Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 3 Episode 5 (Die Trying)

Getting what we want isn’t always what we expected.  It’s certainly not easy.  For the first part of Discovery’s third season, the title ship has been looking for Federation and Starfleet headquarters.  It’s been made more difficult by the fact that there’s no warp drive.  They have a spore drive, which isn’t hindered by The Burn, but information seems to be scarce.

In Die Trying, the ship finally arrives at headquarters, but the crew doesn’t get the warm welcome they expected.  Instead, they’re met with suspicion.  It’s understandable.  At the end of Season 2, it was revealed that Discovery is listed as destroyed in action.  All mention of the spore drive is erased from any official record.  No one will speak of them again, and this comes to bite Discovery in the hind quarters.

Admiral Charles Vance is in charge of Starfleet.  He basically tells Saru, now the captain of Discovery, that the crew will be debriefed and split up.  The ship will be retrofitted and whatnot.  This doesn’t sit well with the crew, but it’s a pretty realistic response.  Starfleet doesn’t have many ships left.  Federation membership has gone from 350 planets at its peak to 38, a reduction of almost 90%.  Vance and Co. aren’t in a good spot.  So, yeah.  It’s not the cheers and balloons anyone expected.

That’s not to say that anything bad is going to happen.  It turns out that there are some refugees that are in dire medical need.  A solution presents itself that’s uniquely suited to Discovery’s abilities, which gives the crew a chance to shine.

There’s a lot going on in this episode, but that’s not what’s important.  Sometimes, it’s what’s not said that draws my attention.  Vance states that Starfleet’s mission has changed over the years, which is probably why there are so many ships docked at headquarters. 

There’s also the giant distortion field, which acts as a giant cloaking device.  Starfleet has gone on the defensive.  It’s not stated exactly what that means, though.  Why have all these ships if you’re just going to keep them docked?  I realize that The Burn has rendered warp drives useless for the most part.  They want to conserve dilithium, which is at a premium now.  It’s also not clear how many other ships there are.  There would seem to be a few ships out and about.  Still, that’s a lot of ships.

Then, there’s the debriefing.  As I said, it’s understandable that Starfleet is suspicious of a crew from the past that just drops by, especially considering that time travel is now illegal.  Vance isn’t going to do them any favors, considering.  Of note is Georgiou’s debriefing.  She manages to disable her two holographic interrogators, leaving a mysterious gentleman named Kovach to question her.

Kovach seems to know all about Georgiou, like that she’s Terran.  How?  We don’t know.  He does know all about The Mirror Universe, stating that no one has crossed over in 500 years.  Maybe this guy is Section 31, which might make sense.  Maybe he’s from the other side, himself, but that would raise more questions.

There are a lot of nods to other series.  Most notable is the USS Voyager-J.  It seems to bear a striking resemblance to Janeway’s Voyager.  There’s also mention of a new Constitution-class vessel.  This makes me wonder if Starfleet is recycling old designs.  If so, why?  Is there some need for smaller ships?

For that matter, holograms seem to have regressed a little since Voyager’s time.  The holographic characters seem to have less personality.  I’m kind of hoping for a visit from the EMH from Voyager.  It might make for some nice commentary.

I miss the episodic format of the other series, but I kind of don’t.  Discovery is striking a nice balance between contained storylines and the bigger picture.  We get the obligatory “We don’t know squat about The Burn” segment, but there are also a lot of new things going on.  This episode moves the season along nicely.  I will say that, five episodes in, there’s no Disco shown.  I’d call that a good thing, knock on holographic wood.


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