“Unification III” is a genuine, heartfelt, and honest look at finding your place in the universe

Looking for a cause to the devastating event known as The Burn, the crew of the USS Discovery is tasked with journeying to the planet Ni’Var to retrieve scientific data from an experiment known as SB-19. Burnham is further shocked to learn that Ni’Var is Vulcan and, in the 900 years since they left the 23rd century, the Vulcans and the Romulans have unified and share the same planet, a historic event set into motion by her adopted brother, Spock. Now, in an effort to get the data from the Vulcans and Romulans, Burnham must face her own inner truths in a debate of logic and absolute candor.

I am personally loving how quiet and introspective that this season of Star Trek: Discovery has been. Weapons fire is rare, action is subdued… Discovery has been rebooted into a television series about ideas, characters, and philosophy and, given its beginnings that revealed in war and spectacle, it is a jarring contrast. I love it, though. I love the maturity and thoughtfulness that this series has draped itself in and it deserves to be recognized as the worthy Star Trek successor it has grown into.

Now, with “Unification III,” the show asks questions about finding our place in the universe: Where we think we belong, where we think we don’t belong, and the truth that helps us find our way. This episode was literally 30 years in the making as it is a followup to the Star Trek: The Next Generation two parter, “Unification I and II” that saw Captain Picard meeting Spock who was trying to reunify the people of Vulcan and Romulus.

This episode was certainly heartfelt and, as much as Leonard Nimoy meant to so many people, I can understand why. “Unification III” payed the appropriate respect to Nimoy and to Spock all while asking honest questions: Are we honoring him or exploiting him?

Talk about absolute candor!

I loved watching Burnham open the holographic record of Spock and watching it with such bittersweet pride, seeing what her brother had become, her eyes welling with tears knowing that she would never see him again. It was such a wonderful scene and Sonequa Martin Green played it perfectly.

I also appreciate the series bringin the mystery of what happened to Burnham’s mom to a close in that it doesn’t feel like the show is dragging out mysteries just to drag them out and, secondly, because it eliminates the possibility that The Burn was caused by Burhnam’s mother which was something I was afraid of. While I’m not a pissy incel that complains endlessly about every episode focusing on Burnham even though she’s the man gosh-darned character of the show, I was getting uneasy about the idea of Burnham being at the center of yet another universe-changing experience. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I do have to jump in with a dark cloud of negativity, but seriously… Why would Saru make Tilly of all people the first officer? I love Mary Wiseman and I love Tilly, but logistically, it makes absolutely no sense. Has she ever sat in the command chair other than pretending that she’s her mirror universe counterpart?

“Unification III” was, as I said, an episode of ideas of philosophy, a story of truths and self-revelation. It was very expertly written, it was handled in just the right ways, and it was Star Trek all the way down to its core.

If I have any complaint about it, it is that the USS Discovery has undergone a refit and a major physical change and we still haven’t gotten any decent, lingering beauty shots of the ship which is so disappointing. Let us enjoy her!

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