This newest Star Trek: Discovery episode, “An Obol for Charon,” was an actual emotional doozy. This has received to be probably the greatest episodes of Discovery up to now. Whereas prior episodes have entertained whereas establishing the general thriller of Purple Angel, “An Obol for Charon” took a break from the story to offer us the whole lot Star Trek is all about.
Let’s get into what made this episode such an excellent summation of Star Trek’s mission assertion.
Discovering new life
The issue for this episode is determining if a wierd star-like sphere is pal or foe, or if it’s even alive. Seems the star is sentient. However we don’t know if it’s a killing drive till the ultimate arc of the episode. Seeing the way it’s blocking the Discovery from following Spock’s vessel, disrupted the common communicator, shut down large parts of the ship and is emitting critical power, it looks like it’s clearly a nasty deal.
Nevertheless, Saru and Michael handle to persuade Pike to not destroy the star. They uncover that the star has been making an attempt to speak with them and relay its 100,000-year life story earlier than it died, however its technique of communication was overpowering the ship. The best way Saru figures this out is thru his personal well being; due to Saru’s empathy, the star was capable of attain him. Sadly, it consequently set off Saru’s dying cycle, however it was due to Saru’s biology that he was capable of deduce the star’s true intentions.
This mission showcases what’s on the core of Starfleet’s focus, which is to find extra concerning the universe and its lifeforms. In reality, Michael says as a lot, which convinces Pike to permit her and Saru to interact with the star. Watching Discovery permit the star to inform its story earlier than it died displays a number of the emotional core of Star Trek, which is to welcome and respect all lifeforms, no matter who or what they occur to be. This concept is at its most excessive with aliens and star-spheres, however it’s undoubtedly an concept the present needs all of its viewers to imbue into their very own lives. This is the reason Star Trek has been so well-liked for therefore many many years.
A view of a constructive future
In fact, not all life is benevolent. That parasite that’s been torturing Tilly has a purpose for attaching itself to our resident emotionally-frazzled scientist. Tilly’s remorse about how she might have mistreated Might in life allowed the parasite to prey on Tilly, giving it a method to get contained in the Discovery lab. Might has a private vendetta towards Stamets, who has been utilizing the mycelial community as a option to bounce Discovery from planet to planet. Seems that he’s been destroying the community’s ecosystem and she or he needs him to cease.
This second offers an fascinating counterpoint to Stamets’ earlier level concerning the mycelial spores being clear, environment friendly types of power. Throughout that earlier dialog with Jett Reno, the engineer saved from the Hiawatha a pair episodes in the past. Reno and Stamets had a little bit of a verbal tiff about viable kinds of power. Reno continues to be for what’s the sci-fi equal of oil and coal, whereas Stamets is all about renewable power. Apparently, he talks about how humanity “almost choked itself on air pollution” earlier than we lastly awakened and put photo voltaic panels on every thing, cleansing up the setting and our methods of life. This can be a far more optimistic perspective on our future than what Lethal Class gave us simply this week, through which one of many characters mentioned how continued utilization of fossil fuels might flip the world “into Mad Max.”
In fact, Lethal Class and Star Trek: Discovery are exhibits with two totally different views on life; Lethal Class is all concerning the animalistic, evil aspect of humanity and Star Trek’s numerous collection are all about seeing humanity at its greatest and giving viewers a suggestion to stay as much as. Whereas there’s a number of horrible stuff people should atone for, I’d say that humanity appears to all the time need to do higher, whether or not it occurs eventually than we’d prefer it too. Lethal Class is one among my favourite exhibits this season, however it’s essential for exhibits to offer us with optimistic, forward-thinking viewpoints of humanity, and Discovery undoubtedly lived as much as previous Star Treks in that means.
Nevertheless, the second with Amy and Stamets exhibits that humanity’s actions, even actions with good intentions, can typically have unfavourable results on an ecosystem, whether or not it’s our personal or, within the case of Amy, an ecosystem that belongs to different beings. Once we do trigger hurt, probably the most we will do is what Stamets did, which is apologize and turn out to be decided to do higher.
It is very important notice that Stamets acquired lazy in utilizing the mycelial community, and even that may be a lesson we will take in terms of how we strategy fixing the surroundings. We will’t be lazy or complacent relating to creating new applied sciences that would make our lives higher. We additionally should weigh sure penalties as properly; an answer might be useful to us as people might harm different ecosystems. It’s essential to be as acutely aware of our impression as potential, particularly as we transfer ahead into the longer term with higher applied sciences to scale back our ecological footprints.
