Star Trek Discovery Review: “Die Trying”

This week, Discovery finds the home base of what’s left of the Federation. It brings us a decent “mystery in space” episode with the usual character interaction, ethical issues, and technobabble. While that plot unfolds, several subplots engage the remainder of the cast. One makes an exit, while a surprising guest-star engages Georgiou.

Title: “Forget Me Not”
Directed by Maja Vrvilo
Written by Sean Cochran and James Duff

Cast
Doug Jones as Captain Saru
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Blu del Barrio as Adira
Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer
Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou
Rachael Ancheril as Cmdr. Nhan
Tig Notaro as Jett Reno
Sara Mitch as Lt. Nilsson
Oyin Oladejoas Lt. Joann Owosekun
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
Oded Fehr as Admiral Charles Vance
Jake Epstein as Dr. Attis
Vanessa Jackson as Lt. Audrey Willa
Brenden Beiser as EMH
Ana Sani as Mom
Ava McKinnon, Shazdeh Kapadia as daughters
R.J. Parrish, Vanessa Burns, Chris Zamat, Jajube Mandiela, Daniel Woodrow as Holos
David Cronenberg as Kovich

Premise:

Discovery encounters the home base of the former Federation—and immediately meet with suspicion. Can they prove their mettle with a dangerous rescue mission?

High Point:

The main plot is as typical a Star Trek episode as any long-time fan could want. It’s not perfect, to be sure, but it’s entertaining, and its central concepts, tropes, and ethical considerations keep with the show’s long history.

Meanwhile, back at the base, the universe’s strangest interrogation gets a boost from the interaction between the still-disturbing Georgiou, played by the woefully underused Michelle Yeoh, and the anachronistically-dressed Kovich, played by the legendary David Cronenberg.

Low Point:

I understand that the crew has been longing to find the remnants of Starfleet and the Federation. However, they fly with great trust and joy into a situation that could easily be a trap or dangerous in other ways, without really considering the possibilities. Once they arrive, people on both sides (Admiral Vance, Commander Burnham) act with a surprising lack of sensitivity or awareness of the circumstances. Vance utterly fails to consider what being a thousand years out of time would mean (or that his own people really don’t know how to fly a spoor drive), while Burnham suggests that going full Action Movie Hero for All the Right Reasons might be an advisable course of actions. Wiser heads prevail but, seriously, are these people seasoned professionals or not?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The episode features some interesting side-developments, including a look at how technology has developed since the twenty-third century.

Effects: 6/6 We receive a lot of interesting and diverse visual effects this week.

Acting: 5/6 The show maintains a generally impressive roster. Cronenberg turns in a fascinating performance. Perhaps they could get him to direct an episode sometime. That would make for some interesting Trek.

Production: 6/6

Story: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 “Previously on Discovery” teases the notion that Detmer’s erratic behaviour may be the result of an injury or other, deeper issue than we’ve seen. By the end of the episode, however, we are not further along.

In total, “Die Trying” receives 35/42

Lingering Questions

1. Shouldn’t the crew be outfitted with some present-day tech? The people of the future appear to grow what they need with some kind of nanotech.

2. Time travel has been prohibited in either direction. How does a ban on moving forward in time work, exactly?

3. Will we see more of Kovich? And just who or what is he?

7 replies on “Star Trek Discovery Review: “Die Trying””

  1. I expect that by the end of this season, we will see Discovery blow up, and see Discovery, the NCC-1031-A take its place.

  2. AveryRegier says:

    I’m really getting annoyed by the ‘Burnham must do everything’ schtick.
    Last week: Burnham, go with the Symbiont.
    This week: Burnham, talk with the guy.
    In both cases, the Doc was a way better choice.

    People on Twitter are talking about the USS Nog, an Eisenburgh class starship eye candy.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      In all fairness, sending your second-in-command on every dangerous mission makes more sense than, say, the Captain jumping into every dangerous mission…. with his second-in-command.

      Star Trek has always given us huge crews and then required us to believe that a handful of people with top billing get all the important missions. Granted, we’ve come a long way from the conventions of 1960s TV, but we’re still very much in some version of that universe.

  3. lost says:

    Burnham going off quarter cocked is not exactly out of character, really. It’s been her modus operandi all along and her year in the future likely didn’t help. It’s one of the things that annoys me about her character.

    The Admiral seemed to be stuck in “everything that isn’t us is untrustworthy” mode. And, to be fair, the erasure of information about the spore drive and the sphere data was working against them. Clearly things have been bad in the future based on what we’ve seen of the galaxy so far. Would one expect the Admiral to behave better? Sure. Would a real person in that situation? I’m not so sure. It was annoying, though.

    As far as the crew just sailing right into a completely unknown situation, I’m not so sure they did. A couple of lines of dialogue suggest at least they had some level of communication ahead of time. I can, however, see them strolling in without giving it full thought. They’re not that far removed from Star Fleet being “trustworthy” after all.

    As far as the forward time travel thing being prohibited, I was having something of a brain bleed to figure that one out, too. I mean, what damage can travelling forward do if you never go back again? Also, how can someone from before that law exists be held liable under a law they have no way of knowing exists?

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