Star Trek: Discovery hits the reset button for season 3, offering up an exciting post-Federation adventure almost 1000 years in the future.
After premiering new shows like Star Trek: Lower Decks and Picard, CBS All Access gets back to the one that kicked off the current era of Trek with Star Trek: Discovery season 3. And this year, it’s boldly going where few Trek series have successfully gone before.
The season 3 premiere is a reinvention of the show that should have fans eager to see more. After the events of season 2, our intrepid crew find themselves in the 32nd century with little to no idea what to expect.
“That Hope Is You, Part 1” starts in an unknown location with some next-level technology that seems to combine holograms and nanotech. From the disappearing bed to the bird alarm clock, it’s a reminder that in this distant future, technology is even further along than fans are used to.
In the season 2 finale, USS Discovery captain Michael Burnham emerged from a wormhole only to immediately run into some space wreckage, interrupting an altercation between two rival smugglers. Following the disruption, she and one of the vessels crash on a nearby planet.
Burnham survives the fall and is overjoyed to find out that there are still signs of life, proving that the A.I. Control was not able to destroy all sentient life in the universe. She then programs her Red Angel Suit to travel back through the wormhole to signal Spock in the 2200s.
Unable to contact the Discovery, she seeks out the other vessel and meets its captain, a smuggler named Book who is holding onto some mysterious, temperature-sensitive cargo. His ship needs Dilithium after the crash or it won’t be able to take off, and Burnham needs to get to a communication station to make contact with the Discovery, so they agree to make their way to the Mercantile marketplace.
Burnham’s gear is considered vintage and can get a good price from collectors. She’s also advised to hide her badge, since Starfleet and the Federation are long gone.
Michael is devastated and asks for answers, but each one only brings on more questions. Book tells her about “The Burn,” a devastating event that caused dilithium supplies around the universe to self-destruct, resulting in the deaths of everyone aboard all warp-capable ships. The Federation collapsed soon afterward, leaving the universe in its current state.
Later, Burnham is shocked to find out the marketplace, which is a thriving hub of scum and villainy, is run by an alliance of Andorians and Orions. And it doesn’t take long for the cliche double-cross to go down as Book traps Michael in a stasis beam and takes her Starfleet vintage goods.
Michael is then interrogated by an Andorian and Orion. They spray truth serum in her face, which makes her very talkative and euphoric. They learn about Book’s mysterious cargo. It ends up he stole it from the smuggler Cosmo, whom he was fighting in the opening. And Cosmo is very displeaed.
Burnham and Book are forced to rejoin forces to escape. Successful, Burnham learns that Book has the ability to turn water into a kind of aloe that can heal her wound. Whenever he attempts something like this, a glowing pattern appears on his face, indicating that he has the ability to communicate with plants and animals.
Soon after, Book reveals he can help Michael contact the Discovery, but when she does, she receives no answer. When they return to his ship, they are ambushed by the Andorians and Orions once again, and the mysterious cargo is revealed to be an endangered transworm, an endangered giant bioluminescent worm creature that takes out the couriers and saves our heroes. Ends up that Book is from a family of bloodthirsty poachers who disowned him for having a kind heart, and now he rescues species from going extinct because the Federation is no longer around to protect them.
Book decides to bring Michael to the man we saw in the beginning, one of the last remaining members of the Federation. He searches for the Discovery and can’t find it, but cautions that his search is limited. And because of the time jump, there’s a chance the Discovery may not arrive for 1000 years.
Keeping this episode focused on Burnham was the right call; it helps ease viewers into this new environment. Sonequa Martin-Green continues to impress in a role she was obviously born to play. Her Michael Burnham is full of anguish, tension and cheer; it’s the closest thing Trek fans have had to Patrick Stewart-level acting in a long time.
David Ajala is solid as Book, and he has a definite “will they, won’t they” kind of chemistry with Martin-Green. Perhaps that’s in the cards for later on. I’m sure his backstory will come into play, as well.
The first episode of season 3 sets the tone for what promises to be another enthralling season. But it left some big questions unanswered, namely the whereabouts of the Discovery. Anticipation is high for the next installment.