Star Trek: Discovery review – Season 3, Episode 5: Die Trying

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1-3, as well as Star Trek: Picard and other iterations of the Star Trek franchise.

Last week’s episode, Forget Me Not, wasn’t my favourite. There were a few too many contrivances and a little too much forced drama for my liking. I was hoping for a better outing this time, and I wasn’t disappointed. Die Trying had some neat callbacks and tie-ins with past iterations of the Star Trek franchise while telling an interesting semi-standalone story for the bulk of its runtime. What we didn’t get was any significant advancement of the overall story of the season – unravelling the mysterious event known as “the Burn” – though we can perhaps rule out one or two possible causes that I postulated before the season premiered!

Discovery can, on occasion, feel a little confusing. A couple of events this week fall into that category, and I hope the writers and producers are setting up storylines which will pay off in future episodes rather than making what appear to be on the surface arbitrary decisions about characters and themes. The full picture will only become evident when Season 3 reaches its climax, so for now I will make note of some of these points, but try my best to suspend my harshest criticisms!

Discovery arrives at Federation HQ in Die Trying.

Die Trying begins with Discovery’s arrival at Federation headquarters. At the end of last week’s episode, Adira had provided Burnham with a map to the Federation’s location, and Captain Saru appears to have wasted little time in travelling there. One thing I wasn’t clear on – and perhaps this will come up in a future episode – is why the Federation and Starfleet feel a need to conceal their base. It appeared to be cloaked, and in addition the location was hidden by what Adira called an “algorithm.” Maybe all of this is because of paranoia related to the Burn – after all, that’s why United Earth kicked the Federation out. But there could be other reasons, especially considering the Burn is now 120 years in the past.

It would have been nice to see Saru and Discovery contacting Starfleet for the first time. As it is, what we see in the episode is their second contact; Starfleet already knows that they’re coming, and I feel like we missed out on what could have been an interesting and emotional moment for both sides. Saru tells us that he previously contacted Starfleet, but for such a significant moment it would have been better to see it for ourselves. “Show don’t tell” is a good mantra for any story!

Captain Saru tells us he contacted Starfleet to let them know of Discovery’s impending arrival.

Discovery arrives at Starfleet HQ, and we get a touching sequence – accompanied by a great musical score – as the ship flies into the base. There were several new starship designs, and it was great to see different kinds of ship instead of them all keeping to the same design. It was surprisingly emotional to see the USS Voyager-J, with the same NCC designation as the original. The “J” part was also an oblique reference to Enterprise, which saw the USS Enterprise-J in one episode set in the future. There was also a USS Nog – a reference to the Deep Space Nine character who was the first Ferengi to serve in Starfleet. Nog actor Aron Eisenberg passed away last year, so this was a very sweet way to honour him within Star Trek.

Random Blonde Bridge Officer gets her first proper line of the series during this sequence, and the bridge crew comment excitedly on various technobabble elements of the base and starships as Discovery cruises in. Their elation is infectious, and it was hard not to get excited for Discovery’s homecoming in this sequence. Additionally, the designers and animators did a good job of creating a base and starships that were familiar but which looked suitably advanced compared with Starfleet ships of the 23rd and 24th Centuries. The Voyager-J in particular managed to look like an advanced design of the Intrepid-class that retained some of the basic shapes and lines of the original Voyager but used them in an updated manner. Even the way the name was illuminated on the outer hull was reminiscent of the 24th Century craft that we’re all familiar with.

Stamets and Reno look at the Voyager-J.

The inclusion of the Voyager-J felt like something Lower Decks would have done; an Easter egg thrown in for longstanding fans of the franchise. Discovery has done this before, but some of its references and callbacks could be quite subtle: writing seen on a computer screen, for example. On the other hand we have the return of classic characters like Pike and Spock! One part of the Federation base appeared to be made from glass; it reminded me a little of Starbase Yorktown from Star Trek Beyond.

