Star Trek Discovery: Die Trying

Thanks to the information from Senna Tal, Discovery is finally able to reach the new headquarters of Starfleet and the Federation. With no way of verifying Discovery’s story about Control and the Red Angel, the commander of Starfleet remains suspicious of the ship, and even proposes splitting up the crew and sending them on other assignments. Can Burnham and Saru demonstrate that the ship and its crew are exactly what the 32nd century needs?

It’s taken five episodes to get here, but Discovery has made it – to Starfleet and Federation headquarters. Naturally, even as the Discovery crew got all excited about coming ‘home’, my narrative sense was tingling – it seemed highly unlikely that it would all be sunshine and happiness from hereon out. Indeed, not only does Starfleet HQ seem like a pretty cold and sterile place, but those in charge are somewhat sceptical of Discovery’s claims – after all, there’s no record of the spore drive, Control or the Red Angel in the history books.

What follows is a somewhat standard sci-fi adventure that could easily fit into pretty much any series, from Stargate SG-1 to Doctor Who. Starfleet HQ’s medical facility is currently overwhelmed by Kili refugees, who are slowly but surely dying of a mysterious plague. Thanks to the spore drive, Discovery is able to make itself useful by jumping to the location of a special Federation seed vault, where the basis for a cure can be found. Naturally, when they get there, the seed vault ship is in need of rescue, and the crew are nowhere to be seen.

While the seed vault itself is a potentially interesting location, there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before – in fact, as I watched it, I couldn’t help feeling “oh, not another seemingly abandoned ship to explore”. It’s a serviceable plotline, but hardly one that smacks of originality.

Character developments

  • Adira is whisked off to talk to Starfleet near the beginning of the episode, and doesn’t appear thereafter.
  • Georgiou is still being portrayed as a God Mode character. She’s completely at home in her new situation, and is even able to deactivate 32nd century holograms just by blinking at them. Towards the end of the episode, however, she seems distracted when Burnham tries to talk to her. Was that even the real Georgiou, or was it an AI replacement?
  • At the end of the episode, Nhan decides to stay on board the seed vault, since it means she can return to her home world of Barzan. According to IMDB, Rachael Ancheril isn’t credited for any more episodes this season, so this is likely the last we see of Nhan. I can’t say I particularly care, as she was a supremely uninteresting character.
  • It seems like Detmer is still suffering from some kind of dizziness and disorientation. I was a little disappointed last episode that whatever’s going on might have been considered fixed by dinner with Saru and movie night.

Other observations

  • Who is Kovich exactly? He gives off the right kind of vibes to be connected with Section 31.
  • Ships spotted at Starfleet HQ include the USS Voyager-J and the USS Nog.
  • Medieval historians would probably be unimpressed by Saru’s speech about the Dark Ages and the Renaissance, as it’s in fact an incredibly oversimplified and largely incorrect take on what was actually happening during that era. Giotto’s paintings do seem to be important and well regarded among art historians, but he was hardly solely responsible for exploring how to use perspective.
  • The Federation of the 32nd century still seems well aware of the mirror universe, even though there apparently haven’t been any crossings for the last 500 years.
  • In the 24th century, the Federation was comprised of around 150 member worlds. By the 32nd century, this has fallen to some 38 – down from 350 at its peak. It seems that both Barzan and Kaminar joined the Federation during the intervening time, although they may not still be members.
  • My occasional viewing companion pointed out that the term “V’draysh” (as heard in Calypso and Far From Home) is likely meant to be a future corruption of “Federation”. I was hoping this might lead into a season long plotline about eventually learning that this awful, warlike faction known as the V’draysh was actually our beloved Federation.
  • The Temporal Wars are mentioned once again.
  • The Discovery crew act like having Starfleet and Federation HQ is a new thing, but in the old days they were both co-located in San Francisco.

Summary – Die Trying: To change the world / It starts with one step.

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