Star Trek Discovery: Kobayashi Maru

As captain of the Discovery, Michael Burnham has been busy reforging links with alien worlds on behalf of the Federation. But the stakes are raised even higher when Discovery is tasked with assisting a damaged space station – with the President of the Federation accompanying them as an observer.

This season of blogs will be a bit erratic. Currently, Star Trek Discovery is streaming on a 13-hour recurring loop on Pluto TV, and you basically have to catch the episode you want at the time least inconvenient to you. Therefore, these blogs will come out at points when my life aligns with catching the episode I want to see.

Anyway, here we are with a brand new season of Discovery, 32nd century edition. After three seasons of avoiding command in one way or another, Michael Burnham is now in the big chair, with the responsibility of generally spreading the good word about the Federation. We open the season with her and Book trying to negotiate with some easily offended “butterfly people”, a scene which reminds us that Burnham’s style is to go for high-risk strategies, in the certainty that her status as a main character will protect her.

And indeed, Burnham’s next mission sees more of the same, as she chooses to risk herself in the hopes of saving some workers trapped in a space station. To be honest, I couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for any of this. Another day, another bunch of aliens to rescue from almost-certain death. Oh look, that guy has one mission to go before retirement – guess he’s not making it out alive, then. And to follow it all up, oh look, the captain of the ship is arguing with the senior official who came along to observe the mission. I guess I should find this familiar and comforting, but instead it’s all just bit tired and unengaging.

Meanwhile, Saru is still back on Kaminar, where he has been helping Su’Kal acclimate to life among their people. Su’Kal is keen to free Saru up to respond to the demands of the plot, however, stating that he’s fitting in just fine and no longer needs supervision. There’s not much to say on that one, except to try to forget that Su’Kal was the sole cause of The Burn.

And last but not least, we come to Book and Kwejian. After his opening scene adventures with Burnham, Book heads back to Kwejian for some bonding time with his ‘bro’ Kyheem, and Kyheem’s young son. It’s all so wholesome that it can only mean one thing – something bad is about to happen. And indeed, by the end of the episode, this season’s big bad space anomaly destroys the entire planet.

Oh, Book. I like you, and wanted you to be spared the ultra-drama. Discovery never does anything by halves – entire planets are destroyed, families and happiness ruined, and all in service of some season-long plot. Why can’t Book just be a guy who likes flying around the galaxy with his cat? Why does he too have to be burdened with a great loss?

Notes and Observations

  • Yet more promotions for this season – Tilly is now a lieutenant, whilst Adira has become an ensign. Stamets and Culber are commanders, and the various background characters whose names I always have to look up have also been promoted.
  • Gray is still present, and the plan is for him to ‘reincorporate’ into a new body, once such a thing can be found.
  • President Rillak appears to be at least part Cardassian.
  • Burnham seems upset that Rillak doesn’t consider her ready to be on the shortlisted for the Voyager-J captaincy. Is she really so eager to move on – she’s only been captain of the Discovery for five minutes.

Summary – Kobayashi Maru: The word of the day is ‘meh’.

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