When we last left the U.S.S. Discovery before Christmas they were in an unknown part of space, and we were left waiting until the show returned to find out just where they were. Now Star Trek: Discovery is back, things are getting very interesting. Especially with Jonathan Frakes coming in as director for the episode.
With the U.S.S. Discovery in undiscovered territory they find themselves having to adapt until they can find out just how to get home. This includes Tilly (Mary Wiseman) having to take on a new surprising role. With Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) still having flashbacks to the torture from the Klingons he looks to find answers as to what is happening to him.
When the Discovery landed in a new area of space my first thought was that we were heading into Voyager territory, which is in some ways true, but also refreshingly different. Hints were given earlier in the season as to the possibility of dimensional travel, and this seems to be what has happened.
It is interesting to see the crew have to react to a new reality where the humans are truly the bad guys. The new Empire they rule over is not that dissimilar to that of the Klingons, which may be the point of the dimension switch. It shows the crew of Discovery that they are not too dissimilar to the aliens that they are at war with (in their own dimension at least).
Two of the stand out performances for me this week are Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham and Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly. Tilly takes on her new role well, with just the level of typical Tilly worry, and that works good for the character she has to play. Luckily for her though she doesn’t have to go too deep into her “other” self. This may of course change, as there doesn’t seem a rush just yet to return them to normal space.
For Burnham though, she has to push herself to do things that are shocking to her. In one of the best scenes in the episode, the fight she takes part in on one of the Turbolift is not only impressively shot, but it also pushes her to once again have to face killing a colleague. Her reaction to this shows that she isn’t just the “mutineer” that she is meant to be, and neither is she truly shut off from her emotions. The dimensional jump appears to be hitting her the most, though we do get to see her finally take the captain’s chair of her own ship.
Despite Yourself is a good episode, and one hell of a way to start the new season. With Jonathan Frakes returning to Star Trek to direct this, there was of course high expectations, and thankfully we weren’t let down. It is also interesting that Frakes’ character Riker is one that has had experience with alternative versions of himself, so this may have given him the ability to offer a few tips as to how to handle the episode.
When it comes to Ash Tyler and just what happened to him with the Klingons, everything is pointing to the popular theory (search for it online). There may be a twist to this, just to spice things up, but all signs are showing just what he is, and this week we saw further proof that even if the theories were false, he is still connected to the Klingons. Now we just wait for the big reveal to find out the truth.
Star Trek: Discovery has really found its footing as a Star Trek show in its own right, and this week’s episode just confirms that it is well worth watching. Hopefully the same momentum that Despite Yourself has created can be continued into future episodes, because if it does, then this is the new Star Trek that we finally deserve.
Star Trek: Discovery is available in the UK every Monday on Netflix.