“Star Trek: Discovery” continuously comes below dialogue and selections made within the writers’ room proceed to divide followers, extra so — it is protected to say — than every other incarnation of the longest-running science fiction franchise in historical past. And some on social media declare that “Discovery” is not true “Trek” (no matter meaning). However, I just lately had purpose to return and rewatch a few of Season 1 and the distinction between what we watched again in October 2017 and what we’re watching now could be stark. Despite the disruption and revolving door of showrunners behind the scenes, from starting to finish, it’s extra pleasant than any season of “Discovery” we have seen since.
Once we’re previous the recap, which makes last week’s episode appear significantly better than it really was, this week’s installment, titled “All Is Possible,” opens with a wonderful establishing shot of the Discovery’s hull that morphs into the hall ceiling. It’s paying homage to simply considered one of many beautiful comparable photographs used within the first season, on this explicit occasion, the long-distance zoom-in from the episode “Context is for Kings” (Season 1, Episode 3).
Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) supplies the narration over a montage of clips displaying the crew — significantly Stamets (Anthony Rapp) — nonetheless puzzled over the DMA (Dark Matter Anomaly) and Book (David Ajala), who remains to be affected by the grief of shedding, effectively, nearly every little thing. Judging from what Burnham says, someplace between three weeks and a month has handed because the destruction of Kwejian. So he sadly nonetheless has an extended option to go, which is able to most likely fill this season, as we’ve mentioned before.
Following Burnham’s recap, she is knowledgeable by Saru (Doug Jones) that Adm. Vance (Oded Fehr) is sick with a Malindian abdomen worm and that President Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal) has requested that they change him in a diplomatic capability within the negotiations on Ni’var, relating to that planet becoming a member of the United Federation of Planets, thus organising one of many major storylines for this episode.
Another storyline continues as we see Tilly (Mary Wiseman) have a counseling session with Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz). She explains that all through her (nonetheless very a lot fledgling) profession, she has been purely centered on attending to the captain’s chair, however now she looks like she must take a detour. It appears that Dr. Kovich (David Cronenberg) is on the lookout for Discovery volunteers to steer a team-building train for Starfleet cadets. However, as a favor, Culber asks if Tilly may request that Adira additionally be part of the mission. It’s a disgrace Kovich has reworked from a Master of Spies to Head of the Academy, all his thriller and intrigue all of the sudden evaporated.
Plus, I nonetheless have some points over the entire Trill story arc this season, topped off by the unnatural transference of consciousness final week. And what’s occurred to the precise symbiont, Tal, it have to be nonetheless inside Adira? So, will Adira have the ability to talk with previous hosts? No point out was made, or recommendation given relating to these actually somewhat vital points final week. Will they have the ability to take seen type to Adira following this new priority set by Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise? This explicit subplot has felt contrived and unconvincing from fairly early on, so, fingers crossed they will quickly all be given extra attention-grabbing components to play within the grand scheme of issues.
Kovich briefs Tilly within the docking bay at Starfleet HQ and touches upon an attention-grabbing difficulty, that there’s an ongoing concern with Starfleet cadets who don’t appear to be working effectively, in groups, as they have not met any lifeforms completely different to their very own…due to the burn, no warp drive, exploding dilithium factor. It’s explored a tiny bit extra as this episode unfolds, however with out satisfactory rationalization as to why these new cadets by no means learn books, watched movies or participated in holo-simulations at college on their respective homeworlds, it simply finally ends up being a slapdash, lazy and handy purpose as to why they’re all so hostile to one another when the plot requires it a little bit in a while.
All it might’ve taken is for Kovich, in his incomparable Cronenberg manner, to utter a few strains in response to Tilly elevating this difficulty, one thing like, “Holo-simulations, regardless of how realistic they may look, are just not as beneficial to a potential Starfleet officer’s training. The best way to learn how to maintain a rational, focused state of mind under extreme circumstances is to actually be in that situation. That hasn’t changed in hundreds of years and probably never will.” Oh effectively.
The mission is to fly to Geryon, an M-class desert moon orbiting Theta Helios and perform a full planetary evaluation. Joining Tilly and Adira is Cadet Harral, an Orion (Seamus Patterson), Cadet Val Sasha, a human (Amanda Arcuri) and Cadet Taahz Gorev, a Tellarite (Adrian Walters) plus the shuttle pilot, Lt Callum (Nck Name, sure really) makes six.
