“Scavengers” sheds a curious light on Michael Burnham’s dilemma. Her mixed feelings about remaining with Discovery get tested during the episode. The episode also spotlights a personality trait that may get to the heart of why some have had a hard time accepting Michael as the lead. Michael has always done what she thought to be right, regardless of the possible outcome. She spent the first season viewed as a traitor, and this season at times, it has felt as though she was looking for an excuse to leave. Other characters in the franchise could follow rogue impulses without fear of Starfleet reprisal. Not Michael Burnham, though.
The Right Reasons
We spent the first season of Discovery watching Michael recover from her decisions. She thought her choices were the best to make, even if they ultimately didn’t align with Starfleet. In the instance of the first season, she may have been right. Even in “Scavengers,” her reasons for disobeying Saru and Starfleet’s orders may have been for the right reasons, but her choices but her career in jeopardy. Kirk, in the same circumstances, never would have had to worry about things. He would have gotten a promotion for his ingenuity.
The Needs Of The Many
That is a big difference between “Discovery” and the “Star Trek” that has come before. With “Discovery,” every individual action ultimately affects the entire crew. Is Michael right to want to solve the mystery of the burn? Yes, but she shouldn’t be putting herself in the position of the only person wanting to figure it out. The suggestion that the Discovery couldn’t function without her is a bit dramatic, though. Sure, it’s ideal if she is there, but it’s not like the other officers are likely to crash the ship in her absence. Detmer excluded, of course. That’s the problem of making the protagonist of the show nearly godlike. “Discovery” has gone out of its way to show she is fallible, and yet she often is positioned as the only crewmember capable of solving the problem of the week. I have a feeling the show will be spending some time highlighting that this year.
There is still another infallible crewmember, though she is getting the full-on human treatment this season too. Ever since Georgiou met with Kovich, she’s been having ‘debilitating flashbacks’ (sorry, I don’t know what else to call them.) It comes to a head in “Scavengers” as a flashback nearly gets Burnham and Georgiou killed. We don’t get a lot in the way of detail, but it’s obvious there was a significant death in Georgiou’s past that we’ll be looking into in the weeks to come. Who could it have been, though?