Long awaited and long anticipated, Star Trek : Discovery debuted with a double episode. Like I mentioned earlier, I am following the show and plan to do a recap/review of each episode.
Investigating a damaged satellite near a binary star system on the edge of Federation space, the crew members of the USS Shenzhou discover an object obscured from their sensors. First Officer Michael Burnham volunteers to investigate the object herself, and finds an ancient, carved vessel. She is attacked by a Klingon, and when trying to escape she accidentally kills him. A group of Klingons mourn the death of their soldier, dubbed the “Torchbearer”, before the outcast Voq volunteers to take his place. The Klingons, lead by T’Kuvma, reveal themselves in a cloakable ship. T’Kuvma preaches to his followers of the Federation’s attempts to usurp the individuality of the Klingons and their culture, and plans to fulfill an ancient prophecy by uniting the 24 great Klingon houses as was once done by Kahless. Voq activates a beacon that summons the Klingon leaders. Burnham, desperate to prevent a war, attempts to fire on the Klingons first, against the wishes of Captain Philippa Georgiou. Burnham is arrested for mutiny.
We start off the show with T’kuvma declaring to his people as a warning of the threat of the Federation who he views as outsiders who pretend to come in peace and yet spread their way of live everywhere. He wants the 24 great houses of the Klingons to set aside their differences and unite to battle the Federation. We then flip to Captain Philippa Georgioua and her first officer Commander Michael Burnham who are on a planet which has had a drought for 89 years. After they sort out the problem, they are beamed aboard to the USS Shenzhou – that is a wonderful scene that I have to watch again and again.
The rivalry (close to sibling bickering almost) between science officer Saru & Burnham is fun to watch. Burnham’s history shows us why she would be wary and even aggressive towards Klingons, as her parents were killed by them and she was found and raised by Sarek as his adoptive child (and a sister to Spock). She is the only human to have studied at the Vulcan Science Academy but over the course of 7 years she seems to gain most of her human passion. Despite her initial cool and logical reasoning, when it comes to the danger to the ship and the Federation by the Klingons, she gets passionate and even reverts to mutiny when her captain doesn’t seem to agree with her.
After she eagerly explores the hidden outpost and is attacked by Klingon torchbearer Rejac, she is able to kill him. Burnham is put to the test shortly after killing Rejac. Against the wishes of Shenzhou medics, she returns to the ship’s bridge after her fateful encounter with the Klingon, urging Georgiou to raise defenses — just as T’Kuvma’s ship uncloaks. Because of her history with the Klingons, Burnham’s warnings are ignored by both her captain and Admiral Brett Anderson (Terry Serpico) – this rattles her so much that she temporarily incapacitates Georgioua and pretends that her orders are to attack the Klingon ship before they can attack us. The captain recovers before Burnham can carry out her attack and points her phaser towards her first officer and as the latter tries to convince her commanding officer – more Klingon ships appear on the console and in front of the Shenzhou.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with our ship in a dangerous situation and Burnham’s fears and warnings come true, setting things up nicely for the second episode. Though I do think that visually the show reminds me of Kelvinverse Star Trek, it does look a whole lot more interesting and intriguing that anything JJ’s version can come up with. I am looking forward to more from this show. But the new look for the Klingons hasn’t yet convinced me (but having whole conversations in Klingon language is awesome). I give this episode a 7.5 outta 10!