2.08 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Under the Cloak of War


weaver of the unseen
Aug 21, 2007

Captain Pike and his crew welcome a Klingon defector aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, but his presence triggers the revelation of some shocking secrets.
IMDB score: 8.6 Runtime: 52 minutes
So, the number two. The second episode I'm reviewing today.

Let's see how it develops, because I'm anxious to see the old ridgeheads again ...

38 seconds in, and we get Discovery Klingon's mixed in the Strange New Worlds settings. Why didn't we get the Empress reference in the earlier Mirror Universe episode? We literally had to figure out ourselves that it was the one, and then the producer had to come out to voice it as well.

I stopped watching STD when they jumped into the future. It just didn't set well with me and most notably I didn't really liked their Klingon's but understand that it part of the canon and therefore, it cannot be removed.

Just please Paramount, don't bring the Kelvin timeline in the Strange New Worlds. Please.


Pike narrated, "Our esteemed (diplomatic) guest is a Klingon. Specifically, a former general who defected on our side." And that turned out to be a Ninja Master, with proper ridges and a beard.

I'm satisfied. Especially as Pike also referenced the Klingon war and some of his crew being veterans. It's just the veterans know what they fought for and that there cannot be hate forever. It's easier to live without grudges then with them.

Ambassador Rah was delighted for Pike to roll out "red carpet," but he wasn't happy to take the tour with the veterans. Instead, he wanted captain to do it, which in normal circumstances would be happening anyway, because licking the diplomatic bottom is captain's duty. Especially for the one that runs the flagship.

It's just the way things are, but in the meantime La'An in charge of the bridge went to mouth about her ill feeling to Uhura. Almost as if she cannot find forgiveness in her heart as the moaning got louder and louder when the ambo walked on the bridge. With senior officers.

Rah said nothing for La'An shouting his title, "The Butcher of J'Gal." He just smiled and paid compliments to the captain for the design, before he walked to the lieutenant and said, "It's a beautiful ship, and I'm sure it's on good hands."

Pike's face was gorgeous, 'I'm going to kill you, if you don't shut your mouth and behave.'

Then the ambo walked into the bar to meet the Vulcan science officer in a task "to create a known beverage," before Spock claimed that he was interested to know more about the Klingon race. The ambo smiled and said, "There's nothing to admire. They're a warmongering race limited by ideology."

The problem was that Rah had alienated himself from the Klingon culture, most probably because it was what he needed to do in order to defect. He had to hate the culture to abandon it.

Speaking of it, the doc couldn't hide his hatred when the ambo walked into his facility to get his hand regenerated after he burned it on Spock's creation. The doc went straight into the PTSD land, having the demons of his mind to create the pains of war. Almost immediately.

Maybe it's a good thing that there's no phasers stored in the med deck.


A flashback with a doc and nurse running an op. But before that look at the picture and tell me how is that big watery planet not getting affected by having some many gravitational bodies in its space? I mean just look at the ringed gas giant right next to it.

To my mind that's only possible in fantasy and ST isn't that. It's SF.

Nurse Chapel was following orders and reported at J'Gal base only to hear that she'd been promoted to be the head nurse. It didn't make her to smile, considering the circumstances. But it was the right thing for her to do so that she could meet Doctor M'Benga.

The problem was that Pike had received orders, which told him that all veterans should interact with the ambo. Neither doc nor the sister could say no, because the orders had come down from Admiralty.

So essentially the problem, especially for the doc was how to face the demons, while he's still going through the PTSDs. However doc was better person and he knew that there was only one way. Knowing from my personal experience, you can do it, to a point, and then one day there's a point where you say no.

It was helpful that the flashback explained that before doc took his profession, he was a human ninja master with "the most hand-to-hand kills" in the record. Since he'd been transferred to the moon base, he'd been acting peacefully.

The thing with the PTSD's is that there are layers of them, and it's a right thing for them to show it, as not only he experienced in the horrors in the surgical theatre, he was also out there taking lives. They also gave an explanation for the doc superpowers, as back in his fighter days, he'd invented a combat chemical that enhanced his performance.

It was La'An who couldn't keep her mouth shut at the formal dinner after party. The demons sitting on her shoulder just got the better of her, and she offended the former general, who surprisingly took it with a smile. As she marched out and Chapel went after her, the next one was the doc. Except the former general couldn't let him just walk out as he wanted to engage a full contact duel with the doc.

Why does the Ninja Masters like to live dangerously?


I had an earlier shot from this same practice room and I wondered about the Klingon weapons. This episode gave the answer for why we are seeing them in Pike's Enterprise.

The problem with the fight was that doc was holding back. I don't think he engaged fully, as the general kept babbling about his conferences. To my eyes, the doc was settled more with the peace than the former general.

The most amazing thing that came out from their conversation was the hint that the general got offended by the slaughter, and he fought his own men to stop the battle. After that, the doc let off some steam and showed the ambo who's got the power. But that damage had been done without neither one of them drawing blood, as the doc was reminded of his worst times.

Una sensing the low moral asked Captain to cut ambo's time on aboard short, which he agreed. The ambassador however wasn't happy was he wanted to have more time with the man who hated his guts. All so that he could heal.

Only doc wasn't prepared to let his demons go. The reason was that he went to battlefield, did his thing and became the Butcher of J'Gal. Rah hearing that claimed that doc had made him a saint. All that he'd become was a false idol.

The former general pushed the doc's trigger button even tough M'Benga begged him to leave him alone. And he continued doing so when the doc opened his war chest that held the Butcher's knife. Psykos keep trophies and the method is usually the same. And if you've been watching the Criminal Minds, you know what happens when the trigger point it crossed.


Ambassador's Darwin Award. Chapel tried to talk sense to Pike, but there was not much that captain could do to save his medical officer. The deed had been done and doc told that he didn't start the fight.

Doc accepted his fate. Gladly. He was at last in peace.
So, SNW does MASH now! And a backstory for M'Benga.

I'm glad to see that they have finally fully embraced the fact the Starfleet is actually a military navy and not just some diplomatic peacekeeping science and discovery force. In the past, they have glossed over some of the many wars, except for DS9.

Rah said nothing for La'An shouting his title, "The Butcher of J'Gal."
That's because he needs it as part of his disguise. I'm not certain that you understood the real story in this episode...
Rah had alienated himself from the Klingon culture, most probably because it was what he needed to do in order to defect. He had to hate the culture to abandon it.
Rah killed innocent civilians himself and gave the order to do so, but M'Benga was the one who killed Rah's own Generals. M'Benga had to live with what he had done (killing rather than saving lives) and had tried to forget it, but he could not. Rah was a coward who escaped from M'Benga rather than fight him, who lied about giving the orders, and who took credit for M'Benga's kills (becoming the Butcher of J'Gal'.)

In Klingon culture nothing is worse than a dishonourable coward and liar. Rah is a very poor example of a Klingon, and no doubt he would have made an appalling Ambassador, and he would likely have been found out to be a fraud eventually anyway. His murder was probably in the best interests of everyone, even Starfleet and the Klingons, maybe even Rah himself.