Star Trek Discovery sits two episodes into the season with episode 3 set to drop this Thursday. We knew season 3 would take place in the year 3188, some 930 years from where it started, but what is the show’s goal this season, and is it accomplishing this goal? Let’s see where will season 3 take us based on the first two episodes.
Where Will Season 3 Take Us – Is it Time?
The biggest problem with shows being rebooted comes from the studios. Studios want formulas that work, so the rarely depart from previously established successes. In the case of Star Trek, studios keep green lighting shows using established characters and worlds. A big problem with Discovery comes from the fact that while it may come from a slightly new era, it uses established characters (Pike, Sarek, Spock). In the process it butchered established canon and made a mess of things fans love. The personalities and relationship between Spock and Sarek were shredded and ruined.
The show established enough new content that most people other than core fans do not care about Spock and Sarek; However, the best thing Discovery did came with this season 3 time jump. Now being over 900 years in the future it can take this crew and play in a completely new sandbox. The show no longer answers to ‘but this happened in the movies’ or ‘that cannot happen yet’. Discovery now plays in a whole new paradigm. It can call upon and reference the other shows for history and easter eggs, but if it wants to ignore Klingons and Romulans as the big baddies it can. If it chooses to make Andoreans the baddest species in the galaxy it can. The show now has 100% creative freedom.
Where Will Season 3 Take Us? – A New Crew Dynamic?
Ending season 2, we knew Burnham and Discovery were headed to the future together, but in two episodes creators have yet to unite the two. Episode one revolved solely around Burnham. Episode two centered squarely on Discovery until the very end. From here on the two venture together, but was splitting them up such a good idea?
The simple answer is – yes! While I did not like the way they started the first episode with Burnham’s breakdowns, once she regained her feet and began interacting with Book and this new time, it quickly improved. By just using Michael, writers focused on this new timeline and set up the story threads about a galaxy without either dilithium or the Federation.
Writers then gave Discovery its own episode to meet and interact with this new timeline, but if anything it focused on the crew and they character building needed to improve the show. Without Captain Pike at the helm, Discovery needs to rediscover its crew and their place in things, and here I think Episode two did an amazing job. I always thought Burnham would helm the Discovery. Perhaps she will yet, but so far Saru has performed admirably. I think he keeps the captains seat while Burnham either becomes number one or the fringe advisor.
Where Will Season 3 Take Us? – Shining Personalities
Of course Discovery will focus heavily on characters like Burnham, Saru and Georgiou. In fact I think we will see a great deal of Philippa going forward. This rough-neck hard-nosed galaxy plays directly into her strengths, but episode two shined a light on several other cast members.
Mary Wiseman, who plays Ensign Tilly, may have the most challenging yet fun role on the show. Her naïve, constantly-running mouth may cover her heart of gold and innocence, but writers are really pushing her character into some pretty hard-core decisions. Her personality and growth will be fun to watch going forward. I love the way Wiseman plays the character.
I really did not like the relationship between Stamets and Culber in the beginning. It seemed like every time they were in the show, writers quit writing and instead focused on the ‘hey we have gay characters here!’ This has destroyed so many shows over the years. Writers need to write shows not push messages, yet in episode two these two shined! Of course they may be lovers (or previously), but in episode two writers gave both characters fantastic story arcs that pushed the story and the character development forward.
Then again, Anthony Rapp played foil to perhaps the greatest and most under appreciated character in the whole show. Tig Notaro, as Commander Jett Reno, steals every scene she shows up in. Notaro embodies the repurposing archetypes while being subtle. Can there be any doubt she is Discovery’s own take on Bones (Dr. McCoy)? Her playing foil to Stamets leaves me in stitches every single time. I hope we see a lot more of her going forward.
The one person I wish writers would spend more time on is Lieutenant Detmer. Besides being a Natalie Dormer clone, Emily Coutts brings a strength and personality to a character who never gets more than a line or two. After episode two, she clearly suffers from the time jump, but how and why we do not know yet. Also, have we heard much of her backstory? Where did the implants come from? She needs to be focused on a few times this season.
Where Will Season 3 Take Us? – Full Speed Ahead
At the end of Episode two, Burnham and Discovery finally reunite. Burnham sports her long braids teased in the trailers and we can see how she will function on board Discovery. Will she take the captains chair eventually, or does that belong to Saru? Perhaps her relationships with Book and Georgiou will take up enough of her time as is. I hope Book features prominently in the adventures to come.
Speaking of Georgiou, how long until she breaks free on her own? Will her spin-off show take place in 3188 or will it jump backwards to her mirror universe roots?
It is far too early to tell what the endgame for season 3 will be, but if the writers keep up this quality of work, it should be an enjoyable journey. Episode 3 drops this Thursday on CBS-all Access.