Kobayashi Marie Long Reads/Series

Kobayashi Marie #18: Star Trek Discovery Sn. 2 Ep. 3

Kobayashi Marie

Kobayashi Marie ventures deeper into the unknown journey that is Season 2 with Episode 3 – Point of Light

“Break into Spock’s medical file – that’s an order”

This episode is heavy on motherhood (spoilers ahead, by the way) and while one of these strands was extremely powerful, another was most definitely not. Rant incoming.

We’re still on the search for Spock (sorry) and Amanda (Mia Kirshner) arrives to see Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) to pool their ideas. With Spock now wanted for murder, and with a diagnosis of ‘extreme empathy deficit’, Amanda’s response is incredibly real and moving – she blames herself. As a human living on Vulcan, she chose not to show Spock a mother’s love (perhaps even transferring her emotions to Michael) and concludes that his emotional disassociation is all her fault and that she’s a bad mother.

I have a feeling Spock would (will) tell her that her response is totally illogical, but Amanda is working on human emotions – in fact right now, heightened human emotions – so logic is not top of her list. I found her distress very touching, perhaps unexpected, yet on reflection very accurate.

Contrast that with the other mother we encounter – which was definitely an unexpected revelation. Sometime between genetically altering Voq and capturing and surrendering to Admiral Cornwell, L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has managed to produce a son. Not that she was actually pregnant for very long, as the child was removed from her body and incubated separately. In fact, she’s never even met him. And to be honest, I’m a bit uncomfortable with everything around L’Rell’s motherhood strand. Apparently, it’s not possible to challenge for leadership while carrying a child, so she had it removed from her body. Women do things everyday while pregnant, so this is just a very poor way of crowbarring in a baby which we can only assume will be important at some later stage – but the idea for which only came about after season 1 was complete. L’Rell chooses the moment just after she feels Tyler/Voq (Shazad Latif) is distancing himself from her emotionally to reveal the existence of their child. Tyler is emotionally delicate anyway at this point, and the discovery that he’s also a father is a level of emotional blackmail that felt unnecessary.

And while Philippa Georgiou’s (Michelle Yeoh) entrance is always welcome, her throwaway comments about having to employ someone to take care of her child so that she could get work done was also a bit off the mark for me. Yes, child care is an issue for working mothers, but this needed exploring in much more detail, or removed altogether.

So that by the time L’Rell has disposed of her son and his father and announces to her Klingon subjects “From this point forth, you may call me Mother”, my eyes were rolling so far back in my head. Firstly I don’t recall the significance of the mother-figure in Klingon culture for her to make such a big thing of it. And secondly, I don’t see how the events of this one episode, which are the only things we’ve learned about L’Rell as a mother, give her sufficient platform to announce herself as the Mother of Klingons. It’s a very different view of motherhood than the one we’ve just seen from Amanda and one which is distinctly uncomfortable.

All of this overshadows the other strand which is that we finally get to discover who May (Bahia Watson) is. And for once I was right! It was connected with the spore which landed on Sylvia Tilly’s (Mary Wiseman) shoulder back in Season 1. Clearly there’s a lot more unpacking of this to come – as long as she doesn’t turn out to be her mother, I can wait.

Kobayashi Marie will be back on Friday with an all new column for Season 2 of Star Trek Discovery

You can catch up on the prior columns here!

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