Empathy and private energy
The large emotion behind tonight’s episode was empathy, and if Doug Jones does what’s proper, he’ll add this episode to his Emmys “For Your Consideration” reel, as a result of he deserves all the reward for injecting such coronary heart into Saru.
Despite the fact that the primary mission is to work together with the star, the episode’s focus was solely on Saru’s journey as the primary Kelpien to enter Starfleet. A lot of his story resonates with viewers, notably those that are thought-about minorities in America. From Saru’s journey as a refugee to his ascension by way of the ranks of Starfleet, Saru talked about one thing that a whole lot of us POC can relate to: the sensation that you must cover elements of your self and your tradition to assimilate.
Saru talked about how he discovered over 100 Federation languages, but by no means spoke his personal as a result of he needed to be seen as a Federation member and Starfleet officer first and Kelpien second. Briefly, he needed to be seen for his deserves and never typecast as a stereotypical Kelpien by his friends. I’m positive there are lots of of us who’ve had our personal private cultural ties we’ve wrestled with in some style, hoping that by hiding it or reworking it ultimately, we might be accepted by the mainstream. Ultimately, like Saru, we study that assimilation isn’t all it’s cracked as much as be, since it will definitely destroys the self. Including your private taste to the collective is rather more necessary, because it forces individuals to should study extra about you – they usually develop as individuals within the course of.
Saru additionally learns one thing that I’ve been coping with on a private degree: discovering private energy. As a result of the star awoke his Kelpien response to demise, Saru believes he’s taking his remaining breaths, even right down to asking Michael to chop off his ganglia to ease the dying course of. Nevertheless, they fall out on their very own. Saru realizes that if Kelpiens can survive what was considered a dying course of, then what perform does the organic response even have?
Saru is rightly disturbed that his tradition, one which has been based mostly round worry and demise due to their prey standing on his planet, has believed and maintained a lie. What number of Kelpiens have wrongly died from this lie? Did they Baul create the lie? There are such a lot of questions, particularly the query of if Saru ought to even interact together with his planet, although he promised Unique Georgiou to uphold the Starfleet order of letting societies play themselves out with out interference. However regardless of all of this, Saru now feels a freedom from worry he’s by no means felt earlier than. He feels, as he stated, his personal private energy. That’s a strong feeling to have.
It’s fascinating that Discovery selected to painting the very human means of self-discovery on this approach. Oftentimes, discovering your personal energy can really feel like a frightening, and even death-defying activity. It may be scary and it may push you to your limits. It’s virtually as if Saru skilled what’s spiritually referred to as a “Darkish Night time of the Soul,” during which an individual goes by way of what seems like a endless cycle of psychological trauma earlier than their soul expands to a wider consciousness. I’ve undoubtedly been on that type of a journey as of late, and through the worst elements of it, I undoubtedly felt alone, depressed, and fearful of my very own thoughts and experiences. Nevertheless, I really feel like I’m popping out of the opposite aspect with my very own proverbial ganglia sloughing off. Saru realized he doesn’t have to depend upon worry, and that’s a part of what a human Darkish Night time is all about; letting go of previous crutches and safety blankets to embrace the brand new, extra highly effective self.
I can’t go with out commending the stellar make-up results group, which incorporates Glenn Hetrick and James McKinnon. Saru all the time seems superb, nevertheless it was awe-inspiring to see how they utilized real-world make-up results over the fantasy results to make Saru look sick. Perhaps it’s simply one thing that impressed solely me, however I liked taking a look at Saru’s face this episode to decipher how they stored making Saru look sicker and sicker. They should add this episode to their Emmy reels.
Additional notice: Quantity One!
It was so cool to see Rebecca Romijn play Majel Roddenberry’s greatest character, Quantity One. The unique Quantity One from the 1960s was a part of the unique pilot, however she was reduce as a result of NBC wasn’t positive how a lady in such a strong position can be seen by the viewers. Annoying. However lastly, Discovery introduced again Quantity One, reasserting her significance to the complete franchise. Let’s hope we get to see extra of her this season.
This has been such an emotionally satisfying episode, and one that really showcases what this franchise has been about because the starting. I’m so glad this season is underneath new administration, as a result of lastly, we’re getting a present that deserves to be referred to as Star Trek.
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