Set your phasers on stun, Trekkies — literally, because the upcoming season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds drops on Paramount+ on June 15, and it’s a doozy, especially the mindbending eighth episode Speaking to a round table of journalists, Jess Bush (Nurse Chapel) and Babs Olusanmokun (Dr. M’Benga) opened up about the season ahead, specifically diving into some of Strange New World’s more emotional scenes in episode eight. Then Celia Rose Gooding (Uhura) Melissa Navia (Erica Ortegas) opened up about their characters’ powerful scene that respects the Star Trek canon.
“As a performer, myself, the scenes that are the most challenging emotionally are the ones that are most enjoyable […] and where there’s the most to be found artistically,” said Jess Bush of the season ahead. “And there’s a lot of that in episode eight. I loved doing episode eight with Babs. It was one of my favorite from the entire two seasons. And working with Jeff Byrd (Yellowjackets, The Flash TV series). He’s incredible. He’s an actor’s director. I think he made us both feel really safe to find the truth of that episode. It stretched me and stretched Nurse Chapel a lot.”
“Discovering or revealing the vulnerability of a character,” added Olusanmokun, “there’s always something, and it’s always a challenge. But revealing it truthfully is also a bigger challenge. And if one can get through it, if one makes something of it, it is very rewarding. It is a part of the work that I embrace very much.”
So — what really happens in episode eight? And what about the buzz about Gooding’s scenes with Ethan Peck (Spock) and Paul Wesley (Kirk)? Dive into our exclusive MovieWeb video clips and read on.
Jess Bush & Babs Olusanmokun on the New Season
You can’t drop a Star Trek truth bomb like that without fans wanting to know more. So, probing deeper, the stars revealed a bit more about episode eight with the round table. Olusanmokun shared: “I can’t reveal much of it, you know, but somewhere in there, there was a moment where I was like, ‘Okay, this is going much deeper.’ It felt epic. I hope that was captured. I hope what you see on screen is, but it felt epic as we made episode eight — for me, personally.”
We’ll have to beam in and experience it for ourselves. However, if there were any doubts that season two of Strange New Worlds might not live up to its first season glory ride, fear not: Like Star Trek: Picard before it, there is an incredibly rich and engaging through line through the first six episodes provided for television critics. It seems every character — from Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and Spock (Ethan Peck) to Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) and Una Chin-Riley/Number One (Rebecca Romijn), whose story arc last season ended on a cliffhanger.
For Jess Bush, season two finds Nurse Chapel battling several fronts — both emotionally and physically. (That lingering crush on Spock continues this season as well). Beyond that, Bush was jazzed about the physicality and fight sequences she/Nurse Chapel engaged in this season.
“It was awesome. I was so excited about it,” she said. “Me — Jess — is really physical. I’m happiest when I’m expending all my energy outwards, like climbing things and jumping off things and rolling around. I loved getting that first script [of the season] and then seeing what’s ahead for Chapel, it was really interesting to tap into what would drive her to that point emotionally, you know? Because she’s not naturally quite like that. [She’s a] loving and caring person. It was cool to investigate that for her.”
Bottom line: Seems Nurse Chapel kicks ass in the season ahead. But wait, there’s more. (There’s always more…)
Celia Rose Gooding & Melissa Navia on Season Two’s Powerful Moments
When MovieWeb asked Celia Rose Gooding about an upcoming Strange New Worlds scene that reveals the first time Uhura, Spock, and Kirk come together — powerful! — Gooding said: “There’s so much that Uhura goes through and processes [in that episode], and it’s very intense. So, to have a moment at the end where we get to establish some essential canon, it was such a light at the end of that tunnel.” She continued:
Shooting it was so fun. I love working with Ethan and Paul, and to have them together in a with a classic dynamic between them… it’s just fun watching them interact. And then, when the cameras come on, we realized that we are now Kirk, Spock, and Uhura at our fancy little Enterprise space bar, having a talk about what we’ve all just experienced. It’s incredible. It’s essential Trek history. Because you know how much it means to people. It goes without question… you feel every day, how important your impact [as an actor] is on this franchise, not only for this specific series, but for the entire timeline.
One thing that may stand out in season two is additional personal logs of some Enterprise crew members. Melissa Navia, who plays hot shot pilot Erica Ortegas, weighed in on that, noting how excited she was for the character’s personal log to be featured in a significant episode. “It was one of those moment where we’re doing Star Trek, and it’s like, ‘this is crazy,'” said Navia.
“Ortegas wanted to go to a planet [in that episode], and wanted to get off the ship. In that episode, we get to really play with [the idea of]… you love what you do, and it becomes monotonous, and you have to remember why it is that you love what you do and why you do it. And why you’re the only person who can do it the way you do it. It was very exciting.”
Emotions, Coming in at Warp Speed
By all accounts, this season of Strange New Worlds is packed with emotion. Between Uhura and Ortegas’ gripping story arcs to Nurse Chapel and Dr. M’Benga’s eighth episode twists — and more — the writers have given these characters deep emotional waters in which to swim. Nurse Chapel’s emotional trajectory, for instance, will delight fans. “I can’t really be specific about it,” noted Bush about some of those emotional scenes, “but [I like] that Chapel got to lean into, like, pure joy; really soften into pure joy. That was really illuminating for me about her. It was also extremely vulnerable in a way that I didn’t expect. I found that very rewarding.”
Fans will too. In fact, Bush and Olusanmokun’s characters experience such a wide range of emotions this season. Early on, there’s an episode where Dr. M’Benga experiences haunting emotions with several other main characters and that episode is bound to stand out in the Trek canon.
In the meantime, when one of the roundtable journalists noted that Nurse Chapel and Spock clearly “have the hots for each other,” Bush smiled and admitted, “Yeah, well, it just gets really complicated. Complications intensify, let’s say that.”
“I just try to look away,” mused Olusanmokun of Dr. M’Benga’s observations of Spock and Nurse Chapel. “I try to be supportive as I can. It’s your ‘workmates,’ so you have to be respectful. So… hats off to you, Mr. Spock!”
Season two of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds arrives on Paramount+ June 15.