Star Trek: Discovery‘s first two episodes introduce audiences to a whole new ‘Trek.’ Is it any good?
This is not Star Trek: TOS. This is not Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And for that, I am grateful.
“The Vulcan Hello,” the first episode in CBS’s relaunch of the Star Trek series just aired. Fresh out of the gate, Discovery is keen to show the incredible scenery, graphics, and characters at their disposal. No time is wasted on expository nonsense.
And why should it? If you’re here, you know you are watching Star Trek.
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Review
Commander Michael Burnham’s character, played by the extraordinary Sonequa Martin-Green, gets a majority of the screen time on her two missions. One of which brings us to face-to-face with the first Federation and Klingon interaction of the series.
Surrounding Green is the crew of the U.S.S. Shenzou. An eclectic bunch, featuring Captain Philippa Georgiou and Chief Science Officer Saru. Both of whom are ready to be your favorite character.
The first episode sets the bridge and builds a bit of context around Burnham.
Captain Georgiou and First Officer Michael Burnham have been working together for seven years. At the kickoff of the episode, the two are on a peace mission to save the Crepusculans from an impending 89 year drought. After restoring a well, it’s back to business, and Georgiou believes it is time for Burnham to have her own command.
But while Georgiou believes in her Number One, I’m not sure she has all her faculties about her. While the logic guiding her upbringing keeps her in check most of the time, she is all too willing to jump ship (literally) at the first sign of adventure.
Which leads us to the binary stars — an intersection of space where new planetary life emerges from chaos. Fitting that Discovery chooses to hatch its new life at the intersection of Klingon and Federation space.
For better or worse, the Klingons play a huge role in Discovery.
Kicking off the premiere, with helpful Klingon subtitles for those who are not trained in the language, they are looking to defy anyone who claims to “come in peace.”
The death of Or’eq has inspired a change in power in one of the 24 Klingon houses. Voq, Son of None, different in attitude and skin tone, proposes his devotion to Kahless, the Klingon Warrior King. An outsider of great faith, he steps in to become the Torchbearer. While these scenes were gorgeous — some of the best costuming and special effects I’ve seen on television — I worry that trying to unite the Klingon houses will detract from the Shenzou.
Michael has a reason for keeping a watchful and aggressive eye on the Klingons. As a child, Michael’s parents were killed by the Klingons. Enter Sarek.
“When emotion brings us ghosts from the past, only logic can root us in the present.” Sarek presents this logic to his mentee, Michael, as she trains under his watchful eye. Sarek trains Miachel’s human mind to embrace the logic of the Vulcan people.
But even with all that training, there are some things, like the heart, that cannot be tamed. Sarek and Michael’s relationship, especially following their later interaction when she seeks his council with the Klingons, is what I’m looking to the most.
Saru is the breakout MVP of “The Vulcan Hello.” Saru’s Kelpien nature is to find everything alarming. Pitted against Burnham’s stoic and bold attitude, they play very well together both on and off the bridge. The history between this crew adds a level of gratifying tension to each scene.
Should you buy CBS All Access?
Yes. It’s Star Trek!
“The Vulcan Hello” paves the way for what could be the greatest combination of every Star Trek series — an incredible ensemble, space, war and diplomacy, murky backstories, and complicated character arcs.
And while subscribing to CBS All Access is not ideal, at least you will only have to deal with Sunday football delays once.
So, what exactly is a “Vulcan Hello?” Fire first, with everything you’ve got. Star Trek: Discovery did just that.
Star Trek: Discovery airs Sundays exclusively on CBS All Access. Watch episode 2 right now!