Reviewed by Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 23 April 2018)
The second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ (STD) just began early this month. But if you weren’t already a Star Trek fan (meaning a Trekkie), you might not have taken note that the 15-episode CBS series just wrapped up shortly before season two got underway.
That transition was so seamless because of the overwhelmingly positive response that STD’s initial episodes received in late 2017. It was clear from the outset that the cast had the chemistry. Plus this prequel to the original Star Trek series (which resulted in development of a huge TV, film and comic book franchise) satisfied many unanswered questions about the early life of the classic Star Trek ship, the USS Enterprise.
The series is set in the thick of the Federation (meaning the humans)-Klingon intergalactic war in which the Klingons are hell bent on destroying the human race and of course, planet Earth. Fortunately, life on the USS Discovery is where most of the drama unfolds, especially as it develops around the young brilliant Michael Burnham, a Science specialist (played by the charismatic African American actress Sonequa Martin-Green).
She’s an orphan whose parents died in cannibalistic circumstances that traumatized Michael (who’s intentionally been given a male name). Adopted by a Vulcan couple whose culture is far more cerebral, less emotional than humans’, Michael commits a high crime against her commanding officer, Captain Philippi (played by the Chinese-American actress and former karate superstar (of the Jet Lee vintage), Michelle Yeoh.
She’s convicted of murder (although the event was accidental). But because her skills set, scientific genius and otherwise principled knowledge of Federation law are unique aboard the STD, her commanding officer, Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) keeps her aboard the ship and thus, she plays an invaluable role despite being on probation.
For those who love special effects, especially those of an intergalactic kind, STD will be revelatory. There’s lots of teleporting around the galaxy since STD is a vanguard scouting ship, the only one remaining since the Federation seems to be losing the war against the Klingons.
The Klingons have their own intertribal struggles which lead to conflict between the Unifier Leader who gets bumped off by one of his megalomaniac generals. Be prepared for some startling revelations about Klingon spies since there’s at least one aboard the ship, and he’s the one who Michael falls for since he’s apparently been held prisoner by the Klingons as was Captain Lorca with whom he somehow escapes.
The other incredible turn of events that’s mind-boggling is the way the STD finds its way into an alternative universe in a different galaxy from their own. It’s an antithetical mirror image of their own. It’s also one run by the tyrannical Terran Emperor Philippa Georgiou (also played by Michelle Yeoh) who also had an adopted daughter who happens to look exactly like Michael.
How the STD gets back home to their Galaxy is whole other fascinating story since the ingenious method of organic propulsion is developed aboard STD.