“But to Connect” offers a realistic, philosophical break from the apocalypse

While the DMA continues to pose a threat, the Federation and dozens of Non-Federation worlds convene to weigh two options: Reach out to the unknown aliens who created the anomaly or attack and destroy the power source of the anomaly with an illegal weapon.

Can I just say that, strangely enough given my disdain for it in the real world, I am absolutely loving the political angle that has been added to Discovery this season? For decades, we’ve been told about the Federation Council, but to see it actually do its business, to see the backdoor dealings, the impossible choices, the things that bring people together and pull them apart is so refreshing and makes the Federation of Star Trek: Discovery feel like the multicultural entity that we’ve been told it is for 56 years.

The most interesting thing about the political angle this week is that, if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, niether side is wrong. Destroying the power source is risky, but could save billions of lives if it works. First contact is risky, but could avert a war that would cost billions of lives. Both positions are valid, both have their ups and downs, and both could work.

No one… not Burham, Rilik, Book, or T’Rina… has the one correct answer, but that is the point of a council, isn’t it? To talk, negotiate, and learn.

Also, Saru and Trina are an adorable couple and I hope to see more of them.

On the other side of the coin, the episode is about Zora, her mysterious birth, and the consequences of it when she learns the location of the unknown species responsible for the DMA, but refuses to share the information with the crew out of fear for their lives.

This is another philosophical storyline and I’m all here for it.

A psuedo-sequel to the classic Next Generation episode, “The Measure of a Man,” “But to Connect” questions Zora’s being. Is she an AI with sentience, or a new lifeform and, if that’s the case, how can the crew trust that she will prioritize mission over emotion?

While “But to Connect” never quite reaches the intensity that “Measure of a Man” did, I’m fairly certain that wasn’t their intention. Discovery’s approach to philosophical questions of life, the universe, and everything tends to be quieter, more thoughtful, and tinged with curiosity. Like the decision of the council, neither method is wrong and both have merit.

I would also like to say that seeing the A and B plot merge at the end was just lovely writing. I know that there are people out there who hate this series and everything about it, but truthfully, in my opinion at least, it nails so much in the spirit of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, that to say, “It’s not Star Trek” is to have an outstanding mental deficit of what Star Trek has always been about.

In the past, I have offered my displeasure that Discovery introduced a threat that could realistically destroy the galaxy and then put it on the back burner to go on adventures with ninja nuns and alien nature hikes with teenagers, but this break actually made sense. Discovery was shredded in the last episode and, now that the Federation actually has some real data about the DME, taking this time to consult with other world governments made sense. It feels like this aside was actually lending to the overall story and not distracting from it.

Personally, I found this episode fantastic and, while I am not a fan of the upcoming break, I think that “But to Connect” litters enough breadcrumbs on the ground to keep me interested in coming back after the hiatus to see what happens next.

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