Star Trek: Discovery S01E03 “Context is for Kings” REVIEW

Star Trek: Discovery S01E03 “Context is for Kings” REVIEW

0 comments 📅08 July 2018, 07:00

Airing in the US on CBS All Access and in the UK on Netflix
Story by: Bryan Fuller, Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts
Teleplay by: Gretchen J Berg, Aaron Harberts and Craig Sweeny
Director: Akiva Goldsman

Some spoilers detected ahead Captain…

Going straight into episode three from last week’s double whammy we had high hopes and for the most part, they were justified. However, it’s necessary for every new show to establish plot points if it’s running a story arc, which often results in the slowing of momentum and that’s exactly what happened here. It’s no bad thing, but it lacked the edge of seat tension that made the first two episodes so enthralling.

Straight away we see that it takes place six months after the events of Battle at the Binary Stars and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) has been court-martialed from Starfleet…for attempted mutiny aboard the USS Shenzhou. And here we have our single biggest grumble, since Burnham was acting to minimize losses in the initial confrontation and no one believed that her albeit slightly radical approach was the correct one. Clearly, she needed a better lawyer at her trail, cause she was in fact acting in everyone’s best interests and it was, sadly, Captain Georgiou’s (Michelle Yeoh) failure to consider the advice of her first officer that led to the loss of some 8,000+ lives. Moreover, the Klingon’s were the ones who actually started the stand off to begin with…so why is Burnham getting burdened with the blame?

[Deep breath] Moving on.

The shuttle carrying Burnham and a couple of other prisoners, including a cameo from Elias Toufexis (The Expanse) representing Canada’s sci-fi alum along with Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica) as Commander Landry, who greets the prisoners after they’re rescued by the USS Discovery when their shuttle breaks down.

Once aboard the Discovery, Burnham finds herself the victim of taunts and jeers, with members of the crew referring to her as “the mutineer”. She responds in kind to the continued harassment with a demonstration of the Vulcan martial art Suus Mahna…which seriously kicks ass. Finally she’s introduced to Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) and we learn that a recent battle has left him with a condition making him sensitive to sudden change in light conditions. So we can expect lots of dark and sinister scenes to come and possibly even a glimpse of 23rd century sunglasses in future episodes.

Burnham was trained on Vulcan, all she has ever wanted to do is be a Starfleet officer and she has had arguably the best training for that role that the galaxy currently has to offer. Consequently, she believes that even if she doesn’t hold rank on a Federation starship, as a person she is still a Starfleet officer, wants to live her life by that code and as such accepts her punishment and simply wants to serve her time. However, Lorca suggests that he has in fact been pulling strings to ensure that Burnham ended up on his ship.

It appears that something quite special, even potentially dangerous, is happening onboard the Discovery. Burnham, acting in secret, begins to find a few clues at which point the Discovery must investigate events that have recently taken place aboard her sister ship, the USS Glenn and despite objections from members of the away team, Lorca insists Burnham join them.

What they discover is like something straight out of The Thing. Everyone on board is dead – and not just dead, but stretched and warped and looking a lot like the poor Norwegians found by the team at Outpost 31. Now that would be an interesting crossover.

But the monster is also still aboard, so our team must gather what information they can and then make a very hasty retreat back to the shuttle without loosing too many sacrificial Starfleet personnel. Exactly, what correlation there is between this carnage and the experiments taking place both on the Glenn and the Discovery is not yet clear.

What is clear is that there’s some sort of weaponized biological experimentation going on, which directly contravenes the Geneva Protocols of 1928 and 2155. So, is the Discovery a science vessel as was originally intended…or is she a warship? And if so, does that mean Starfleet’s mandate has changed and how will that affect those who chose to serve based on a belief of peace and exploration? How far is Lorca prepared togo to win the war against the Klingons..?

These are clearly issues that Star Trek: Discovery is setting up to explore and we are very excited to see out how it unfolds. However, we do hope this spore-based biological weapon story arc doesn’t sail too close to the protomolecule plot in The Expanse.

We’re also introduced to a few more reoccurring characters like Commander Landry, Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) plus many of the crew of the Shenzhou have ended up on Discovery, including Saru (Doug Jones) who is now First Officer and Lieutenant Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) who now wears a cranial implant as a result of being injured on the Shenzhou during the Battle at the Binary Stars.

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Starfleet commendation 

• Shoutout to the tribble on Lorca’s desk…although he should keep it away from those fortune cookies
• Black Starfleet insignia..? Cool. First indications of Section 31? Big clue – Discovery’s designation is NCC-1031
• The visuals are gorgeous and that long zoom onto Discovery’s bridge was beautiful (see above)
• First signs of a return to some serious Star Trek ethical dilemmas
• Quoting Alice in Wonderland as Burnham’s way of dealing with fear/claustrophobia
• Spot the Gorn skeleton in Lorca’s secret Dr Frankenstein lab

Scrubbing the holodecks 

• Cadet Tilly could be really annoying in the future. Also, she’s the nerd-genius-with allergies-and-social-problems cliché
• “Black alert”..? Did they have to change the bulb for that?
• Lt Stamets acts like a dick, you know, like he did in Road Trip…but it seems he’s going to play an essential role
• Don’t like that you can’t see colour designation on the uniforms
• Burnham’s hair looked so much better in episodes 1 and 2 – that’s prison for you
• A “Wilhelm scream” was so needed when Token Crewman was killed by the Giant Snarling Alien


Related articles
 Star Trek: Discovery – new Netflix trailer shows snippets from season 1
 Star Trek: Discovery S01E01-E02 “The Vulcan Hello” & “Battle at the Binary Stars” REVIEW
 Get Caught Up On The Star Trek Timeline Before Discovery
 Star Trek Discovery Character Posters Revealed
 Star Trek: Discovery new trailer and lots of little bits of info

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