Die Trying. Star Trek: Discovery has an ability to burn though plot at a remarkable rate. After finding the location, we imagined a journey to the new heart of the Federation might consume a few weeks. Instead, Discovery arrived at the new covert Starfleet Headquarters before this episode’s opening credits.
Once the thrill subsided, the crew boggling at over nine hundred years of technological advancement, they found themselves the subject to the mother of all mission debriefs. Understandably, what remains of Starfleet Command – principally Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) and the sceptical Lt. Willa (Vanessa Jackson) – were suspect of this ship of relics. Not least, because time travel has long since been illegal and Discovery’s presence constitutes a temporal crime!
The debriefing interviews, mostly conducted by holograms, was done with entertaining style. Through crew reactions varied, most fascinating was the discussion between Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Kovich – apparently a Federation psychologist. He dropped a number of fascinating details about the fate of the Mirror universe, surely this was laying seeds for the future. Or possibly the upcoming Section 31 spin-off. Either way, it left the former Terran Empress with plenty of food for thought. As to whether Kovich will be returning, who knows? However, given the casting of David Cronenberg in the role it seems likely. First Werner Herzog in The Mandalorian, now this – what’s next, Ang Lee in Doctor Who?
With the prospect of Discovery’s crew being broken up, Burnam seized on an opportunity to prove their value. An emergency involving some stricken refugees seems like small beer perhaps in contrast to their previous universe-saving endeavours, but the mission to save a Federation seedbank filled out the remainder of the story. Fishing the Seedbank vessel out of an ion storm showed Detmer is still struggling, zoning out in moments of crisis. It also allowed a chance for the engineering brain trust, Tilly, Stamets and Reno, to entertain with their puzzle-solving thing.
The departure of Commander Nhan (Rachael Ancheril), lightens the load in terms of characters. As we have taken on new faces again this season, it seems prudent to let a few go. While her exit, motivated by the personal sacrifice that brought her on board, felt just about earned, it is fair to say that she has been underused; much like the ill-fated Airiam, we found out more about Nhan and her Barzan heritage here than at any point prior. As we have, Discovery carries a lot of faces and it is tough to keep track, especially given the relentless focus on Michael Burnam; her dominance comes at the detriment of the wider cast. Like Lt. Nilsson, for example, left in charge of the ship this week but about whom I could not tell you a single thing!
So, with the Federation found, the mystery of “The Burn” still lingers. Plus, what’s the deal with the music Burnam was hearing – an all pervasive, universal earworm? In addition to the mirror universe teases, there were also a couple of mentions of “The Emerald Chain”. An Andorian-Orian Syndicate, we can be sure these were the people Burnham and Book tussled with. Could they become Season 3’s principal threat?
Die Trying was a fun, small scale adventure as we continue to feel our way into this new universe. Hardly essential, but certainly entertaining.
Star Trek: Discovery Series 3 is available in the UK on Netflix.