There is a Tide… follows directly from the cliffhanger at the end of Su’Kal and with Jonathan Frakes’s direction gives us a very strong episode of Star Trek Discovery.
Coming in via spore drive and sneaking into the Federation’s home, Emerald Chain leader Osyraa (Janet Kidder) has a plan, one that surprises Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) and gives them plenty to discuss. Meanwhile, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Booker (David Ajala) use a none-too-safe channel back to the Federation just in time to crash land in Discovery as it’s taken into the Federation!
Under Frakes’s excellent direction, several threads unfold. The diplomacy between Vance and Osyraa finally gives both characters a chance to show depth and the actors their range. Michael gets to channel her inner Bruce Willis as she goes all Die Hard in the Jefferies tubes. Of course the bridge crew doesn’t just sit idly by (well it seems to) and Tilly has a plan. Unfortunately, Osyraa has a surprise ally who already knows Tilly!
So far so busy, but the key thread involves Paul Stammets (Anthony Rapp), who is increasingly becoming one of the most important members of the show. Only he can work the spore drive, and in being interrogated by Chain scientist Aurellio (played by Kenneth Mitchell who has previously played several Klingons) forms a connection and plants some important seeds of doubt. The scenes between Stammets and Michael after she rescues him are well written, performed and directed – and cut to the core of several aspects of this season.
At no point does the action return to the away team on the unstable dilithium world from the previous week, and we assume next week’s grand finale will incorporate a reason to get everyone together, and deliver an unexpected resolution with some casualties on all sides.
It all ends with action everywhere, stakes raised and Osyraa’s plan coming apart. What better time to introduce another ally to the Discovery crew, one we seem to have overlooked – a development which involves something else we’ve seen a lot this season, previously assumed to be just the SFX team having fun with the brief. No spoilers here, but a great idea delivered right at the end.
There’s a lot to resolve next week, but this season keeps going from strength to strength so we expect something brilliant. You can watch There is a Tide… now on Netflix.