Strange New Worlds Season 2 Gives Fans That Ortegas Content They’ve Been Craving

“Strange New Worlds” has made much of Spock’s half-human, half-Vulcan nature, but he is usually still the most logical person aboard the Enterprise at any given time. He operates according to logic and the scientific method, but when space debris causes both the landing party and the crew of the Enterprise to suffer from acute amnesia, logic doesn’t apply. The only things that anyone can remember are the “deeply known things,” like how to walk, talk, and do basic tasks. Everyone forgets who they are while in the midst of the debris, and the ship needs a skilled pilot to steer it to safety, but no one seems to know how. Ortegas, terrified, asks the ship to take her home and gets back to her quarters, where she realizes she can ask the ship about her identity.

Chanting the mantra “I’m Erica Ortegas. I fly the ship,” she goes back to the bridge and sits down at her seat, letting instinct take over. Some knowledge is so ingrained in us that it becomes “deeply known,” and I guess piloting the Enterprise is a lot like riding a bike in that way. Ortegas manages to save the day by flying them to safety, even cutting a hole in one rock and zooming through in a move she calls “threading the needle.” Ortegas not only gets a chance to show off her piloting skills, but she gets to show us what an inventive, curious, and funny member of Starfleet she really is. Spock and Ortegas work great together in the episode because they are so very different — he strives to live according to facts, while she survives by following her gut. Combined, they are the best of the Enterprise.

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