TL;DR – Home, well not quite home, at least not quite yet.
Die Trying Review –
For the past four episodes, one of the core questions that has been left has been if the Federation and Starfleet even still exist in the 3100s? Well, this is the episode where we get things confirmed, but also where more questions get asked than answered.
So to set the scene, at the end of Forget Me Not when Adira (Blu del Barrio) finally connected with her Trill Symbiont Tal, we finally discovered the location of Starfleet headquarters. It was not on a planet but hidden out in space. When we start this week’s episode, the USS Discovery is on the cusp of making contact. As it approaches, they discover it is hidden behind a disruption field, the ship breaches it and finds multiple Starfleet vessels around a central starbase, even some floating habitats. However, the only thing they were not expecting was a frosty reception. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
One of the things I liked about this episode is that the meeting between the Discovery crew and Starfleet was not just ‘oh you are back now, cool everything is fine’. We know that Discovery was mostly expunged from the records and that before The Burn, Starfleet fought a significant battle that outlawed Time Travel. All of those things make Fleet Admiral Charles Vance’s (Oded Fehr) response feel completely understandable. It would also make sense that the Discovery crew would not be happy with being split up after everything they had gone through, and it also made sense that that would be what Starfleet would do. Trust had to be built, and we got to see some of that this week.
This was also an episode that so packed full of references that it was almost bursting at the seams. The first moments they appeared in Starfleet Headquarters, you saw a glimpse of Kazon and Talax in the bottom left of the frame, and from then it was a free for all. I mean when you have a giant map of the galaxy with references from every series so far, you can help but pause and take it all in. We also get to see this when Discovery first arrives in the bubble with the USS Constitution and USS Armstrong just sitting there in all their glory. Right before the USS Voyager (NCC-74656-J) appears in centre frame, which led to an audible gasp from me. I didn’t even have time to process that before the Discovery flew past the USS Nog an Eisenberg-class vessel which was such a touching tribute to late Deep Space Nine actor Aron Eisenberg.
The main thrust of the story this week is the Discovery crew proving to Starfleet that they work better together than apart and that their perspectives are unique and useful. They do this by using Discovery’s Spore Drive to jump to the USS Tikhov (NCC-1067-M) a seed vault starship. It is a tradition that every year, a different member of the Federation takes over control of the vessel (which we learn is now down to 38 members). At this moment it crewed by a family from Barzan the same species as Commander D. Nhan (Rachael Ancheril). When they arrive the ship is stuck in an ion storm and needs to be tractored out, but stranger still there is no appearance of the family and the ship is covered in rampant plant growth. Through the story, we get a heartbreaking tale of a father trying to save what was already lost.
We also said goodbye to Nhan, but given Rachael was promoted to main cast this season, I doubt this is the last time we will see her. Finally, I should add that something has happened between Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and “I’m totally not Section 31” Kovish (David Cronenberg). Which I point out for the casual mentions of the Mirror Universe and the actual fact they got to cast David Cronenberg in a role.
In the end, do we recommend Die Trying? Yes, we do. It was an episode that had a very believable setup, but also hinted that there was something more at play. It also gave the Discovery a little bit of a purpose, finding some clues to The Burn. The question then becomes, where do we go from here?
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 – Maja Vrvilo
Written by – Sean Cochran & James Duff
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, Wilson Cruz, Rachael Ancheril with Michelle Yeoh and, Oded Fehr, David Cronenberg, Jake Epstein, Vanessa Jackson, Tig Notaro, Blu del Barrio, Emily Coutts, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Oyin Oladejo, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Sara Mitich & David Benjamin Tomlinson