It’s not the best episode of the season. I mean, it’s no “The Serene Squall” but it’s not so hot either. The problem is, it’s chock full of cliché but never uses it to do anything interesting. I’m glad it’s not the Enterprise that gets infested; it’s just a lookalike. But every story beat is 100% predictable and depends on the crew doing 100% dumb things. Two new characters are introduced for the sole purpose of getting killed, Red Shirts-style, with all the arbitrariness and laziness that implies. We finally get some more Sam Kirk but it’s just as a caricature, the one guy who loses it. Heck, there’s even a straight-up Newt expy.
I’d have appreciated the whole “Gorns are magically sensor-invisible” if the writers had used that to shake Starfleet out of its complacency — if someone had commented on how much of their protocol depends on the perfect functioning of their tech. Speaking of tech — if Nurse Chapel has access to an impenetrable forcefield-shielded area (presumably for quarantine), why weren’t the survivors quarantined? I can understand why the original crew of the Peregeine didn’t — they were caught off-guard by the xenomorphs, I mean, Gorns. But the Enterprise crew were not only aware of the problem. The captan’s log told them explicitly that the eggs didn’t show up on scans.
They’ve done enough with Hemmer that his sacrifice lands, at least. Although it falls a little flat since M’Benga knows how to use transporters to put someone in stasis. Sure, you could hand-wave this as the systems being down and the atmospheric interference and yadda yadda. My point is, having introduced this with M’Benga’s daughter, they’re now obligated to state why this incredibly useful solution is off the table. For that matter, it’s clear Hemmer knows about the eggs long before the end. Why didn’t he inform anyone? Does he think he’s in a zombie movie?
Line for line the best is Ortegas, even though she’s only in the beginning and end. She might be the character I’ve come to enjoy the most.