Star Trek: Discovery got off to a good start setting up the premise for the new series and then quickly pulled the rug from under our feet by killing off Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and sentencing lead character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to life in prison for mutiny … and helping start a Klingon / Federation war. And on top of all that, the Starship Discovery wasn’t even a part of the picture. So where do we go from there?
Episode 3 picks up six months later with Burnham and other Federation prisoners being transported to a new facility. As we learn, there was no notification of the move which is not standard Federation protocol. On the way, the shuttle is attacked by some type of space bug that feeds on power, threatening to drain the shuttle, leaving them floating in space to suffocate or freeze to death, whichever comes first. As the shuttle pilot is seen being tossed off into the vastness of space, the situation looks dire until a bright light appears, a tractor beam bringing the shuttle into the bay of … the USS Discovery!
We don’t see much of the prisoners after they’re on board except for Michael. She’s brought to see Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and encounters some familiar faces from the Shinzhou along the way, most notably Science Office Saru who is now Lorca’s First Officer. Michael is also assigned quarters and a job while on the Discovery, but her reputation precedes her and she is not afforded the warmest of welcomes. In Engineering, Lt. Staments asks her to reconcile some computer code, which she does and finds an error, but nothing is adding up. What are these experiments Stamets is conducting, who is he talking to on another ship working in tandem with him, and why exactly is she on the Discovery? Burnham is, as Saru states to Lorce, the most intelligent Starfleet officer he’s ever met, mutiny aside, so she’s well aware that the prison shuttle changed course midway through its journey and her presence on the ship is no accident.
When the Discovery’s sister ship is damaged and the entire crew is killed, Stamets and a party, including Burnham, travel to the ship to find out what happened and to retrieve the scientific information on board. But the condition of the bodies and the presence of something else on the ship has Burnham questioning her situation even more. From what she’s seen, she assumes Lorca is working on a weapon to kill the Klingons and win the war, but he gives her a little demonstration that all is not what it seems. They have been working on biological material that can transport a person or a ship anywhere in space in the blink of an eye and back again, faster than warp speed. Being able to sneak up on the Klingons without warning and get back to their starting point is how they plan to win the war. Lorca seems to win Burnham over to his side and she agrees to join the crew of the Discovery. But … is Lorca telling her the whole truth? His having the monster from the other ship transported to the Discovery raises all kinds of questions.
The third episode of Star Trek: Discovery was very entertaining despite a whole lot of techno-babble. There was a lot, and that actor Anthony Rapp was able to get through it all is a credit to his talents. A lot of long-time Trek fans may also be put off by the not-so-kumbaya attitude of the Discovery crew when it comes to Michael Burnham. This is definitely a darker take on the Trek legacy, more Deep Space Nine than anything else, particularly if it’s going to use the war with the Klingons as a backdrop for the season. Yes, it’s darker and edgier, but that’s okay. I suppose Fox’s The Orville is actually more pleasing to hardcore Trekkers with its brightly lit bridge and classic Star Trek sensibilities, and that’s okay. Both shows should be able to exist without constant negative comparisons and “this isn’t Star Trek” attitudes. We’re still early in the series and with basically restarting with episode three, it’s going to take another couple of episodes before everyone feels comfortable with the show and everyone finds their footing.
But, I enjoyed the episode, thankfully we didn’t have to endure a lot of slowly speaking Klingons, I like Martin-Green from her time on The Walking Dead, the show is handsomely produced and looks expensive — and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that looks like this on commercial television, not even The Orville, which is why it’s being distributed on CBS All Access in the US, Space in Canada and on Netflix around the world — and while I was interested enough in the first two episodes to tune in again, this new storyline with the mysteries of the Discovery and her Captain have reeled me to know what else the show has in store. I know fans are still upset about the streaming deal — which we’ve known about since the show was announced so it’s not a surprise — but hopefully people will come down off their high horses and eventually give the show a chance.
What did you think of the latest episode? What kind of shady business is Lorca up to? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.