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Star Trek Discovery: Scavengers

"The admiral would not be convinced by a cat in a ship."

I was impressed by the conflict at the core of this episode.

Michael has a new quest: discovering the cause of the Burn, the event that nearly demolished Starfleet and the Federation a hundred or so years ago. This quest conflicted with Saru's current priority, which was doing whatever Admiral Vance tells him to do.

The thing is, they were both right. Saru is essentially on probation. In the previous episode, Admiral Vance was ready to disassemble the Discovery crew and give the ship to another captain. If Saru had gone rogue with Michael, Vance could very well have changed his mind, and Saru would have been faced with an even more difficult choice. And yet, Michael's need to figure out what caused the Burn is also critical. Not to mention that she couldn't just leave Book, her only new friend in this time period, stranded, enslaved, and catless.

It's interesting that Michael did exactly what the legendary James T. Kirk would have done back in the original series... except that it wouldn't have cost Kirk his captaincy, as it just cost Michael her post as second in command. I really liked that Admiral Vance made the situation even grayer and more complicated by admitting that if Saru had come to him first with the situation, he might have deemed the intel worth the risk and approved it. Saru is a terrific captain, but he was wrong, too.

This is the episode that finally made me warm to Philippa Georgiou, and it wasn't just the prickly cat jokes. Georgiou kept making me laugh with her empress-speak, especially while undercover on the salvage planet, and I actually started to worry about what was happening to her. I was also touched by Michael telling Georgiou that she could ask for help and be vulnerable in this universe, that illness wasn't the death sentence that it would have been in the Terran empire. What's wrong with Georgiou?

Cleveland Booker is quite a guy. While searching for a black box that would give Michael information about the timing of the Burn, Book couldn't help becoming involved in the plight of the Emerald Chain's slaves on Hunhau, even to the point of asking Michael to leave him there. (Like that would happen.) As noble as Book was, Ryn the Andorian was even nobler; he had been forced to "brand" the new slaves as punishment for standing up to the Chain, and then he was injured during the escape while saving Book.

Can Culber and the new and improved Discovery sick bay give the very likeable Ryn new antennas? Or antennae? Pausing to consult the internet... apparently, the plural "antennas" is used when referring to mechanical instruments, and "antennae" to insects. Since Ryn is a living being, it's "antennae." Right?

Meanwhile back on Discovery, the ship has been repaired and given new and exciting detached nacelles, and the crew was having great fun with their new badges that function as tricorders, communicators and personal transporters. Linus in particular startling everyone by appearing and disappearing all over the ship was very amusing, although I kept thinking about the disturbing theory that transporters are devices that essentially kill you and recreate you somewhere else.

Finally, Stamets went against type and bonded with a teenager after Adira did him a serious kindness by redesigning the pod, making those unpleasant arm shunts unnecessary. The foundation of their new connection made sense; both prodigies, both workaholics, both in love with someone who died but came back. I particularly liked the scene in bed where Stamets and Culber talked about Adira, mostly because I like pretty much every scene with Stamets and Culber. A happy, well-adjusted couple with a working relationship is just nice to see in Star Trek. We never got enough of that.

Speaking of "nice to see," the scene with Tilly wrestling with Grudge made me giggle. I'm a cat person and nearly all of mine have been gray-striped tabbies, although none have ever been that big. I'm still wondering if there's something going on with Grudge. Twice in the original series, a cat was not what she appeared to be. ("Catspaw" and "Assignment: Earth.")


— This week, we visited Hunhau, a salvage yard of a planet operated by the Emerald Chain. Which still sounds nice to me, like jewelry you wear on St. Patrick's Day.

— The Emerald Chain, led by someone named Osyraa whom I'm certain we'll eventually meet, is an Andorian/Orion syndicate. Andorians are blue and Orions are green. Can they intermarry and reproduce? If so, are their kids turquoise?

— Discovery, as Starfleet's only "rapid responder," is at once the most important ship in the fleet and the one with the least autonomy. That's an interesting dynamic.

— Saru consulted Tilly about Michael's disobedience, and she agreed with Saru that, even though they both love her, Saru had to report her to Vance.

— Michael and Book had a romantic moment in the turbolift after the rescue. Was that their first kiss? It felt like it, even though we don't know what went on between them for the past year.

— Ryn the noble Andorian is played by Noah Averbach-Katz, who is married to Mary Wiseman (Tilly). Does that make it more likely that we'll see him again?


(I wanted to quote everything Georgiou said in this episode. And everything about Grudge.)

Georgiou: "You had me at 'unsanctioned mission'."

Georgiou: "The Tyler thing ended in disaster – surprise, surprise – so I get why you wouldn't want to have feelings for the blob whisperer."
Michael: "I don't have feelings for the blob whisperer. And tranceworms aren't blobs."
Georgiou: "I was referring to the cat."

Michael: (to Georgiou) "Your emotional spectrum runs from cranky to homicidal."

Georgiou: "FORM! A SENTENCE!"

Georgiou: "That cat can't get lost. It's got its own gravitational pull."

Tilly: "Computer, locate Burnham."
Computer: "Commander Burnham is not on board."
Tilly: (to Grudge) "Did you eat her?"

Saru: "Commander Burnham left to purse a mission of her own against my direct orders."
Tilly: "Oh, shit. Sh– shit, shit. Sorry."
Saru: "My sentiments exactly."

Georgiou: "Salvage this, you son of a bitch."

I very much enjoyed this episode. Three out of four antennae,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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