So, last season, Star Trek: Discovery said adios to the 23rd century and ventured into the far future. Now, having arrived in the year 3188, Michael Burnham finds herself alone on an unfamiliar world in an unfamiliar time and, with no choice but to team up with an unscrupulous courier named Book, she sets out to find the USS Discovery and figure out what happened to the Federation after an event called The Burn decimated the galaxy a century and a half ago.
Well, this is certainly exciting. No Star Trek series has ever done what Discovery has done: completely change its entire location and time and promise that the change will be permanent. The crux of this first episode essentially puts Michael and the audience in a fish out of water situation where everything and anything is unfamiliar from the new alliances that have formed in the last 900 years to even the science and technology that Burnham revels in. It’s an extremely weird adventure that continues to get weirder and weirder. Guys… I love that the 32nd century is weird. I just love it and I want to see more of it.
Rather that have the journey into the future be a somber affair, Discovery makes the very wise choice to allow the episode to be light when the mood calls for it and heavy when needed. Overall, Burham greets her new time period and the weirdness it serves in buffets as a source of curiosity and delight. This is Michael in her element… going to new places, meeting new lifeforms and new civilizations. Appropriately, the challenge thrills her.
I enjoyed the introduction of Book and, best of all, Grudge who is a good cat and a pretty cat. Book turns out to be a fascinating fellow and I like how the episode played with the expectations of him being some kind of a criminal and then turned it on its head.
To be honest, the promise of the 32nd century thrills me too. I won’t say that I loved this episode because it is mostly set up with no payoff and those are always hard to appraise with a one-off viewing, but what the episode does set up is fascinating and exciting. I am eager for the mysteries of this season to be unraveled, to see what has become of my favorite alien civilizations, and what will happen to the crew of the USS Discovery.
The haters will call it desperation, the fans will call it genius… I’ll settle for brave. It is very brave for an established series to toss everything in the trash and start over from scratch in such a creative way that, if it goes badly, could very well spell the end of the series all together. I hope it doesn’t and I’m sure it won’t, but at the same time, I admire the courage it took to take this step.