The episode introduces us to several continuing stories, providing new information related to each. Sylvia Tilly wants to become a captain and so Michael helps her train. Sarek is confronted by a would-be assassin, a Vulcan suicide bomber who is persuaded that humans are inferior and thus Vulcans should leave the Federation. Captain Lorca tests the officer, Ash Tyler, who helped him escape Klingon captivity in a holographic simulation before appointing him as his new chief of security.
We also learn that the same logic extremists sought to murder Michael when she was younger, and in fact she was dead for three minutes, and Sarek saved her through a controversial “soul graft” – leading to a sharing of katras between them. And so Michael senses that Sarek has been attacked, and the Discovery undertakes to resure him.
Before flying into a nebula, Stametz mentions having nothing to rely on but a “hope and a prayer.” But they also rely on a mind meld booster to enable Michael to connect with and locate Sarek. Michael finds that Sarek is dwelling on her graduation day, and assumes that he is dwelling on her failure. But it turns out that he was dwelling on his own failure: being told that he could only have one of his partly Vulcan “experiments” in the Vulcan Expeditiary, he chose Spock. Michael and the shuttle rescue Sarek. In sick bay, Sarek will not talk about the mind meld. Michael realizes that just as she could never be what Sarek hoped, he cannot be what she hoped either. This liberates her to embrace her humanity, and so she re-introduces herself to Ash.This story was profoundly moving – perhaps ironically, given how it was so entwined with Vulcan repression and rejection of emotion. Did you respond to the story in the same way?
Michael is given an appointment on the bridge, at the science station. Presumably tensions with Saru will be an even more significant part of the show as of the next episode.
See IO9 for a different perspective, critiquing the choice to make Discovery a prequel rather than setting it at some other time. They also added a follow-up post about this, as well as sharing the news that Discovery has already been renewed for a second season.