The crew of the USS Enterprise singing from Subspace Rhapsody
L-R Carol Kane as Pelia, Christina Chong as La’an, Ethan Peck as Spock in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Best Possible Screengrab/Paramount+

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 – Episode 9 Review: “Subspace Rhapsody”

I’ll be honest: when I first heard that Strange New World’s penultimate episode of season two would be a musical. I honestly wasn’t excited about it, and now that I have seen it. I’m mixed on its purpose here. Yes, it was different for the series, but I don’t blame fans for dismissing it or not enjoying the songs throughout. “Subspace Rhapsody” furthers storylines established in the series but left me wondering why it needed to be a musical.

Carol Kane, Christina Chong, & Ethan Peck as Pelia, La'an Noonien-Singh, & Spock from Subspace Rhapsody
Carol Kane, Christina Chong, & Ethan Peck as Pelia, La’an Noonien-Singh, & Spock

With me saying I didn’t enjoy this episode, it doesn’t mean it fails at all. The songs were interesting and added a new element to the scenes. Some songs felt overly dramatic, but some may say it worked based on who was singing it. For example, La’an Noonien-Singh gets emotional over James T. Kirk’s return to the USS Enterprise, with her previous encounter with another version of him who died earlier in the season. She still has feelings for him; her solo song reflects that. She confronts him about it, and the results aren’t what she expected. Not saying something may change, but at least she finally told him what she went through.

The first song everyone sang was probably the best because they were all utterly confused about what was happening. At points, they were singing precisely what they were doing, which usually doesn’t happen in a musical. As I mentioned earlier, some songs were personal to particular storylines. Spock gets a song expressing his human side as he feels pain from falling apart with Chapel. I am curious how fans respond to some of these more personal character songs. I know the audience will be split on a Klingon moment that made me shake my head. It felt like it was too much for me.

Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk from Subspace Rhapsody
Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk

Seeing James T. Kirk appearing more often on Strange New Worlds during season 2 excites fans of the original series. I don’t see why he is in this episode besides the conversation with La’an. Honestly, this moment between them could happen at any other point than here. Maybe it would be more dramatic if it happened during the musical, so that’s why it occurs here. Pike, also through song, expresses his issues with his love interest in the show, which has a funny moment on the main deck. Humor does have its place throughout the episode, and it works mainly.

Musical episodes don’t usually have extreme consequences, but here it is life and death. The anomaly created by Uhura & Spock is expanding, causing everyone nearby to break out into song. The Klingons decide to attempt to destroy it to stop what is occurring. The crew discovers that if they are successful, this could end many lives attached to this musical phenomenon. I theorized, watching the episode, that solving the issue they are in is a simple one. The USS Enterprise must sing a significant song with everyone involved to break it. “Subspace Rhapsody” final song was massive, but I was ready to get past this episode. It’s impressive to see them all sing and be in character, but it’s just not for me.

The main cast on the USS Enterprise singing from Subspace Rhapsody
The main cast on the USS Enterprise singing

I have many questions leading into the finale. The season one finale of Strange New Worlds wasn’t what I expected, so maybe this will happen again. Does it end on a cliffhanger? Does a crewmember pass away unexpectedly? All are possible, as this show keeps me on my toes each episode. I’m patiently waiting for what happens, and thankfully, they have been renewed for season three. Maybe this episode will grow on me on a rewatch, but it’s one of my least favorite episodes for now.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2, episode 9, “Subspace Rhapsody” is available now on Paramount+.