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Star Trek Discovery: Unification III

"I do believe he would find it all... fascinating."

A busy, exposition-filled episode that brought some satisfying closure to two of Michael's primary relationships.

For original series and Next Gen fans like me, the best thing about it was the resolution of what Spock began so many centuries ago. In "Unification I" and "II," Spock ultimately failed in his efforts to bring the Vulcans and Romulans back together as genetically-related peoples, although in the end, he chose to remain with the Romulan underground and keep trying. His efforts at peace paid off: Vulcan is now Ni'Var, the home of both Vulcans and Romulans.

The clip from "Unification II" was just lovely, a perfect way to bring closure to Michael's relationship with her brother. The scene where she watched the elder Spock with a mixture of grief and joy on her face was, in my opinion, one of Sonequa Martin-Green's best performances. I especially liked that the tribute to the original Star Trek's beloved Leonard Nimoy was connected to the scene last season where Michael said goodbye to young Spock (Ethan Peck).

Ni'Var is a long way from a blissful and logical Utopia, though, and it was sad that they had left the Federation. The Quorum made Michael's quest to find the answer to the Burn even more difficult, too; no favoritism on Ni'Var if even Spock's sister was getting the cold shoulder. In the end, Michael withdrew her request for the T'Kal-in-ket but promised to trust the people of Ni'Var with any information she acquired, even if they refused to trust her in return. And of course, in the way of television where virtue is instantly rewarded, that made them go ahead and trust her with the information on SB-19 that she wanted, after all.

What happened to Michael's biological mother Gabrielle was another open question that was finally answered. Like Michael, she arrived on the wrong planet, and somehow wound up a member of the Qowat Milat – a Romulan warrior nun and an advocate of "absolute candor." (See Star Trek: Picard.) A good fit for Gabrielle, I suppose. And she used her position as Michael's advocate to steer Michael in what Gabrielle clearly thought was the best direction.

Michael was genuinely thrown that her long lost mother seemed to turn on her at the worst possible moment, especially after Saru demoted her. I did like that, while Michael admitted that she was doubting herself, she insisted that she deserved just a tiny bit of credit for saving all sentient life in the universe. And I liked that Gabrielle decided to stay on Ni'Var because Michael isn't a lost cause. (Although, sadly, that must mean that Gabrielle thinks Ni'Var is a lost cause. Or am I just projecting there?)

Book's ship parked inside Discovery's shuttle bay hangar, like an RV parked in someone else's garage, felt like this week's Most Obvious Symbolism. Michael is still a member of Starfleet and the Discovery crew, but she is feeling separated, more at home with Book on his own ship. How long will they be content with this situation? Which way will Michael jump? Off on new adventures with Book, or staying at home on Discovery?

Meanwhile, Saru asked Tilly to serve as acting first officer. And yes, she doesn't have enough experience. But the Discovery crew isn't like other crews. They're much more isolated, closely bonded by their unique experiences, plus there are only 88 of them. Tilly is a favorite of mine, and I just enjoyed the heck out of the scene where she went to Stamets for advice ("Honestly, the notion of taking orders from you is deeply, deeply weird") and the lovely depth of friendship he showed her in return by organizing that group of crewmates to encourage her to say yes.

They all know her and trust her. So what if she's just an ensign? We've known for a long time that Tilly is interested in command, that she wants to be a leader. I particularly liked that before accepting, Tilly diplomatically asked Saru if he was looking for a yes-woman, someone who wouldn't challenge him the way Michael does. I wouldn't expect that of Saru, but recent events have been difficult for him, too. Tilly was right to ask.


— One of the black boxes was for the U.S.S. Yelchin, named for the late actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie and died way too soon at the age of 27.

— Just in case of fan nitpicking, Michael confirmed that during her year alone in the future, she never checked to see what had happened to Spock. I don't blame her. What if he had died not long after she left?

— Wardrobe isn't my thing, but I particularly liked Sonja Sohn in that Romulan nun outfit. I also liked the teal costume they gave T'Rina, president of Ni'Var; it dialed down the Joan Crawford shoulder pads, and the floor-length sleeves were cool.

— Michael is technically a citizen of Ni'Var. She can always visit her mom now. Maybe they can vacation together and get to know each other better sometime.


Michael: "You know, I never let myself look back to find out who he became."
Book: "You guys are chronic overachievers."

Michael: "Greetings, Madam President. I am Michael Burnham, daughter of Sarek, sister of Spock."
T'Rina: "It is an honor to greet you. I only wish Ambassador Spock could see the fruits of his labor, as you do now."
Michael: "I do believe he would find it all... fascinating."

Michael: "I got where you were going back there, but you could have picked a better time to do some parenting."
Gabrielle: "Is this what you were like as a twelve-year-old?"

Book: "You feel like home."
Michael: "So do you."
Aww. I like Book as a love interest for Michael. They fit.

Four out of four callbacks to other Trek series and movies,

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

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