Discovery is finally brought in to dock, and Captain Saru, Burnham, and Adira are transported over to the base for an initial conversation with Starfleet. They’re introduced to an Admiral Vance, Starfleet’s commander-in-chief, and his aide, Lieutenant Willa. Willa was glimpsed in the second trailer for Season 3, where I correctly guessed she was a Starfleet officer. At least that’s one thing I’ll have got right this season! Vance is an interesting character, perhaps because he’s keen not to overplay his hand when dealing with Saru and Burnham, meaning he feels mysterious at first. Willa, at least in Die Trying, comes across as quite one-dimensional; a by-the-book, don’t-ask-questions character who exists to be a minor obstacle and foil for the crew, and little else. Hopefully future episodes will flesh out both of these characters more, as there’s potential in both.

Admiral Vance and Lieutenant Willa.

I got genuinely emotional at learning – along with Saru – that his homeworld of Kaminar ultimately joined the Federation. Saru’s journey from chattel slavery in a pre-warp civilisation to captain of a starship is unique in all of Star Trek, and the reward he must feel after helping his people in Season 2 upon learning they were able to join the Federation was beautiful to see. Despite being under heavy prosthetics, Doug Jones manages to convey a lot of emotion as Saru, and this was one of those times where it was impossible not to get emotional right along with him.

During their debrief, Admiral Vance is sceptical of Saru and Burnham and their story. I particularly liked his line about the Sphere data that he’s now “responsible for,” as it emphasised how he views Discovery in this moment: a burden. Not only has Discovery, from his perspective, broken the law by travelling through time, but they’ve brought with them a computer bank filled with data that has proven very dangerous. 32nd Century Starfleet may not have the resources to keep the Sphere data safe; we got several hints in Die Trying at an Andorian-Orion alliance that may be a significant and powerful adversary to this rump Federation. For all we know, the ships we saw when Discovery flew in represent the bulk – or even the entirety – of Starfleet, and every single vessel may be more than a century old if constructing starships since the Burn has been difficult.

Admiral Vance during the debriefing.

Though still unwilling to share classified information – such as anything he knows about the Burn – Admiral Vance is content to tell Saru and Burnham a little of the Federation. It now consists of a mere 38 worlds, some of which are out of contact. Apparently there is no way to communicate via subspace with at least some of them; whether this damage to subspace is Burn-related or not wasn’t clear.

The casting choice for Vance – Israeli actor Oded Fehr – was inspired. He has a certain gravitas and inhabits the role very well; when he’s denying Burnham her request to discuss the Burn, or telling Saru that, as far as he knows from the historical record, the spore drive didn’t exist and Discovery was destroyed, he does so from a position of authority. There’s no questioning that he’s the person in charge, both inside the debriefing room and in Starfleet HQ in general, and the guest star deserves a lot of credit for bringing the role to life. I particularly liked his line that “two truths exist in one space,” it was both poetic and calmly confrontational. After a couple of lines earlier in the season that didn’t work, this one in particular came across perfectly, and that’s due to both the scriptwriter and the actor.

Saru and Burnham being debriefed.

Continuing a theme from the season premiere, Vance talks about the “temporal accords” and a temporal war fought during the 30th Century – part of which was depicted in Enterprise. Because time travel has been outlawed, Discovery has broken the law of the 32nd Century Federation simply by arriving in this time period. Although I think there’s ample room to disagree with this interpretation, again Vance presses his case with authority, and has the final say (at least for now).

The main upshot from this conversation is that Discovery and the spore drive will be commandeered by Starfleet, and the crew are to be reassigned – assuming their millennium-out-of-date skills can be of any use to Starfleet. Saru and Burnham react emotionally – and perhaps understandably – but this seemed like the inevitable outcome. If the spore drive is as useful as it appears in this 32nd Century setting, Starfleet will want to use it. And since right now there’s only one way to use it, tearing it down and perhaps reinstalling it on a more powerful vessel instead of the ancient Discovery would make a lot of sense.

Saru learns what is to become of Discovery and the crew.

