Everything seems to be firing on all cylinders in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds whether it's on a grand scale or confined to smaller spaces as in the episode "The Serene Squall". The episode begins as the Vulcan T'Pring (Gia Sandhu) tries to tap into Spock's (Ethan Peck) human half by embracing more… intimate… ways to communicate, much to his embarrassment and subsequent awkwardness. A counselor with previous Federation ties, Dr. Aspen (Jesse James Keitel) visits the Enterprise and takes an active interest in Spock after speaking with Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) as he's still trying to make sense of himself and his dual nature as a Vulcan-human. Consider this your minor spoilers warning moving forward.
When the Enterprise discovers a few decimated ships, Pike (Anson Mount) leads an away team to discover what happened as slavery is often in these parts of space outside of Federation space. As the episode progresses, we get some additional exposition on Vulcan culture, T'Pring's responsibilities, and the trap the Enterprise ultimately falls under. With much of the episode taking place on the ship, we see a band of pirates take over by catching the remaining crew by surprise while the away team finds a similar surprise. The episode, for the most part, goes predictably as planned though there are some interesting twists thrown in here and there along the way to keep it fresh.
Directed by Sydney Freeland and written by Beau DeMayo & Sarah Tarkoff, "The Serene Squall" plays it pretty straight as far as more action-oriented episodes go, allowing Mount, Peck, Sandhu, Bush, Melissa Navia, and Keitel moments to own their scenes and shine. But our guest star shines the brightest in every which way possible, hitting all of the right notes and anchoring the episode. It won't be surprising if they become a recurring character in future episodes given how it ends, and the series would definitely be welcome for it. New episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds stream Thursdays on Paramount+.