TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves

TL;DR –  In today’s episode the shoe finally drops and it is so much better for it.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.

Review

It is starting to get to the pointy half of the season and for the longest time, Star Trek Discovery has been holding their cards close to their chest. Which has meant that the last couple of episodes have been falling a little flat with me. Well today, not only do they fix that, they give us a hint of what is to come for the rest of the season, and I can say that I am very intrigued.

So to set the scene, and the end of last week’s Light and Shadows, we discovered two very important things. The first is that Spock (Ethan Peck) needs to go to Talos IV to get help and that Airiam (Hannah Cheesman) had been infected by something from the probe, oh and also that Section 31 can’t be trusted, but I think we knew that one already. Well as we start today’s episode the Starfleet admirals give Section 31 some clear orders in how they should recover Spock after Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) outmaneuvers Leland (Alan van Sprang) showing just how integrated Section 31 is at this point (well will get to that a bit later). However, Pike (Anson Mount) is having none of that and knows a ruse when he sees it. While all of this is happening Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Spock finally make it to Talos IV only to find it is not quite what they thought it would be. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.
There is a lot for Captain Pike to process this week, as he gets a blast from the past. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.

One of the things I have to give the episode real props for is the ‘Previously on Star Trek’ opening because we have not gone back to that original footage since I think DS9’s Trials and Tribble-ations. It perfectly sets the scene for the episode and gives you an idea of what is to come, and what this all means for Pike. It also does not show the aftermath for Pike which is something this season has gone out of its way to tease and I think we may see a resolution to this at the end of the season.

One of the features of this season that has made people pause is the way that Section 31 has been presented. Now, to be clear, as I have said in the past, I am not a big fan of Section 31 even when it was introduced in Deep Space Nine. The issues are that Section 31 in Discovery’s time seems to be an officially integrated part of the Starfleet intelligence branches, being overseen by the Admiralty and directed in what it has to do. This is almost completely at odds with how they were presented in DS9 and Enterprise. However, while some have cried that this is another case of Discovery getting their canon wrong, I’ve been really interested to see how they would work this all out. This week we got a hint of just how they would be playing that out because it is clear that while Section 31 is under the umbrella of Starfleet, likely pivoting the war with the Klingons in Season One into a position of power, they are still doing things their own way. I have a suspicion that as the season progresses Section 31’s tactics will become known and they will be officially shut down, but unofficially pushed back into the shadows. Also, I can’t get too frustrated at this subplot because it allows us to get more time with Michelle Yeoh and that is always a good thing.

Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.
As much as i am not sure about the Section 31 storyline, I completely don’t mind it because we get more of the amazing Michelle Yeoh. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.

On the USS Discovery, we get two driving plot narratives. The first is the juxtaposition between what the Discovery has been told to do, that is sit and wait, and what they are actually doing, trying to find Spock. This brings Pike into conflict with Ash (Shazad Latif), the Section 31 representative on board, but also Ash in conflict with Ash, because he has loyalty to both Michael and Section 31 who are in conflict with each other. We also get to see that Airiam is knowingly (or not) setting Ash up to take the fall to cover her nefarious dealings. The other key plot thread here is Hugh (Wilson Cruz) trying to reconcile his resurrection and what that means for his past and future. He can remember everything about his past, but it feels like a different life. The devastating part of this is that Paul (Anthony Rapp) does not quite understand what happened and is trying to bring everything back to a state of normalcy for them, but Hugh can’t go back to normal. All of this leads to the confrontation that we all knew was coming when Hugh sees Ash for the first time. The whole scene is full of understandable tension, only amplified when Saru (Doug Jones) lets the two men brawl it out. The tension is palpable and it only works as well as it does because both of the actors put absolute commitment into the roles.     

Then that leaves us with the big moment of the night as we come back to a planet we have not been to since The Original Series. A planet that featured in the first ever episode of Star Trek ever filmed, Talos IV. It is here where we learn what went wrong with Spock, he had mind-melded with the Red Angel to discover that he is a human from the future, a future where all sentient life has been destroyed. However, because it was from the future Spock’s notion of time became unstuck and not even his devotion to logic rectify it. Also, Spock did not kill anyone like that was up for debate. Finally, we get what it was that Michael said to Spock that irreparably ruptured their relationship, and well it was brutal, but also made perfect sense in the context. Now I am a little concerned that Spock will become such the focus that it will suck things away from the rest of the crew, but we will have to see the rest of the season to be sure.

Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.
It was great to be back on Talos IV. Image Credit: Netflix/CBS.

Being Australian one of the things that always gives up a little joy is when we see one of our actors pop up in something. So it was great to see Mellissa George take on the role of Vina and especially her rapport with Anson Mount who also had to do a lot of emotional work in this episode. Just in general they did a really good job bringing Talos IV to life. At this point, it is almost tradition that you need to film your alien planets in a quarry somewhere, but it is a tradition for a reason. It was good to get the little touches like the singing plants. Also, their tricks both at the start and the end were wonderingly mastered and fit in with everything we know of the Talosians.

In the end, do we recommend If Memory Serves? Yes, yes we do. This was the change up the season needed, and I kind of wish we had gotten a couple of episodes ago. Going forward, with the crew now renegades it will be interesting to see how that dynamic shifts the show and I for one can’t wait to see.   

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Star Trek Discovery yet?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.   

Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek Discovery
Directed by –
TJ Scott
Written by – Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie
Based offStar Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Created by – Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman  
Production/Distribution Companies – CBS Television Studios, Roddenberry Entertainment, Secret Hideout, CBS All Access & Netflix. 
Starring in Season 2 – Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Shazad Latif, Wilson Cruz & Anson Mount with Michelle Yeoh, Melissa George, Ethan Peck, Alan Van Sprang, Rachael Ancheril, Dee Pelletier, Rob Brownstein, Alisen Down, Hannah Cheesman, Emily Coutts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Ronnie Rowe Jr. & Julianne Grossman   

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1 thought on “TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: If Memory Serves

  1. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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