One of the themes this season has been naïvety. Saru, Burnham, and the crew naïvely assumed that if they could defeat Control, Starfleet and the Federation would be waiting for them in the future. That was proven untrue. And now that they’ve managed to track down the rump Federation, they again made the naïve assumption that they would be welcomed with open arms and be free to keep their ship and keep the crew together.

This theme has worked surprisingly well. Not only does it show that the crew – and crucially Burnham – aren’t infallible and are capable of making mistakes, which is something we need to see sometimes, but it draws a clear contrast between the hopeful, optimistic galaxy they left behind with the post-Burn reality they flew headfirst into. Their optimism in a galaxy that lacks it is going to be a driving force in the story – at least, that’s what we’ve been promised – and this is a clear way that it’s been communicated over these opening episodes of the season. We can debate whether or not the setting is truly one we could call “post-apocalyptic,” but there’s no doubt that hope and optimism are key themes in post-apocalyptic fiction. Finding a way for characters to have hope in a bleak world can be a challenge, but in Discovery it comes built-in to characters we’re already familiar with, and it makes perfect sense because of where (or rather, when) they came from. Their naïvety is part of it, and it works well here as it did in earlier episodes too.

Burnham, Saru, and the whole crew have demonstrated naïvety borne of optimism, and it’s this optimism that will be a key story point moving forward.

Immediately following their debriefing with Admiral Vance, Burnham and Saru talk in the ready-room. They hatch a plan to demonstrate their loyalty and usefulness to the Admiral and the Federation by tracking down where a group of aliens called the Kili became sick. I believe the Kili were new to Star Trek, and their design was interesting – if a little reminiscent of the Saurians.

Burnham initially suggests they steal the data they need to figure out this medical mystery, but Saru, as he often does, serves as a counterbalance to her half-baked ideas and tells her firmly that he agrees with the premise, but that they will follow the rules and go through the appropriate channels to get the information. Saru, with his calm demeanour, is perfectly-suited to this role; a Picard to Burnham’s Riker, to use a Star Trek analogy! They make an interesting pair in moments like this, and I will be forever grateful that their roles were not reversed and that it’s Saru in the captain’s chair!

Saru and Burnham in the ready-room.

It’s worth noting after last week saw the Sphere data and Discovery’s computer seemingly merge that the display panels in the ready-room (where last week’s merge occurred) are back to normal. Discovery’s computer was not called on in Die Trying, and indeed no mention was made of what happened. As far as we know at this stage, it’s only Saru who’s aware of any goings-on with the main computer – and it’s possible that he was so distracted by trying to help the crew last week that he didn’t really notice what had happened. Regardless, this story point will surely be back!

Having just said how great of a captain Saru is, the next scene shows him delivering the bad news to Discovery’s crew. Obvious troublemakers like Georgiou are clearly dissatisfied, but the mood was quite ominous in some ways. There was the expected anxiousness and concern about being split up and debriefed, but I got the sense – at least for a moment – that some of those ill feelings were being directed at Saru himself for “allowing” this to happen. Hopefully this was just a one-off moment caused by circumstances and we won’t see Saru’s captaincy in any real danger in future. Lieutenant Willa was present here, along with a couple of unnamed Starfleet personnel from the base. As mentioned, though, she’s a pretty forgettable character based on her sole appearance in Die Trying.

Saru breaks the news of their pending reassignments to the assembled crew of Discovery.

Several members of the crew go through their debriefings in a montage, referring to events and storylines from Seasons 1 and 2, which was a neat touch. Culber mentioned being dead and stuck in the mycelial network, Tilly referenced her Mirror Universe counterpart, but my favourite was Reno, who injected some much-needed humour into Die Trying. Reno can always be relied on for some lightheartedness, and Tig Notaro’s deadpan delivery is always on point.

Burnham and Saru press Lieutenant Willa for the information about the Kili, and after a short protest she concedes and provides them with a list of planets the Kili visited before arriving at Federation HQ. It was clever of Burnham to point out that Discovery is a science vessel, and that these kinds of situations are what the ship was made for investigating.

