The following article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Each episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has a different theme: "Memento Mori," which focuses on a member of the US Enterprise. While assisting the inhabitants of a colony discover refuge on the Enterprise, security chief La''an Noonien Singh (Christina Chong) realizes that the attack bears all the signs of a Gorn assault. The Enterprise is attacked by a trio of Gorn warships, and its crew must resort to unorthodox methods in order to survive
The Gorn is never seen physically, even though it was not frightening enough. But these ships, like predators, are all in charge of killing.
The Gorn''s victims are shown in "Memento Mori," but it''s not quite so good. The unlucky ones are considered to be dragged off for breeding purposes. In short, they''re less like Captain Kirk''s tenacious dinosaur in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Arena," as well as their tactics. In short, the Gorn transforms other races into "huge villains."
Davy Perez and Beau DeMayo, along with director Dan Lin, stage "Memento Mori" as a mini-horror film of sorts, causing the ship to devastate, crippling the ship''s weapon systems and damaging others, including the medical bay and shields. For all intents and purposes, the starship is essentially acting the "final girl" in a horror film, which involves doing everything it takes to survive.
The episode focuses on La''an''s repressed trauma as the sole survivor of a Gorn attack on her colony ship. When Spock (Ethan Peck) thinks about her, he (and by extension, the audience) see the damage the Gorn are capable of, which she will be destroyed. Despite these risks, "Memento Mori" is able to take a positive turn on the Enterprise''s survival chances.
While Strange New Worlds is reaching its halfway point, it remains to be seen if the Gorn will make another appearance in the season''s back half or the upcoming second season. Hopefully, "Memento Mori" serves as a model of what you can do with the Gorn going forward, not just in Strange New Worlds, but in other Trek media.