Warning, the following contains spoilers for Star Trek Discovery episodes 3 and 4. This review is super late, but some of you still live under rocks… so.
Starfleet can be really dumb sometimes. Not just “oh no we dun goofed” mistakery dumb here, but outright “WHATDAFUCKAREYOUDOINGYOUIDIOTS” dumb. Sometimes you can forgive Starfleet, they’re moral to the point of fault, which often makes them blind to some extreme sideswipey bullshit… but other times they really have no idea what they’re doing. Lets review.
So episode 3 jumps ahead a little from the OG Klingon fight. War has kicked off and the Federation/ Klingons are at each other’s throats (do the new Klingons have throats…who knows). In a very non-starfleety act Captain Lorca, the eternal kinglord of Starship Discovery, decides to kidnap Starfleet’s most disgraced officer. “Well why the fuck not!” Lorca proclaims, ordering her to work on some stupid dumb nothingness for arbitrary character plot reasons. In the meantime, we question why they bothered introducing the other prison characters (with recognisable actors no less) for a max total of two scenes.
Hey THERE SHE IS! The kooky character! The relatable kookster! The kookmeister! We’ve been waiting for her! Look, she’s allergic to stuff and socially inept! That makes her likeable. Get fucked, Star Trek Discovery. I know you’re trying to bring in the 12-16’s here but Jesus Mary and Joseph how did this woman ever get through Starfleet academy? Plus, don’t they have goddamn cures for allergies in the future? Isn’t the Star Trek future a Utopia of enlightenment and social progress? What is this?
The only characters aboard the ship that I give a single sausage about at this stage are the Captain and Chief Engineer. One, they have interesting dialogue suggesting complex character traits and backstories (I BET ONE OF THEM TURNS OUT TO BE GAY AS WELL). And two, they’re the only ones that recognise Michael is a super-criminal, so are by default uber-dickholes to her. Reasonable.
The Discovery is the current secret weapon of the Federation, housing a mysterious new technology that nobody wants to talk about. “BLACK ALERT” says the ship. “OOOOOOOOOO, what’s that!” says every Star Trek fan ever. “I’ve never seen black badges before.” says a prisoner. “OOOOOOOOOOO, why’s that!” says every Star Trek fan ever. Turns out keeping secrets from a genius is a rather stupid thing to try and do (hey Starfleet). Michael discovers a spore farm inside the ship. “I AM SUDDENLY LESS INTERESTED IN BLACK ALERTS AND BLACK BADGES” says every Star Trek fan ever.
Discovery’s sister ship, the Glenn, finds itself dead in the water with no communications. The hated mutineer obviously gets a seat on the super top secret mission to assess the damage of it. May as well jump into that ice bath whole and get the pain out of the way quick, eh writers. The Glenn is covered in a corkscrew-like stress pattern but is otherwise (and this is really really really shitfuckingly important) super 100% ok to keep using as a starship. They find all the crew in a kind of ripped-apart non PG-13 state as well as a lone Klingon hilariously tip-toeing around like he’s the cocking Grinch sneaking around Whoville. Oh and there’s a giant monster on the loose that can’t be hurt with traditional weaponry… may as well…
The team pound their way to engineering where (i’m pretty sure his shirt was red) a guy is monster yanked from a doorway. They find a bunch of crap they think helped the Glenn perfect the secret technology they’re all banking on and then escape easily…
The spore tech is a new engine which makes warping redundant, and we’ve never heard of this afterwards because fuck continuity right in its hairless butthole.
Right… now pause a second.
Breathe… take a nice big inhale. It’s break time. Tea, Earl Grey, hot. Feel it? Good right? Why not have a little stretch and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Exhale slowly, nice and slow, feel the air escape your lungs. It’s all good in the hood, it’s all happy place here.
Now appreciate how FUCKING SUPERSONICALLY CELESTIALLY DUMB STARFLEET CAN BE! Lorca decides to kidnap the creature that murdered dozens of Klingons and is impervious to firepower. He teleports it onto Discovery and then riles it up. THEN THEY BLOW UP THE GLENN. THEY JUST FUCKING BLOW IT UP.
And breathe in again…
Life moves on. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned that Saru, the tentacle headed alien dude from the first two episodes, is Lorca’s first officer now. He has issues with Michael being allowed to stay on board. This is justifiable considering the whole “she mutineered against a friend so how could she possibly do it against a stranger” quandary that everyone else seems to be going through. Let’s just trust that she’s not the same kind of woman who started the war we’re currently fighting. Actually, lets try and be her friend. Yes, that is a great idea, everyone.
Michael is tasked to study the creature they stupidly rounded up in episode 3. She’s gotta figure out how it ticks, what makes it so strong and powerful. Lorca wants it weaponised, it’s highly important for some reason. They find out very quickly that, well, sliceanddice doesn’t like being locked away so much. He tears the security chief apart. She ded. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS DANGEROUS TO HAVE THIS THING ABOARD, HMMM?
Klingons have started attacking a Federation outpost and now everything falls on the old traitress to save the day. Meanwhile, the second in command to big bad Klingon man in episodes 1 & 2 gets into some serious hoo-hah with one of the Klingon family leaders (the dickhead with the braveheart facepaint, you know the one). He decides to hop on over to the original Starfleet ship that Burnham was on and steal some shit to get the Klingon bigboy ship working again. “REMAIN KLINGON!” he yells, whilst cannibalising Federation parts to keep his war alive. Anyway, he gets overthrown and put out to pasture in space, so that’s that.
Turns out our beast king mudermonster is actually just a regular old friendly murdermonster… with deep lonely spore feelings. He likes eating Discovery’s spores for getupandgo juice. In typical Star Trek fashion, he turns out to be the missing key to every issue they are currently having and is the SECRET DELICIOUS INGREDIENT to getting the spore engine to work just as they want, when they want. Shame about the whole animal abuse thing though.
Discovery does its super cool sporewarp thing (y’know, the thing which mullered everyone aboard the Glenn in Episode 3), kills the Klingons, saves the day, smiles for the camera and fucking cuts to black.
7/10 because I followed this up with trying out Designated Survivor and the surprising delight of that made me forget some of the crazy bullshit of this.