Lieutenant Willa listens to Burnham’s request for information.

If we split Die Trying into three main parts we have this sequence taking up the first third or so of the episode, dealing with Saru, Burnham, and the crew aboard the Federation base, then we’ll have the away mission that kicks off in a moment, but the third storyline is that of Georgiou’s debrief with a character played by famed director David Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s 1986 film The Fly made my list of horror films to watch at Halloween just a couple of weeks ago; a strange coincidence considering I had no idea he would make an appearance in Discovery! It just goes to show how broad the Star Trek franchise and its fandom reach.

Surely Cronenberg’s character, Kovich, is an operative of Section 31? That wasn’t confirmed, of course, but the fact that he debriefs her personally and is wearing a very different uniform to everyone else would hint at that being a logical assumption. Regardless, Kovich is an interesting character, and his dance with Georgiou was often riveting as the two attempted to talk around one another. However, I feel that there was a missed opportunity to show Georgiou in a situation she couldn’t control – something we’ll also see with Burnham in a moment.

A surprise appearance from guest star David Cronenberg!

Georgiou is cold and calculating, and is able to take charge of almost any situation. However, we’re 930 years into the future, and on top of that she’s in a different universe, so there was an opportunity for her frankly one-dimensional character to get to try something different – not being in total control, for once. The two Starfleet holograms correctly identify her as Terran, and of course by this point in the timeline the Mirror Universe’s existence is an open secret to Starfleet so that makes sense. And here was the opportunity for her to lose her advantage.

By being immediately “outed” as a Terran and forced into a Starfleet debrief specifically designed for those from the Mirror Universe we could have seen Georgiou on the back foot, outsmarted, outmanoeuvred, and even defeated. We’ll come to the question of her fate in this meeting at the end, because clearly something happened to her off-screen, but practically the whole time we had her on screen she was her typical self: one-dimensional, “I’m evil and I love it,” 23rd Century Heinz Doofenshmirtz. That made for some truly great television as she was pitted against Kovich and they danced around each other, but I’m left lamenting a wholly different sequence that we didn’t get.

Georgiou in her debriefing.

I mentioned what was kind of a missed opportunity to put Burnham on the back foot, and after introducing Kovich to us, we come to this moment. After Saru and Burnham use the data to figure out which planet the Kili became ill on, Burnham proposes traveling to a seed vault ship which could be used to formulate an antidote. This was a great opportunity for Admiral Vance or Lieutenant Willa to shoot her down and demonstrate to her that her 23rd Century knowledge is of limited use. There are many ways this could have been done, but just off the top of my head: they could have already figured out the planet through high-tech scanning, the seed vault ship may no longer exist by this time, or 32nd Century replicators could have created the perfect antidote already. I know any of these would radically change the rest of the story of the episode so I’m not advocating any of them especially, but as a general point, 32nd Century Starfleet showing how their technology can solve problems without a need for Burnham and Saru’s input would have set up a potentially interesting story of its own – or rather, advanced one that is already rumbling in the background: what possible use can these millennium-old people be in the 32nd Century considering how much the simply do not know?

Regardless, Burnham’s plan has merit and a plan is concocted to travel to the USS Tikhov – Starfleet’s flying seed vault. Saru offers to remain aboard the Federation base, so Burnham will be in command for the away mission, accompanied by Lieutenant Willa and a couple of unnamed 32nd Century Starfleet personnel. We could absolutely argue that replicators, transporters, and the ability to store detailed and accurate data of any plant species in the universe should render the need for a seed vault invalid in the future, but I think it gets a pass as a story point. Not only is it logical to keep a backup even if all those technologies exist, it made for a wholly different and interesting setup. We’ve never really seen a ship like the Tikhov before, with its unique role in the Federation.

Discovery prepares to leave the Federation base under Burnham’s temporary command.

