Star Trek: Discovery channels Star Wars and The Walking Dead as it brings the rest of the ship’s crew into an unknown future.
The first episode of Star Trek: Discovery focused solely on Michael Burnham’s adventures after jumping forward in time, with no sign of the Discovery anywhere. The follow-up catches us up with the crew, who make first contact with some Walking Dead-esque gunslingers in a scene that strikes me as a poor man’s imitation of the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars.
“Far From Home” strands the Discovery on a foreign planet at some unknown point in the future. After a bumpy landing the crew survives thanks to Detmer, Captain Saru makes the first priority repairing the heavily damaged ship and getting communication systems back online, as they’ll be no good to Burnham if the Discovery is out of commission. Meanwhile, Detmer seems very shaken up after the landing and is sent to sickbay. Something is clearly very wrong.
The crew eventually discover that the planet they’re on has life and even spacecrafts, but there are no dilithium readings, making it hard to determine whether they’re warp-capable. There are also domes inside of which the oxygen levels are higher.
Elsewhere on the Discovery, Stamets is brought out of his medically-induced coma by his partner Culber, who insists he is not ready to return to active duty yet. And then there’s Phillippa Georgia, who wipes the Leland off her boots before insisting that Captain Saru explore the planet, even though he wants to repair the ship first and foremost. Saru orders Georgiou to help, but he and Ensign Tilly are still forced to venture out for supplies they desperately need. The natives they encounter are miners living in fear of a Courier named Zareh.
Not soon after they arrive, Zareh shows up with his spurs, lasers and bad attitude. Jake Weber does a pretty solid job of channeling his inner Negan here. Zareh isn’t afraid to torture people with lasers or kill without hesitation; Starfleet diplomacy isn’t going to have any effect on this sociopath.
After killing Kal, a local who harbored hope that the Federation would one day come and save them, Zareh reveals that the Discovery crashed into a patch of parasitic ice that will consume and destroy it and everyone aboard. He forces Ensign Tilly to go and retrieve the Dilithium he needs from the ship before his goons unveil they have captured a crew member on the perimeter.
It’s Phillipa, who disobeyed the direct order to stay on the ship. But it turns out her lack of respect for authority just might give the crew of the Discovery crew an edge, as she uses her expertise in manipulation and mockery to disarm her captors.
Back on the ship, Stamets disobeys Culber’s directives and encounters his rival, Jett Reno, who is on drugs to help her with pain from the crash. She attempts to get Stamets to admit he isn’t at 100 percent, but he instead jumps into the Jeffries tubes to fix the conduits in order to prove her and everyone else wrong.
Stamet’s stubbornness results in his wounds reopening. Culber and Reno talk him into no longer actively injuring himself.
In the bar, Georgiou wants to kill Zareh, but Saru leaves his fate up to the miners he terrorized, who decide to send him out into the night, where he will surely not survive. With that, our crew is officially welcomes to the future.
Back on the Discovery, the ice is getting worse, but they’re able to quickly restore the ship. Detmer, still a bit out of it, finds a way to get it into orbit where they encounter a long-haired Michael, who finally found her friends after a year of searching.
Star Trek: Discovery is taking things in an ambitious new direction, and so far it seems to be paying off. Weber’s performance as Zareh is one of the standout moments of this episode, but the real MVP is Georgiou Philippa. She stole the show with her spirit and intelligence. I expect big things from the character this time around.
The Stamets storyline was pretty dull and felt like it would have been more at home as a bit on Star Trek: Lower Decks. His back and forth with Reno was harder to watch than Zareh’s torture sequence.
Despite the ups and downs, it’s clear that Star Trek: Discovery works better as an ensemble piece, and seeing the gang back together was a delight. Exploring a galaxy that isn’t regulated by the Federation should be interesting.