With Discovery hijacked, Michael Burnham goes on a one woman mission to get control of the ship back as Osyraa approaches Dadmiral Vance with a unique proposition.
If you ask me, the true winner of this episode was Osyraa. When we were first introduced to her, I wasn’t completely impressed. I found her rather cliched and toothless, but fine as a seasonal villain. This episode, however, has changed my mind as it has, in a 60 minute span, turned her into a three-dimensional character whos motivations go far beyond simple moustache twirling. I absolutely adored how she approached Admiral Vance and made her case for the Emerald Chain to become part of the Federation and how many of her reasons and goals actually made sense. When she says that she cares about people more than anything else, I did believe her. I believe that this is one of her motivations. I would say primary, but her primary motivation was revealed later in the episode when Vance, rather brilliantly, cornered her, insisting that she be held accountable for her crimes.
That was when her overriding thirst for power and control became evident.
Don’t get me wrong: Osyraa is a bad person and a villain in every definition of the word, but the extra layers brought to her character this week make her so much more interesting. She is the de facto leader of her own Federation and has, most likely, millions of people to watch after and care for. She must have their best interests at heart and I honestly believe she does… but she still does terrible things to not only meet that goal, but to remain in her position of power and privilege. If they keep writing the character this way, I really hope she sticks around after next week’s finale.
Speaking of characters I love from this season, can we talk about Dadmiral Vance? In the past, admirals in Star Trek have been written to be pompous and out of touch, sometimes bordering on genuine stupidity, but Vance is such a well-written character and such a fresh breath of air into an admiral’s position. He is intelligent, recognizing Osyraa’s intrusion for what it was before anyone else, he listens with an open mind, but he’s not foolish enough to fall for manipulations. While he can be hard, he is fair… I honestly think that Admiral Vance is the best of the best of this future Federation and I hope HE survives the next episode as well.
Also, this future Federation has a president? Is it Cronenberg? Is it someone we’ve seen before like… The Doctor? I really want to know.
I also have to give a well deserved shout out to Anthony Rapp for this episode who delivers an absolutely stunner of a performance. In the past, Staments has been, for the most part, a mean person, dismissive of others, pompous… a person I wouldn’t really like if I ever met in real life, but this season, with Culber back at his side and both of them becoming Space Dads for Adira, he has grown in so many ways and his rant against Burnham about Culber and Adira being left on the Dylithum Planet and how they came to the future for her was an exquisite piece of acting.
Again, I’m enjoying that the auxiliary crew of Discovery, Detmer, Owosekun, Bryce, and Rhys, are being given more to do, but I want more from these guys. I’d love an entire episode just to get to know who they are. Does Rhys and Bryce even have first names? For goodness’ sake, Discovery, don’t Ariam these guys!
I am pleasantly surprised by how Die Hardy the action points of this episode actually were almost to the point of parody. Star Trek isn’t known for its parodies, so to see them just go for it with the obvious references was just delightful. Beyond that, Michael Burnham does Die Hard was not the crux of the episode… it was thoughtful, philosophical, high stakes, true to the characters, and wisely tabled the rather lackluster cause of The Burn all together to allow us time to process.
Overall, after last week disappointed many, “There Comes a Tide” was a strong roar-back for Discovery.