Star Trek: Discovery – Episode 3: Context Is for Kings

Star Trek: Discovery – Episode 3: Context Is for Kings October 3, 2017

This episode felt much too fast paced, skipping 6 months into the future, getting Michael Burnham onto a shuttle and then onto the U. S. S. Discovery (where several of her former crewmates are now crew members, including Saru, who is first officer) in the first few minutes.

Michael is confined to quarters when not working, and her roommate (who has some kind of special needs) comments on her name, saying that the only other female Michael she knows of is Michael Burnham the mutineer – not yet realizing that that is precisely who her new roommate is).

On Discovery, and a sister ship, lieutenants Stametz and his longtime collaborator are working on research that presumes that physics and biology are essentially the same. The other ship experiences a catastrophic failure and Stametz and Burnham are among those on the away team that investigates. Michael thinks they were working on a biological weapon, but the captain of Discovery shows her that they are working on an organic-based propulsion system. He offers her the opportunity to remain on board, and talking of atonement and redemption, suggests that ending the war she started would be an appropriate course of action.

Michael has a copy of Carroll’s Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and recounts how her adoptive mother, a human named Amanda, taught her that the real world doesn’t always adhere to logic. Sometimes down is up, and sometimes when you are lost, you are found.

I enjoyed the episode more and more as it went on. I didn’t love it, or hate it. I still have not felt wowed by Star Trek: Discovery – I have liked its characters, in particular their diversity, but have also felt that issues like pacing and dialogue still leave something to be desired. But it is Star Trek, and it is at the very least no worse than other series. And so I am glad it exists, and plan to continue watching – and blogging about it.


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  • John MacDonald

    My favorite will always be the Q episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation:
    Capt. Picard: I understand what you’ve done here, Q. But I think the lesson could have been learned without the loss of 18 members of my crew.
    Q: If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.

  • I really liked this episode. It really came across as “Star Trek” to me. The introduction to “Discovery” was starship “porn” at it’s finest. For those of you not longtime Trek fans, the design of “Discovery” is an homage to the 70’s, when there were a number of attempts to bring Trek to the big screen. At one point Ralph McQuarie was brought in to do design and “Discovery” very much looks like that design. Burnham’s process of meeting a number of the new crew and old ones, was done well as well as her introduction to the mysteries of this ship. I like the casting and enjoyed our introduction to Captain Lorca. The “menagerie” room has lots of “Easter eggs” for us hardcore’s including a Gorn skeleton and Cardassion Voles. Lt. Stamets is actually named after a mushroom scientist, there was a fun interview with the scientist on “After Trek” last Sunday.

    Oh and it’s “Saru”.

  • Mike Poteet

    Lorca’s argument about context, source of this episode’s title, is very dangerous thinking. If we can take some past Trek captains who started thinking too highly of themselves or became to narrowly devoted to their mission — Captain Tracey comes to mind from “The Omega Glory,” or Pressman from TNG’s “The Pegasus,” or even those kids from the Valiant in DS9 — then Lorca will not be headed for a happy end. Here’s hoping Burnham and some others have the good sense to stand up to him when the time comes. Overall, I’m enjoying the series but, like you, haven’t had my socks knocked off by it. It is still the most visually gorgeous Trek to hit the screen.