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Every Episode Of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Ranked

Starring Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, and Rebecca Romijn, "Strange New Worlds" is the 11th full "Star Trek" television series, launched in May 2022 to widespread acclaim. Praised for its return to classic "Star Trek" storytelling, it lived up to all of our hopes for the series with its upbeat and optimistic tone, its episodic missions, its compelling characters, and even a dose of light-hearted humor. It was everything critics of "Star Trek: Discovery" had been looking for, filling out a major gap in the audience of "Star Trek" fandom.

In fact, the only thing the first season of "Strange New Worlds" was missing was more episodes. With just 10 stories, it left fans begging for more when it came to its climactic, jaw-dropping conclusion in the epic time traveling finale. Packed with action, suspense, heart, and humor, critics and diehard Trekkies raved after every episode, with each story offering something new and different week to week.

Now that Season 1 has come to a close, we're taking a look back at every episode. From Pike's fears of the future and Number One's terrible secret to Dr. M'Benga's anguish and Spock's love problems, we've looked at them all. But which one is the best? Chart a course and prepare for warp, because we've ranked every episode of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" Season 1 from worst to best.

10. The Elysian Kingdom

"The Elysian Kingdom" may be the lowest-ranked episode on our list, but it's still a fantastic watch. If you're playing "Star Trek" bingo, this episode fills the "imagination come to life" square, following in the footsteps of classic episodes like the "TOS" entry "Shore Leave," "TNG" episode "Where No One Has Gone Before," "DS9" episode "If Wishes Were Horses," and "Voyager" episode "Persistence of Vision." In this installment, the crew gets swept up in the reality of a children's storybook, with M'Benga the only one who knows how to escape.

It begins with the doctor's daughter Rukiya, who suffers a debilitating disease, complaining that her storybook, "The Kingdom of Elysian," doesn't end the way she'd like. After surveying a nebula, M'Benga heads to the bridge only to discover that the Enterprise appears like a fantastical kingdom from the book. M'Benga is in the role of the king, Pike the court jester, Spock an ancient wizard, and La'An a spoiled princess — but only M'Benga seems to be aware that this is not the way that things should be. As his crewmates play out the adventure from his daughter's book, M'Benga must fulfill a magical quest to get to the end of the story and hopefully release the ship from what he learns is an alien entity controlling reality.

A light-hearted and whimsical tale, "The Elysian Kingdom" is a fun episode, allowing the cast to take on new and different roles. But what starts out as a light-hearted romp comes to a dramatic conclusion that resolves the season-long story of M'Benga's terminally ill daughter.

9. Ghosts of Illyria

Another "Star Trek" staple, "Ghosts of Illyria" is the classic virus-on-the-ship episode, but with the disease comes a compelling mystery that threatens to expose terrible secrets. The episode focuses mostly on Number One, a character who debuted in the franchise's very first pilot episode filmed in 1964, but who we still know very little about. The story sees the Enterprise visit an abandoned colony once inhabited by Illyrians, a race whose use of extensive genetic modifications makes them pariahs in the Federation, where eugenics and DNA re-sequencing have been banned.

Pike, Spock, and Number One lead an away team, though they find little evidence of what happened to the colony. When a violent storm sweeps in and Pike and Spock are stranded, Number One returns to the ship and accidentally brings a virus that quickly spreads. As the crew begins to suffer strange symptoms — becoming addicted to bright lights and suffering withdrawal symptoms in the dark — Number One is somehow immune. Meanwhile, on the planet, Pike and Spock fight to survive the storm and find evidence of what really happened to the Illyrians.

To stop the virus, and to save the Captain and Mr. Spock, Number One may have to risk everything. With a number of surprises, "Ghosts of Illyria" sets up several ongoing subplots that will carry through to the finale, and threaten to end the Starfleet career of more than one Enterprise crew member.

8. Strange New Worlds

The long-awaited premiere of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" was named after the series itself. It may not be the best episode of the season, but it starts out the new adventure on the right foot with a classic first-contact story that presents the crew with both a moral dilemma and an action-packed adventure all rolled into one. Picking up where we last saw him in "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 2, Captain Pike is on leave from Starfleet, still reeling from the vision of his future that he witnessed on the Klingon moon of Boreth and unsure if he wants to return to the Enterprise.

When Admiral April arrives with news that his first officer Una Chin-Riley went missing on a first-contact mission gone wrong, Pike shaves his beard and heads back into space aboard the newly refitted Enterprise NCC-1701. Arriving at the planet Kiley, however, Pike discovers that the civilization is not advanced enough to have been ready for first contact, and Spock deduces that the warp signature that Number One had detected was actually a devastating advanced weapon using warp-like technology. Now, Pike, Spock, and new security chief La'An must go down to the planet in disguise and rescue their comrade, but a stunning revelation about the origin of the Kiley weapon poses an impossible problem for Pike.

