It’s the return of the braidy bunch as the Klingons finally let their hair down on Star Trek: Discovery. (S2E03) Point Of Light Review

*SPOILER*

You’d be forgiven for wincing as this week’s episode begins because it brings back those pointy-clothed buzzkills from season one, the Klingons. Although it’s immediately apparent that something’s different. They’re more mobile, for one, and certainly more hirsute. And while they’re still speaking Klingon, it’s less stilted and Shakespearean now but they’re probably just excited about Discovery’s latest bit of conciliatory fan service: a glimpse of the iconic D7 battle cruiser.

The D7’s not the only nod to legacy trek this week, as “Point Of Light” is borrowing from the “Deep Space Nine” playbook as everyone’s bad decisions start to catch up with them and this being “Star Trek: Discovery”, there are a lot of bad decisions.

Burnham welcomes a surprise visitor to the USS Discovery, one who brings disturbing news about Spock while on the Klingon homeworld, L’Rell must quell dissent in the ranks. Meanwhile, Tilly is still seeing dead people and struggles to keep her mind on the command training programme.

Although it teeters on the brink of ‘lame of thrones’, the Qo’noS sections of the episode manage to maintain a pace and drama which consistently eluded the Klingon storylines last season. Everyone’s least favourite Star Trek ‘ship’ TyL’Rell actually get time to explore the ramifications of their twisted history and while it still feels distinctly un-Trek for L’Rell to be ruling the Klingon empire under threat of planetary destruction using an explosive device provided by The Federation, it’s the personal dramas which keep their story interesting. The secret baby feels a little too soap opera, but to be fair long lost sons actually have quite the history in “Star Trek”. It feels a bit cheap that their story concludes with a Georgiou Ex Machina but it’s probably a necessary evil to set up the forthcoming Section 31 spin-off which looks likely to boldly go further away from the essence of Star Trek than any series has gone before. With Ash Tyler now apparently on board, I wonder if any other characters will be making the leap to the dark (badge) side?

The brief conversation between Burnham and Tyler is actually quite touching, with both performers bringing real depth and feeling to the small talk. If their destiny is to be on different Star Trek shows, I hope there are still opportunities for the two of them to meet because character-wise, there’s a lot of unfinished business there. The throwaway comment about the Klingons regrowing their hair shows that even when the series is self-correcting it’s still self-conscious and needy enough to require you to notice. It’s a scab that Star Trek has been increasingly incapable of picking at it ever since the Klingon redesign of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. “Deep Space Nine” had the right idea when they made a casual gag of it in “Trials And Tribble-ations” and then ignored it but “Enterprise” couldn’t resist going back to it and trying to square the circle, a deep-seated compulsion to canonise everything, regardless of his awkward or unnecessary, that is one of Trek (and it’s fandom’s) biggest current weaknesses.

Elsewhere in the episode, the season arc is maintained with the visit of Spock’s mother Amanda to the ship which gives Burnham the chance to reveal yet another terrible secret from her past. I say reveal because she never actually says what she did to destroy her relationship with Spock but it’s apparently bad enough that Amanda immediately grows cold towards her adopted daughter without any further explanation. I suppose it’s reassuring that although Burnham’s past bad decisions haunt her, they only haunt her to the degree that they don’t impede her ability to continue to make bad choices. Speaking of bad choices, Captain Pike continues to show an alarming willingness to disregard protocol and regulations when it suits his mission that it surely foreshadows something wicked comes his way.

The third part of the episode revisits Tilly’s continuing Wesley-isation on her command training programme, complicated by her own version of the Great Gazoo. This is where the episode breaks genuinely new ground for Discovery as Tilly tells Burnham that she’s having visions, marking possibly the first time one of the characters makes a good decision and we finally get a pay-off from Tilly’s dandruff problem in “What’s Past Is Prologue”.

Although I expected the worst, “Point Of Light” actually showed how much progress “Star Trek: Discovery” has made since the first season. It may be an episode made up of three B-stories none of which really has enough substance to carry the episode alone but given it was trying to tidy up a loose end from season one while back door piloting a spin-off show and juggle two of the series’ ongoing plotlines and move them forward, it managed to be pretty entertaining. I can’t believe I’m back to looking forward to Star Trek each week.

6/10

logo

Related posts

As horror films go, The Wretched (2020) is mostly just skin and bones

As horror films go, The Wretched (2020) is mostly just skin and bones


As horror films go, The Wretched (2020) is mostly just skin and bones

For a story of a modern-day witch devouring children, there’s not actually a lot of meat on this gristly, grisly offering. The foley artist sure had a field day creating all those bone-crunching sound effects but it’s a shame the story couldn’t have been fattened up a bit more before being...

Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that’s okay too.

Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that's okay too.


Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that's okay too.

Continuing the irreverent, pop-culture saturated craziness of the first movie, Emmet, Wildstyle and all your favourites from “The Lego Movie” are back picking up mere moments from the end of the first movie as the Duplo aliens attack.With the previously harmonious world of Bricksburg...

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2015) swoops into UK cinemas today, a great start to the year.

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2015) swoops into UK cinemas today, a great start to the year.


Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2015) swoops into UK cinemas today, a great start to the year.

Much has been made of the Meta premise of Michael Keaton playing an ageing actor, once famous for playing an iconic superhero, looking to prove his artistic integrity by mounting a Broadway play but there’s so much more to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s technically dazzling, intensely personal...

Doctor Who: Time And The Rani

Doctor Who: Time And The Rani


Doctor Who: Time And The Rani

Sylvester McCoy makes his debut in a neon-drenched quarry-based adventure in Time And The RaniBefore it was the social media battle cry of an embittered faction of Whovian fandom railing against the casting of Jodie Whittaker, “Leave the girl, it’s the man I want!” was the...