In-depth episode discussions. Geeking out over sci-fi & fantasy TV such as Stargate Universe, Star Trek Picard, Star Trek Discovery, plus movies, such as the DCEU (Man of Steel, Batman V Superman etc) Welcome to Nerd Heaven. Currently reviewing season 1 of Stargate Universe (SGU)
Monday Oct 26, 2020
Monday Oct 26, 2020
Monday Oct 26, 2020
Star Trek Discovery Season 3 is off to a pretty strong start. I enjoyed "Far From Home" and think it may even be better than last week's installment. This time around, we catch up with the crew of the USS Discovery, and see how they are all coping in this new time period. Saru and Tilly make first contact with some friendly Coridonites and an oppressive courier. Jet tries to teach Stammets what an idiot he's being, and Georgiou finds her self right at him in this more dystopian future. But running through it all is the classic Star Trek idealism and optimism.
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Welcome to Nerd Heaven.
I’m Adam David Collings, the author of Jewel of The Stars
And I am a nerd.
This is episode 39 of the podcast.
Today, we’re talking about the second episode of Star Trek Discovery season 3.
Far From Home.
I really liked this episode, and may have enjoyed it more than last week’s.
The description on memory alpha reads
After the USS Discovery crash-lands on a strange planet, the crew finds themselves racing against time to repair their ship. Meanwhile, Saru and Tilly embark on a perilous first-contact mission in hopes of finding Burnham.
It was Written by Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet, and Alex Kurtzman
It was directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
And it first aired on the 22nd of October 2020.
Make it so.
So last week, we saw what happened to Michael Burnham when she emerged from the wormhole in the 32nd century. Throughout the episode, she was searching for Discovery, but never found it.
In this episode, we follow the crew of discovery as they emerge from the wormhole. The journey has been pretty hard on them. They’re all unconscious. Saru is the first to wake, as the ship emerges from the wormhole and plunges toward a planet. So is this Teralysium?
There are a whole lot of asteroids in orbit of this world. Discovery crashes through one, which is probably very unrealistic but looks cool.
We get a very cool shot of the ship crashing onto the planet. We’ve had a couple of great crash sequences in Star Trek history. The Enterprise D on Veridian, Voyager on an icy world in the episode Timeless, and this. I think the enterprise D is still my favourite, but still is still an epic and visually stunning sequence.
So the ship is now crashed on the surface of a planet, covered in ice. It doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere in a hurry.
Most starships in the Star Trek universe were not designed to land and take off from a planetary surface. Voyager was rather unique in that it was equipped with landing struts. Even if Discovery is capable of landing, this was hardly a deliberate touchdown.
Anyway, they’re all very lucky to be alive, and it doesn’t take long for them all to realise and appreciate it. It’s all thanks to Lieutenant Detmer’s skills, but she’s not celebrating. She’s definitely not herself. She’s got a nasty head wound.
Jet points that out Teralysium wasn’t very icy, but, of course, planets tend to be very diverse. Look at all the different climates on earth.
Saru gives a nice little speech. They’re all very interested to know what’s out there. Where and when are they? There’s a whole universe out there to explore, and they’re Starfleet officers. Their curiosity must be running at very high levels. But right now, the priority is to repair the ship. They are needed in here. They can figure out what’s out there later.
Saru has come such a long way. He demonstrates multiple times throughout this episode what a great captain he has grown into. And yes, as the ship’s first officer, he is next in line, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s the captain, until that time, if and when, the show tells me otherwise.
We get a great sense of organised chaos as the crew scramble to work on the ship. The sparks and the extras running about the set give a great sense of activity.
Tilly has determined that there are certain areas on this planet that have higher amounts of oxygen than the rest of the world. These appear to be manufactured settlements. We’ll see one of them later. Saru takes from this that they are not on Teralysium, and that there is life out there. There is life in the universe. This moment is underplayed compared with Burnham’s scream of relief in the last episode, but it was important for the crew of Discovery to have a similar moment. They’ve been successful in their mission to save all sentient life. And while they don’t have much time for celebrating. It needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. It’s a nice moment.
And then Georgiou turns up. I found Tilly’s line “You have some Leeland on your boot” to be darkly amusing, but I really didn’t need to see it. But wait, because there’s more to come.
Stamets is still in sickbay. I like the original series bio bed sound. There’s a very interesting effect they do. The room is empty, and silent, apart from the alarm. When Culbert brings him out of the coma, suddenly, the room is full of people and noise. It was very clever. I don’t always like film-making tricks like that, but this one really worked for me.
