Thursday, December 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Duty to Starfleet Proves Costly as Michael Fights to Regain Control of Discovery in 'There Is a Tide...'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 3.12 "There Is a Tide..."

After capturing the U.S.S. Discovery, Osyraa seeks a meeting with Admiral Vance while Burnham and the crew must overcome unimaginable odds as they attempt to regain command of their ship.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery.

"There Is a Tide..." was written by Kenneth Lin and directed by Jonathan Frakes

The Discovery crew has long lived by the ideals of Starfleet. In the time period they come from, it was a common mentality that united the universe. It was an organization of esteem and respect. The ideals were noble and driven by exploration. The basics of the Federation still exist 900 years later. It is still an organization that comes with a foundation of credibility. It's influence has lessened. Everyone has been trying to restore the order that once existed in this world. It's a form of innovation that can create an even more inclusive and just society once more. These are all ideals worth fighting for. However, they can't come at the expense of personal identity. Everyone on the Discovery has always been willing to give their life in the name of something greater. They have found purpose in this journey. The mission always takes precedence. However, it has never had to come at the expense of personal fulfillment. Michael still found love with Book. That is important to her now. Stamets and Culber's family has grown with Adira being welcomed into their lives. Plus, the entire crew has been able to extend their message of what true family, honor and loyalty looks like. People believe they understand what these qualities are. And yet, the world has operated with unchecked power for a long time. Sure, the Discovery works because it is manned by a crew that holds itself to the best that society can be. They are trying to protect the world even when their actions constantly throw it to the brink of destruction. They try to do things in the honorable way. They negotiate for the best solution to honor the past and the people impacted by all these decisions. Communities have been isolated for too long. Everyone acknowledges that the system must expand in order to provide a sense of uniform justice in every sector. It's a daunting task. That's what makes Osyraa's offer to Admiral Vance so enticing. She is surrendering so much of the Emerald Chain in the pursuit of creating a government that can better provide for and represent the people of the world. She presents herself with noble intentions. She genuinely wants that. However, she doesn't want to deal with the personal responsibility of atoning for the heinous actions of enslavement from her past. She has abused people in order to gain this influence over the world. People can't be blind to that or be willing to forgive it completely either. She can be nice and lead with empathy towards one individual. She has also oppressed and enslaved civilizations in the name of offering structure. Vance sees all the good that can be accomplished through the deal she presents. He can't allow her to allow this moment of prosperity to forgive all the darkness of the past. She wants to let that all be settled. It can't be changed. He knows that she must atone for it. Making things right is just as vital to ensure that the government that emerges can be sustained. With her influence, it may continue to be seen as a corrupt institution. The Emerald Chain could easily destroy the noble image of Starfleet. Osyraa rejects that deal. She returns to Discovery to continue her murderous ways in pursuit of power. The Discovery crew fights back. They are armed with knowledge of the ship and the support of the Sphere Data that has chosen to protect them no matter what. It's limiting in what it can do though. It only makes an entrance in the end when Tilly and the crew prepare to storm the bridge to regain control. Meanwhile, Michael is making a profound sacrifice. She is deciding that preservation of Starfleet takes priority over rescuing their friends trapped in the Verubin Nebula. Now, she probably has every intention to fight for their survival. She just feels protecting Stamets as the conduit for the spore drive is more important than preserving his bonds with his family. She makes that decision as a Starfleet officer committed to the cause. It also highlights the profound sacrifice Stamets has long been forced to make to serve as this pilot for the special technology aboard the Discovery. His life has expanded because of having Culber and Adira in it. They feel the desire to be in the action to hopefully make a difference. That just leaves Stamets behind to constantly fear for their safety. And now, he is given no choice over how to best help his family and colleagues. He has become a valuable resource instead of a man whose life should be worth fighting for as well. Michael has struggled this season to grapple with all that her world encompasses. However, she has found peace and equilibrium. She just now seems to be taking that away from Stamets simply because the stakes are so high. That intensity reveals her true character. He is devastated. She regrets what she does. She still does it though. These complexities make the situation much more dramatic while creating further intensity in the narrative. It's a wild and chaotic ride though. One where the Discovery crew may be split because Michael frequently operates as a rogue individual. She provides salvation and hope to some. Lives are still lost though. Those consequences should weigh on all of them as well especially as they figure out their places in this new time period. Even after an entire season, several characters are still trying to find their way in this world and come to terms with the sacrifice they made when they travelled through time to begin with. They still blame Michael. That becomes even more apparent when she is willing to continue making sacrifices at their expense even though she proclaims her love for this family. Her reasons are understood. The fallout will just be devastating as well.