A return to classic "Star Trek," the premiere perfectly sets the pace for the series with an optimistic tone, a moral message, and a cast of compelling new characters.

7. The Serene Squall

"Big Sky" star Jesse James Keitel guest stars in "The Serene Squall" as Dr. Aspen, who runs emergency aid missions to colonists in need just outside of Federation space. She's come to ask for Pike and the Enterprise's help in fighting off a ruthless band of space pirates who've been jeopardizing her aid missions across the border. The pirates' ship, The Serene Squall, is apparently run by a vicious Orion leader who is not to be underestimated.

On their own outside Federation space, Pike takes the Enterprise crew to rescue what appears to be a group of stranded colonial ships. After transporting aboard one of the ships with Number One, La'An, and a security team, Pike is taken by surprise by the pirates, who've lured them into a trap. At the same time, back aboard the Enterprise, an enemy landing party has slipped aboard the ship during the transport window and successfully taken over the mighty flagship. As it turns out, the pirates don't want the colonists at all. Instead, their leader — none other than Captain Aspen — wants Mr. Spock to use as leverage against his betrothed T'Pring, who is holding a former lover at her Vulcan rehab facility.

Complete with a surprise twist at the halfway point and a shock ending reveal that will delight longtime fans, "The Serene Squall" is a tense thriller punctuated by pulse-pounding action. It's also a further examination of Spock and his struggle to accept his human half, and it continues the lovelorn Nurse Chapel's hopeless pursuit of the ship's emotionless and engaged science officer.

6. Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach

The season's 6th episode, "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" is the social commentary story of the year. Arriving at the planet Majalis for a routine cartographic survey, Cadet Uhura is on rotation with security chief La'An Noonien-Singh. The excitement starts when the ship receives a distress call from a non-Federation shuttle being chased by a massive star cruiser in orbit of the planet.

After fighting off the pursuing ship, the survivors from the shuttle are beamed aboard and we meet Alora, a woman who Pike had once been intimately involved with some years before. Now she comes to the Enterprise with a young boy and a surly man who claims to be his biological father. Alora tells Pike that the boy is royalty, a holy child who is critical to the planet's survival, and who is on his way to the planet to ascend to his rightful position as First Servant. Events have taken a dark turn with a rogue faction that seeks to assassinate the child and prevent his ascension. As Pike gets closer to Alora and Spock learns more about the First Servant, however, it becomes clear that not all is as it seems.

As pointed out by The Escapist, "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach" takes its cues from a story by legendary sci-fi luminary Ursula K. Le Guin and is loaded with political and social allegory that is anything but subtle.

5. Children of the Comet

When "Strange New Worlds" was first announced, the inclusion of Nyota Uhura was met with surprise. Depicted in the series as a young cadet assigned to the Enterprise, it will be nearly a decade before she serves under Captain James T. Kirk. Along with Mr. Spock, Dr. M'Benga, and Nurse Chapel, she was one of the few legacy regulars to make a return, and in "Children of the Comet" the fan-favorite future communications officer gets the spotlight for arguably the first time in "Star Trek" history.

In the episode, the Enterprise comes across a planet-killing comet that threatens to obliterate a nearby world populated by a primitive pre-warp civilization, who are both unaware and incapable of stopping the coming calamity. Looking to intervene and save the civilization, Pike sends a team led by Spock and Cadet Uhura — a natural linguist — inside the comet after detecting a chamber within that houses a mysterious ancient relic. But just as they begin deciphering a puzzle that could allow them to stop its destructive path, an alien vessel arrives. Its leader, who calls his people The Shepherds, claims that the comet is actually an instrument of divine will and that he can not allow Pike to interfere with its long-foretold journey, no matter who it may destroy. Now it's up to the young cadet to solve the riddle of the relic before it strikes the planet — and before The Shepherds can destroy the Enterprise.

A natural exploration of science vs. faith, "Children of the Comet" follows in the footsteps of many iconic "Star Trek" parables.

4. Spock Amok

Ahead of its premiere there was much talk that "Strange New Worlds" would embrace all kinds of stories, not just adventure and drama, but comedy as well, a hallmark of classic "Trek." The fifth episode of the series, "Spock Amok" was such an episode, but it was also a thematic prequel to the 1966 episode "Amok Time," the iconic episode that saw Kirk and Spock fight to the death on Vulcan for Spock's betrothed T'Pring. In this episode, we learn that T'Pring is an administrator at a Vulcan rehabilitation colony, and that Spock's life in Starfleet is causing their relationship to suffer.

