“Rubicon” should have been spectacular. A heart-breaking tragedy of lost love, inevitably, unstoppable forces, and immovable objects.
The pieces were all there. Burnham and Booker have been a Trek power couple, both are played by amazing actors with palpable chemistry, and to top all that off, Commander Nahn returned as Burnham’s perfect foil.
There were moments in this episode where the drama was so heavy that it could have created its own gravitational pull and, yet, “Rubicon” completely falls apart because of the few things that didn’t work.
Namely, Tarka. He’s little more than a mustache-twirling comic book villain, providing laughably easy and lazy ways to further the plot. For goodness’ sake, he just fires the weapon literally behind Booker’s back after diplomacy brought forth an answer… making the events of the episode ultimately worthless.
It was just so lazy!
Things could have been handled so much better. So much more competently… it was as if the writers didn’t want to make Booker go full villain. I can’t help but wonder how much more impactfull this episode would have been had Book been the one to pull the trigger and slam the door in Burnham’s face. Instead, Tarka just waltzes to the console and makes Burnham and Book look completely incompetent.
It’s such a minor thing in the long run, but it completely sabotages the episode that, while not what I would call a tour de force, was decent at least.
It was great to see Nahn again and, given her role as Burnham’s frienemy, provided some frank and honest pushback that Burnham hasn’t had since she took command of Discovery. I’m disappointed she didn’t stick around and hope we see her soon.
It’s sad to see an episode with this much raw potential completely blow it. All it needed to do was cross the finish line and drink champagne, but instead, it tripped just shy of a victory, spontaneously exploded, and killed the president.