Scavengers, the sixth episode in Star Trek: Discovery season 3 looked fabulous (again) and was an easy watch piece of entertainment, but failed to disguise the flaws prevalent in many recent episodes.
Already we have a pattern, it seems. As Scavengers opens, we see the crew of Discovery getting to grips with the tech upgrades a thousand years of development can bring. Cue a smörgåsbord of special effects and lots of future deus ex machina endings with numerous new toys for the writers to drop in as needed. Apart from that the crew largely has nothing to do: Saru (Doug Jones) worries a bit, Tilly (Mary Wiseman) gets to hold a cat (see picture) and Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) gets to know new crew member Adira (Blu del Barrio) and dead boyfriend. Once again the bulk of the episode is about Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) playing the angry Kirk-like wildcard who goes on an unsanctioned mission to save Booker (David Ajala) and give us a chance to meet some of the new villains, The Emerald Chain. At least this time she takes Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) along.
We do get some spectacular location work and set dressing / design as Georgiou takes the lead on a world of scavengers, stripping down 100s of Burn destroyed starships. There’s clues to the Burn, observing the enemy and a rescue as well as some great effects and, as a piece of action, it’s a decent episode. Having Georgiou along allows us to see how badly she is affected by her mysterious mirror-universe flashbacks and does bring Booker back into the story.
Here now is the continuing problem. As we said in the review of previous episode Die Trying, there are too many interesting characters here. For every half-a-moment when we think someone apart from Burnham will do something, it peters out badly. Much though we feel there’s a lot of potential here, the balance is wrong. The show spends too much time on Michael, and this can be traced back to the very beginnings of series 1. We don’t yet have a good balance here, and while we agree with Michael’s demotion for disobeying orders, we do wonder how often she can get away with her approach. Something must go wrong soon, and perhaps fatally for some of the excess characters.
Once again, we’ve been entertained and look forward to next week, but feel there’s missed opportunity.