When all of the sudden, there is a loud bang, the shuttle drops out of warp and the pilot shouts that they have been hit by a rogue gamma-ray burst. Hmmmm. Anyways, the engines are offline and the helm is not responding so down they go. Roll opening credit.
We head straight again to the downed shuttlecraft after the credit and right away we see that poor Lt Callum did not survive the crash. There’s a little bit little bit of an “Original Series” “The Galileo Seven” (Season 1, Episode 13) vibe to this story, which is good. Of course there have been solely six to start with and now with Lt Callum down, there’s solely 5, however the fixed bickering, plus the specter of being killed and/or eaten in a totally disagreeable trend by the native wildlife, has a well-known really feel to it.
The burst has additionally knocked out the communications methods, in order that they take a peek exterior and shortly study that they are not on Geryon, in reality, they are not even shut; as a substitute they’ve crash-landed on Kokytos, an L-class moon, which suggests it has a breathable environment however is environmentally hostile.
Shock kicks in and the younger trainee crew battle to become familiar with their predicament. Tilly has a deal with on it till the cadets begin venting anger and frustration towards one another. They have six hours till their scheduled rendezvous with the USS Armstrong, so Tilly insists they begin telling one another about themselves and it is a well-written and pleasant set piece.
We lower to the opposite main storyline for this episode (a way more wise variety of subplots this week), that are the negotiations on Ni’var between presidents T’Rina of Ni’var (Tara Rosling) and Rillak of the Federation. This can be the primary correct look we have had, temporary although it might be, of The Planet Formally Known As Vulcan — except for the Science Institute…er, temple (?) we noticed final week — and it has a sure Coruscant feel and look, which works effectively. (Also, there is a Saurian on the convention and regardless of his title being within the credit and he was seen in Burnham’s voice-over montage initially, it is absolutely not Lt Junior Grade Linus…until he is somebody’s favourite spawn again at Starfleet?)
Apparently, it is taken 4 months to succeed in this stage and they’re nearly to place pen to paper when T’Rina drops a spanner within the works. As a results of the approaching doom threatened by the DMA Ni’var needs an unconditional Get Out Clause integrated into the ultimate settlement. According to T’Rina, the individuals of Ni’var really feel that they stand a greater likelihood of surviving economically with out the Federation ought to the gravitational anomaly threaten the steadiness of the galaxy. Rillak doesn’t agree and so this units up a well-written and politically pushed sub-plot that’s unquestionably a spotlight on this week’s episode.
Meanwhile, Subplot C issues Book and he is gone to see Dr. Culber. They speak a little bit, sharing tales and Book makes an attempt to duplicate Kwei’tholum’Kwei, a Kwejian therapeutic ritual. Unfortunately, you not solely want sand from the mattress of the Mameckx’sha River to do it correctly, you have to additionally ask the Tulí Forests for his or her blessings, to not point out requiring the Great Storms of Naillem’kwai for one thing equally as impressive-sounding. So, understandably, he will get a little bit upset and irate as he makes an attempt to create a satisfactory copy utilizing programmable matter.
Back on the Ni’var homeworld, the plot thickens a little bit. Saru and T’Rina bond and type an unlikely friendship, whereas Rillak and Burnham head off in a unique route to speak issues via. This may’ve unfolded a number of methods; personally I anticipated Saru to take one aspect and Burnham the opposite, forcing a wedge between these two Starfleet officers. But as a substitute, mercifully, the writers take us in a unique route and not one which’s burdened with clichés. Granted this isn’t a Tom Clancy novel, however the dialogue is sweet and nothing is pressured, successfully making this an pleasant set piece and consequently one of the best episode of Season 4 to date.
Both T’Rina and Rillak open up to Saru and Burnham, respectively after which the Discovery captain and her first officer speak to one another. And it seems…that is exactly why the Federation President organized every little thing, together with Vance’s “illness”.
