03rd Oct2017

‘Star Trek: Discovery 1×03 – Context is for Kings’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

star-trek-discovery-context-is-for-kings

Now that the first two episodes are out-of-the-way, Star Trek: Discovery can get down to business with the real story.  Feeling much more like the traditional “first episode after a pilot”, Context is for Kings feels like this is the real start of Star Trek: Discovery.

Finding herself on the U.S.S. Discovery Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is enlisted to help on the ship. With old faces such as Saru (Doug Jones) returning into her life, it is evident that her history as a mutineer is well-known to the crew. Meeting Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs), many questions are raised for Burnham, most importantly what secrets is he hiding?

When we are re-introduced to Burnham she is broken, she doesn’t expect to become part of another crew, or want it. In ways, this may be what opens her eyes more to things on the U.S.S. Discovery that just aren’t right, and may be convening Federation laws. We see evidence of this with the first “Black Alert” she experiences on the ship.

Burnham is being setup as a badass character, but this may be just down to the fact that she has learnt to suppress her emotions (part of her being brought up in Vulcan culture). I like the fact that she won’t take being messed around by anyone, and that even includes the captain of the ship. It is no wonder that this causes alarm amongst her crewmates of course. A rebel is never seen as a good thing for the good of the ship.

While Burnham as a prisoner shouldn’t really be deep into the trouble the U.S.S. Discovery experience, she often finds herself in the middle of it. This includes having to investigate problems on another ship. This trip is an interesting chance to bring some horror to the show. There are plenty of gory bodies, which look like something out of The Thing.

Star Trek: Discovery is going to live or die by the Star Trek sword. This week there were certain things that made me feel a little uneasy, one of them being the Tribble. Having a seemingly neutered Tribble on the ship seems to be a little too much of a fan service. Is it needed? No, but it is still there chirping away as the pet of the captain. Knowing that there will be further little Easter eggs like these in the show, will it go too far?

The other edge of the Star Trek sword is the common traits that have always worked in Star Trek. The main character always has that friend they can rely on, and we see this in Star Trek: Discovery with Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman). A character with big dreams of being captain one day, she seems to be the moral compass of the show. With the dark elements that are building though, looks like she’ll be having a rough ride.

Star Trek: Discovery is moving into a territory that looks at the more negative side of the Federation, and I like it. We saw the building of this with the Klingon’s experience with them, and this week we see further evidence of their negative impact on the universe. Will this new concept of using spores to move across space cause problems? Why is Lorca storing a dangerous creature in the ship? The interesting questions are already being raised. Especially when you look closely at his room of curiosities.

This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery is another good one, but it raised a few issues for me. We need a show that stands by itself as a Star Trek show, and not be reliant on what fans liked in the past. This is a hard thing to be achieved, and while Discovery may be doing it well, the overuse of elements from the past shows may be its undoing. This will be especially the case as some of the elements come from shows that were set in the shows future.

**** 4/5

Star Trek: Discovery is available in the UK on Mondays.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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