“There is a Tide…” brings “Star Trek: Discovery” to the underlying point of the season. There are essentially two factions in the universe. The United Federation of Planets; not what it used to be but still trying to hold to its principles, even if it’s left some members behind. And the Emerald Chain, an almost lawless governing body that does hide parts of a better society. Both are falling apart, but a merger could save them both.
Osyraa And Vance
The intrigue of the negotiations between Osyraa and Admiral Vance is worth the price of admission. That’s due in no small part to Janet Kidder’s portrayal of Osyraa. She manages to make her threat to the Federation and Star Fleet felt just through her inflections. Oded Fehr is more than a match as Vance, and the machinations that go on here to bring these two disparate bodies together are fascinating. It’s hard to believe it’s all going to fall apart because Osyraa wouldn’t accept justice, but then would you in her position? “There is a Tide…” indeed.
There Is A Tide
The rest of the episode is a retelling of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “Starship Mine“, which was, in turn, a re-imaging of “Die Hard”. Of course, there are plenty more examples, but it’s always a fun watch. The find here is Captai…Command…Ensign Tilly. If you didn’t love Mary Wiseman before, her turn here should cement the character for you. Tilly hasn’t cracked under what is the most pressure imaginable. I can’t imagine that she won’t get a promotion when this is all over.
It feels a little bit like “Discovery” aims to break up the crew that we’ve come to know over the last three years, though. Michael Burnham has been uncertain of her future with Star Fleet all season, only mitigated by her mother’s rebuke and the now having Book on the ship. The rest of the crew seemed ok, but some fraying at the edges from the time jump. That shows most clearly with Paul Stamets. His entire life is in mortal danger back at the nebula, which is the Burn source. While I doubt the show would kill Hugh Culber twice, it’s easy to understand why Stamets wants to abandon the Federation and go back to save them. It’s also easy to understand why he would consider Burnham’s actions as the worst kind of betrayal. It’s growing increasingly difficult to see how this crew comes back to what we knew them as in, say, the beginning of season 2. “There is a Tide…” throws the balance off, we’ll see what next week’s finale has to offer.