We alternate between the 2 major tales, with Book’s subplot in assist. So subsequent up we verify in on our stranded Starfleet cadets who’re starting to fray a little bit on the edges. Unfortunately although, Helios has 46 moons and with out functioning communications, the USS Armstrong goes to have a really tough time attempting to find them. Added to which, they solely have three days of emergency rations. And then they meet this episode’s equal of the Taurus II anthropoid from “The “Galileo Seven” — a Tuscadian Pyrosome; a colony species made up of thousands of interconnected zooid life-forms. According to Adira, it primarily preys on bioluminescent crustaceans, tracking them via electromagnetic signatures, which happen to be exactly the same signatures produced by their equipment. Uh oh.
It’s going to be necessary to leave the safety of the shuttlecraft and venture outside, naturally. Along the way though, Adira very nearly dies and it takes the whole team to rescue her (by pulling her out of a sheet of deadly, killer ice, which I’m pretty sure they then all walk over to reach the ridge). The Starfleet Five make their way to higher ground in order to make contact with the waiting USS Armstrong, but Tilly must act as a distraction to buy the others more time to establish a clear line of communication.
Thankfully, Tilly’s “broaden her experiences” subplot has been gently bubbling away now for a few weeks, not like when Cmdr. Nahn was suddenly and unexpectedly thrust forward, front and center, to the primary plot in the Season 3 episode “Die Trying” (Season 3, Episode 5) so it was obvious that she either gets left behind or dies, just like Lt. Cmdr. Airiam in the Season 2 episode “Project Daedalus” (S02, E09). However, Tilly’s generous amount of screentime and her solo, action-adventure-style antics in this episode do suggest, without even really trying very hard, that something is going to happen to her.
The Ni’var Negotiation subplot ticks along nicely. It’s very dialogue intensive, with long scenes that require solid performances from everyone, not just Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones. Much is learned about everyone’s different cultures as Saru and Burnham do exactly what Rillak hoped they would: find a reasonable compromise, enabling a treaty to be signed and Ni’var rejoins the United Federation of Planets.
Tilly gets beamed off Kokytos just in time and everyone makes it out safely, apart from poor Lt Callum of course. Kovich greets Tilly and makes her an offer to teach at the Academy. All the other subplots are wrapped up, including Book’s, who finally manages to create a satisfactory Kwei’tholum’Kwei and thus feels like he’s accomplished something, along with creating the foundation of a solid friendship with Culber, which he will only benefit from.
Tilly has a heart-to-heart with Burnham in their old shared quarters…where she explains that she’s going to take that teaching post at the Academy. And before you can even blink, we see a montage of Tilly saying goodbye to all the primary characters before she boards a shuttlecraft, wheeling her carry-on luggage, neck cushion and so on.
It’s…unexpected to say the least. No way is this simply a she’ll-be-back-like-normal-next-week thing, the montage of emotional farewells pretty much establishes that. So, what gives? Tilly is a fan favorite, so this is not permanent, we’ll wager a pile of gold-pressed latinum on that. Rumors abound that Mary Wiseman left the show to go on maternity leave and while that’s possible, these have not been confirmed. No doubt Twitter will be all about this today. But a representative for Paramount+ apparently confirmed to Decider that Wiseman would continue as a series regular in Season 4, so it’s more of a “see ya later” than a “goodbye”. Decider also interestingly notes that this reflects on recent events, specifically the pandemic and what’s been coined The Great Resignation, where many workers in many different fields have used the lockdown and the remote working dilemma as the excuse they’ve needed to change jobs, even change careers, which is more or less what Tilly has done.
Section 31 ✓
• The pacing alone in this episode makes it the best in Season 4 so far
• A potentially dull treaty negotiation set piece becomes very entertaining
• Dr. Culber is a much better ship’s counselor than…er, others have been
• A new spin-off show could be Saru and Burnham opening a law practice
• We really hope things develop between Saru and T’Rina wink, wink
Section 8 ✗
• Not really sure playing if with programmable matter would resolve much
• Kinda obvious something significant was going to happen to Tilly
• Kovich has gone from mysterious spy-type to head of the Academy?
• If Tilly’s still going to be a regular, why the emotional goodbye montage?
• Pretty sure everyone walked through that patch of deadly killer ice
The first four episodes of Season 4 of “Star Trek: Discovery” are available to watch now and subsequent installments will drop every Thursday on Paramount+ in the US and CTV Sci-Fi or Crave TV in Canada. Countries outside of North America can watch on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel.