Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “Context Is for Kings”

“Until your vessel’s repaired, you’ll be assigned to quarters and put to work. I’m not a chauffeur. There’s no free rides on my ship. You were once a Starfleet officer. I will use you, or anything else I can, to achieve my mission.”

Discovery’s third episode in and we’ve advanced six months in the story. Michael Burnham has been arrested, charged with mutiny, disgraced, and sent to prison where she’ll probably spend the rest of her life working in dilithium mines and forced to eat edamame beans, or whatever constitutes torture in the 23rd century. You’d think starting a war with the Klingons would be a “Federal” or “War” crime, so at best, she’d be put under house arrest. I mean that’s how we punish our war criminals. Otherwise, if we’re angry with them, we just hang them. Considering the way she’s treated by her fellow inmates, she must be worse than a child molester.

Even though she isn’t, we’re required to feel pity for her incredibly stupid actions in the previous two episodes. Burnham is on a prison transport vessel with three other criminals when the ship is consumed with living electrical space energy. The pilot exits the vessel to deal with the problem and immediately loses her tether and is carried off, but have no fear —Discovery is here! The ship engages a tractor beam and rescues the prisoners. Nobody likes Michael Burham. Everybody hates Michael Burnham. Guess she’ll go eat some worms. Burnham catches up with old shipmates, Saru (now a First Officer) and Kayla from the Shenzou (Gesundheit!), the ship she pretty much destroyed when she waged war on the Klingons.

Burnham and Saru attempt the Harpo Marx mirror gag.

While the ship is being repaired, she is put to work crunching code for the constantly-sarcastic smart-ass Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) in Engineering. She shares quarters with Cadet Sylvia Tilly, an extremely high-maintenance young woman who has social anxiety disorder and allergies. Mary Wiseman is a very cute person and a decent actress, and Tilly is an interesting character, but she makes absolutely no sense on this show. Discovery approaches the derelict shell of sister ship, the Glenn. The Glenn was working on experiments involving organic-based propulsion. Of course, Burnham has to go along with the landing party to the Glenn where they are attacked by a horrible creature. Of course, Burnham saves the day by providing a distraction so they can get back to Discovery.

Shifty Captain Lorca fills her in. The ship uses mycelial spores to power its warp drive. He explains that the spores have the ability to create reference points throughout the known galaxy, and those points are used to plot coordinates so that the ship can travel in seconds instead of hours. I can’t even begin to explain the science, because the writers know if we could figure it out, the theory would be ripped to pieces, so the science is kept deliberately vague. That’s how you beat the Klingons, Lorca promises, with speed, not firepower. I know. It’s ridiculous, but is it any more ridiculous than a conventional warp drive?

Magic mushrooms?

Lorca wants Burnham to join his mission. Context may be for kings, but Trix are for kids! Burnham speculates that Lorca ordered her prisoner transport to change course to send it through the electrical field so Discovery could tractor them in. That seems a bit unethical. Because this show is all about Burnham, she decides to stay on board Discovery. Meanwhile, Lorca beams that horrible creature from the Glenn to a holding tank before he orders the derelict ship destroyed. It seems they have big plans for the beastie.

Twice a week, Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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