Discovery visits Star Trek‘s most famous alien world as they try to solve the mystery of the Burn.
Title: “Unification, Part 3”
Directed by Jon Dudkowski
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Captain Saru
Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Sonja Sohn as Dr. Gabrielle Burnham
Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer
David Ajala as Cleveland Booker
Rachael Ancheril as Cmdr. Nhan
Sara Mitch as Lt. Nilsson
Oyin Oladejoas Lt. Joann Owosekun
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
Oded Fehr as Admiral Charles Vance
Tara Rosling as T’Rina
Oliver Becker as N’Raj
Stephanie Belding as Shira
Emmanuel Kabongo as V’Kir
Leonard Nimoy (archival footage) as Spock
Vulcan, now know as N’var1, has become the homeworld of the reunified Vulcan and Romulan peoples2. They’ve also left the Federation. Can Spock’s adoptive sister convince them to share critical information, which recent developments now show in a new light?
Once we arrive at Ni’Var, we have an interesting, decidedly Star Trek episode that does justice to the conceit that we’re watching Part Three of a much-loved two-part NextGen episodes. It also connects itself to elements established in TOS and the recent Picard series.
Trek‘s alien have always served, at least in part, as metaphors for aspects of humanity, and this episode continues the exploration of what Vulcans and Romulans (and a certain famous half-Vulcan) have always represented.
I’ll sidestep the issue of just how far this ep pushes the Burnhamphasis. I do find it, however, amusing to imagine someone who was turned off by Discovery‘s first season, perhaps even fell into the “them dang SJWs have ruined mah Trek!” camp, deciding, after the more recent response online, to tune in this week and give it one more try. Then they see the first ten minutes of this episode.
But that really isn’t a weak point. Star Trek has always made its characters central to galaxy-affecting, history-making stories. I have a beef instead with the decision to make Ensign Tilly second-in-command. Seriously? Look, the character has grown on me, but there is no way that promotion makes any sense. In light of her recent contributions, I would have bumped her up a rank, sure. That is overdue. She’s absolutely not ready yet, however, to be XO. Furthermore, her response and her awkward discussion with Stamets underscores that she’s not ready to be XO. Like Burnham’s decision to go rogue last week rather than make a request that would likely have been approved, her premature promotion has more to do with creating drama around principal characters than having a Starfleet officer make sensible decisions.
Acting: 5/6 The cast continues to give strong performances overall. Guest-star Tara Rosling (a veteran of, among other things, The Expanse) gives a studied performance as T’Rina.
Emotional Response: 5/6
Overall: 5/6 This episode nicely unifies several eras of Star Trek.
In total, “Unification III” receives 35/42
1. After sunset, does Ni’var turn into Wo’lf?
2. What happened to the Remans?