“Far From Home” continues to present a rougher, wilder galaxy free from Starfleet, as the Discovery’s crew follow Burnham’s path into parts unknown.
This recap of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2, “Far From Home”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Last week’s premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 featured Michael Burnham and almost none of the U.S.S. Discovery’s crew; this week’s, fittingly titled “Far From Home”, features the Discovery’s crew and no Michael Burnham at all, at least not until the final few seconds, proving at least that this latest outing isn’t just going to be the misadventures of Burnham and Han Calrissian.
With the usual gang having finally caught up to this new pocket of space-time, we get a reminder of how everyone’s doing and what kind of dynamics we’re going to be working with thanks to a classic setup: The Discovery is wrecked, and the crew has no idea where or indeed when they are. Newly instated captain Saru has a tough managerial job ahead of him, Detmer is shaken up from the crash-landing, Stamets has just woken up from a coma and is being brusquely ministered to by an overworked Culber (though they seem to be getting on better than ever all the same), Tilly is overwhelmed by her discovery of human life on the planet and her newfound responsibilities at Saru’s side, and Georgiou is just determined to be evil warmongering Mirror Universe Georgiou, much to my delight, but perhaps not anyone else’s.
Phew. And yet despite all this “Far From Home” fits all these pieces together rather snugly, using some interesting pairings – Stamets and Jett; Saru and Tilly – to give a good sense of these characters’ headspaces and how they’re going to work through their predicament. This is also something of a trial-by-fire for Tilly, who gets some great lines when she’s thrust her into a dodgy situation with Kal (Jonathan Koensgen), a local, as well as his companions and the local wrong-‘un, Zareh (Jake Weber). Remember, this is the galaxy post “The Burn”, as we were told about last week, so Discovery’s crew are able to bargain with their Starfleet credentials and their precious dilithium, but they haven’t yet figured out the extent of the lawlessness that they’re currently navigating. Zareh deduces they’re time travelers almost immediately and is keen to sell off Starfleet’s equipment, and the planet’s ice turns out to be parasitic and about to work its ravenous way through the parked ship, adding a nice little ticking-clock device to proceedings.
Of course, all of this turns out to be great news for Georgiou, whose skills and general disposition are especially well-suited to this environment. She arrives in the nick of time to whoop all kinds of a*s, only refraining from killing everyone at Saru’s behest, since he’s of the opinion that wanton brutality isn’t quite the Starfleet way of doing things. It’s a fair point, though one she’s only partially on board with, but it’s also a part of Saru’s on-going arc of discovering his leadership potential. He and Georgiou are opposites in many ways, and if I was a betting man I’d suggest that their contrasting approaches are going to be put to the test, again and again, this season.
The cliffhanger of “Far From Home” dispels my initial assumption that Burnham and the Discovery’s crew were going to be kept apart for a while. As Detmer is lead the crew freeing the ship from the ice, they’re pulled into the tractor beam of a large vessel, where a long-haired Burnham pops up on-screen and lets them know that she’s been trying to make contact for a year. This third season is shaping up to be very different but also very interesting, exploring what a Star Trek show might look like free of the Federation. Thus far, it looks quite a bit like Star Wars.
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