Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery Review: 4x01 "Kobayashi Maru"

Discovery is back! I've been excitedly waiting for this season for what feels like ages, especially after I re-watched season three. I don't feel disappointed by the first episode either.

The episode starts with Michael and Book on a diplomatic mission, which gives us a good idea of what Discovery have been up to in the gap between the seasons. Things don't go well, and I have a lot of questions about why they kept talking when everything they said just made it worse. But my favorite part about it was getting a glimpse at the Federation building up support again.

The Discovery crew have new uniforms this season, which isn't a surprise as we saw them at the end of the last season. I don't know how I feel about the uniforms themselves, but it does help solidify the feeling that we're in a different era now.

We get a glimpse of Kaminar, where Saru and Su'kal have been for six months. After everything that happened with Kaminar earlier in the series and the tidbit last season about how Su'Kal had been taught both Kelpien and Ba'ul traditions, I was very curious what Kaminar looked like now, so I appreciated getting a glimpse of that. Though we didn't see much of the planet, it did give us a good idea of how Kelpians and Ba'ul work together. It's a pretty hopeful scene considering the state of the rest of the world.

Su'Kal, though, knows that Saru isn't very happy there, and he makes a good point about Kaminar not really being the home that Saru lost anymore. That must be freeing in a way because it leaves him to go with the Federation without mourning the life he could be living (at least not in the same way). I'm assuming Saru will be back with Star Fleet by the end of the season, but it'll be interesting to see if it happens right away or if we'll get more of Kaminar first.

The president was an unexpected addition to this episode. I've found that I'm very distrustful of every new Federation person that pops up since season three, and each time so far it's ended up being a little unwarranted. Still, she provided a lot of tension in this episode, and the thought of everyone doing their jobs with her there watching them... I feel stressed on the characters' behalves. That's especially true for Adira, who was nervous and then has the president there for the whole thing too.

Speaking of Adira, they've been made an ensign. We also see them speaking with Gray a bit, and that scene was such a fun one. I love seeing them joke around together after what they went through last season, and Gray's joke about getting a body makes me wonder what we're in for this season in terms of that storyline. It seems like something that will definitely come up again.

There was enough light-heartedness in this episode that the ending came as an even bigger shock. Book's home planet is destroyed just after we got a sweet scene of him with his nephew. I'm assuming that what caused the destruction of the space station and Book's home planet is going to be what drives this season.

At the end of the episode, the president also questions Michael's abilities as captain. This was discussed last season too, in way, when Michael was stripped of her position. The president makes comments about how Michael is going to get everyone killed, and I have a feeling that was foreshadowing of some big disaster later in this season, which has me nervous.

Despite the ending, the tone of this episode did feel more hopeful than the beginning of season three thanks to seeing the graduation and talk of more planets joining the Federation. Time will tell if that holds throughout the season, but it's nice to have an episode that feels a bit more light-hearted compared to the last season.

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