Star Trek Discovery reveals the secrets of the anomaly and morality.
There’s more bad news on the Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA) front in the latest episode of Discovery of Star Trek, ” The examples “. DMA can disappear from one point in space and reappear in another, indicating that it was created on purpose. The Federation dubbed the unknown creators of DMA Species 10-C.
To glean clues about the 10-C species technology and how to stop it, scientific genius Ruon Tarka (Shawn doyle) —Who built the next generation of spore reader, based on Stamets’ now century-old work — gets on board Discovery to simulate DMA. The simulation of Tarka requires massive and ever-increasing amounts of energy. At the end of the episode, he threatens to destroy the ship. Stamets and Tarka want time to collect more data, but Saru orders the experiment to stop.
As Tarka, Stamets and Reno (Tig Notaro, who is finally making his welcome return) reluctantly flirt with disaster in the science lab, Burnham and Book attempt to evacuate six prisoners, the “Examples” of the episode title, from a penal colony to the Radvek asteroid belt before the arrival of DMA. Sentenced to life imprisonment for minor offenses, Examples do not want to be among the Akaali who jailed them. They refuse to leave unless Burnham can guarantee their freedom.
Unable to do so without violating Akaali sovereignty, Burnham offers political asylum to Examples. Five examples accept and pass on to Discovery. The sixth, Félix (Michael Greyeyes), will not leave. He was jailed for killing a man and believes that serving his sentence is proper penance for his crime. He is determined to stay behind, despite the imminent arrival of DMA. He gives Burnham the lalogi orb which he took from the man he killed – a small object containing a trace of the man’s heirloom – and asks him to return it to the family of the deceased for him. Respecting Felix’s choice and despite Book’s objections, who wants to save as many lives as possible from DMA, Burnham leaves Felix behind.
DMA strikes, destroying the Radvek belt. Burnham keeps his promise to Felix, giving the orb to the dead man’s daughter. The leader of Akaali is outraged that Burnham did not put the Examples in jail. Burnham reminds him that he and all his people are now refugees, “seeking shelter and grace. I hope you find a fairer society than the one you helped create.
Star Trek Discovery serves up a strong morality game
As a moral piece, “The Examples” would be a great fit for the original series or Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Greyeyes delivers a calm and compelling performance as Felix, patiently and eloquently explaining his ideas on repentance and justice to Burnham and Book, insisting that they recognize and respect his free will. “It’s my life,” he says, “my debt to pay”. Because Discovery has so often been immersed in shades of gray when it comes to morality, Felix’s sincere and lucid acceptance of responsibility for his wrong, whatever the consequences, feels particularly powerful.
The subplot involving Ruon Tarka is unevenly successful. Doyle delivers an intriguing and enjoyable performance as a conceited, self-glorifying science superstar who smells good TNG guest characters like Kosinski (“Where No One Has Gone Before”) and Paul Stubbs (“Evolution”). Anthony Rapp makes Stamets’ resentment and rivalry towards Tarka palpable, although it is evident that he finds Tarka’s aggressive scientific method appealing on one level. But the subplot indulges in all of Trek’s worst technobabble trends and ultimately does little to advance this season’s DMA storyline.
I enjoyed the last scene of the episode, in which we see the scar of a now-missing emerald chain implant on Tarka’s neck. It shows us why he is angry. He tells Book that anger can be a “productive emotion.” Given, as we saw last week, that Book still feels anger over Kweijan’s destruction, as well as anger he expresses at Burnham over his choice to respect Felix’s decision, I suspect Tarka and this theme of how to productively channel anger is coming back.
This episode also includes a welcome subplot in which Culber, who has provided therapy to so many shipmates, asks Dr. Kovich for help on his own. David Cronenberg is lovely in this role. Her blunt but not mean reminder to Culber that we cannot take care of others successfully if we don’t take care of ourselves is a wisdom that can be difficult for caregivers to cling to. It’s also one of many well-placed statements this season about living mentally and emotionally healthy.
Finally, “The Examples” offers us the timely social commentary for which Star Trek has long been known. Leader Akaali’s outrage that his “law-abiding citizens” must now share the space with the Examples raises important questions about when social distinctions between “us” and “them” become obstacles to a better life for them. all. As Burnham reprimands, the Akaali are all now homeless and at the mercy of others. To recover from the rubble of their past, they must face their future together.
It is a wise direction to Discovery of Star Trek, if you will, to rebuild a society after a disaster.