Star Trek Discovery S04E01 is the first episode of the fourth season of the scifi space opera TV drama series streaming on Paramount+. The series had a mixed reception due to its perceived retconning of Star Trek canon, being set 10 years before the events in the original Star Trek TV series and by introducing Michael Burnham ( as the sister of the iconic character, Mr. Spock. In season 3, the series transported the ship and its crew almost a century into the future, thereby (cleverly) avoiding any issue with Star Trek canon once and for all.
Entitled “Kobayashi Maru”, Star Trek Discovery S04E01 picks up five months after the events of the season 3 finale, with Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) being installed as the new Captain of the Discovery, while Saru (Doug Jones) returns to his home world. The episode as a whole suffers from the malaise of many first episodes – it is messy and somewhat ponderous, as if unsure what direction it should to take. Is it humorous – as the initial silly plot sequence indicates? Is it thrilling – as the Discovery undertakes a rescue mission? Or is it tragic – as the episode ending seems to indicate.
There is another angle which once more focuses on the Burnham character and brings into play the title of the episode. The “Kobayashi Maru” is well-known in Star Trek lore as a training exercise designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. Predictably, Burnham finds herself exactly in a no-win situation in the third act and her fitness as leader is questioned by the new President of the Federation. The manner in which the President comes along for a potentially dangerous rescue mission threatens the suspension of disbelief somewhat but then again, there’s a lot of that going around in this episode.
Presumably, the ending of Star Trek Discovery S04E01 is designed to launch the season into narrative action but fails to generate any excitement for the stories ahead. Sincerely hope the next episode is much better!
Now streaming on Paramount+.
… still there’s more …