It’s quite believable that there would be injured even worse than Stamets, and they’ll need his bed.
Culberty wants to put him in a celular regeneration chamber (though probably not the one invented by Professor Guiger in Deep Space Nine) but Stamets wants to get back to work and help with repairs.
My wife is a nurse and she was watching this with me. She said “Why do people on TV, who are badly injured, always want to get back to work, when they can barely stand? It just doesn’t happen that way.”
And I can well imagine. Certainly if I was in Stamet’s condition, the last thing I’d be thinking about is work. I mean, Stamets is a work-a-holic, but still. It’s a common trope, and one that doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Anyway Stamets and Culbert are very happy. They’ve finally gotten themselves figured out. I wasn’t sure about bringing Culbert back in season 2. IT felt like it cheapened his death, which I thought was well played in season 1. But, they did it well. Not the actual resurrection. That bit was really weird. But after he was back, there were consequences. And it took the rest of the season for Culbert to come to terms with it all. And that was done well.
So Detmer’s head is kinda ponding, and the whole world seems a bit distant to her. But Doctor Pollard heals her wound with a dermal regenerator and tells her she’s good to go.
That’s it? But she doesn’t let on that she’s still feeling really weird.
I don’t know what’s going on with her, but I’m sure it’ll come back to haunt everyone.
Part of me wonders if it’s something to do with her implant.
I think Culbert notices something is off about her.
So there’s a translator, which is part of the communication system. It’s damaged beyond repair. They need to rebuild it, but they don’t have the raw material. This isn’t actually needed to get the ship off the ground, but without it, they’ll have no communications within the ship or without. And they won’t be able to search for burnham. So it’s pretty important.
Tilly has found a settlement and scans indicate they have the material needed. She’s also noticed the settlements have ships but no dilithium.
Saru feels they should treat this like a prime directive situation and not reveal too much about themselves. I’m not sure I fully understand his point. He says they carry information that could be damaging to a society, whether more or less advanced that they are. Perhaps he’s referring to the sphere data, which Discovery still has. I dunno.
There’s some conflict between Saru and Georgiou. Saru is very much holding to Starfleet principles. Georgeiou, as a former terran empress, is taking a more pragmatic approach. It’s interesting. I mean, I tend to side with Saru. I like Saru’s by-the-book approach. But, Georgiou is right about one thing. They’re in a completely unknown world, a potentially hostile world. Her approach may need to be considered at some point. In the very least, she’s going to fit in quite well in this time period, from what we’ve learned so far from last week.
I think there will be some interesting character dynamics between these two as the series progresses. And probably Burnham as well. It’s going for Georgiou to be subservient to Saru. I mean, to her, he’s a delicacy.
Saru and Tilly are going to the settlement. They’ll need medical treatment to be able to breathe the natural atmosphere outside of the settlements.
And then we go down to Stammet’s lab, where we see somebody scooping body parts, that used to be Leeland, into a bucket.
Honestly, I really really didn’t need to see this. It’s pretty disgusting. I’m not sure why they felt the need.
And honestly, it feels disrespectful for the human being that Leeland was before his body was taken by control. I mean, this was a person once. I found this to be in bad taste.
Stamets is back at work, even though it’s clear he’s in no condition to be working. So Jet takes him under her wing. There’s some really fun interaction between these two in the episode. IT reminds me how much I like Jet. She’s so not your typical Starfleet officer. She’s her own person. I mean, she’d probably rub me the wrong way in the real world, but I love watching her on screen.
As Saruy and Tilly exit the ship, it looks pretty chilly out there. Lots of ice. And there appear to be big rocks or icebergs floating in the sky. I’m not sure of the science behind that but it looks really cool.
At this point in the episode, I began to speculate as to whether this was the same planet Michael landed on last week, because the countryside looks very similar. It’s clear all of this was shot in Iceland just like last week. This will basically be confirmed at the end of the episode. But I’m confused. Michael and Book had no problem breathing on this planet. So what’s the go with that?
Saru is being very sweet to Tilly. He knows that she talks to calm herself, and he says, “please, keep talking.”
She’s not even sure why he brought her along. But he is.
They’re introducing themselves to the future, and Tilly is a wonderful first impression. To be honest, that really melted my heart.
We learn that there is something special about this ice. It’s not just frozen water. Nhan calls it parasitic. It’s rate of growth increases in the shade, so when the sun goes down, they’re going to have a real problem. The ship could quickly become encased in the stuff. IF that happens, they may never get the ship off the ground again, repairs or no repairs.
