Star Trek: Strange New Worlds dipped its toes into a long-standing tradition.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds rolled out a brand new episode this past well called “Memento Mori”, which is Latin for “remember death”. It’s a pretty well-known Latin phrase, and it’s supposed to be a rallying cry to enjoy life, as it will come to an end. It’s fitting Strange New Worlds used that title for this episode, as La’an Noonien Singh was face to face with the Gorn, the same aliens who murdered everyone she ever knew.
Though, “face to face” isn’t the most accurate way of putting it. See, the Gorn were never shown on screen, and that’s not by accident. The decision to not show the Gorn was very much a part of keeping canon alive. It also gave Strange New Worlds’ its very own “submarine episode”.
You may not realize this, but Star Trek is very well known for its “submarine episodes” if you will. Dueling ships in space, sometimes without even knowing who you were fighting. Strange New Worlds brought there’s to the table with “Memento Mori“, but what about the others?
Star Trek’s “submarine episodes” are quite iconic
The episode “Balance of Terror” was the progenitor of the classic Star Trek “submarine episode”. It was written by Paul Schneider (not that Paul Schneider), and it was his love letter of sorts to the classic submarine movies like The Enemy Below. Since “Balance of Terror”, a lot of the following Star Trek series had their own version.
In Deep Space Nine, you had “Starship Down”, an episode where the Jem’Hadar attacked the Defiant, crippling the ship and wounding many of the primary cast.
There are two episodes in Voyager that qualify, though to varying degrees. “The Equinox” two-parter sees Voyager engaged in, and hunting down a fellow Federation ship, the Equinox. Then “Year of Hell” elongates the idea of a submarine confrontation to an entire year, with Voyager on the run from Krenim Imperium, a time-traveling alien race who are trying to reset the galaxy to bring back their loved ones.
There are also two episodes in Enterprise that follow suit with “Minefield” and “Silent Enemy”. “Minefield” features the first canonical appearance of the Romulans but they aren’t seen; just their ship is. In “Silent Enemy” the Enterprise engages with an unknown alien and has to design and implement phase canon’s into the ship to stand a chance.
I’m sure there are other Star Trek episodes that follow in the footsteps of “Balance of Terror”, so let us know which episodes you think qualify for the franchise’s “submarine episode”.