Perhaps even worse, by the time we hit the seven-minute mark of the episode, Tig Notaro’s character has already made her third joke about her injured back.
Lt. Detmer (Emily Coutts) gets a round of applause from her comrades for her piloting of the ship, but also a nasty head injury right where her cybernetics sit. She’s out of sorts as a result, and one can’t help but get the feeling that we’re being set up for a rehash of that whole “Sphere Data” stuff from last season. Is it possible that Control has infiltrated Detmer just as it did Airiam last year? It seems unlikely that the writers would lean into that same plot thread again, so the question remains for now what exactly is going on with the helmsman. Wherever this winds up going, it’s nice to see Coutts getting something to do beyond just flying the Disco.
Michelle Yeoh’s Georgiou is also back on the scene, having been onboard Discovery during the wormhole trip after dispatching Leland/Control. She’s acutely concerned with getting communications back up and running because she wants to track down Burnham, but it’s hard to get behind the character’s constantly selfish motivations, and it’s also difficult to understand why she would be so Burnham-fixated at this point. Yes, the two have a connection, and yes, Mirror Burnham was her daughter back home, but it still feels like a leap for the character. Wouldn’t she just be scheming and plotting how best to survive in this brave new world?Saru (Doug Jones) and Tilly (Mary Wiseman) go civilian-style into the unknown of the planet outside in order to get an important component for the ship fixed. Along the way, episode director Olatunde Osunsanmi makes great use of those Iceland locations that we also saw in last week’s episode, and Jones and Wiseman have a nice moment when Saru explains why he chose Tilly to accompany him on this mission rather than Georgiou. “You, Ensign Tilly, are a wonderful first impression,” he says as she fights back tears.
When Saru and Tilly make it to a sort of alien saloon on the planet, however, things deteriorate as they encounter a group of Starfleet sympathizers who are being terrorized by local warlord Zareh, played by Jake Weber (Medium, Dawn of the Dead). There’s nothing about Weber’s character that indicates anything other than bad-guy-of-the-week, and all the business about whether or not Saru and Tilly will get the part for their ship fixed feels like a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile, Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Reno get involved in a B-story that sees them attempting to affect repairs on the ship even while Stamets struggles with his recent injuries. Why exactly Stamets needs Reno to talk him through the repairs is unclear, and Culber (Wilson Cruz) joining in with advice like “slow your breathing” just elicits more shrugs. Feels like a whole lot of nothing going on here, which is a shame considering that actually a whole lot of something is going on with the ship now flung almost a thousand years into a hostile future.
In the end, the Disco is well on its way with repairs and Sonequa Martin-Green’s Burnham even shows up, reuniting the whole team. To paraphrase Jean-Luc Picard, now it’s time for the crew to finally, one hopes, see what’s out there.
Questions and Notes from the Q Continuum:
- “Brace! Brace! Brace!!!”
- It has previously been established that the Discovery’s crew complement is 136, and here we’re told that there are 88 crewmembers still onboard. So there were either a bunch of casualties during last season’s big finale battle and the wormhole trip, or a bunch of folks chose to stay behind and not travel to the future.
- “Um, you have some Leland on your shoes.”
- Rachael Ancheril’s Nhan, the former Enterprise crewmember who was MIA as far as I could tell at the end of Season 2, is back and now credited here as a main cast member. Huh.
- Speaking of bigger roles, the Saurian Linus talks now! (Update: As GeekFilter on Twitter points out, the character did previously speak in a scene last season.)
- Weber’s character refers to the V’draysh, which was previously heard in the Short Treks episode “Calypso.” Michael Chabon, who wrote “Calypso,” has said the term is a future lingual distortion of “Federation.”