(copyright Paramount)

Hmm, an identical Earth (with no clouds ;-). The repercussions of this find are staggering! How come we never hear about this planet ever again? It’s practically empty, too, so we now have a spare Earth! Colonize the shit of that motherfucker and you don’t have to worry about Borg invasions, our sun going nova or environmental distasters. A SPARE Earth!

We see the first real exterior here, presumably a studio back lot. I was looking for any familiar building that might have appeared in another movie or show, but didn’t see anything I recognized. Still, good to get outside, especially after the underground caverns and penal colonies of the last few episodes.

A spare EARTH!

Sorry, I’m having trouble getting past that…

Yay, Janice Rand is back! So is John Farrell, working communications. So where’s Uhura? Sulu finally gets a cameo by way of the credit still of “The Naked Time,” so at least they acknowledge he still exists. Farrell, by the way, shares his name with the Blue Jays current manager. Good to see him back on the bridge.

Speaking of the end credits stills, I find them interesting, trying to place which episode they came from. I like that they use “The Cage” stills, too. Vina appears in two regularly and I can’t help but wonder if the producers are subtly suggesting that not only did those events happen (I’m working on the premise that they did), but reminding us that she’s still out there, living in her fantasy world, which is sort of sad. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but you know how much I like depth of storytelling and layers. There’s a sense of scope, knowing that the earlier crew of the Enterprise had their own adventures under Captain Pike and we shouldn’t forget what came before.

The two Vina stills I’m referring to are her as an Orion slave girl and the castle matte from “The Cage,” where she’s a teeny tiny spec running to Pike.