In Review: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (S1 – EP3) Ghost of Illyria

Una must confront a secret she's been hiding when a contagion ravages the ship
Ghost of Illyria

Synopsis: In Ghost of Illyria Una must confront a secret she’s been hiding when a contagion ravages the ship, incapacitating the rest of the crew.


The Story

While exploring a colony planet to find out what happened to the Illyrian Colonist that lived there. The away team is forced to beam out when a storm hits, but unfortunately for them, they have beamed a deadly contagion up with them. While Pike and Spock are stranded on the planet. First Officer Una Chin-Riley must take command of the Enterprise and lead the investigation into the origins of the Contagion, which seems to feed and spread among the crew via light sources. As fate would have it Una is immune to the contagion, but her immunity is only down to the fact that she is genetically enhanced, which is a secret she has been keeping from Starfleet and her crewmates. 


The Acting



Rebecca Romijn takes the lead in this episode as Una leads an investigation into the causes of the contagion that has spread throughout the Enterprise. Romijn puts in a solid performance as she gradually reveals Una’s secret, which winds up being something that saves her crewmates. The reveal that Una is an Illyrian who is a race of genetically enhanced human beings plays out beautifully. The scene where La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) learns about Una’s secret is fantastically played out. Especially given that La’an’s ancestor is none other than Khan Noonien-Singh.

The episode also gave us a little more character development for The Enterprise’s Chief Engineer Hemmer played by Bruce Horak. Hemmer is an interesting character because he is an Aenar from the Northern Wastes of Andoria. Additionally, we also got a great performance from Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M’Benga who has also been keeping a secret from his crewmates. 



This was a really interesting and fun episode, which initially had me thinking, “Oh no, not another take on ‘The Naked Time'” only to be very quickly surprised. I mean sure it was another episode where a Contagion takes hold on the ship. But the reasons behind it are what make this episode interesting.


Genetically Enhanced Beings

This is a storyline that Star Trek has played with quite a bit in the past. The first example is the Classic Trek episode Space Seed, which introduced us to Khan. This later got revisited in the movie The Wrath of Khan. And then got explored again in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode The Augments.

In all of these instances, Genetically enhanced beings were a threat to humanity, which is why Starfleet has rules that prohibit augmented human beings from joining. However, Ghost of Illyria turns all of that on its head. We learn that the Illyrian People who are Genetically enhanced beings are peaceful people who use Genetic Engineering to better fit in with their planetary surroundings and not for conquest. In this episode, it is revealed that the Illyrian people on the Colony were actually removing their genetic enhancements because they desperately wanted to join Starfleet. But the removal of their enhancements wound up making them susceptible to the Contagion, which turned them into fire-like beings.

In the end. It is only the fact that Una is from a different Illyrian Colony, which never removed their genetic enhancements, which saves her and inadvertently allows her to save the lives of her crew.

Overall Ghost of Illyria is a fantastic hour of Star Trek that provides plenty of food for thought. It’s a fantastic story, which I will no doubt re-watch.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (S1 - EP3) Ghost of Illyria
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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