Podcast: All Access Opens The Cage And Returns To Rigel VII With ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

All Access Star Trek podcast episode 146 - TrekMovie - Strange New Worlds, PIke in a cage with AA pod logo

[Review starts at 12:42]

Tony and Laurie round up the latest news: Star Trek: Prodigy‘s TCA nomination, the upcoming exit of most Star Trek content from Canada’s streaming network Crave, an exclusive clip from the docuseries Greatest Geek Year Ever: 1982, and Akiva Goldman’s explanation for moving the timeline of the Eugenics Wars.

Then it’s time for this week’s main topic: a review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ “Among the Lotus Eaters.” Tony and Laurie talk about the story’s premise, the connections to canon (and whether or not they’re needed), and have completely different takes on the punchy conclusion as well as Captain Pike’s burgeoning romance, although they both enjoyed Ortegas’ scenes as well as the episode’s main guest star, Reed Birney.

They wrap things up with a look at an incredible fan-written book recapping the oral history of the Battle of Wolf 359 and a review of Rainn Wilson’s new book Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution.


‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Nominated For TCA Award As Producers Fight For Show’s Future

Star Trek Shows Exiting Crave Streaming In Canada, Will Continue Broadcasting On CTV Sci-Fi

Exclusive Clip: William Shatner & Nicholas Meyer On ‘Star Trek II’ From ‘Greatest Geek Year Ever: 1982’ Docuseries

All Access Geeks Out With Inglorious Trekspert Mark Altman On His ‘1982’ Doc And ‘Fifty-Year Mission

‘Strange New Worlds’ Showrunner Explains Show’s “Correction” To Star Trek History

‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Solves Mystery Of World’s Biggest Art Heist

Star Trek 2009 teaser trailer with JFK speech

The Simpsons meme: Old man yells at cloud

Anson Mount Says ‘Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Will Explore The Limits Of Star Trek’s Idealism

Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Conundrum”

Memento tattoo scene

Eduardo Sánchez’s Star Trek parody film Star Trek: Demented (Part 1: Intro)

Albert Whitlock’s Rigel VII fortress matte painting for “The Cage”


Laurie: Wolf 359 Project on Twitter and We Have Engaged The Borg: The Oral History of the Battle of Wolf 359

Tony: Book Review: Rainn Wilson’s ‘Soul Boom’ Uses Star Trek To Inspire A Spiritual Revolution

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.

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I rewatched the Menagerie last night, and I must say the Kalar are still shopping at the same haberdashery but must now be studying under a new grammarian.

By the way, I love listening to these reviews every Friday. I share the concern that these new live action shows have a lot of plot holes and make changes I don’t always need, but they are still infinitely better than the JJ Trek movies. Life would’ve been fine without last week’s “ret-khan” but ultimately all is good. And I much prefer the AR wall to the old Planet Hell sets.

“…the Kalar are still shopping at the same haberdashery but must now be studying under a new grammarian” made me laugh out loud. Thanks for your nice comment about the podcast!

Another thoughtful exploration of this episode of SNW, Laurie and Tony, thanks! I would like to make a quick observation on only one of the many subjects you mentioned: Pike’s “inner demon” unleashed when stripped of his civilizing memories. As you noted, this theme recalls TOS’ “The Enemy Within.” That, in turn, as often written about since, was based on a Jewish understanding of human nature usually referred to in terms of an inclination toward evil and an inclination toward good. However, the “evil” inclination would be better translated as the ambition needed to survive and thrive. In “The Enemy Within,” the “good Kirk” is unable to make decisions because that inner drive to overcome and succeed has been removed from him. On the other hand, the “evil Kirk” has no concern except for his own pleasure and power. Both are necessary for him to be a whole human person, with the inclination toward the good channeling the energies of the inclination for survival into constructive purposes. Something similar happens with Pike in “Lotus Eaters.” Being shorn of his memories is effectively the same as losing full control of his innate inclination toward survival at all costs. It really doesn’t reflect Pike’s specific personhood or personality at all. In fact, if his violence was at least partially driven by wanting to save La’an, as well as himself, M’Benga, and the others, then one might say his essential orientation is toward the good.

