In Star Trek: Discovery Episode 8, “The Sanctuary”, it seems that The Burn and Book are the only causes that Michael Burhamn is interested in investing in. The cause involving Book introduces viewers to an Emperor Georguistyle villain named Osyrra. Meanwhile, Emperor Georgiou is trying to hide the fear she has behind her blackouts by being her usual mean self.
Micheal, Book, Osyrra, and Rhyn
The Discovery will have to deal with the big baddie, Osyraa, the leader of the Emerald Chain before Science Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) can get back to figuring out what caused The Burn. She is mentioned in the episode “The Scavengers” and she seems to be an Emperor Georgiou level baddie. No empathy for her own family, she takes slaves and craves power.
Osyraa is after Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) and the Andorian named Ryn (Noah Averbach-Katz) because they stood up to her. And she needs to crush any hope of an uprise against her. She is willing to starve and destroy Book’s homeland to get it done. Rhyn also has knowledge that could crush the Emerald Chain’s control. He knows that they are running out of dilithium. The material needed to fuel ships.
Michelle Yeoh is brilliant as ever as Emperor Philippa Georgiou. Being mean for the sake of being mean is a kind of nice contrast between all the kindness and empathy being thrown around Starfleet. Not that kindness or empathy is bad, it’s just nice to see lots of personalities on a television show. I thought, after 3 seasons, I would get annoyed by her constant sass, but it’s fun to watch her annoy the crew. In real life that would never be fun or acceptable, but on television it works.
It is notable to point out that all of that sass and cruelty is a big wall of protection from her fears and emotions. Anger isn’t an emotion that comes alone. Anger is usually a sort of manifestation of a lot of other emotions. In this episode, it is fear coming across as anger. Fear of not knowing what is medically wrong with her. Perhaps even fear of death.
As she undergoes examinations that she wants (although tries to act as if she doesn’t) for an answer, she lashes out at the medical staff with whatever insults she can. And she has plenty of reason to fear what is happening to her is strange a new. She is in a new timeline, in a different universe than her own. Those kinds of anomalies can only mean bad things.
The Crew of the U.S.S. Discovery
And as far as the storyline for this week’s episode, it was a little complicated when it came to Book’s involvement with Ossyraa. It was nice to see some back story to his character. But there seems to be a lot of complicated past history he needs to deal with on his homeworld. Also the episode name is a nod to Book’s homeworld which acts as a sanctuary for all kinds of life.
For me, the best parts of the episodes are all the small moments with the core cast. Captain Saru looking for a catchphrase for when they engage warp drive, his own version of “Make it so”, are great little moments. Tilly ( Mary Wiseman) has stepped into her role as First Officer and killing it. Although she has her likable nervous demeanor, she really pulls off her duties well. It suits her.
The exchanges and glances between Adira Tal ( Ian Alexander) and Staments ( Anthony Rapp) are sweet and charming. Also I like to think that Adira Tal’s desire to be called by they/them pronouns is probably very common and acceptable in Starfleet. These moments make the characters feel more relatable and likable. I am definitely feeling more invested in the side characters for this season and their experiences in this new future.
I’m conflicted on whether or not it’s believable that Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) would just allow the crew of the Discovery to pick its own missions. He mentions at the beginning of the episode that there are many star systems that are dealing with the same types of problems that Cleveland Booker’s planet is experiencing. It seems to be that if the Federation was real there would be more protocol and politics around this. But the Discovery is kind of an out place (out of time?) ship with no formal integration in Starfleet. Also I am inclined to say that allowing them to figure out their own purpose isn’t totally unbelievable.
Star Trek: Discovery airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.