Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. Not caught up? See our spoiler-free review of Season 1’s opening episodes here.
Tantalisingly, Discovery Season 2’s third instalment is another Spock-free episode, but there’s more than enough intrigue and action to compensate. Opening with an inspired “previously on Star Trek: Discovery” in Klingon (subtitled, thankfully), we’re reminded of all the Klingon-related shenanigans that took place in Season 1. Most notably, the end of the Klingon-Federation war saw L’Rell elevated to Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, and her consort, Voq – trapped inside the human body of Michael’s lover Tyler – left Discovery to lend moral support to L’Rell, as she worked to unite the 24 Klingon houses and, hopefully, be less aggressive towards the Federation.
First off, TyVoq really suits that beard, and Michael’s remark that she hears “post-war, Klingons are growing their hair again” is a sweet little Easter egg – most of the Klingons we meet in the time of Kirk and beyond tend to be pretty hirsute. And, lest we forget, there’s Worf’s awful goatee…
Plot-wise, it does feel like this episode rattles through a hell of a lot that could have been eked out over several chapters – although the ongoing story here is presumably Tyler, both in relation to Michael and his involvement with Section 31 – of which more later. But the fact that the astounding revelation that L’Rell had Voq’s baby “ex utero”, which is the writers way of saying they hadn’t actually thought of this development until this season, is all done and dusted come episode’s end, feels very rushed. Not only do we have a kidnap plot – that’s pointlessly resolved through a massive fight – but the baby gets packed off to a monastery in what feels overly convenient way of getting rid of the wee mite.
To make up for this lacklustre storytelling, the appearance of Mirror Philippa Georgiou, formerly Emperor of the Terran Empire, is pretty thrilling. Michelle Yeoh’s clearly having a blast playing the morally ambiguous Georgiou and her appearance here as head of a Section 31 black ops outfit bodes well for the spin-off series, rumoured to be slated for 2020. Prior to that, will we see more of Georgiou and new recruit TyVoq in this season of Discovery? One can only hope the answer is yes.
As a sign of how bloated this episode is, the L’Rell-TyVoq-baby-insurrection-Georgiou plot is but one of three strands vying for airtime. Michael is visited by her foster mother, Spock’s biological mother, the human Amanda, and we’re treated to a hurried crash-course in Spock and Michael’s childhood. It’s exposition heavy, but the writers get away with it – just – largely because we’re kind of itching to discover exactly why Spock (in the future) never talks about Michael, although he often mentions both his mother and father. We’re left with a few unanswered questions at least – what exactly did Michael do to push Spock away from her? And what the hell was the Red Angel doing appearing to Spock as a child?
In the C-Story, we have Tilly and her imaginary friend, May, who turns out – ugh – to be a spore-related, pan-dimensional being. Discovery’s detractors are, for the most part, way off the mark, but the mycelial network is pretty hard to defend – why can’t they just quietly let it drop away?
So, despite creaking under the weight of its competing storylines, Episode 3 of Season 2 is another solid entry – and one that will keep most fans tuning in, if only to see the moment when Michael is reunited with Spock. Who, like TyVoq, also sports a groovy beard.
Star Trek: Discovery is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. New episodes of Season 2 arrive weekly on Fridays, within 24 hours of their US release.