Whenever we talk about Star Trek: Discovery, we have to mention that it’s perhaps the most controversial series in the entire canon. From the onset, this prequel to The Original Series just didn’t feel as though it fit into the rest of the canon. No one can deny it’s a beautiful, fantastic sci-fi drama, but many fans said it lacked a tonal connection to the rest of Star Trek. However, the season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery should, by my guess, eliminate those criticisms from all but those who make them in bad faith. The series, essentially, benefits from a soft-reboot, that sets this crew loose in a part of the Star Trek timeline we’ve not yet seen before. Finally out of the shadows of the Star Trek that followed it, they are able to blaze their own path across the stars.
While I’ve enjoyed Star Trek: Discovery, I didn’t love it until the season 3 premiere. We could talk forever (and probably will) about what the early seasons may lack. Yet, this new season injects what I think audiences felt was missing from previous outings, a sense of hopeful aspiration. Like the Trek series before it, Discovery is now able to preach the gospel of the Federation and Starfleet to a galaxy that doesn’t already believe the story. In fact, all the evidence at present suggests the ideals of those organizations are doomed to fail.
However, the crew of the USS Discovery still believes in the perfect system, and they are eager to help pass that along. They also hope to solve a mystery that cut most of the galaxy off from one another. Their technology may be old, but they are the richest people in the universe.
The Future of Star Trek Is Now
Spoilers for the season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery below. Bookmark and check back once you’ve seen the episode if you wish to remain unspoiled.
Image by Michael Gibson via CBS All Access.
The last season ended with the USS Discovery zipping through a wormhole to hide some ancient, dangerous data from a villainous cloud of nanites. (Science fiction!) We saw the result of their journey through the eyes of Ethan Peck’s Spock, finally spying a telltale beacon from Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham sent back through time. In the season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, we see that happen from Burnham’s perspective. As she emerges from the wormhole, the Discovery some distance behind her, she smashes into another ship and crash lands on a planet. From there, Burnham takes stock of her new surroundings.
They good news is that their mission was a success. In traveling to the future, they prevented the cataclysm that led to the entire galaxy being devoid of life. In fact, Martin-Green’s performance in the moment Burnham finds out about this is the exact moment they won me over for good. She reacts with pure joy, seemingly unconcerned about her own fate or the fate of her ship. This moment in the season 3 premiere is when Star Trek: Discovery decided it was about life more than death.
Of course, we soon learn that a mysterious galactic event decimated Starfleet and made all dilithium (warp speed fuel) inert. We meet David Ajala’s Cleveland Booker. Through him, Burnham (and the rest of us) discover what strange new worlds await us. (Not to be confused with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the forthcoming series starring the characters from the Original Series timeline left behind.)
Eventually, Burnham gets reunited with the USS Discovery and her crew in a truly triumphant and heartwarming scene. If you’re on-the-fence about Discovery after catching season 1 on CBS, stick it out. It will be worth it.
The Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Premiere Wholly Embraces Traditional Starfleet Ideals
Image by Michael Gibson via CBS All Access.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about the season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery is that the show once criticized as not exemplifying Starfleet ideals is now, literally, all about them. In this new future, the Federation and Starfleet is no more. Thus the crew of the Discovery is, armed with the majority of the dilithium crystals in the galaxy, will set forth to reunite the cosmos. A small pair of scenes at the beginning and end of the first episode is symbolic of how some in this world cling to those higher ideals. Not knowing if anyone else was out there, a man spent his entire life maintaining military discipline and waiting for someone from Starfleet to arrive.
This season will likely feature many more moments of thrilling action, heartbreak, and high-stakes action. Yet, the throughline will be that the crew is out here promoting the traditional ideals of Starfleet. They will seek to resolve conflict peacefully, uplift those who need help, and protect those who can’t defend themselves. In a time where it feels like real-world institutions are failing all over the place, the storytellers finally figured out how to tell a tale that celebrates the people who truly believe that these institutions do more good than harm.
The series still looks amazing, with cinematic quality visual effects, costumes, and makeup. It was a long road, getting from there to here. But now that the USS Discovery landed in the future, the show can finally get out from under the Original Series’ shadow and tell its own story.
What did you think of the Star Trek: Discovery season 3 premiere? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image Michael Gibson via CBS All Access.
Watch Star Trek: Discovery season 3 on CBS All Access below:
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.