During a layover at Starbase 1, T'Pring decides to take the time to visit her partner Mr. Spock. Together they take part in an ancient Vulcan ritual that will allow them to share their souls, if ever briefly, to bond more closely. But when the rite goes wrong, Spock and T'Pring get soul-swapped, and cannot return to their own bodies. And when Pike need's Spock's help to negotiate a delicate treaty with a potential Federation friend, T'Pring is forced to step in — in Spock's body — to prevent them from allying with the Klingons. 

Pure folly in farcical fashion, "Spock Amok" is classic "Star Trek" hijinks at its best, with strong laughs, clever reversals, and a much-needed deep dive into Spock's never-seen love life. It also features a side-splitting subplot that sees the ever-serious Number One and La'An trying to lighten up and enjoy themselves while the rest of the crew is on shore leave.

3. All Those Who Wander

"Star Trek" has never been afraid to explore different genres, whether it be romance, action, or mind-bending mystery. Horror stories have been no exception with some of the most terrifying episodes often becoming classics of the franchise. The penultimate episode of the first season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," the dramatic and harrowing tale "All Those Who Wander," may be destined to become another such fan favorite. Unapologetically inspired by big screen horror thrillers like "Alien," "Predator," and "The Thing," the episode traps the crew in a frozen derelict starship, fighting to stay alive against a blood-thirsty alien monster.

Receiving priority orders to divert to the location of a lost Starfleet ship, the U.S.S. Peregrine, Pike beams down with a small team including Spock, Uhura, Hemmer, and La'An to investigate the crash site on an inhospitable ice planet. Once inside the dead ship, they find two survivors, refugees picked up by the Peregrine: an unidentified alien and a young human girl. According to the captain's final log entry, a third refugee had been unknowingly carrying Gorn eggs within his body, once hatched, the reptilian hatchlings proceeded to kill the crew. 

But when the alien refugee too is discovered to be infested with Gorn young, and releases three hungry hatchlings, Pike and crew find themselves prey in a deadly struggle for dominance. A taut, gripping horror story, "All Those Who Wonder" dazzles with thrills, chills and blood-curdling scares, all culminating in the shocking death of a major character.

2. A Quality of Mercy

While every episode of "Strange New Worlds" Season 1 is a self-contained story, several ongoing plot threads are woven through. The biggest was Captain Pike dealing with the foreknowledge of a devastating accident years in the future that will leave him crippled and mute. In the season finale "A Quality of Mercy," Pike visits the Neutral Zone on a mission to resupply a Starfleet outpost when he comes face to face with one of the young cadets who he knows will die in the incident. Confronted with this harsh reality, Pike finally decides to take his destiny into his own hands.

But, when Captain Pike sets out to change his fate, he's visited by a future version of himself who warns him that trying to alter the future will have deadly consequences. To prove it, the future Admiral Pike sends him seven years forward into a parallel reality where the Enterprise must deal with a crisis on the Romulan border while the scales of war tip ever closer to disaster. In a stunning season finale, Pike lives out the events of the classic "The Original Series" episode "Balance of Terror," but in an alternate timeline where he is captain of the Enterprise.

The arrival of Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Farragut forces Pike to deal with his would-be successor, and if they're not careful, the Federation could be dragged into an endless interstellar war. A bold, daring episode that is jaw-dropping in its hubris, "A Quality of Mercy" soars thanks to its sharp script and the brilliant performances of its cast, including guest star Paul Wesley as the new James T. Kirk.

1. Memento Mori

A tale in the vein of "Star Trek" classics like "Disaster" and "Starship Down," the 7th episode of "Strange New Worlds" proved to be its best. It's a sort of submarine adventure, with a crippled Enterprise trying to survive an attack by a deadly Gorn warship. It features a deft mix of nail-biting suspense, high octane action, and serious character drama. Focused on new security chief La'An Noonien-Singh, we learn that in her youth she was held captive by the Gorn, and she still carries the emotional scars.

As the episode opens the crew is celebrating Starfleet Remembrance Day, and La'An is still struggling years later to deal with a deep personal loss. When the Enterprise comes to the aid of a ship in distress, they realize it's a trap set by the Gorn, a vicious alien race who attack without warning and leave the Enterprise without weapons, shields, or sensors. While Uhura and Hemmer are trapped in the cargo bay and forced to work together to repair critical systems that threaten to destroy the ship, Pike takes the Enterprise into a nearby nebula to hide. Now the crew must use their wits and will to outsmart the enemy and stay alive, but to do it, La'An may finally have to confront the ghosts of her past, including the brother who sacrificed himself so that she could live.

A remarkable episode with strong performances, clever beats, and plenty of high stakes drama, it showcases everything that makes "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" the best "Star Trek" series in decades.