Pike explains the Enterprise came to the sector to aid a Federation colony and brings up the piracy reports. Karas notes that it is unfortunate that Orion pirates give “the rest of us a bad name.” Karas asks what they were doing on Kruulmuth B. Scanners reveal the ship has beamed up the portal. Before further action can be taken, the Orion ship jumps to warp.
In the Enterprise ready room, Pike tells Una that he might have made a mistake. He says he shouldn’t have listened to Boimler, but it’s rare to have someone on the ship who is “such a fan.” Una notes Boimler treats them both very differently. Pike says Boimler’s excitement helped him feel like his future wasn’t so bad. However, Pike is concerned about the effect Boimler may be having on the timeline.
Meanwhile, Boimler picks up a retro PADD in the lounge. Ortegas and Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) arrive and begin to hassle him. Nevertheless, Boimler manages to reveal more future information: Pike’s birthday is a holiday in the future (and it’s on Friday). Chapel excuses herself and approaches Spock, who smiles at her. Boimler freaks out.
In the hallway, Boimler runs to catch up with Chapel. He follows her into a turbolift and says where he comes from Spock is known for not joking, laughing, or smiling. He continues, “That Spock goes on to do really important things that I very much need to have not messed up.” Boimler wants to know if making Spock laugh was a butterfly effect incident that might have changed the future. Chapel says Spock’s emotional journey began before Boimler arrived. Boimler wonders if he’s just going through a “phase” and will return to the Spock he knows soon. This naturally upsets Chapel, although she assures him it’s fine. “I never assumed I would get to influence him forever anyway,” she says. Boimler says maybe he should get off the ship before he messes up the timeline and departs from the turbolift.
On the bridge, Spock tells Pike, La’An, and Una that they can’t track the Orion vessel. Boimler knows how thanks to his future knowledge. Everyone turns around so they don’t see how Boimler accomplishes this. After they’ve traveled in pursuit, Pike reminds them their top priority is recovering the portal and returning Boimler to the future. Boimler insists that they must not harm any of the Orion scientists, revealing one of his friends is Orion. The Orion ship powers up warp. The Enterprise powers up weapons.
Cali Class Ensign(s)
Pike contacts Karas. He says they may have accidentally beamed up the portal and they need it back. Karas asks if it’s a threat. Pike says it’s a request. Karas says it’s hard to talk with their weapons aimed at them. Pike orders La’An to stand down phasers. Boimler asks Spock to tell Pike the Orions want to trade, as a sign of respect. Pike can hear him. Karas reopens comms and says giving them the grain the Enterprise is carrying would be persuasive. Pike makes the deal.
Back on Kruulmuth B with the returned portal, Spock’s scan reveals the portal has been nearly depleted of Hironium. The amount remaining can only support a single trip. Boimler wishes them a warm goodbye. The portal activates and Boimler approaches it. He pauses to give one last look at Pike, Spock, and La’An. But before Boimler can enter, Mariner falls through the portal and lands on top of him. Boimler asks what she’s doing there and she says saving him. Then she realizes she has time traveled and immediately asks about Uhura. She continues to geek out as Pike contacts the Enterprise and orders five to beam up.
Captain’s Log, supplemental. Pike says that two time travelers is “a lot.” In the ready room, Boimler and Mariner argue over her following Boimler through the portal. Mariner says for all she knew Boimler was “dead, or stuck in a dystopian San Francisco in the middle of a riot.” Una and Spock observe that their references are “weirdly specific.” Mariner moves on to thirsting over Spock.
Time for the Stakes
The pair of Beta Shifters join Pike, Spock, La’An and Una at the ready room table. Mariner has depleted the portal’s supply of Hironium. Furthermore, there is no other source of Hironium anywhere in the quadrant. Mariner asks if they can’t just cook some up. Spock notes they could, but it comes with the risk of blowing up the entire ship. Una notes Uhura is working on a translation of the portal, and Mariner requests to assist. Pike allows this because “how much more damage could [she] do at this point.” Meanwhile, Mariner gets Boimler the chance to work with Spock. As he agrees, Spock jokes and smiles. Mariner is disturbed by this but Boimler tells her to “just go with it.”
In the hallway, Boimler tells Mariner he already worked with Spock and it didn’t go well. Mariner hopes Boimler didn’t ask Spock about his pet sehlat and chides him for being “such a fanboy.” Boimler says he thought being here would be perfect but now just wants to avoid being stuck there. He further states he joined Starfleet to be a part of history, but if they can’t get back home they’ll have to go off the grid to avoid affecting history at all. Mariner is not a fan of this possibility.
Boimler flees when Una approaches. Mariner explains Boimler is just freaked out because he has a poster of Una in his bunk (seen for a split second in the cold open). Una asks if it’s a pin-up poster. Mariner says it’s a poster that’s pinned up. Based on Una’s reaction, Mariner asks if they’re both discussing the same thing. Una says she doesn’t want to know.
In Uhura’s quarters, it’s Mariner’s turn to fangirl. She admires Uhura’s competency, paired with her unflappable attitude and the ability to have fun. Uhura says she’s only 22. The pressure of the expectations are a lot to live up to. Mariner interrupts her and says it’s time for a break. In the lounge, Mariner makes herself, Uhura and Ortegas improvised Orion Hurricanes (due to the lack of Orion Delox).
Ortegas says Mariner is a good bad influence. However, Uhura is clandestinely researching translation on her PADD (including “Bajoran” and “Cardassian”). Ortegas finally convinces her to take a break. But when Uhura puts down her PADD to pick up her drink, Ortegas identifies the writing as Nauusian (thanks, Starbase Earhart).
