“The Sanctuary” finally draws out the big bad for this season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was all? Discovery has gone up against the Klingon Empire, and an AI bent on destroying all life in the galaxy. An Orion pirate somehow feels a little bit underwhelming. Osyraa’s threat motivates the universe, and the Federation would rather not get involved, but because this is her first appearance and it’s late in the season, she doesn’t have the punch she needs. Yes, she leads the feared Emerald Chain, but also so what?
My Brother. Who’s Brother?
It seems that Osyraa wants Ryn, Book’s Andorian friend from “Scavengers,” back and is threatening Book’s homeworld to get him. Book’s ‘brother’ (spiritually, not actually) Kyheem has been working with Osyraa to protect their homeworld. Osyraa has Kyheem call for Book to come home. Saru manages to convince Admiral Vance that escorting Michael and Book there is the right thing to do. I know the show wouldn’t be much of anything if Discovery didn’t get to do what it wants to do, but the number of bends made for Michael Burnham must form a circle by now.
Did Something Happen?
Once on Kwejian, there is some back and forth about how Book isn’t Kyheem’s brother because he left, some fighting, and eventual reconciliation. Even director Jonathan Frakes isn’t able to tease much interesting out of the main plot. Detmer gets a chance to shine as the “rogue Starfleet officer who will be severely reprimanded for their actions” against Osyraa. Her actions lead to a fun to watch space battle, which makes up for some of the episode’s meandering. Tilly is settling nicely into the role of the first officer. Do I detect some signs of the Mirror Tilly there? Culber begins to explore Georgiou’s condition – we don’t learn anything new, but their back and forth is worth it. Oh, and that song Adira plays on her cello is responsible for The Burn, and there is a Federation distress call buried in it.
Perhaps the biggest reveal of the episode is that the Emerald Chain is running out of dilithium. That is a secret only Ryn knew and the reason why Osyraa wanted him back so badly. Now Tilly knows too. Queue working out a way toward a truce between the Chain and the Federation, which is nice but really? Is that it for this season? Or is it just me expecting too much? The progression Discovery has made since arriving in the future has been good to watch. It’s not only helped to tie “Discovery” more into the “Star Trek” pantheon but also served as a much-needed reminder that we are all stronger when we work together. Perhaps that’s why the ‘big bad’ of the Emerald Chain and Osyraa is such a letdown. It just distracts from the bigger story of uniting people.