Discovery’s “Die Trying” continues the season’s hot streak

Finally, the USS Discovery, displaced 800 years in the future, finds Federation Headquarters and are eager to be welcomed back into the fold. However, they are soon faced with the reality that Discovery will be taken away from them and that they will all be reassigned, so Burnham and Saru offer to help solve a medical mystery and prove Discovery and her crew are worth keeping in service and together.

Discovery has hit a very welcome stride with its storytelling and a wonderful balance of maintaining not only a very interesting overall arch with the Discovery stuck in the future and dealing with a fractured post-Burn galaxy, but also with telling self-contained stories that give viewers the satisfaction of an episode with a beginning, a middle, and an end. There’s a lot less cliffhanger and a lot more self-contained story this season and it’s much more gratifying to watch. Truth be told, this season of Discovery reminds me more and more of the Star Trek renaissance of the 1990’s, a welcome bucking of the trend of long-form television, but keeping the running plot elements going just enough to make me want to see where the over-arching tale is going.

Simply put, this is good old fashioned Star Trek with a 21st century spit-polish and Discovery has never been better for it.

Discovery’s arrival at Starfleet Headquarters was just gorgeous. The new futuristic Federation starships all looked amazing with some familar designs and others that look like nothing we’ve ever seen before. I especially enjoyed the cameo by the USS Voyager-J as I really don’t think that Voyager gets the love she’s deserved and I really hope we get to see that ship in action before the season is over. The USS Nog was a very subtle, very loving tribute to the late Aron Eisenberg.

It’s a place that is so familar, and yet so alien… the design choses for this show are quite astounding.

As for the mission itself, while on the surface, it wasn’t anything overtly special, the cast and writers managed to make it a very human, and very Star Trek tale with less violence and explosions and more empathy and compassion. I felt sorry for the Barzan doctor and cared for everything he went through.

I’m not very happy that Nahn took this adventure as an exit for her character. I’m not sure of the behind the scenes decision that led to her leaving Discovery, but I am disappointed as I felt she had great potential and I enjoyed her character. I’m also disappointed that, just like Ariam, the writers waited for her last episode to introduce any real characterization for her. I just feel that, had Nahn’s desire to go back to her own people been a two or three episode arch rather than something introduced in the episode where she leaves, the emotional stakes would have felt a lot more genuine. Here, even though I liked Nahn, the big goodbye she’s given feels very unearned.

Still, overall, “Die Trying” was a far better than average episode. Very emotional, optimistic, and filled with strong performances from all of the heavies. I would love it if Tig Notario could be in every episode and I really want to see more development from Discovery’s disposables before something happens to another one of them so I could, you know… care more.

Honestly, if Brice were to step on a land mine right now, I wouldn’t even blink and Discovery should fix that asap. Detmer and Owosuken have gotten more development in the last three episodes than they did in Discovery’s first two seasons… it’s not that hard.

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