Star Trek: Discovery review: Season 5 Episode 3, "Jinaal"

In the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, we get relationship drama, action, and lessons on how not be a dick. Let's talk about it.
L-R David Ajala as Book, Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and Wilson Cruz as Culber in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman /Paramount+
L-R David Ajala as Book, Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and Wilson Cruz as Culber in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman /Paramount+ /

It's Thursday, which means we get a whole new Star Trek: Discovery episode to review! The stakes are a little higher in this episode and the acting is still top-notch, especially on Wilson Cruz's part. Without further ado, let's talk about this episode, shall we?


Star Trek: Discovery Season 5
Callum Keith Rennie as Raynor of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman /Paramount+ /

The episode opens with Michael, Culber, and Book talking about Moll; she's been through a lot of hardships and troubles, and Michael is slightly concerned about Book's connection to her, as she should be. I mean, I would, just saying. Tilly, glorious Tilly, and Adira reveal they have figured out they need to talk to Jinaal Bix, a Trill who lived 800 years ago, at the same time as the Romulan scientist. They plan on going down to Trill and finding the newest host for Jinaal, and Book is going with them. That's a good sign Michael is trusting him, and I hope it's not in vain.

Enter Commander Rayner. The man is kind of an asshole, but then again, he's taken a huge demotion, going from being Captain of his own ship to Burnham's Number One. When he starts to try and wave away Michael's words about getting to know his new crew, she tells him that connection isn't a skill; it's a choice he needs to make in order to show the Discovery crew that he's the right person for the job. She tells him she got a second chance once as well, and that now it's his turn to mature.

Rayner then proceeds to host one-on-ones that are more nerve-wracking and condescending than you could imagine; cutting the crew off after literally 20 words, seeing them for a few seconds only, and constantly trying to get Tilly to leave him alone so he can keep studying the clue and Moll and L'ak. Tilly is freaking great at bringing that to his attention later in the episode, using his own "20 words or less" tactic against him to make him understand that he's being a dick. Gods, I love Tilly.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5
Mary Wiseman as Tilly in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman /Paramount+ /

I absolutely love Tig Notaro. Her role as Jett Reno is so welcome in this show, her vibes as the Wise and Funny Space Aunt are exactly the kind of human touch it needs. And when she calls Stamets "Space Dad," I couldn't help but chuckle. He was so not on the same page as her, too fixated on his work to notice that his Space Kiddo Adira was nervous to see their significant other, Grey, in Trill. The "Should I be worried?" is very much a parent-like response to learning about their young kiddo's love life.

Once Michael solves the riddle posed by the Trill guardian, she and her landing party are welcome to set foot on the planet. This is where the Star Trek element of the show truly kicks in: Jinaal's conscience is temporarily placed inside Culber's body, and the transformation from Culber to Jinaal is perfect. Wilson Cruz puts his acting skills to work in what seems like an effortless character change, down to his swagger and his tone of voice.

Romance on the final frontier

Trina and Saru have their first actual confrontation as a couple as Saru anticipates issues arising once their engagement is announced because of their interracial relationship. Throughout the episode, we see their communication is getting much better, one little talk at a time. Trina plainly states that she does not care what the Vulcan purists may say about their engagement, and that conflict is a natural part of any relationship; it's how these conflicts are solved that matters. Saru says he's okay with the engagement announcement going out ASAP and that he'll stay by Trina's side if anything bad were to come out of it. Saru and Trina are too damn cute together with their plants in his quarters. They must be protected at all costs.

Adira and Grey are also having relationship troubles; after 6 months of not seeing each other, they break up. I get it: long-distance relationships are not easy. It's a constant storm of happiness seeing your special person's face on the screen and being heartbroken that you can't actually be with them. Adira and Grey have it worse: they were literally one being, and then were separated into two. This is an excellent time for Grey to really figure out who he is and for Adira to work on their self-confidence and skills. I'm not a big fan of the acting on Ian Alexander's part. Grey is always too peppy and not very in touch with the proper emotions for the scene. Blu del Barrio, who plays Adira, was much better at conveying the sadness and tension of that moment. But they're holding hands in the end. So... are they broken up?

On Trill, Michael and Book keep bonding as they follow Jinaal/Culber to where Jinaal hid the clue 800 years ago. As they walk and talk, they find themselves on the breeding grounds of gigantic freaking bugs that can cloak and spit lava; no thank you. After a few dodges and close calls, Book is able to tell the gigantic bugs they mean no harm as they holster their phasers and look for a new way to get the clue. Jinaal says he knew this was a giant bug breeding ground and that this was set up as a kind of test to see if they'd encounter a new life form and see it has an enemy; if they had, that could be proof that they were the wrong kind of people to have the clue. Makes perfect sense but, my man, why are you so willing to play with other people's lives? And again, Wilson Cruz's acting as Jinaal is GLORIOUS.

After Jinaal gives Michael the clue, the Trill ritual ends and Culber's persona comes back, and he is just fine.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5
Blu del Barrio as Adira in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: John Medland /Paramount+ /

Deeper mysteries

Back on the Discovery, Rayner joins Tilly at the bar. But, this time, he's actually trying; gotta give him credit. He needs to understand that the Discovery crew is very different from his previous crew, and Tilly gives him a How to be Human 101 talk, saying it helps if the crew thinks you care about them. I have faith in him. He'll come around and drop the God-awful puns eventually. I hope.

Burnham tells Culber they're ready to jump to the coordinates in the clue. He talks about how having another conscience inside him is indescribable. He talks about his grandmother, who filled her home with religious icons as a reminder that not everything has to have an answer. Damn, abuelita; that's deep. Culber says he's not sure he's okay with that, and I get it.

Burnham says that this technology is the closest they'll ever get to the beings who designed life as they know it. Maybe they will find the answers they need. And oh, would you look at that; not only was Moll in Trill as one of the guardians the whole time, she also planted *something* on Adira's uniform sleeve.

What the heck did she plant on them? It's got to be a tracking device or maybe something to make them sick? Whatever it is, it's probably not good.

Star Trek: Discovery gives us yet another wonderfully engaging episode filled with incredible acting.. Camila Domingues, Winter-is-Coming. Star Trek: Discovery S5 E3, "Jinaal". Discovery. A


So far, these first three episodes of Star Trek: Discovery's final season have been intriguing, entertaining, nostalgic, and pretty intense. I'm still very much impressed and happy with Sonequa Martin-Green's acting. She can do anything: action, drama, jokes. She's incredible, and her talent completely shines throughout the entire episode. The same can be said for the rest of the cast; their acting has been absolutely on point this season!

There are seven more episodes to go before we have to say goodbye to this incredibly different Star Trek show. Don't forget to tune in next week for episode 4, "Face the Strange."

Next. star trek discovery 502 review. Star Trek: Discovery review: Season 5 Episode 2, "Under The Twin Moons". dark

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