TL;DR – This week is the surest sign so far that things are not what the once were when the crew return home to Earth.
People of Earth Review –
So far this season, everything about been about coming together and finding their place. In the first episode this season That Hope Is You, it was all about Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) finding her place in the future. In episode two Far From Home, it was the USS Discovery’s turn. But now they have both found themselves in the future; it is time to go back to where it all started.
So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, we discovered that it was Michael that was digging the USS Discovery out of the parasitic ice that was threatening to crush them all. This week we get to see the immediate aftermath as Michael is reunited with the crew. It is all joy and hugs … hugs remember how good hugs were … oh and a sly supportive nod from Philippa (Michelle Yeoh). She lets them know about her year alone, and what has happened to the Federation. However, now that the Discovery is there they can go somewhere that had been out of Michael’s reach until now … Earth, we just need to know who the captain is first. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
There is a lot to unpack in this episode, but I want to take a moment to explore all the small things that popped out for me throughout the episode that helped make this shine. The first was that moment when Michael is talking to Tilly (Mary Wiseman) who has finally had a moment to process her grief both of those who they lost getting here and those who she lost jumping into the future. It was here where Michael reminders her that “Cake is Eternal”. It is that moment of an emotional bond that Tilly needed, and her follow up that she loves her hair was perfect.
Then there was that little look between Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) and Detmer (Emily Coutts) when Book (David Ajala) arrives on the bridge. It was so well-timed that it provoked an actual laugh out loud. Finally, it was the ending where Tilly and the bridge crew got to go down to where Starfleet Academy was and found a tree that was still there. It was a moment of bonding and became the emotional heart of the episode.
The next thing that we see is that the year working as a courier has changed Michael, in some ways for the better and some ways for the worse. She has spent the year finding any trace of Starfleet and the Federation and coming up mostly empty. In that year she had to come face to face with the realisation that she may never see the Discovery again, it could come tomorrow or hundreds of years after her death. However, for everyone else, it was like she was just there yesterday. That moment when someone says hello to her, and she could not remember who they were was telling. I think her growth this season will be looking at her two key role models Saru (Doug Jones) and Philippa and probably charting a course somewhere in the middle. Also, it was nice that they didn’t mess around with who the captain will be.
With this episode, we discover that not only has Earth survived The Burn but that it has been ever changed by it. Also, it was nice to see the shot of Australia as they arrived. The big take away is that Earth is no longer in The Federation and has retreated so far back that it does not even control the solar system any more, instead just sitting back behind their shields and ignoring anyone in need of help. As far as analogies go, it is a pretty blatant one, but it was effective. But it did mean I spent the whole episode going “I know that voice, where do I know that voice from” only for the big reveal of Christopher Heyerdahl who is one of the great Sci-Fi actors. Their search for The Federation that must be out there somewhere continues, but not without a lead because beaming on board was Adira (Blu del Barrio). On the surface, they look like a precocious teenager, but there is more to them than first meets the eye because Adria has been joined with a Trill Symbiont, one with a long memory.
In the end, do we recommend People of Earth? Yes, yes we do. It was another solid episode of the season, but it was also another building block episode. While I do get that they are almost starting from scratch here, I do hope we get the push the show needs to barrel forward.
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.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek Discovery
Directed by – Jonathan Frakes
Written by – Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt
Based off – Star 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, David Ajala with Michelle Yeoh and Christopher Heyerdahl, Adil Hussain, Phumzile Sitole, Kenneth Welsh, Blu del Barrio, Emily Coutts, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Oyin Oladejo, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Sara Mitich, David Benjamin Tomlinson, and Leeu