People of Earth. Star Trek: Discovery has a predilection for lengthy pre-credits sequences and this one is a whopper; before the titles run we catch up on Commander Michael Burnam’s missing year (and changing hair styles), restate the exploding dilitihium mystery and finally see Saru take his rightful place in the captain’s chair.
Back on board, the focus is on Michael’s reintegration into the crew, set against the pull of her exciting new life. Sparks clearly fly between her and the charismatic Book (David Ajala); though he takes his leave at the end of the episode, it will doubtless not be for long.
We loved the reunion scene between Michael and Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who remains the heart of the show. It is she who fathoms the consequences of their temporal jump and the enormity of what they have lost. There are hugs for the others too, including Stamets and the rest of the Bridge crew — whatever they all called? Is that a bit harsh? Apart from Detmer, who has clearly not recovered from her injuries, we still struggle to get a handle on who these people are. Seemingly condemned to occasional worried looks and the odd line — perhaps this season will finally flesh out their characters?
No Place Like Home
As for the A plot itself, a spore-drive jump returns us to a much-changed Earth. Far from a homecoming, they find the planet with an isolationist outlook and seemingly protected by trigger-happy youths. Fortunately, with a mix of Burnam’s inevitable rule breaking, Saru’s diplomacy and some manhandling from Georgiou, they are brought onside. The story is a little simplistic, its solution initiated by a Scooby-Doo style unmasking of the principal villain, but it is forgivable; we are in world-building mode, finding our feet in this new century.
Ah Georgiou, the scene-stealing former Mirror Universe Empress turned Section 31 agent played by Michelle Yeoh. Michael voices the question we have all been asking – why is she on the Discovery? Naturally, there is no answer forthcoming, but a simple turnaround throws Michael’s dilemma into sharp relief instead.
A New Mission
Discovery has leapfrogged over established Star Trek cannon into the open future of the Thirty-Second century. Freed from a restrictive continuity niche, it can now shake off its prequel shackles and become its own thing. Maybe even do some discovering too?
With new ally Adria (Blu del Barrio) — a human teenager who serves as host to a Trill symbiont, the last Starfleet Admiral on Earth — People of Earth crystallises the ship’s new mission: to search for the remnants of the Federation and begin its restoration. Whether that is the sole focus of this season, or a longer-term goal for the show remains to be seen.
Star Trek: Discovery Series 3 is available in the UK on Netflix.