Some thoughts on episode 3 on Star Trek Discovery. Please note that some general spoilers follow.
This is turning out to be a good show. Episode 3 in a way is the first proper episode of the series, picking things up six months on from the Battle at the Binary Stars as seen in episode 2. It now appears that the Federation is in a full state of war with the Klingons.
Michael Burnham is being transported along with some other prisoners on a Starfleet shuttle when it encounters difficulties and is recovered by the shiny new USS Discovery. Ostensibly the Discovery is a science vessel but there’s some very unusual things going on. Some personnel have black badges and there are lots of off limits areas. And what’s with the “black alert”?
Wherever Burnham goes on the ship she gets stared at. For she is the first Starfleet officer to mutiny after all.
On the bridge Burnham is surprised and disconcerted to see my main man Lieutenant Commander Saru, newly promoted to second in command on the Discovery. As expected he gets the best line of the episode, telling Burnham “You were always a good officer. Until you weren’t.”
It appears that Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Issacs) wants to have Burnham on his team rather than rotting in a Federation prison camp. He puts her to work in engineering where we meet Lieutenant Stamets (Anthony Rapp) who is ever so slightly condescending and has a sort of Alan Tudyk thing going on.
We also get to meet another new crew member, Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) who is the personification of nervous babbling.
Oh and if you recognise the security officer is because it’s Tory from Battlestar Galactica, aka Rekha Sharma. Come on, you remember Tory, one of the final five Cylons? The one who (spoiler) pushed poor Cally out of the airlock?
Then word comes in that the sister ship of the Discovery, the USS Glenn, has been lost with all hands. The experimental work they were doing on the Glenn is related to the Discovery’s mission so the Discovery is dispatched to recover the research.
On the Glenn the crew have been pretty much turned inside out, but there are Klingon bodies on board as well, the remains of a boarding party that were looking for Starfleet tech. Which produces one of my favourite moments of black humour in this episode where a surviving Klingon steps out of the shadows gingerly and raises a finger to his lips. “Did he just shush me?” Tilly asks before the Klingon gets eaten.
Because there follows a pure JJ Abrams inspired Force Awakens style cgi-alien-chases-crew-down-corridors sequence. Sigh. Fortunately it’s the only misstep.
Returning to the Discovery Burnham accuses Lorca of developing a weapon in breach of the Geneva conventions. Lorca denies this and says it’s a more benign technology that will help win the war. Inevitably he convinces Burnham to stay with the ship. “You helped start a war,” he says. “Don’t you want to help me end it?”
Additionally there are lots of nice little Easter eggs in this episode, my favourite of which was the little translucent yellow data storage device that Stamets hands Burnham, a direct nod to the little yellow squares that Spock would pop into his science station.
Lorca has a tribble in his office, and indeed has a larger menagerie in another area, perhaps a nod to the original Star Trek pilot which takes place around the same time.
Tory from Battlestar gets to point her classic series phaser frequently.
Oh, and Burnham tells Tilly that her foster mother Amanda read Alice in wonderland to her and her adopted brother (i.e. Spock)
So overall I’m very pleased with where this show is going.