Elsewhere, Spock and Boimler are attempting to synthesize Hironium. Spock discusses Boimler’s reaction to Spock’s personality. He surmises that something must be off when compared to his future self. Boimler says the universe needs “Vulcan Spock.” Spock states that he must stay true to the path he has chosen himself, or it could amount to an alteration to the timeline. However, the synthesizing Hironium has now reached a 50% chance of exploding. Spock asks Boimler if he feels lucky. Boimler says, “Not at all.” The experiment begins sparking. Boimler screams. Spock advises him to seek cover. They duck behind a pillar to avoid the ensuing explosion.
Once Upon a Time
Soon, a dejected Boimler is joined by Pelia (Carol Kane) in Engineering. Boimler asks about the colony to which the Enterprise was bringing grain. Pelia says they’re working on relocating the colonists. Boimler wonders how he can fix everything he screwed up. Pelia says most heroes she’s seen over her several-thousand-year life have just been pretended half the time. “There’s this one guy I remember,* he said to me: ‘I always pretended to be someone I wanted to be, until finally I became that someone, or he became me.’” (*Cary Grant)
In the Enterprise shuttle bay, Boimler boards a shuttle. A POV shot reveals the presence of Mariner. She says Uhura translated the writing on the portal. Unfortunately, all it says is, “This is a time portal.” The pair of Beta Shifters agree the era is weird (everyone talks slow and quiet). Boimler has resolved to trade the portal back to the Orions for the grain so as to return it to the colonists. Mariner asks about the fact that causality suggests the portal must remain on Kruulmuth B.
Boimler says he’s done worrying about the future and wants to help people now. He’s using the shuttle comm array to contact the Orions. Mariner says he needs help from someone who never gets caught breaking protocol and begins to help. But they are immediately apprehended by La’An.
One Year Older
In Pike’s quarters soon thereafter, Pike asks La’An for a moment alone with the Beta Shifters. Mariner reveals Boimler dressed as Pike for Halloween. Pike asks Boimler to please stop encouraging his crew to throw him a surprise party. Boimler hints at Pike’s future. Pike reveals he already knows what’s going to happen, but says that isn’t his motivation. Instead, his aversion to the party comes from the fact that this will be the first birthday he will be older than his late father, with whom he had a bad relationship. His plan is to drink a bottle of whiskey in a secluded location and have the conversation he never could with his father.
Boimler is sorry about Pike’s dad but wonders if he isn’t around anymore, how many of the crew members would wish they had one more day with him. Pike says he’s tried imagining how the Beta Shifters would feel by imagining if he visited Archer’s NX-01 Enterprise. This causes Boimler to have a revelation.
In the lounge, Boimler and Mariner stand while Pike, Spock, La’An, Ortegas, and Una sit and listen. The Beta Shifters recount their visit to the NX-01 at the Starfleet Museum, where they learned it has Hironium in its hull. Furthermore, per tradition, part of Archer’s Enterprise was included in the construction of the current Enterprise. It is Mariner, not Boimler, who recalls the location within the ship. “It is surprising because she normally does not pay attention,” Spock observes.
Those Orion Scientists
In Engineering (and over Pelia’s protests) Uhura and Ortegas move a piece of the floor so Spock can pull the Hironium part from within the ship. As they replace the floor, they geek out about Travis Mayweather (first pilot of the NX-01) and Hoshi Sato (Uhura wrote 3 papers about her at Starfleet Academy). Uhura and Ortegas wonder if they sound like the Beta Shifters and Spock states, “Indeed. It is exhausting.”
In the transporter bay, Mariner tells Una she may have given her the wrong impression. In the future, Una is the poster girl/woman for Starfleet. “Ad Astra per Aspera ” becomes a recruitment poster slogan, one which inspired Boimler to join. Una chides them for disregarding temporal protocols but she thanks them anyway. The Beta Shifters get on the transporter pad with Pike and La’An. Spock tells Boimler to “live long and prosper,” and Boimler stammers through a response as they beam down.
But when the landing party arrives at the portal, they find a trio of Orions (including Captain Karas). Pike says the message soliciting the trade was a mistake. Karas says he doesn’t like having his time wasted. Boimler and Mariner claim responsibility. Pike reveals it’s a time portal and the Beta Shifters are from the future.
Those Animated Scientists
Boimler says they’re trying to return to a future where it’s considered offensive to assume an Orion is a pirate. Mariner reveals one of their best friends in Starfleet is an Orion scientist who is also known as “Mistress of the Winter Constellations.” Karas recognizes the name. Boimler says her great-grandmother is on his ship. Dumbfounded, Karas says there is a Astria Tendi on her ship. He asks how they know that and they say they’re time travelers. Pike says that if Karas lets them use the portal, then as far as history is concerned, it was discovered by Orion scientists. Karas says that’s all he ever wanted.
The portal activates and the Beta Shifters approach. Both Rutherford and Tendi can be heard on the other side. Mariner and Boimler enter the portal and return to their time. Rutherford says, “They seem nice.” Boimler tells Tendi she was right about the portal being discovered by Orion and Tendi says she knows. But she wonders how Mariner and Boimler know her grandmother’s name. Back on Deck 12 of the Cerritos, Mariner asks about Ransom’s “TOS” (“Those Old Scientists”) acronym. Then Ransom arrives and spots Boimler’s Una poster. “Hottest First Officer in Starfleet history,” he says before giving Boimler a high five. Then he reveals Mariner took the portal mission from cadets because she knew Boimler would enjoy it.
Then (or rather, about 120 years earlier), on an animated Enterprise, Pike, Una, Spock, La’An, M’Benga, Ortegas, Chapel and Uhura enjoy Orion Hurricanes made with liquor from Karas. After the crew observes that things look different, M’Benga screams, “What the hell is in these things?”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds usually streams new episodes every Thursday on Paramount+.
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