Star Trek: Discovery season 3: Going where no Trek has gone before

Pictured (l-r): Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou; Mary Wiseman as Tilly; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Pictured (l-r): Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou; Mary Wiseman as Tilly; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; of the the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 takes the DISCO crew where no one has gone before — quite literally — as they attempt to navigate life in the furthest reaches of the future. 

Star Trek: Discovery has never been a show afraid of breaking boundaries or taking risks, especially when it comes to the Star Trek canon itself. The series is notorious for making waves in the Trek community — everything from the redesign of Klingons to making its protagonist Spock’s previously unheard of sister — but the beginning of season three sees the series take what’s quite possibly its furthest leap yet. The premiere slingshots its entire crew hundreds of years into the future, where the very idea of Starfleet is little more than a remnant of a bygone era. Although the writing does leave a bit to be desired at times, Discovery‘s first few episodes introduce enough intrigue and interpersonal drama to promise an exciting season on the horizon.

Picking up mere seconds after the season two finale cliffhanger, episode one almost feels like it could be a standalone film. With the exception of a few flashbacks, the entire crew is absent save for, of course, Michael Burnham, as she awakens having saved the timeline and slingshotted herself into the distant future. Unfortunately for Michael, however, there seems to have been a miscalculation: Discovery and her crew are nowhere to be found.

Fortunately for Michael though, she isn’t entirely alone. Mere minutes after landing, she has a rather violent encounter with Book (David Ajala, the show’s newest main cast member). From the moment we meet him, we’ve already taken a liking to Book. If the British accent weren’t enough, he’s genuinely funny and quick-witted, and goes blow for blow (quite literally) with Michael without skipping a beat. Thankfully, the two are able to hash things out, and Book gives Michael the rundown on exactly what’s happened in the time between her time jump and arrival in the future.

A catastrophic event referred to only as “The Burn” effectively wiped out Starfleet entirely, leaving only a few living members, who have long since passed away. In Book’s day and age, only old cooks and crazies believe in Starfleet — so imagine his surprise when he discovers that his (and his adorably plump cat, Grudge’s) new acquaintance is a Starfleet officer herself. The rest of the episode makes surprisingly little ground plot-wise, just setting up some necessary exposition for what this new future looks like, but spending a majority of the runtime building the rapport between Book and Michael.

Although we are 1000-percent believers in platonic male and female friendships, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t see sparks between Book and Michael. And with Ash Tyler out of the way, that leaves Michael’s romance card open. With the genuine chemistry between Martin-Green and Ajala, we’re seriously hoping that Discovery takes advantage of the onscreen talent and gives us a will-they, won’t-they between the two all season.

Of course, we weren’t in love with the episode as a whole. We’ve never really been sold on the over-choreographed, high-production-value fight scenes in Discovery (of which the first episode, “That Hope Is You,” has many), nor did we find the MacGuffin plot that Book and Michael embarked on to be all that interesting — which is a shame, because it almost feels like a bit of a waste of the first episode.

However, despite the season premiere taking a structural departure from Discovery’s usual fare, things get back on track in episode two, “Far From Home”. While we can’t delve too much into specifics (shhh… spoilers!), we can say that nearly all of your favorite characters from season two return, and they’re back in full force. If there’s one thing Discovery knows how to do, it’s to build an ensemble, and “Far From Home” is remarkably well-balanced with how it juggles and cuts between a handful of different plotlines, including nearly every major character.

Saru, Tilly, and Stamets get the most time out of anybody, but fans of Jett Reno will definitely have a blast with episode two — and by the looks of things, Keyla Detmer will also have her time to shine this season, in a big way. Although her storyline isn’t quite as developed as the others, Emily Coutts makes the most of her scenes, and will definitely be one to watch this season.

Episodes three and four, “People of Earth” and “Forget Me Not,” finish rounding out the first act of season three, establishing where all of our characters are at, as well as introducing some new faces who will undoubtedly shake-up Discovery for better or for worse. “People of Earth” is directed by Jonathan Frakes (Captain Riker himself), and “Forget Me Not” sees the return of an underutilized fan-favorite species that Trek hasn’t featured in a long time, as well as the introduction of a few exciting new characters.

On the whole, the first four episodes of Star Trek: Discovery are strong and don’t fall into the usual Discovery trap of bogging themselves down with too much information too early in the season. Instead, Disco seems to have learned from its mistakes a bit, letting the plot serve as a secondary function to help drive character growth and interaction – and it’s a bright sign for what the future of the series has to offer. Although the episode-by-episode plots don’t always feel as interesting or as cleanly-written as they could be (and the presence of Captain Pike is sorely missed), Discovery sets itself up for an exciting, unprecedented new season.

Every Star Trek series, ranked from worst to best. dark. Next

What did you think of the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery? What’s your favorite Star Trek series? Sound off in the comments below.