This is a cool sci-fi element that adds to the strangeness of this new world.
We get a conversation between Nahn and Georgiou about why they each chose to come into the future with Burnham. Nahn could have stayed on the Enterprise where she was arguably meant to be. She says she stayed for Arium. This was her way of honouring Arium’s death. I’m not sure I understand the connection, but I appreciate and respect the heart behind it. Georgiou doesn’t.
Georgiou’s reasons make a lot of sense. She doesn’t want to end up in a desk job running the bureaucracy of section 31. She likes jumping from universe to universe. Our 23rd century was no home to her. It was clear from the beginning she didn’t fit in there, and never would. And while she didn’t know it at the time, we’ve already discussed how she’s going to fit in very nicely here.
And we get to see Linus again. Linus is cool.
Georgiou has an interest I don’t quite understand in his range of vision.
The settlement is entered by way of transporter. Saru and Tilly find themselves in a wild west saloon of sorts.
There, they meet Kal, a Coridonite. Another classic Star Trek race.
We didn’t actually see one of them until Enterprise, where they had some dealings with the Andorians and Tellarites, but the TOS episode Journey to Babel was centered around negotiations to admit Coridon into the Federation.
By the way, remember Cosmo from last week. I called him an ugly alien and said I didn’t recognise his species. Turns out, he was a Betalgeusian, a race that was briefly seen in Star Trek The Motion Picture.
Anyway, they introduce themselves as officers of Starfleet. Kal believes them because he’s already scanned his ship. And we get another classic Tilly line. “My name lacks authority.” I love it.
Kal believes Saru and Tilly will help them. It’s who they are. The bartender isn’t convinced.
Kal says this planet has never had a name, but they call it the colony. But apparently, these people are being terrorised by a bully named Zareh.
Tilly, being intelligent as she is, realises that Dilithium will be valuable to these people, so she offers it as payment for their help repairing the transtater.
Jet makes a compelling cast to Stamets, that he’s not bringing his A game and they need to get someone else to crawl around the jefferies tube, but he doesn’t listen. He’s being pretty stupid.
Kal is repairing the transtator with a nanite style technology. Looks similar to what we encountered last week. He refers to it as programmable matter. Tilly pretends to be familiar with it, but it’s pretty obvious she’s not.
I’m getting a better idea of how things work in this time period. There are ships that can travel through space, but not many. Most people are stuck where they are. They rely on couriers, like Cosmo, Book, and Zareh to bring things to them. Couriers are basically the only ones that can travel through space. They get a small amount of dilithium to complete the job.
This was all written and shot before COVID 19 hit, but it kind of reminds me of lockdown, which is basically over here in Tasmania. Being stuck in one place, ordering stuff online and having it delivered by intrepid couriers. Yeah. Very familiar. Funny that.
Anyway, Zareh killed the last courier and is exploiting these people. And there’s no Federation to speak of to intervene.
They might be taking the wild west metaphor a little too far, as Zareh walks in with spurs clanking on his boots, to a very western sounding music cue. But, I dunno. I kinda like it.
The actor playing Zareh is well-suited to this kind of role. He manages to be intimidating and scary by speaking in a calm, almost friendly voice.
He’s also scanned the Discovery, but notes there is no record of it in his records. So Starfleet successfully classified the ship out of existence.
I like the look of daggers Tilly gives him when he calls her sweetheart.
And he quickly pieces together that Saru and Tilly are time travellers, given their lack of up to date technology.
And then that horrible moment. Kara kills Kal. I liked Kal.
And it looks like a horrible way to go. That phaser of Zareh takes it time and kills him very slowly and his torso burns and blue blood comes out of every crease in his face. Horrific.
Kara can see that KAl has been emboldened by the arrival of Starfleet officers. The guy is going to be harder to intimidate. I guess he figured an example needs to be made.
And have you noticed we’re getting more beam phasers this season, instead of bold phasers. I like that.
Saru is trying to negotiate with this thug. It’s clear at this point that Dilithium is the most prized resource around here, and Discovery has plenty of it.
Of course, Zareh would rather take what he wants than bargain.
And he has a big bargaining chip. The parasitic ice. It’s slowly enveloping Discovery. If they don’t do something soon, the ship will be overwhelmed by it and it’ll never fly again.
And the visual they show, of the ice growing before your eyes looks fantastic.
I like it when Star Trek uses a force of nature like this as an antagonistic force.
