For those of you that don’t know Star Trek Discovery is a new series in the the Star Trek universe brought out earlier in the year. Set just a few years before Kirk takes command of the Enterprise I was originally quite disappointed with the concept and didn’t think it would be particularly interesting.
The nag in my mind was really about how anything new could be done with the Star Trek universe by going back to an old and fairly familiar time in the Star Trek universe.
I was… believe it or not quite wrong.
The first few episodes don’t even include the Discovery, the story instead focuses on a young Starfleet Commander, Micheal Burnham serving aboard a starship that inadvertently stumbles across Klingon incursions in Federation space and a new threat from the Klingons as they try to unite to preserve their race. This leaves Michael finding herself mutinying against her Captain and then finding herself face court martial and life imprisonment.
Finding herself on board the Discovery’s Captain, Gabriel Lorca offers her a place in the Discoveries crew against the orders of Starfleet command. So begins the story of the Discovery.
The first few episodes in the series don’t even include the new starship. I knew this before I watched it and even the I was wondering – when the hell is it going to turn up and lo and behold it does!
They’re clever with the story and don’t give it all away at once. Michael and her fellow convicts are rescued by the Discovery and the immediately notice that there are differences with this starship. It leaves you guessing what’s going on and letting you find out little nibbles of information on what the discovery is all about.
The Spore Drive
You read it right… spores. As well as having a conventional faster than light warp drive the Discovery also has a prototype ‘spore’ drive that can be used to potentially take the Discovery and it’s crew to any point in the galaxy instantly.
The spinning saucer modules at the front of the ship all seem to be part of this and when activate the ship does this weird spinning, jiggle thing and vanishes off.
I’m not really enamoured with the term ‘spore drive’ as it sounds a bit naff, but in essence that what this new drive system is. Running off energy spores found in the galaxy so I can’t argue it.
The early episodes really centre a lot around Michael and how being convicted has changed her perspectives and attitudes to life and Starfleet. Lorca offers Michael a life line back to serving in starfleet and she’s soon getting into the thick of finding out what discovery is about and why it’s so important.
The series raises a lot of questions around ethics, really it’s a big part of it- certainly at first. The spore drive is a new system and the questions of sacrifice around making this drive system work keep coming up. Whether an alien life form is to be used to make it work until it dies or a human crewmate this highlights starkly the cost of progress. Using this technology against the Kingons seems to justify many of the sacrifices made. As usual in war when you’re losing or suffering it stands almost that any action can be justified.
At the end of the series comes the bombshell, something I never guessed certainly and in case you’ve not seen it I won’t spoil it for you. But when other dimensions come into play all kinds of weird things happen let’s just put it like that.
Discovery is a very new spin on the old Trek idea and it works by bringing its own identity rather than trying to make it fit with the originals. But then of course at the very end… the original catches up with it.
NOTE: No ownership claimed on images or gifs – all credit to CBS / Netflix / Whoever they belong to.
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