Though I would never make her captain, it was neat to see Burnham in command on the bridge and ordering a Black Alert. She hasn’t had the opportunity to step up like this since she was stripped of rank after the series premiere, so it was a reminder just how far she’s come in that time. Black Alert and spore jumps always seem to come as a surprise to someone new to the process – as we saw with Booker a couple of weeks ago – and Lieutenant Willa and her colleagues react in a similar way as Discovery jumps from Federation HQ to a location five months’ distant (at 32nd Century high-warp speeds) in an instant.

More could’ve been made of the ion storm, not from the point of view of Discovery and her crew – Detmer in particular is still struggling with her injury/mental health and showed how much of a danger it was to the ship. But the 32nd Century officers could have made some point about how ion storms are no problem for the ships of their era, or reacted with surprise at how gingerly Burnham, Detmer, and others were treating it. By this time period we tend to expect that something that might’ve been a major threat or problem for a ship like Discovery should be easy enough to handle. The visual effects used for the ion storm were great, though, and after some sequences last week were a bit of a visual miss it’s great to see Discovery’s animation back on top form.

Discovery and the ion storm.

I’m glad that Detmer’s storyline has not been entirely abandoned. Last week seemed to show her having a breakthrough; letting her emotions boil over before realising she needed to ask for help. I’m still undecided on how this arc will end – her death is still a possibility – but I’m glad that it wasn’t just dropped as I feared it might’ve been. Owosekun is an unsung hero in this particular storyline too, having been seen encouraging her friend and being supportive on several occasions this season. Giving both of these characters more to do was part of my wishlist for the season, so I’m glad Discovery is at least trying to branch out beyond its regular main cast.

After rescuing the Tikhov from the ion storm, Burnham readies an away team to beam aboard. For story purposes I can understand why she, Culber, and Nhan went alone; from an in-universe perspective I’m left wondering why Lieutenant Willa didn’t accompany them. Wasn’t at least part of her reason for going on the mission to keep an eye on Burnham? Yet she’s content to allow her to transport into an important vault that should be subject to security measures and/or restrictions. This would have been an opportunity for Willa to step out of her bland role and perhaps see some fleshing out of her character. If she’s to make repeated appearances we could have laid the groundwork for that here, but if she’s just going to be a one-off character then I guess it’s fine.

Why did Lieutenant Willa tag along if she wasn’t going to observe the whole mission?

The set design of the Tikhov was interesting. I liked the out-of-control plants which immediately conveyed that something was wrong while also providing a lot of shadowy areas and potential hiding places for someone nefarious. However, not for the first time in Discovery the redressing of familiar sets felt obvious and not particularly well-disguised. It wasn’t as bad as the Ba’ul facility seen in Season 2’s The Sound of Thunder, which was so painfully obviously the transporter room that it made some scenes distractingly difficult to watch! But it wasn’t spectacular set design either, at least not in the hallway which Burnham, Culber, and Nhan beam into.

In a story that focused somewhat on Nhan and her people (the Barzans) it was a shame that she didn’t take the lead. As mentioned last week, Discovery almost always wants to put Burnham centre-stage, even in stories that could be better-suited to other characters. Despite the fact that we were dealing with a Barzan character, and despite the fact that Nhan seemingly makes a big sacrifice at the end of the episode (which we’ll come to in a moment) for much of the time she was aboard the USS Tikhov she felt like a minor character, dropping some exposition or technobabble but doing little of consequence.

Nhan aboard the USS Tikhov.

After beginning their exploration of the plant-infested vessel, we see an invisible character moving in behind the away team. This would soon be revealed to be the Barzan scientist who was supposed to be the caretaker of this vessel, and the way in which he was half-trapped in a transporter beam reminded me of Quinn Erickson from the Enterprise Season 4 episode Daedalus, who suffered a similar fate. Little moments like this connect Discovery to the wider franchise, and they’re always appreciated.

As Georgiou continues her debrief with Kovich we learn what Starfleet knows about the Burn, and surprisingly they know very little. Kovich declines to expand on any of the theories except to say no one theory seems more likely than any other at this point. He also drops a bombshell on Georgiou – the Terran Empire fell. We knew this as it had been shown in Deep Space Nine, but it was Georgiou’s first encounter with that piece of information, and it seemed, very briefly, to affect her.

