Kobayashi Marie, the site’s on-going Star Trek Column, comes roaring back to life with not just one but TWO columns every week! Here is your first dose…
Discovery at last! And Hello to Jason Isaacs.
It is 6 months later and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is renowned across the quadrant as The Mutineer. She has accepted her punishment and is on the prison transport shuttle when it is attacked and she is brought aboard … Discovery!
This is presumably the episode when we can finally settle in to things properly and get to know our actual Discovery crew. For that reason there are even more people to get to know, with only a few familiar faces. We still have Keyla (Emily Coutts), although she now has some kind of implants in her head, presumably as a result of injuries sustained during the Battle at the Binary Stars. And we have Saru (Doug Jones). First Officer Saru. Ever dignified, respectful of Burnham’s prior expertise as an officer, but terribly disappointed in the choices she made. It’s almost a personal betrayal of his loyalty and it’s clear he finds it difficult to spend time with her.
We meet a couple of new female characters. Rekha Sharma’s Commander Landry is the chief of security. I like her. She’s tough, formidable, and a staunch supporter of her captain. Am I even detecting a hint of something else there? In response to Lorca thanking her for carrying out a task, her response “Anything, any time, Captain” can certainly be read with a more intimate undertone. And Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), Burnham’s roommate, who is nervously gushy, insecure, but incredibly kind. We’ll learn a bit more about both of these in future episodes.
But of course this is the episode in which we can finally say Hello to Jason Isaacs, as Captain Gabriel Lorca enters the fray. He’s enigmatic, to say the least. He has an eye condition which means he has to adjust slowly to bright light. He has a museum in his ready room filled with trophies from around the galaxy – among them tribbles and bat’leths.
And I don’t trust him.
I know that’s easy to say with hindsight, but even first time around I had a major conversation with my brother about how I thought Lorca was hiding something. It passed after a couple of episodes, but his introduction was deliberately designed to be ambiguous. Burnham’s not sure either: “I’m not here by accident. I think you brought me here. I think you’ve been testing me.”
And she’s not wrong. While the intrigue surrounding Lorca is nicely bubbling away however, the huge question at this early stage of the season for me surrounds the spore drive and the black alert. The concept is fascinating – at a quantum level physics *is* biology – and it’s carefully explained by Stamets and then Lorca. It’s going to be fundamental to several storylines coming up. However – Kirk’s Enterprise doesn’t have spore drives. I’ve never come across a black alert before. This fantastic invention hasn’t got long to be dismantled, decommissioned or debunked. The way both Stamets and Lorca describe it, the technology is too important to fail … and yet it must. Otherwise how will they retcon black alerts into the other Trek series?
It’s all about context. And Context is for Kings.