“Unification III” gave itself some pretty big shoes to fill. The original two-part episodes are considered one of “The Next Generation”s best. Featuring the return of Spock, the story tells of his attempts to reunite the Romulan and Vulcan people. With over 800 years to see how his attempts played out, it was not easy to know what to expect. Still, “Discovery” manages to serve one of its better episodes and has a few surprises along the way.
Lost In The Future
This entire season, Michael Burnham has felt lost. A year away from Discovery, her crew, her rules. She got used to living life her way, and stepping back into a life of regulations, and not always taking the actions you think best hasn’t been easy. Micahel still feels the obligations to Saru and Starfleet, but she isn’t sure she wants to. The mystery of The Burn is keeping her occupied, and her side mission with Georgiou last week has provided some needed clues.
Ni’Var Bring That Up
Discovery takes her finding back to Starfleet, where they learn that the “SB-19” information resides on Ni’Var. Getting the data won’t be easy, if it’s possible at all, however. Ni’Var is formerly known as Vulcan. It’s the new home of the unified Vulcan/Romulan people. It withdrew from the Federation because they felt forced to experiment with “SB-19, which ultimately caused The Burn. No hard feelings there, right?
Daughter Of Sarek, Sister Of Spock
Michael tries to convince the Ni’Varans to share the ‘SB-19’ data. Not that she redeemed herself after her demotion last week, but because she is “daughter of Sarek, sister of Spock.” If the people of Ni’Var are going to listen to anyone, it will be her. She asks for the right of T’Kal-in-ket, essentially a debate they can’t say to which they can’t say no. She must plead the case of needing the “SB-19” date to a trio of Ni’Varan scholars. One, a true Romulan, one a Vulcan, and one a mix of the two species.
Stop It Mom, You’re Embarrassing Me
As a part of the debate, Michael will work with a ” Shalankhkai,” an advocate of sorts. The advocate turns out to be Michael’s lost mother, Gabrielle. It seems after her last trip forward in time, she ended up joining the Qowat Milat, a Romulan order of nuns who adhere to absolute candor. Telling the truth of how she’s been feeling hasn’t been a problem so far for Michael, so getting the “SB-19” data should be a breeze. The surprise revelation of finding her mother feels a bit underserved. It’s almost as if the writers have concluded the character will get in the way. Her appears here seems to say, “Yes, I am here, but no, I will not be a part of your life.” She does get Michael to realize that she’s been selfish, and in doing so, manages to convince the Ni’Varan leader to pass along the “SB-19” data, even though the scholars argued against it.
It’s a good thing Michael’s unrest is retired here because her feeling lost hasn’t come through on-screen this season. It may have made a little more sense if, for some reason, she and Book were unable to meet up with some fair regularity, but even that never felt like a good enough reason. “Unification III” does continue the trend, though, of feeling more like “Star Trek” this year. I really enjoyed the first two seasons of “Discovery,” but they did feel like some new version of the “Trek” we were all familiar with = a new way of telling stories that “Trek” had previously ignored. This season, the more familiar elements combine with the new, making “Discovery” feel like home, even when it’s something entirely new. That’s something that would make Spock proud.