Georgiou during her debriefing.

Georgiou seizes on the Burn, telling Kovich that the Federation must be terrified. She also used an interesting phrase, one which Kovich did not refute: “whoever did this.” This is perhaps our first indication that the Burn may be an event that was deliberately triggered. In People of Earth, Burnham suggested two possibilities: accident or natural disaster. I noted at the time that she didn’t mention the possibility of the Burn being caused deliberately, which seemed like an equally-plausible option, and we finally have that addressed here. The fact that Kovich didn’t immediately step in and say that they’d ruled that out is interesting, and may well be a hint at the Burn being caused deliberately by some nefarious villain.

I kind of liked the “natural disaster” angle – though my theory of it being related to coronal mass ejections and stars, based on a frame from the second trailer, has been refuted by that scene’s inclusion in this episode. The reason for that was that it would present Saru, Burnham, and the crew with a scientific puzzle to solve rather than an evil bad guy to defeat. Season 3 is, in some respects, following a similar basic pattern to Season 2 right now: there’s a mysterious phenomenon, and the more we learn about it the more likely it seems that there’s a villain manipulating events to cause it. In Season 2 we had the red bursts, the Red Angel, and Control was ultimately revealed as the villain. In Season 3 we have the Burn and the collapse of the Federation – is a villain about to be revealed?

Kovich dropped some major hints about the Burn.

Back aboard the seed vault, Burnham and the away team discover a hologram of the Barzan family. This was set up in a pretty creepy way; I definitely felt horror film echoes as they approached the eerie, abandoned section of the ship. If the ship felt like an underwhelming redress of existing sets, the seed vault itself was far more impressive. Whirring rotating sections and a jumble of different shapes made for an interesting aesthetic as Burnham beamed in. She was attacked by the Barzan (in another moment reminiscent of the transporter story in Enterprise) and tasks Tilly and Stamets with figuring out what happened to him and his family.

As mentioned, when I saw the second Season 3 trailer I pulled a frame out of it where Tilly and Stamets were conducting a scan for coronal mass ejections. CMEs are a real-world phenomenon, and I wondered if they could be related to the Burn. We can strike that theory off the list, however, as it instead turns out that a CME is what killed the Barzan’s family. In a cruel twist of fate he was trapped halfway through a transporter cycle, which saved his life but also left him phased. This was an interesting explanation; it took what could have been a fairly flat “monster of the week” and turned him into a character with a genuinely emotional story. Star Trek has often done this, and it’s worked remarkably well across the franchise.

The phased Barzan.

Nhan had come across one of the Tikhov’s logs which showed this man’s descent into madness, and I liked this scene with her. After piecing together what happened, it seems as though the coronal mass ejection was responsible for killing his family, and the Barzan doctor was desperately trying to revive them using the seeds aboard the ship – that’s why there were plants everywhere when the away team arrived. Burnham needs his voiceprint to unlock the seed vault and find what she needs for the Kili, so using Discovery’s transporter the crew are able to bring him back into phase.

As they sat together, I felt like this was an opportunity for Nhan to shine. As often happens in Discovery, though, this moment was instead given to Burnham, who is able to get through his grief and convince him to access the seeds she needs. She did so by appealing to him, telling him he could help other families – the Kili – even though he could no longer help his own. This worked and it makes sense, but I can’t help feeling Nhan could have done the same job. Nhan does, however, get to wordlessly use the computer to find the seeds, which is something.

Nhan retrieves the important seeds.

Now we come to a contentious point – something Star Trek has never shied away from. The Barzan doctor refuses treatment for his radiation/CME illness, and is content to die alongside his family. Dr Culber offers a weak protest, saying he’s not being rational, but Nhan steps in saying that there are cultural issues in play with how the Barzans approach issues of family and death. Both are right, in a way, and there’s no easy answer. Is it okay to let someone die from something preventable just because they say they want to? Is Dr Culber right when he says he’s being irrational? These are deep topics, and Discovery touches on them but doesn’t really dive into them too much.

