Trekathon 825: Kobayashi Maru (DIS)

November 19th, 2021

Two episodes of different Trek series on the same day – it’s been a long time since that happened. Spoilers.

It’s a title of an episode that sets itself up for failure, as the expectations are immense. Given that Season 3 was a big disappointment for me, that’s at least a start pointing towards some ambition.

Slow start – first 16 minutes contains basically a silly action sequence and a Sau monologue. It picks up in terms of pace after that, but its pretty messy and honestly not that engaging for me. The episode is really just a bunch of stuff that happens, and without much in the way of exposition to make it clear why we should care, or even what’s happening.

This episode has a real problem with stakes – we’re never really given a clear enough explanation for why we should care, and the conflicts (especially Burnham versus the President) aren’t well founded. We don’t know the President, and Burnham has never had these concerns before.

(There’s an interesting aside here, which this season might explore – namely, what is the relationship between Star Fleet and civilian leadership of the Federation. It’s never been made very clear, and we often see Star Fleet officers being very involved in what is normally civilian decision making processes. There’s a rich vein, but I don’t know if they have the skills for it).

Burnham’s attitude towards ‘no win’ scenarios, and the need to save everyone, is honestly disqualifying from being a Captain. In this episode she takes wildly disproportionate risks to achieve an outcome that has little clear value beyond saving lives. This is another way of saying that I’m on the President’s side here.

Still, beyond that philosophical debate and the setup for the overarching plot of the season the episode doesn’t have that much to offer. Overall a disappointing start to the season.

Quick hits:

  • The combination of effects sequence and music in the opening seconds gave me a very strong Star Wars vibe.

  • Grudge causing an interstellar incident is funny and all, but it makes book and Burnham seem like idiots

  • If Star Fleet Academy was closed since The Burn, where on earth were officers coming from for Star Fleet?

  • O-O and Detmer have some quality flirting going on.

825 down.