TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus

TL;DR –  This is both a beautiful episode and also a heartbreaking one, it also reveals all the cards Discovery has been holding.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus

Review

As this season has progressed so far, it has felt like there were a number of disparate threads running through, and it was not entirely clear how, or if, they would all come together. Why is the Red Angel jumping through time and space? Why did it lead them to the Sphere? Why is it saving certain people? Why does Section 31 have so much power? What does Spock (Ethan Peck) have to do with all this? Today some if not all those questions are answered in a very interesting way.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s If Memory Serves, the crew of the USS Discovery had a choice to make. Do they hand Spock and Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) back to Section 31 and have them disassemble Spock’s mind, or become fugitives and technically commit treason. There is only one real choice. Well at the start of this week they are still on the run, but not without some allies, as a single shuttlecraft glides over a darkened hull of a ship running on low power. As the shuttle arrives Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) steps out to begin her integration of Spock to work out just what the heck is going on. She has footage of Spock killing people, but her tests make it clear that he is telling the truth. Something is wrong, and she is pretty sure where to start, so it is time to give Section 31 a wakeup call. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
It is good to see Jayne Brook’s Admiral Cornwell back. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

This is the first week where Spock and Michael have had time to work and interact with each other since Spock got his mind back and I was wondering what dynamic that they were going to aim for with the relationship. What we get is a relationship full of animosity and anger. All of this is encapsulated in a game of 3D chess. Here Michael is trying to use the game to help Spock centre his logic, while he is using the game to put Michael off balance. It would almost be petty, if not for the baggage in their relationship, and you really do feel he caught Michael off-guard when he slipped into a moment of anger on purpose. Now at some point Spock is going to go back to the Enterprise, and we know he never brought up Michael with Kirk (at least on screen) so it will be interesting to see where they go with this relationship in the meantime.

The next focal point in the show was Airiam (Hannah Cheesman) who has been on the bridge supporting everyone since Context Is for Kings. She has been one of many wonderful supporting cast working on the bridge but there has been a lot of mystery as to her origins up until now. Was she an alien, a cyborg, a human with augmentation? Today we found out that she was a human who had extensive cybernetic surgery to save her life after a shuttle crash. It saved her life, but it also irreparably changed it. Every day she has to go through and delete memories or archive them to make sure her storage does not fill up. There are so many details in that quick sweep through her quarters of a life that we are just starting to delve into. However, there is not enough time to do this because back in Light and Shadows something infected her matrix, which she can’t control. It was heart-breaking watching her realise something is wrong but not knowing what it is, to the point that she gets Tilly (Mary Wiseman) to stand near her to make sure nothing happens. Those last moments as she was fighting against what was controlling her and knowing there was only one answer where gut-wrenching and full credit to Hannah Cheesman here for making that work.

Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
Hannah Cheesman was amazing as Airiam tonight. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

This week also revealed the ultimate big bad this season and also how it fits into the context of the show as a whole. Cornwell lets us know how Section 31 went from being something on the fringes of the Federation to coming into the core of Starfleet. They used the war to promote their skills, and in war, morals tend to slip away. At the secret headquarters of Section 31, they created an analytical mainframe that helped with tactical considerations and it has gone rogue. This is an interesting direction to take because it really does help to fit Discovery into the rest of the main canon. Why did holographic communications suddenly fall out of favour, well because they could be faked too easily (a problem we are about to face in real life too), oh and were used by a homicidal supercomputer to try to exterminate all sentient life. This brings all those little threads throughout the season into place and then also propels it forward with the phrase ‘Project Daedalus’ as the calling card for the rest of the season.

A couple of other small points from the episode, first Anson Mount smirk should be illegal for how good it was. I like that the computer chose the Vulcan admiral to fake because it would have been an easier start. Also, this episode showed what a growing presence Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) is in the show, and while I don’t know what the rest of the season holds but I would like to see her character develop more. Going around the bridge to give tactical patterns so that the computer could not get used to one person’s strategy was a cool moment. Finally, and yes I have said this before, can we talk about how cool it is that Discovery puts a focus on women as equal partners in the show. We have an away team going into a potential live fire situation, and we have three women that should be there, the Chief of Security, the ship’s computer expert, and the crew member with the most experience with Section 31. It wasn’t forced, it was a natural decision and it is not something that happens all that often in Science Fiction.

Star Trek Discovery: Project Daedalus. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
It was good that we got to see more of the crew in social situations. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

In the end, do we recommend Project Daedalus? Oh, you bet we do. You get action, you get space battles, you get an exploration of makes a character tick, and moments that made me go wow. It also gives a real insight as to what the challenge will be going forward for the rest of the season.     

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 –
Jonathan Frakes
Written by – Michelle Paradise
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 Jayne Brook, Ethan Peck, Rachael Ancheril, Tara Nicodemo, Hannah Cheesman, Emily Coutts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Ronnie Rowe Jr. & Julianne Grossman      

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