While Burnham is okay with letting him die, she doesn’t want to let the seed vault die too. Nhan volunteers to remain aboard, and this was a confusing point. This is presented as if Nhan is leaving the series; this being her final end as a character. But only a few episodes ago at the beginning of the season Rachael Ancheril was promoted to the main cast. Is she leaving? Or is Nhan coming back later in the season – perhaps bringing the Tikhov to Discovery’s rescue at a key moment? My guess is on the latter, because I’m not convinced we’ve seen the last of this unique and interesting character. Burnham’s parting words that she hopes their “paths cross again” could be a hint at this.

Nhan and Burnham embrace.

So Nhan will stay behind to guard the seeds. She says she’s doing so in Ariam’s memory – the cyborg redshirt who died in Season 2 – but also to ensure that the Barzans’ turn to keep the ship safe will come to a successful end. Her loyalty to her people and her culture was admirable – and again would have given her a reason to connect with the Barzan doctor and get through to him.

Discovery managed to make Nhan’s departure all about Burnham, with Nhan telling Burnham (and by extension the audience) that she embodies everything great about Starfleet and she always “reaches for the best” in everyone. Sorry, but that line felt at least a little flat, especially under the circumstances. With the seed vault in safe hands, Burnham returns to Discovery, and Discovery returns to Federation HQ with a cure in hand. The shot of the ship seen through one of the Tikhov’s plant-framed windows was pretty neat.

The USS Discovery as seen from the Tikhov.

Nhan’s departure was a shock, but one the crew don’t seem to process. Back at Federation HQ the Kili are given the cure to their ailment, and Admiral Vance seems satisfied with Burnham’s performance. Saru’s comment about the Dark Ages was poetic, and again accompanied by a great musical score that amped up the emotion. His point is that Discovery and its crew may help the Federation heal, and he and Burnham press the point home. Discovery’s crew will be allowed to stay together, at least for now.

There will be no missions of exploration, but the crew will be together and will be able to use the spore drive to go on missions to help the Federation and Starfleet. That seems like as good of an outcome as possible, especially considering Vance’s earlier comments. Vance tells Burnham there are more theories about the Burn “than ships in the fleet,” and tells her that unless they can find evidence that has been overlooked since the Burn it will remain an unknown. Burnham says “challenge accepted,” which I take it to mean we’re about to begin the next part of the story of the season – piecing this mystery together.

Admiral Vance, Captain Saru, and Burnham.

As the episode ends, Burnham draws our attention to a piece of music being played. It was the same composition that Adira played last week, and Burnham seems awfully confused that the same music could be common to multiple Federation members. For story reasons I’m sure this will be significant – why make note of it otherwise? – but it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to think that a piece of music could become popular. It would be like going abroad today and hearing a pop song. That wouldn’t be weird, so why is it weird here?

So that was Die Trying. Adira seems to have disappeared after arriving at Federation HQ; I hope their absence isn’t indicative of something bad having happened to them. Random Blonde Bridge Officer finally got a name: Lieutenant Nilsson. I’ll have to stop calling her RBBO! And the three stories all played out in interesting fashion. It was a solid episode, on par with the first few of the season at least.

Discovery docked at Federation HQ.

Something may have happened to Georgiou off screen – or she could simply be processing the loss of the Terran Empire or the ability to travel back to the Mirror Universe. Perhaps this is setting her up to travel back in time or back to the Mirror Universe at some point later in the season. But let’s save the speculating for my next theory post!

I’ve had a terrible case of writer’s block for a few days now, so I apologise for being late with this review and for the lack of other articles this week. I hope things settle down soon.

I’m already looking forward to next week’s episode: Scavengers. Here’s hoping it will be another enjoyable ride.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to watch now on CBS All Access in the United States, and on Netflix in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The Star Trek franchise – including Discovery – is the copyright of ViacomCBS. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.