Monday, April 27, 2020

Star Trek: Discovery - The Vulcan Hello

Set a decade before the original Star Trek, the opening episode of Star Trek: Discovery introduces us to First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) of the Starship Shenzhou. After a short pre-credit sequence focused on the pair bringing water to a planet facing drought, ending in a fun (if goofy) fan-service moment, the episode moves towards the primary storyline involving the reawakening of hostilities between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Coming across an unknown ship near a destroyed Federation interstellar relay will lead to high tensions aboard the Shenzhou, ending in near mutiny as the Vulcan-trained Burnham's plan of attack flies in the face of the orders from both her Captain and the Federation.

Mutiny certainly is an intriguing way to start of a Star Trek show. Sonequa Martin-Green is the stand-out here as the logical, but impulsive Burnham. While I don't think it was necessary to tie the character directly towards an existing Star Trek character, I do understand the writers' purpose into introducing Burnham as a student of Sarek (James Frain), giving her instant credibility in the face of defending an action that could well start a war. I will admit it make take some time to get used to the new-look Klingons (and that of their ships) may take me some time, but Chris Obi as T'Kuvma brings back some classic Klingon thinking and logic that fits into this period of Star Trek history.

Aside from the distinctly-different Klingons, "The Vulcan Hello" does present some continuity problems in terms of the Shenzhou putting the Enterprise to shame (a common problem with prequels). Reminiscent of the scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the episode features Burnham in a suped-up EV suit investigating the unknown object in space which would be revealed to be part of a Klingon attack cruiser. Writing this review before looking ahead to the next episode, and realizing that Yeoh is only a guest-star here, I'll be curious to see how events play out to keep Shenzhou from being destroyed, Burnham from being keel-hauled, and the status of Federation and Klingon relations going forward.

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