It’s a very interesting and complex topic! Ended up having a big conversation about the theme (without the Star Trek stuff) with my husband last night, about that primal part of ourselves and how we have to accept that we get some of our strength from it. I was so turned off by the brutality that that’s what I was reacting to… maybe it would have been different for me if it was an actual fight for survival vs. just punching the crap out of someone, but these are all valid points (as were Tony’s). I am still thinking about it.

Very interesting. I think this show is doing a really good job of holding up a mirror to us, especially American culture. We see bigger and more grotesque examples of how barbaric humans are on a daily basis – whether it’s individual or state violence makes little difference. And the veneer of civilty covering this is being revealed. In this episode Pike is a perfect demonstration of this. We like to think we’re better than this but increasingly I doubt it.

I´m with Laurie on this one, I don´t care about the relationship between Pike and Batel. Oddly enough I cared more about La´An and Kirk last week and they only had one episode!
I hope this didn´t count as an “Ortegas episode” I want to learn more about her backstory.

Since you didn´t mention it, I assume there is no news about the strike ending any time soon?

Hi Emily, we are waiting to give strike updates until we see whether the actors go on strike or sign an agreement. We should have an update in our next episode!

With the writers still striking does it really make a difference?

It will have an impact one way or the other for sure.

SAG is preparing for a walkout, but negotiations continue. I’d think that because SAG and WGA have similar demands, that if SAG comes to an agreement, the WGA likely will, as well. But that’s just my opinion as an interested observer, and I could be wrong.

That’s what I have predicted l along, but I got crucified for it here simply because I said in an objective way instead of emotionally taking sides with the writers because of the group-think pressure here and all over the media.

I am ok with the Pike/Batel relationship. I like that Trek is exploring a Capt/Capt relationship and what that might mean not only for a (very-) long distance relationship, but how they might be able to use it to improve their individual captaincies (how they manage their crews and working relationships, etc.). It is something different for Trek relationships. As for the actors’ personal chemistry, that i am just OK with. Not amazing, not bad.

One thing, a la Laurie, that immediately kicks me out of each episode and makes me – literally – pause the episode to comment on, is what the heck is Batel’s actual job? In season 1 she is just a starfleet captain in command of a starship, suddenly for S2E2, she is a JAG officer with duties in court? Then here, she is both a JAG officer and the commanding officer of one of the (used to assumed to be) only 12 Connies in the fleet! So which is it, she has legal cases that she has to prepare for, investigators and staff she has to organize for court and the legal system in general, or she is off captaining a starship out of touch for months on end? I just don’t get it. At least in Measure of a Man they had an excuse for Riker to have to serve temporarily. But in this there was no reason to have to draw Batel into S2E2’s storyline – it didn’t even really play into the episode as there was no real tension with Pike or Una or the rest of the Enterprise crew because Batel isn’t part of their crew, she is just doing her job(s?).

And I too hope that this isn’t “the Ortegas” episode! I really want that one. Maybe it’s the one where she doesn’t crash the shuttle into the planet in the trailers.

As for this episode overall. I really liked it. I didn’t get caught up on the issues of how did they finally rescue La’an and M’Benga or anything. But I did wonder at the end about the sequence of events leading to Spock improvising a shield modulation to solve the radiation problem. Since he couldn’t even read how could he devise anything that complicated based on sensor readings he couldn’t decipher? (I think not being able to read was a questionable decision by the writers, but maybe necessary for the plot, as i don’t see how you can separate reading English from speaking English or Federation Standard; but maybe it was just that Spock could read Vulcan but not English?…maybe he fell back to speaking Vulcan without knowing it and the translators just did their job as normal so no one noticed.) I would have liked them to have shown Spock standing on the bridge at the end holding a Kalarian helmet at his side, having just taken it off, which Pike had brought up from the surface for the bridge crew. Would have been a funny image!

My understanding is that he devised the plan after they were free of the radiation field.

