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Review: Star Trek Discovery's Latest Episode Misses the Mark

Complete spoilers apply for this episode.

This week’s Superstar Trek: Discovery episode, “An Obol for Charon,” indulges in now not one however two vintage Superstar Trek taste plotlines — the trapped starship and the mysteriously in poor health crewmember — and whilst all of it begins off with a bang, the section sadly quickly peters out to change into a talky, reasonably unsatisfying installment.

Issues kick off with Rebecca Romijn in any case debuting as Quantity One, Pike’s government officer from the Undertaking who in fact used to be firstly performed via Majel Barrett all of the long ago in “The Cage.” The nature has all the time been a determine of a few pastime for plenty of Trekkies, and in her transient look right here Romijn and the writers do a excellent sufficient task of increasing on Quantity One and her dynamic with Pike. She’s were given a little of a witty edge to her, and she or he likes cheeseburgers! She additionally, it sounds as if, absolutely avails herself of the Discovery’s mess corridor all the way through an insignificant five-minute assembly along with her awesome officer. (Extra on that underneath.) It will be great to peer extra of her in long run episodes, and certainly of the unique Undertaking group too — the place are you, Physician Boyce?!

Quantity One has made the travel to Discovery to hand-deliver her findings on Spock, who’s now a refugee from Starfleet and sought after for homicide. Armed with this data, Pike now has a bead on Spock’s warp path — he’s heading someplace in a stolen send — and orders the Discovery to pursue. However this gifts a catch 22 situation for Burnham, who realizes that possibly the very last thing Spock wishes when Pike catches as much as him is to seek out the sister who he hasn’t spoken to in years on account of no matter unhealthy s#!t went down between them again within the day.

The display’s persevered insistence on teasing Spock with out in truth giving him to us is getting a bit of lengthy within the teeth now, possibly as a result of that is the fourth week of it, or possibly since the episode itself doesn’t come in combination in addition to the former segments. It is smart that Burnham would have those misgivings, particularly after Amanda’s response remaining week when she advised her concerning the rift with Spock, and certainly, it provides Sonequa Martin-Inexperienced a excellent mini-arc for the week that she performs smartly. However we’re all beginning to get a case of Spock blue (inexperienced?) balls at this level.

The reason for the extend this week is a big 100,000-year-old house entity that is a part natural, phase inorganic, and all bother (no less than in the beginning). Trapping the Discovery and right away scrambling the send’s common translator, the most efficient moments of the episode apply as Burnham and Pike get started spouting out Klingon, a lot to their wonder and confusion, and all the bridge is in chaos because the group are all shouting in numerous languages and nobody can perceive someone. Welcome to the Tower of Babel, as Pike says (simplest now not in English)!

The entire bridge solid will get to have a little of a laugh right here, with Emily Coutts’ Detmer possibly taking the cake along with her befuddled “I will’t learn my console. Is that this Arabic?” second. How this might in truth be going down is a little much less transparent in Superstar Trek phrases; shouldn’t people like Pike and Burnham, say, nonetheless be talking Federation Usual English to one another it doesn’t matter what the pc is doing? However the resulting confusion is terrific and an excellent sprint of humor, as is Saru’s talent to briefly repair order to the bridge regardless of his compromised state.

Yep, he’s the in poor health crewmember, troubled with a unusual sickness this is particular to his mysterious race. It’s all very “Amok Time,” apart from this situation isn’t about mating because it seems however reasonably loss of life — the Kelpiens are hit with the illness when it’s time for them to be culled via their predator race. So both you get eaten via the ones guys, otherwise you pass mad and die from the sickness. Slightly a decision.

Tig Notaro as Chief Reno

Tig Notaro as Leader Reno

Doug Jones’ efficiency because the hurting Saru is easily finished, and the plot permits for him and Martin-Inexperienced to dig in on their characters’ brother-sister courting even whilst tying into Burnham’s previous trepidation about confronting her different brother determine, Spock. It additionally supplies the display a welcome likelihood to remark at the immigration debate, which is a reminder that very ceaselessly at the moment Superstar Trek simply doesn’t wish to cloak its concepts in sci-fi metaphor anymore. Saru’s lifestyles as an immigrant who sought, and located, a greater lifestyles when he left his place of birth is the tale in and of itself, no half-white/half-black make-up or every other conceit wanted.

And but, the lack of Saru’s risk ganglia looks like some other instance of this season undoing a few of remaining yr’s large concepts. Moreover, the traditional phenomenon that’s the central risk of the episode, whilst in the long run benevolent — it’s a large library, principally — doesn’t serve as all that smartly as a risk, possibly as it’s a little difficult to get one’s head round.

There’s additionally the Would possibly storyline, which provides Tig Notaro’s Reno to the combo this week. Her banter with the infrequently similarly cranky Stamets is lovely super — they’ve every met their fit right here — however the entire Would possibly factor has change into a drag. It’s fascinating that Stamets’ eco-friendly stance — it sounds as if one of the vital causes he started growing the spore force within the first position — is now challenged via the information that he is also harming lifeforms that reside within the mycelial community. However the ongoing risk of the Would possibly creature is feeling more and more blah and bogeyman-esque, and it kind of feels there’s no result in sight.

Questions and Notes from the Q Continuum:

  • About Quantity One and her cheeseburger: She hasn’t even had a chunk of it but and Pike heads to the in a position room, the place we will see out of doors the send’s home windows that the Discovery is at warp. So used to be Quantity One caught onboard all episode, however simply placing within the mess corridor? After all, in the long run that is only a bizarre inconsistency — possibly some discussion used to be reduce explaining that she had already left, or the visible results out of doors the window are flawed. However it does really feel now and then like there may be an excessive amount of of this kind of factor going down at the display.
  • Did you catch Quantity One’s PADD? It’s very Unique Collection in its design!
  • So wait. Did Pike blame the Undertaking’s technical issues at the holo-communicator? Complicated, and the display is in point of fact going too a ways to provide an explanation for away that Season 1 tech at this level.
  • There’s any other unusual industry going down on this episode, like how Commander Nhan from the Undertaking is simply status within the in a position room all the way through Burnham’s briefing. Additionally, has she joined the Disco group in the interim? It kind of feels love it, however we’re by no means in point of fact advised why. Even the briefing itself turns out a little extraordinary; they’re having it with out Pike? And are available to consider it, I don’t suppose we’ve ever even noticed a Disco briefing like this sooner than…
  • Linus, the Saurian with the chilly in “Brother,” will get a larger phase right here, or even speaks (English) now! There’s numerous tinkering with the supporting group going down this season, regardless that one has to wonder whether including extra characters goes to be really helpful to increasing on other people like Detmer or Bryce.
  • Tilly speaking about her not-great early life and the truth that she used to be possibly now not a excellent buddy to the actual Would possibly is some other great Mary Wiseman second of many great Mary Wiseman moments.
  • So the Discovery does have a main engineer, and it’s now not Stamets!

The Verdict

Season 2 of Discovery has been lovely sturdy up to now, however this episode is the weakest of the bunch. Whilst “An Obol for Charon” provides so much to chunk on, and begins off on sturdy footing, it suffers from a central risk that’s arduous to outline and a talky solution that doesn’t reasonably hit house. Plus, the display is caught in a rut with the Would possibly plot.

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