This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery truly lived up to its name. In episode five of its third season “Die Trying” felt like it was the crew of the Discovery’s last chance to stay together and keep one another from falling into despair.
Episode Spoilers ahead.
The crew of the U.S.S. Discovery has finally found what remains of The Federation. Although they were unsure of what they would find, there was a lot of disappointment among the crew over how their arrival was received. Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) at the Federation headquarters is clearly in the right to be suspicious of the arrival of a 900-year-old starship and its crew.
As mentioned in the season two season finale, Discovery’s existence was deemed classified. Most of the information about the crew was either redacted or completely erased. There is no way for the Admiral to know whether or not they are a threat or telling the truth. It makes sense that the Admiral would want to debrief the crew and have the ship checked out and retrofitted. Although many on the crew were less than cooperative about it.
This is the first time the crew has faced this kind of scrutiny. And the realization of being possibly separated has started to put a sense of fear and uncertainty in them. During the season finale of the second season, the crew heroically voted to follow Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) into the future. The last few episodes have started to reveal the personal toll those decisions have taken on the crew.
As the realization of their sacrifice starts to take shape, the idea of being split up and absorbed by the Federation is something that they are desperately trying to prevent. Even Emperor Philipa Georgiou is feeling a sense of isolation and loneliness without the safety of her own timeline and no link to the return to her own Terran universe.
The idea of “Die Trying” is a themed reverberated throughout the episode. The Admiral is not willing to let these newcomers endanger what’s left of Starfleet since The Burn. The crew of the Discovery will do anything to keep themselves from being separated from their ship and each other. In this new future, they are alone, they are isolated and they are scared. And they are fighting so that nothing keeps them apart.
The crew is determined to show their relevance to Starfleet. The crew goes on a mission to try and find a cure for a deadly disease. Currently, the Federation is currently limited in its capacity to find a cure. The scarcity of dilithium has made its mission for a cure a 5-month journey. That kind of delay will result in many deaths. Discovery’s use of spores to jump to a planet with a potential cure makes them invaluable at this moment. The crew sets out with Commander Burnham at the helm and Captain Suru (Doug Jones) being left behind as collateral.
On this planet, the crew finds a Barzan scientist and his family. They have succumbed to the same disease they are trying to find a cure for. This scientist is holding on to life long enough to try and find a cure to save his family. And he does in fact die trying.
Heartbreak and Hope
This episode is both a heartbreaking look at the reality and consequences the crew is facing this season. Perhaps it is foreshadowing a lot of misery in the coming episodes. But it is simultaneously hopeful. Learning the homeworlds of Captain Suru and Commander Nahn had eventually joined the Federation was inspirational. The Admiral’s allowing the Discovery crew to stay together was a sign of hope. As was Commander Nahn’s decision to stay behind and take the deceased family to the Barzan planet. Her dedication to preserving the history held on the Tikhov was a sign that this crew will make it through. Although they may not make it together perhaps they’ll find happiness.
Star Trek: Discovery airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.