GREAT podcast as always!
1) In general, am OK with choosing emotional beats over plot consistency, but when the story is inconsistent within the established universe it is hard to have any stakes. Eg how did Pike hear the high pitch while still in the castle walls? How is it possible that he brought phaser rifles down to the surface originally given the Prime Directive, and if he did how could he have forgotten about them? (And why wasn’t he relieved of command for losing crew AND losing weapons?) and do those helmets the guards wear while watching the workers keep the radiation out? I mean this is tin foil on the head kind of thing. (how does breaking rock serve the castle?) Ortegas cannot remember how to read – learned and used her entire life, but CAN recall how to fly a starship and fire phasers…ok. Serving platters can now deflect phasers? How is reversing the effects of a natural moon collision not a violation of the Prime Directive? That is “solid” logic?
2) was really hoping the high pitch ringing was La’an having something awakened in her that a Kalar fight would bring out and she would Hulk out.
3) as an audience, I don’t think I had been shown so I didn’t feel any depth to Pike’s relationship with Batel to even root for it. So his drive to restore his memories seemed unearned. Kirk would have been driven and been brought back by his love and devotion to his ship and crew.
4) less “Enemy within” this was more of a Naked Time story mechanism to get at basic character motivations. Fine. But put some effort into the story consistency within the Star Trek universe. Otherwise it comes off as good idea- lazy writing.

I don’t disagree all that much with the Podcast concerning Pike, but I do which that this sort of journalistic criticism approach (which I like!) had been more applied to say the silly “Picard has a son” and “Picard’s and Son are estranged” and “Picard and Son have special Borg Powers” aspects of Pic S3. I mean, the stuff with Pike on this ep pales in terms of how silly and near-nonsensical all the “Picard’s son stuff” was in Pic S3, but I didn’t hear much criticism on the Podcast on that — it was more of a “free pass” for that series versus SNW because everyone was so happy the gang was back together.

I do feel like SNW S2 is getting a much harder hitting sort of commentary here than I saw the Podcast providing on Pic S3.

I do think I had a list of issues with many of the Picard episodes and story points. But yes.. Tony pointed that out on the podcast this week and I admitted I was inconsistent. He also compared the two and said they both take story shortcuts. But I definitely had issues with Beverly not telling Picard or anyone about her son (and I didn’t change my mind on that), questioned the way Picard could pass on Borg genes, etc. I had issues with how Shaw could’ve been a captain since he was so skittish, too. Spoke up when I hated things (like the de-aged scene with Riker & Picard, the depiction of Troi as naggy wife). There were definitely complaints.

We didn’t give it a free pass. You’re not wrong that I—I’m not going to speak for Tony—was gentler on Picard because I enjoyed it more. Season 2 of Picard did not get the same treatment, that’s for sure!

Fair enough! Thanks, Laurie — you always respond quickly and with details — keep doing what you are doing. :-)

PS: Regarding S2 of Picard, I would love to get that 8.5 hours of my life back. :-)

Your comment was totally fair! I’m just so happy that people listen and want to talk about the same things we discussed. A lot of thought and time and work goes into the podcast so the worst thing would be to get no responses at all. So very happy that some people like what we are doing and I’m happy to try to hash things out with people here because we all have such different opinions, and they’re all valid.

I’ll have to pay for Paramount Plus and currently don’t have to on Crave. How’s that better?

Great podcast as usual!

And yeah I have to go more with Laurie on this episode too. Not horrible but it just had soooo many problems and I agreed nearly all the complaints about it. But I notice Laurie is not in love with this show. Like it for sure but not infatuated with it the way she is with LDS and PRO. Anthony is a much bigger fan of it for sure.

While I am enjoying season 2 for the most part, it is feeling a big weaker out of the gate where as I felt LDS season 2 was much stronger in the beginning. But still a great show overall and it’s still tied with LDS for me…at least for now.

