Trekathon 804: Scavengers (DIS)

November 22nd, 2020

Time to scavenge some more Star Trek. Spoilers.

This episode focuses on one of the developing threads of this season, namely Burnham’s growing independence and discomfort in the chain of command. In some senses this is one of the oldest threads of her character, dating back to the first episode, but it’s something that’s been sitting in the background until this season. It’s a plot that’s mostly working for me, although I think one episode of her and Book doing things together before reuniting with the Discovery would have helped to sell it a bit more.

What I liked the most was that for once the things happened that should have happened. Burnham faced consequences. Tilly and Saru took the action they should, rather than trying to cover things up. Burnham’s reasons for going on the mission felt justified (a point even the Admiral recognised), and even proportionate. Put simply, this is the best written version of this plot I think we’ve ever seen in Star Trek. It doesn’t make it incredible, but it’s far more enjoyable when everyone involved acts sensibly.

The biggest flaw for me was in the villain. Tolor was a cartoonish caricature of a villain, with no depth, justification or interest. Even the sympathetic Andorian (whose survival suggests an importance in a later plot) got absolutely zero character development. These are archetypes, not people. It would have been easy to add in just some simple pieces of motivation or background to help them feel more like real people.

In the background there’s a couple of other plots going on – a sweet, but so far pointless relationship developing between Adira and Stamets, and Georgiou’s strange blackouts. It’s clear that something’s been done to Georgiou (probably the Section31 person last episode), but not enough information to see where it’s all going.

Quick hits:

  • Oooh, new Star Fleet insignia, but no new uniforms for the crew.

  • The joy of everyone getting the new badges and tech was quite sweet.

  • Grudge on the main screen was a great moment in Space Cats.

  • “You had me at unsanctioned mission”. It’s nice to know that Jerry Maguire is still known that far in the future. But I do wonder if the Mirror Universe version of that movie was a little different?

  • ‘Self Sealing Stem Bolts’ – random DS9 call backs are tight.

  • Linus playing with his ‘new badge’ is fun.

  • No way that Andorian survives the episode. (Later, OK he lived. But he did get very shot).

  • The ‘reassemble the ship’ Transformer-like trick of Book’s ship is neat. Pointless, but neat.

  • Great effects on the ‘big ship crashes into the base’ scene.

  • Hah, Linus-blocked, at least for a moment.

  • Are those little tiny pajama communicators? Because if so there is some new merchandise I need urgently.

  • Some great use of the difference in size between Saru and Burnham in this episode, really clever use of underlining.

  • Next weeks episode title, Unification III, is possibly the most an episode title alone has made me excited. If it is indeed a callback to the Unification two-parter, and the Vulcan/Romulan plot, I’ll be very happy. If it’s not I will have a number of questions about the people naming episodes.

804 down.