What “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” Means In Star Trek Strange New Worlds

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 3, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.”Star Trek has often borrowed phrases from Shakespeare for episode titles, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds adds another title to that list with season 2’s “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.” This quote comes from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5, just after the titular character has been told that his wife, Lady Macbeth, has died. As he mourns, Macbeth expresses his view that everything he has done thus far in his life has been pointless. A bit bleak for Star Trek, but “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” suggests that everyone’s life has significance and every choice made actually matters a great deal.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” follows a classic time travel Star Trek plot, as La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) and an alternate universe Captain James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley) find themselves in the past, fighting to save the future. Strange New Worlds season 2, episode 3 ends on a sad note, but the story gives La’an a chance to open up to Kirk, who she falls in love with. While La’an and Kirk fight to ensure the existence of their tomorrow, James also ensures they take time to stop and enjoy the experience, including sampling some street hot dogs. “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” ultimately celebrates the connections people form, and gives La’an a chance to reckon with her connection to the cruel dictator, Khan Noonien-Singh.

Related: Star Trek’s Khan Noonien Singh Strange New Worlds & TOS History Explained

What “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” Means In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek Strange New Worlds La'an Kirk

Interestingly, Macbeth’s speech that begins with this phrase is about the futility of life. Just after the death of his wife, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth claims life to be “a tale told by an idiot […] signifying nothing.” But Star Trek: Strange New Worlds concludes quite the opposite. The actions and accomplishments of La’an and Captain Kirk in this episode are anything but futile. They restore the proper utopian timeline and prevent the Romulans from altering the future, saving countless lives. La’an and Kirk manage to save La’an’s tomorrow and secure a better future for Kirk and his brother, Sam (Dan Jeannotte).

Unfortunately for this version of Captain Kirk, their success in stopping the Romulan assassin means that Kirk and his timeline cease to exist. But that doesn’t mean that his life signifies nothing. Not only was his participation instrumental in saving the day, but he also made quite an impression on La’an. She will certainly not forget him and that alone makes his life (and death) significant. Still, just like Macbeth when he delivers his famous speech, La’an ends the episode alone. As the episode comes to a close, La’an cries in her room over the death of her Captain Kirk and the fact that she can never tell anyone about him.

Star Trek Has Quoted Shakespeare Many Times Before

Star Trek TNG Shakespeare Picard

Not only have many Star Trek episodes used Shakespearean quotes as titles, but Star Trek characters have been known to regularly quote Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard was particularly fond of referencing Shakespeare and often turned to the Bard when delivering his famous speeches. Considering Shakespeare remains one of the most famous writers over 400 years after his death, it’s not surprising that people would still be quoting him in the 23rd century. In fact, the exact speech “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” takes its title from also inspired another Star Trek episode title with Star Trek: The Original Series episode “All Our Yesterdays.”

Despite its heartbreaking ending, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” proves that life is more than “a walking shadow.” This episode turns Macbeth’s words on their head, and demonstrates the massive impact one or two people can have on the course of history. Macbeth comes to regret his villainous choices because he lost everything in the end, but La’an’s actions helped save the future, so, despite her losses, she doesn’t regret them. With wonderful performances from Christina Chong and Paul Wesley, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is a welcome addition to the long list of Star Trek episodes with nods to Shakespeare.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

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