Kobayashi Marie continues its adventure returning for the third season of Star Trek Discovery with the first episode of the season – That Hope Is You (Part 1)
I really … really didn’t know how this day was going to turn out.
Discovery is back!
Or rather, Burnham is back. Just as the ending of S2 seemed to forget about Discovery and focus on Enterprise, then S3 begins with a whole episode which does not feature the Discovery crew at all. It’s all about Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) this week, trying to make contact with her crew and not lose hope.
We are very clearly in The Future because of the technology which we see (that’s one way to make a bed each morning I guess). The year 3188 to be precise. We’ve never been so far into the future with Star Trek before.
Burnham ascertains that her mission to save life in the galaxy has been successful, but that she has lost contact with Discovery. How fortunate though that she crashes into a class M planet, because she removes the angel suit without even checking the oxygen content around her! The girl is incredibly lucky.
The spaceship Burnham crashed into is sitting on the beach. Wait, haven’t we already had a wrecked ship on a beach? That’s how we see the Borg cube in Picard, isn’t it?
This ship belongs to one Cleveland ‘Book’ Booker (David Ajala). Do we trust him? Should we trust him? Michael has no choice. In the early part of the episode it seems that Book is indeed trustworthy, then he double-crosses Michael, then joins with her to save them both, and by the end, he seems like a guy with a good heart. So that’s OK then. Except how many times have we been hoodwinked by characters in previous episodes in the past? I wish I wasn’t feeling so suspicious, but I can’t help it!
Once onboard Book’s vessel, there is a ginormous cat. “Yes. She has a thyroid condition.” Will she travel with Book? Remember how Number One, Picard’s trusted friend, didn’t make it off the vineyard? Perhaps we’ve seen the first and last of Grudge already?
I really enjoyed the dynamic with Burnham and Book, which I’m thinking will develop into a strong, supportive relationship – if she can stop punching him that is. There were at least three, perhaps more, strong blows to the jaw from Michael and it looked like she was having fun.
Book turns out to be a kind of 32nd century David Attenborough – he’s something of an eco-warrior, saving endangered species and repatriating them where they can thrive. He also has some kind of connection to nature, summoning forth a plant to help heal Burnham’s wound, and being a Transworm-whisperer, able to persuade the creature to release Burnham from its jaws/stomach/wherever it was holding her. Ugh. But if he has such a connection, is it something that could be used to interact with the spore drive? Hmmm.
We get a whole section in the middle of this episode where Burnham is high on space speed, having had some kind of truth powder blown in her face by the security bots at The Mercantile. It’s good fun, and most definitely a chance for Sonequa Martin-Green to show off a different side to her acting skills. It would have been tough going without that light-hearted section, given the absence of the rest of the Discovery crew providing contrast to a very Burnham-heavy episode – but in the grand scheme of things, I can’t see what it brought to the narrative as a whole.
It’s a bit alarming to learn that the federation is no more. But then, it’s almost a thousand years later so we might have expected some things to have changed in the meantime. I got the feeling though that Michael wasn’t prepared for that. To be fair, the decision to jump forward happened quite quickly so perhaps there just wasn’t time to sweat the details?
And so to return to the title of the episode: That Hope Is You. We (or at least I) may have been thinking along the lines of Book being Burnham/Discovery’s hope, but it turns out he is nature’s hope. It appears to be Burnham who is the hope of Starfleet, or at the very least of the federation outpost staffed by Aditya Sahil (Adil Hussain). Mr. Sahil has been waiting for someone from Starfleet for 40 years, day in, day out, with the computer remaking his bed for him every morning – so it must have been something of a shock to the system to meet an actual commissioned Starfleet officer. and although there are limits to his technology, he can be the hope for Burnham and Discovery that they will reunite.
*I* just hope the reunion is in the very next episode – although I can imagine that we will get Discovery’s experience in episode 2, and the meeting up will be in episode 3. And when do we get Part 2 of the title? From what I can see online, the next episode is called Far From Home and there’s no sign of a That Hope Is You, Part 2 at all. What do you think? Am I missing something?