home Discovery, Star Trek, TV Discovering Star Trek: DSC S01E03 : Context is for Kings

Discovering Star Trek: DSC S01E03 : Context is for Kings

Wikipedia description: Six months into her sentence, Burnham is on an unexpected prison transfer when an emergency forces her shuttle to be rescued by the USS Discovery. Spending several days on the ship, Burnham is ordered by its captain, the mysterious Gabriel Lorca, to assist with a scientific assignment. Burnham overhears Lieutenant Paul Stamets, an astromycologist who is leading the assignment, discuss an upcoming experiment with a colleague serving on another starship; Lorca is soon informed of an incident on the Discovery’s sister ship, the USS Glenn, that has killed the entire crew. Stamets leads a boarding party to investigate and finds the dead crew hideously twisted and malformed, as well as a group of Klingons killed by an unknown creature. Lorca later asks Burnham to work for him, despite her sentence, explaining that he organized the circumstances that led her to him so she could help develop a new way to fly that could win the war she started by killing T’Kuvma. He also secretly has the creature transported aboard the Discovery.

Thoughts as I was watching:

  • Disturbing seeing human criminals, even though we see them other times.
  • Everyone blames her for the war probably related to the mutiny, she blames herself because she killed T’Kuvma
  • Discovery is a beautiful ship.
  • Discovery is new, contrasted with Shenzou old
  • Don’t like the sec chief being rude, but it fits the Voyager crew treatment of Paris. Like Eddington said, they don’t like it when you leave paradise
  • I really hope the black badge is Starfleet intel instead of section 31. It’s wrong we know more about the part that “doesn’t exist” then what does.
  • The yellow jumpsuit is a step to the tos unifoms. The novel mentions that the Enterprise is wearing tunics meant for deep space missions
  • Everything about Lorca’s introduction seems stacked with meaning. Shrouded in darkness, likes fortune cookies….
  • Bets on the tribble being for detecting Klingons?
  • Tilly reminds me of Barclay. And can we just for a moment talk about how the Command crew of the flagship of the Federation, during a tolerant time, treated Barclay about as bad as I’d expect from Big Bang Theory.
  • Saru continues to be awesome.
  • A lot of the engineer workstations looked very TOSish.
  • Michael continues to break rules, or at least feel they don’t apply to her. This could be a feature or a bug, depending on how much you feel that it doesn’t fit Star Trek. To me, it fits the Vulcan arrogance mixed with human rebellion.
  • Stamets is very much not Starfleet. In a better time he’d be at a research lab that the crew has to rescue. However, thanks to the war, he has to be a good soldier as well.
  • Lorca handles him fairly well, understanding his grief. Discovery also seems to be a ship crewed by geniuses who are used to be treated as such.
  • Stamets feels like Firefly’s Wash mixed with David Kirk.
  • The Klingon bodies are wearing red armor like Voq, uncertain if meaningful.
  • Never ask questions like what could tear through this metal unless you want the worst possible answer.
  • The Tardigrade creature was good effects and felt threatening.
  • If it really is a “normal” tardigrade enbiggened by the spore-drive, then that plays right in to the Alice references.
  • Oh God, I just realized. Super fast transportation drive, mixed with results that mutate things. The writers are trying to “fix” Threshold aren’t they?
  • Starfleet tends to give their captians great discretion, at least in Kirks time.
  • So, did Burnham pass Lorca’s test, or did he have a different speech and use planned for her if she had been more embracing of doing whatever needed to be done to win.
  • Can a decent man put himself above the law, and still be decent? Is context for kings? We’ve seen all of our other captains make interesting decisions before.
  • We are meant to feel ominous about Lorca keeping Tardy, and it’s clearly dangerous, but I’m not immediately convinced it was as wrong as it feels. After all, leaving it on the ship would have destroyed it. And if it were a tiger, or any other animal like that we would feel bad.

Summary: Star Trek traditionally does not have great pilot episodes. It also does not usually have great episodes following the pilot. (The Naked Now, A Man Alone, none of these will be on classic episode lists anytime soon.)

DSC so far has managed to be a well done pilot/first 2 and a well done followup. You may not like what they are doing, but the how they are doing it has been good.

Star Trek has also done the story of boarding a ship in distress before, angling for horror. It usually didn’t go great. (Genesis comes to mind, possibly the worst science episode in Star Trek.). This did.

I stand by my predictions of the show being about finding the balance between the Explorers we deserve VS the military we need, and my prediction that Michael Burnham will has to lead a mutiny against Lorca by the end. I’m now thinking that she will be conflicted on doing so, until First Officer Saru convinces her.

My rating: 7.5