Star Trek : Discovery S03E05 “Die Trying” seems to promise the end of Discovery’s quest to be reunited with Starfleet and the Federation but what the crew discovers (sorry) is far from expected. At the end of the previous episode, Adira Tal reconnected with her symbiont’s previous hosts and was able to glean the vital information from Starfleet Admiral Senna Tal concerning Starfleet HQ location.
Initially, I felt slightly disappointed with the opening of Star Trek : Discovery S03E05. Maybe I was expecting the return of Discovery to Starfleet to be more difficult and maybe tension and drama could be exploited for that quest. Instead, the writers decided to present the Starfleet/Federation as less than welcoming. But this was already done in episode three when the ship travelled to Earth.
Thus, while I perfectly understand that the Starfleet of the future would be suspicious of a starship claiming to be Discovery – which was supposed to have been destroyed along with the spore drive etc (if you recall, in the final episode of Season 2), it did come across as a repetitive story device. However, I do understand the need to create more tension and drama for this episode and that angle sufficed, I suppose.
So, obviously, something had to happen to allow Starfleet to trust Discovery and its crew and introduce the new normal so that a fresh status quo can be established from which the series could operate. The manner in which this is achieved is in no way universe-shattering but in that sense it echoed the episodic nature of the various Star Trek series that had come before. A fact that many many Discovery haters conveniently ignore.
There is enough in the characterisations of Michael Burnham, in her adaptative personality changes in the year time jump, to build conflict and growth in the remaining episodes. The other wild card character remains former Emperor Philippa Georgiou – with whom Michelle Yeoh is having fun with – what was that faraway look she displayed at the end of the episode? Grist for the mill (especially with the curious Cronenberg cameo!).
So, in the final analysis, while there were certainly many emotional payoffs in Star Trek : Discovery S03E05, it still felt like a stop-gap, similar to the previous episode. As much as I am enjoying the journeys of key characters, the plot needs to evolve and advance or else, it will become stagnant, sooner or later. However, with the new status quo in place at the end of the episode, I remain optimistic.
… still there’s more …