Warning – Contains Spoilers for Stark Trek Discovery Episodes 1-3
I’ll always have a soft spot for Science Fiction no matter what form it takes. Star Trek has always been an intellectual pursuit, more so than say Star Wars (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them both). It’s ability to have engaging social commentary is a hallmark of the franchise. My favourite iterations to date are The Next Generation and Voyager into which I have sunk probably a few hundred hours of my time. I’ve actually gone back to season one of Stark Trek The Next Generation after watching Discovery and I’m loving revisiting it’s older charm.
The first two episodes of Discovery were great, taking the concept of either blindly following orders or doing what is right, a premise that Star Trek is well versed with. Numerous times The Prime Directive, a law that forbids the Federation from interfering with other races, has been a very inconvenient rule for Star Fleet and First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) was the victim of it this time around. Unfortunately her actions against her own Captain see her branded a mutineer when in actual fact if she’d been able to execute her plan their might not be a war with the Klingon. The Klingon as an enemy are up there for me as one of the best. Klingons and the Borg. So knowing that they are going to be the main antagonists is great, it had me checked into the series from the jump.
Episode 3, ‘Context Is For Kings’ however has rattled me. It was the most un-Star Trek episode I have ever seen and I don’t quite know how to feel about that. Star Trek, to me, has never been overly gruesome and it’s ship Captain has never been a suspicious figure with a hidden agenda. The crew of previous ships have always been inherently likable and you’ve willed them to succeed against incalculable odds. This is not the case so far with Discovery (I do realise we are only one episode into the Discovery’s journey). The initial two episodes were set six months before the events of the series, aboard the USS Shenzhou. I liked that crew and the dynamic they had, despite how it all ended with the mutiny. The USS Discovery however has a cloak of shadiness, a secret science ship (we are used to military frontier types) creating untested technology of some kind with the only likable character so far being Michael’s awkward roommate, Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman). Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is full of intrigue and mystery, he says the right things to earn Michael’s trust but he obviously has a lot of skeletons in his closest and I don’t trust him one bit. He is not a ship Captain that you are immediately drawn to. I wanted to be Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), I thought Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) was a kickass independent female lead…I wouldn’t even want to hang around with Lorca. Star Trek in it’s storied history has covered many plot points. This season, I think, is a commentary on the Geneva Convention and winning wars by any means. The creature from the crippled sister ship could be the result of some illegal biological experiment gone wrong, something Lorca could be hiding perhaps. It’s a real life commentary and if true is pretty heavy stuff. The gore has also been cranked up to 8.5. Not only is the camp of the earlier series absent but the inside out/mashed up bodies aboard the sister ship seemed very un-Star Trek too, a little more than I expected.
In the past Star Trek has been about subtext and camaraderie, Discovery is about war and secrets. It shares more with the rebooted film franchise started by J.J. Abrams than in does it’s television predecessors. Is that a bad thing? Not really, it’s just different and unexpected. It’s a darker Star Trek for a more modern age. Will characters grow on me? Maybe. Will I like it? I’m not sure. Will I keep watching? Definitely.
What did you think of the first three episodes? Tweet us your thoughts @CelebrityCutout
Written by Jimmy Bowers