TL;DR – An episode that is equal parts uplifting and frustrating
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.
Star Trek: Discovery Review –
As we reach the pointy end of the season, it is time for everything to get put into focus. This focus applies both to the season’s narrative and the strengths and weaknesses of the narrative choices that led to this moment. Here, we can find some of the very best that Star Trek has to offer and also some of the most frustrating aspects.
So to set the scene, after breaching the Galactic Barrier, the crew of the USS Discovery were both literally and metaphorically in uncharted space. In Rosetta, Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) took a gamble and made a slight detour to a solar system near the Hyperfield. Here they found the remains of a Gas Giant whose atmosphere had been blown off by a series of asteroid impacts. It was also the original home of Species Ten-C. in the ruins of the former society. They found a nursery and hydrocarbons that form part of the species’ emotions. With that knowledge obtained, the crew make their way to the Hyperfield, only to get sucked in and the power shut off. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
First, can I just say that there were aspects of this episode that was an absolute delight. Everyone coming together to try and work out the communication with Species Ten-C was utterly engaging from start to finish. I am sure some comparisons will be brought with Arrival, which is fair. However, I found it fascinating to explore how to bridge the gap between species that talk in light and emotions and not vocally through the medium of math. Every person played a role in working it out, not in a forced way. It also let some of the crew that doesn’t get a lot of screentime shine. This was a problem that involved science and culture, math and experience in working out, and it was a great testament to the power of Science Fiction. Also, I do want to point out that I love that the whole crew is playing wingman for Saru (Doug Jones) and President T’Rina (Tara Rosling).
However, while I liked parts of this episode that I liked, factors of this episode flow from choices earlier in the season that inhibit the narrative. The Book (David Ajala)/Tarka (Shawn Doyle) storyline has been the anchor dragging this season. This is made worse because it artificially adds a second ticking clock in a show that didn’t need one let alone two. I get what they are trying to do, that Book’s trauma blinds him from Tarka’s damage, but it just does not work. I think it is because they don’t want Book to ‘cross a lone’, but then he just floats around and lets the story happen to him, or maybe it is just the impacts of COVID restrictions that had made the links fall flat. What made this a little better this week is the added Reno (Tig Notaro) to the B Plot. Tig brings an electric presence wherever they go, and Reno’s conversations with Book came close to salvaging this.
In the end, do we recommend Species Ten-C? Yes. There are frustrations with this season and one plotline in particular. However, when it is firing, it is some of the best this show has done. If nothing else, I am interested to see where they land in the final episode next week.
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 – Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by – Kyle Jarrow
Based off – Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Created by – Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
Production/Distribution Companies – CBS Television Studios, Roddenberry Entertainment, Secret Hideout & Paramount+.
Starring in Season 2 – Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Blu del Barrio, Tig Notaro & David Ajala and Shawn Doyle, Chelah Horsdal, Tara Rosling, Annabelle Wallis, Hiro Kanagawa, Phumzile Sitole, Emily Coutts, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Oyin Oladejo, Sara Mitch, Orville Cummings, David Benjamin Tomlinson & Leeu