It’s no secret that I have had my fair share of issues with the first and second seasons of ‘Star Trek: Discovery.’ We don’t need to rehash all the issues right now but feel free to peruse my previous reviews to see my sizable laundry-list of perceived shortcomings of the show. It has been with some trepidation, then, that I have sat down to watch the filler-style “Short Treks” episodes when they are dispersed by CBS. In the first quartet, the only two I enjoyed with any real aplomb were the two that didn’t directly revolve around the crew of the USS Discovery, and so far, the first two Short Treks of this new quintet have been a mixed bag.
Providing one 10-to-15-ish minute “mini-episode” every few weeks to (ostensibly) hold fans over until the full episodes return with the premiere of ‘Star Trek: Picard‘ in January 202 and the ‘Star Trek: Discovery‘ Season Three premiere later in 2020, CBS is hoping that these tiny tales will add some value to their ever-expanding universe. Will this newest episode bring something new and exciting for the Trek faithful?
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: This nine-minute entrant into the Trek lore is painfully easy to summarize. On Starbase 28 during an attack, Cadet Thira Sidhu is given the assignment of guarding at gunpoint a mutineer: Captain Christopher Pike. Pike tells her that there are extenuating circumstances to his imprisonment, they argue by quoting obscure regulations back and forth at each other for a few minutes, then Pike tries to leave and Sidhu says she’s gonna shoot him. Then the “simulation” ends and hooray, Sidhu is good enough to work on the Enterprise. End of story.
- This episode is just plain dumb – and a colossal waste of Anson Mount’s considerable talent in bringing Pike routinely to life. Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn even pop on-screen and stare dumbly at their surroundings for about 45 seconds, wasting even more great appearances by classic characters – Spock and Number One deserve better than this.
- There’s already a test that Starfleet has for cadets to see how they perform under pressure – perhaps you’ve heard of it, the Kobyashi Maru? Do they really need another test – and do we have so much free time (even though “we’re at war,” as Pike demurs in this episode) that the captains of our ships can personally administer these tests to every single new crew member that might come aboard their ship?
- Adding further confusion is the fact that this episode should be taking place in the Star Trek universe around 2250 – pretty much the exact same time when James Kirk would be taking his infamous Kobyashi Maru test at Starfleet Academy. Why would we need two “no-win scenario” type of tests for cadets… is Starfleet Command just a bunch of sadists?
- The ‘Star Trek Discovery’ creative team really honked me off in the previous ‘Short Trek’ episode ‘Q&A’ when they showed that the classic USS Enterprise that we all know and love from ‘The Original Series’ has, according to them, the TARDIS-esque “bigger on the inside” turbolift system that makes absolutely zero spatial sense onboard a starship – and now in this episode they show an Engineering room that is 100% different than the Engineering section shown in the Original Series. Stop bastardizing the Enterprise, champs!
CLOSING THOUGHTS: Didn’t enjoy it. Sorry not sorry.
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Amrit Kaur as Cadet Sidhu
Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike
Ethan Peck as Ensign Spock
Rebecca Romijn as Number One
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ features new episodes online via CBS All Access; the third season premiers in 2020.