Star Trek Discovery 1.3 FAQ
What’s it called?
“Context Is For Kings.”
Teleplay is credited to “Pepper Dennis” creators Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts and CBS vet Craig Sweeny (“Elementary,” “Limitless”). Story is credited to Berg, Harberts and series creator Bryan Fuller.
What says CBSAA?
“Burnham finds herself aboard the U.S.S. Discovery where she quickly realizes things are not as they seem, including the mysterious Captain Gabriel Lorca.”
How does it start?
“You know why we’re getting transferred to Tillum?” asks a convict. Michael Burnham finds herself in the outer-space equivalent of a prison bus, headed to hard labor at a dangerous mining colony.
You never told us how you liked the first two hours of “Star Trek Discovery.” Spill.
I found them talky and slow-moving, with characters that were difficult to take interest in and too much emphasis on CGI effects. I’m not sure if the two-hour premiere was weaker than the one that launched “The Next Generation,” but am sure that all the other Trek TV series started in a much more compelling manner. In truth, producers would have been wise to just toss the first two hours and introduce Burnham as a Federation prisoner. On the upside, if “Discovery” were a real current CBS drama, I believe I would judge it the network’s best.
Did you find this third hour any better?
A bit. Burnham finally climbs aboard the titular starship and we meet characters the writers clearly put a little more effort into. Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), frankly, doesn’t make as strong an impression as Kirk, Picard, Sisko or Janeway did in their first episodes, but he doesn’t get as much screen time and I’m hopeful he’ll grow on me. (I think he owns a pet tribble, presumably a neutered one.)
Why do you imagine the show might improve?
While we apparently won’t be seeing any more Bryan Fuller teleplays, the writing staff still includes seasoned Star Trek vet Joe Menosky, whose name is on 55 teleplays for “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager.” “Alias”/“Hannibal” vet Jesse Alexander may still be in the writers room. There for certain is Kristen Beyer, who has been writing Voyager novels set subsequent to Kathryn Janeway’s return from the Delta Quadrant.
What about “Wrath of Khan” writer-director (and “Discovery” producer) Nicholas Meyer?
My understanding is Meyer’s script for the second hour was scrapped and he’s left the “Discovery” writers room to work on a potential CBS All Access series that might focus on James Kirk nemesis Khan Noonian Singh.
Wait. How does Burnham go from prison bus to the U.S.S. Discovery?
There’s a mishap involving an electricity-draining lifeform. The Discovery comes to the rescue.
Does Burnham join the Discovery crew this week?
That would be telling.
Is Rainn Wilson’s Harry Mudd in the third hour?
Besides Captain Lorca, whom do we meet this week?
Upon rescue, prisoner Burnham is assigned (oddly) to bunk with a yappy if good-natured ginger cadet named Tilly (Mary Wiseman). There’s also the fussy gay fungus scientist Stamets, who’s apparently busy with Mysterious And Important Work.
What about Saru?
A fair amount of time has passed since the destruction of the Shenzhou; he’s been reassigned to Discovery, as has the ginger girl we met on the Shenzhou’s bridge.
The big news?
It appears Spock and Michael Burnham spent a lot of time together.
What else is CBSAA not telling us?
The Discovery seems more technologically advanced than the Enterprise James Kirk will command a decade in Burnham’s future; Lorca appears to be able to teleport intraship without utilizing a transporter pad.
Lorca’s “He knows you” line. The central mystery involving shipwide “black alerts.” Saru’s hesitation when Burnham asks is she’s on a science vessel. The “away mission” uniforms. And while “Discovery” doesn’t boast “Game of Thrones”-quality writing, one is gratified CBS seems to be pouring “Game of Thrones” money into this new Trek series’ production.
What’s not so good?
The regular Starfleet uniforms still look flimsy and cheap. Security aboard the Discovery strikes me as distractingly lame, especially after we learn what the ship is up to. Director Akiva Goldsman’s big action scene near episode’s end is more dark and confusing than frightening. And for some reason I find it hard to believe Burnham is the “first mutineer” in the hundred-year history of Starfleet.
How does it end, spoiler boy?
“Here kitty kitty.”
8 p.m. Sunday. CBSAA.