It’s true. I have to work a lot harder to like this show! I love the cast, which helps a lot, and I like that they want to have some fun, but I wish they’d break away from TOS more. It might be that my idea of what the show was going to be isn’t how it turned out and I’m still trying to reconcile that.. or that I’m just wincing in anticipation of more Gorn. (D’oh.) I am honestly and sincerely hoping 9 is a musical episode and looking forward to it, and I’m excited about the LDS crossover. Flat-out comedy is fine by me!

Even though I like the show more than you, I basically have the same struggles with the canon stuff too. But as I said in the past, I don’t rate the show lower because of those problems but it is a problem…or it was a problem? With the whole alternate timeline thing they seem to be suggesting now, who knows anymore lol. I guess we’ll see where it goes. I wish they would break away from TOS too and do more of their own thing but I always knew this was going to be in the cards unfortunately.

But yes, still 100% excited about the crossover episode and curious about the musical if that’s what it is. Still interesting they haven’t even acknowledged it at all. Now that they announced their presence at Comic Con, maybe we’ll get something about it then!

Oh and btw, I don’t know if you remember this but you asked me awhile ago about my thoughts on Foundation on AppleTV since you read the books. Sadly I didn’t come across your question until literally weeks later because I didn’t look at that board since you posted but responded to you. But in case you didn’t see it, I basically said it’s a really good show on it’s own, but it’s practically a different story away from the books which I read the original trilogy. They change so much of the plots, made some characters who were barely in the books more prominent while excluding others completely; at least in the first season. Other characters race and gender has been changed as well.

The story changes doesn’t really bother me personally and people have always said the original structure of the books made it difficult to adapt it into a live action version; especially for today’s audience. But of course many fans of the books are not happy about it lol. But I would definitely give season one a try at least and watch the first five episodes. I thought about this because I know season 2 starts next week.


Great Podcast as always!

I think we will see Prodigy eventually. I am sure they need to make up the money for any losses, so I bet we will get S2 on Pluto and on blu-ray. I am staying hopeful but understand that business is business.

I just watched a film in the theatre today about someone changing a timeline and not being able to fix it like it was before. Changes were made that cannot be undone, you can only get close to what was before. I thought of Akiva’s explanation while watching this movie. And the movie fits with his vision. I am still going with alternate universe created by the temporal cold wars. It puts Ent, SNW, and DISCO into an alternate timeline, while keeping TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY/PIC S1/3 in the prime universe and its history intact. ( Very nerdy stuff :) ) .

I agree with everything you said Laurie. You still manage to find enjoyment out of it. I had a hard time with it. I enjoyed S1. I thought the first six were good. They may not have re-invented the wheel, but they introduced us to some new aliens and worlds and gave us some interesting character moments. However, S2 is a mess. The plots make no sense. The relationships are juvenile. The cutting edge science fiction aspect is either hand waved by dialogue in a few lines or non-existent. And we punch our way out of difficulties now. I don’t recognize Gene’s vision anymore in this show. I do realize we all have our own interpretations and viewpoints, so this is mine and mine only. I hope that maybe it will get better, but at this point in the season, I am extremely doubtful.


After listening to this podcast and thinking about this episode, it would have been much better if the opening scene teaser was some kind of flashback to the first journey of four hours. This could have established Pike’s connection to the lost crew more effectively and perhaps even given us a hint of the mechanics of the memory loss, without revealing it yet. It’s never revealed why they were there for only four hours, lost crew and decided to leave. Not very Starfleet!

Great conversion as always, especially about such a mixed-up episode.

I was also thinking about a nice “Cage” flashback (which they did on Discovery once, I think), but I get why they couldn’t do it: The castle looked different, the Rigel VII inhabitants looked different, etc. I think it could have raised more questions than it answered.

As I said on the pod, I would’ve been fine with this whole story taking place somewhere other than Rigel VII. Pike’s guilt was pretty clear in this, but maybe when Number One was trying to soften the language around the crewmates who were lost on that first mission, Pike could’ve come out stronger on how they died and he felt it was his fault. Maybe that’s why the relationship talk right after that briefing session didn’t really connect for me. Interesting idea, though! And I can buy that in earlier Starfleet days, they didn’t have the same established mission protocols they have now. I wish they’d lean into that a little more.