Zareh is going to send Tilly out into the cold all alone, to get the Dilithium and bring it back, braving the ice. He tells a story about how he’s seen it go down into someone’s throat. It’s pretty scary stuff.
Sounds like he’s sending her to her death.
And then Georgiou shows up. They found her sniffing around the perimeter. But you have to assume she allowed herself to be captured. I mean, it’s Georgiou.
She says she’s going to enjoy this new world. And I have no doubt about that.
It’s looking pretty bad for her, as Zareh repeatedly shoots her with the tortue gun.
And then, when she’s ready to make her move, she goes kung fu on them.
It’s a good action sequence. Even Saru gets in on the fun, and gets to use his new super Kelpien spikes.
Time for another moral debate between Georgiou and Saru.
She points out that killing Zareh would be a service to the galaxy, and she may be right.
But Saru reminds her, “This is not who we are.”. But Georgiou really isn’t part of that “we” is she?
But the conversation is cut short by Tilly’s realisation that daylight is gone. The ice is taking over discovery. You can see it just springing up. It looks awesome. And the creaking of the metal. It’s evocative of the terrible situation they’re in.
Culbert is rightfully annoyed when he finds that Stammets is in a jefferies tube.
But he manages to get the circuit replaced.
He says “thanks for nothing to Jet.”
And she replies “Back at you bobcat.”
Hugh questions this nickname, to which she replies, “I don’t know. I’m on drugs.”
I tell you, they give Jet the best lines.
I’m glad to see that Georgiou is being allowed to show the ruthless nature she has. This is who she is. She’s not pretending to play by Starfleet rules anymore. I think in season 2, she got a little too easily assimilated with the good guys. This season is gonna let her show her teeth.
But Saru isn’t backing down. He’s being stern with her. He’s acting captain of the ship and she will stand down. It’s a wonderful interaction, and I want to see more of these two butting heads in the future.
Zareh threatens the bartender. Your children will suffocate slowly.
And it looks like he’s gonna set Zareh free.
But then he puts his gun down, allowing Tilly to smash a bottle over his head, giving him back his sweetheart line. It’s a great moment because we thought he was going to betray our heroes.
“Kal always believed that you were out there somewhere. He believed we were part of the Federation no matter what. I get now why he wouldn’t stop talking about you.”
I think Saru has convinced him.
Saru will give them enough Dilithium to help them get free of Zareh’s oppression, along with his ship.
Saru gives Zareh into the bartender’s custody. And it looks like he’s gonna kill him for a minute. He doesn’t directly. He lets him go free. Into the icy cold. He may never last the night. It’s the same deal Zareh offered Tilly.
Despite the Star-Wars-ey dispotian setting, this episode was very much Star Trek, in the truest sense. It’s dripping with Starfleet idealism and optimism.
Saru and Tilly are given a personal transporter to get them safely back to Discovery. They’re ready to try taking off. But the ship is so encased in ice.
Still, there’s a sense of determination, as the music swells and the camera pans across the bridge. And then, the camera hits Detmer, and the music goes all haunting. We are reminded that something is not right with her. Something is not right at all.
Despite her problems, whatever they are, she performs her job admirably, but it’s still not enough. The ice fights back pretty hard. Again, it looks awesome.
They can’t break free. Starships are not designed to lift off like this.
Another ship arrives. Zareh’s more powerful friends?
A tractor beam pulls them out of the ice.
But is rescue at the hands of thugs going to be any better than staying in the ice?
And that’s when they are hailed.
By Michael Burnham.
She’s found them, and rescued them.
The looks on everyone’s faces is priceless. Even Georgiou.
It’s a beautiful moment.
Michael’s hair is different. She reveals that she landed a year ago. She’s been waiting here all this time.
She seems to confirm this is the same planet where she landed, but that still doesn’t explain the whole oxygen thing. Maybe they’ll address that next week.
Anyway, our characters have all been united now. Next week, we’ll get to see them together. It’ll be quite the emotional reunion I suspect.
I have to say, Star Trek Discovery is off to a pretty strong start in season 3 so far.
I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.
Next week’s episode is called People of Earth. It sounds like our heroes are going to be investigating, to see what has become of the Federation they remember from their time.
Don’t forget, my Jewel of the Stars books are available wherever eBooks are sold. You can also read the first book free on wattpad, or get it in paperback.
I plan to release books 2 in paperback soon too. Just got to find the time. I’ve been very busy lately. I plan to publish book 3 before the end of this year, so look out for that.
Well, have a great week, and I’ll see you somewhere in Nerd Heaven.