Once again these reviews are coming a little out of order. I filmed a review about episode six earlier today, so it will be up in a couple of days. For now, let's talk about episode seven.
I'm aware that the title of this episode is a reference to episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that were titled "Unification" and "Unification II." It's also entirely possible that I've seen one or both of those episodes before. Before Discovery, Next Generation was the Star Trek show I'd seen the most of because it was always on in our house when I was younger, but most of the time I wasn't paying that much attention to it. So I can't say anything about how this episode works as a continuation of themes in those. Thanks to the internet, I am aware that those episodes dealt with Spock uniting the Vulcans and Romulans, so I do have some sense of the connection. Still, I can mostly just talk about this episode on its own.
In this episode, the Discovery learns that the Vulcan and Romulans have united, and because of this, the planet formerly known as Vulcan is now called Ni'Var. Romulans and Vulcans being the same people was actually a piece of Star Trek lore that I knew thanks to the bits and pieces I absorbed over the years, so that wasn't a big shock. What I really enjoyed was seeing Michael's reaction to learning that Spock worked to make that happen. It was done so well, especially the scene were she watches a recording of him speaking, which I believe it actually from the Next Generation episodes.
We learn that Ni'Var considers itself responsible for the Burn and that's why they've left the Federation. It's good to have an explanation for that, and I like this development. Michael's personal connection to the planet provides her with an even stronger drive to find out what really happened in order to show Ni'Var that they're innocent (something which she fully believes).
While I knew that Michael's mom would have to come up at some point, I wasn't expecting her to be living on Ni'Var. It seems like such a random (in the universe, very much not random for the story) place for her to end up on.
Tilly is asked to be Saru's Number One. In a move that's very in character, she's not sure about taking it at first, but Stamets gets the whole crew together to encourage her. Even Michael wants her to talk it, and it's such a heart warming scene. With all the emotional heaviness in the rest of the episode, I enjoyed getting something as warm as that, and it makes me excited to see how Tilly does in the position.