Thursday, November 25, 2021

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - The Discovery Crew Braves the Unknown to Face a New Dire Threat to the Universe in 'Anomaly'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 4.02 "Anomaly"

Saru returns to help the U.S.S. Discovery uncover the mystery of an unusually destructive new force. As Burnham leads the crew, she must also find a way to help Book cope with an unimaginable loss.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 Paramount+'s Star Trek: Discovery.

"Anomaly" was written by Anne Cofell Saunders & Glenise Mullins and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

The Discovery witnessed an existential threat to the entire universe at the end of the premiere. They saw the complete destruction of an entire planet. One moment, Book was with his family celebrating a sacred ceremony. The next the planet was destroyed and Book is the only apparent survivor. That immediately sends him in a tailspin of grief. He plays the moments beforehand over and over again hoping he could have found something to do differently. He's haunted by the destruction. That's obvious long before he starts seeing things that aren't there in the heat of his mission. This show has delved into grief plenty of times before. It doesn't always follow through on the consequences of those actions though. Stamets and Adira can certainly celebrate their loved ones being brought back to life in reanimated bodies. That's a joy they can experience. But now, death is on such a wide scale. That was true in the previous season as well due to the Burn. It took a long time for the Discovery crew to figure out what happened and ensure that it would never happen again. They hold themselves firmly to the morals of Starfleet. And now, the organization is starting to rebuild itself. In doing so, it hopes to unify the system. It wants to place trust in these interplanetary relationships once more. But a new crisis has already emerged that threatens all of them. Sure, that may create a convenient excuse for every civilization to pull their resources together in order to address this crisis. That plays as a cheap excuse actually. All the pain from the past is suddenly gone as they can no longer be blind to the current reality. The rules of astrophysics are being broken. The path of this new destruction may not be easily tracked and calculated. Tilly can deliver no warning when the Discovery is about to be hit with a gravitational blast. The ship is in harm's way even though Book and Stamets are the ones who take on the seemingly more dangerous mission to collect data. Of course, it's all very obscure at the moment. The show loves to be incredibly vague in the early stages of its seasons. It presents these dire threats that bring everyone together. The mysteries are slow to reveal themselves. And here, that requires a lot of being in awe and terror at what's on a screen in front of the various characters. The show wants to employ incredibly high stakes in that regard. It never wants to lose sight of the character beats along the way either. However, it's difficult to be invested in Gray's new body given the overall threats to the ship and its crew. Plus, it all has to play into the narrative that Michael herself questions her abilities as a captain. She is grateful to have Saru by her side once more. That feels like a demotion for him. Sure, he comes into his own quickly and provides guidance to all who need it. It's also the show relegating him to a supporting role instead of operating within the leadership he is perfectly capable of executing. It's built on personal relationships. He needs to support Michael in her new role as captain of the Discovery. That's mostly just a false excuse created to keep the core characters together. They face strife together. They fear that their lives are solely devoted to the mission. They may not be as resolute in their identities as they once were. That's the show striving for character details. It's still mostly vague and cumbersome. New character dynamics are coming to the forefront. But the scope of the threat drowns out so much as well. That should make it cathartic when Book finally breaks down and Michael supports him. But it's also just providing what the show deems requisite in order for this to feel more powerful even though the audience clearly doesn't have as much connection as the character is meant to have. It's all frustrating and shows how the need to go bigger and bigger doesn't always serve the drama or the characters well. And yet, the show has already committed to that path. So now, the audience just has to see what happens. No real clarity is given at the end of this dangerous mission either. It's meant to simply escalate the stakes further. The crew almost died and they only realize how even more dire this threat is compared to their initial hypothesis. That's basically it.