Suddenly, we’re rushing headlong into the Star Trek Discovery Season Three finale. Yes, we’ve got two episodes of the series left after ‘Su’Kal,’ but the cliffhanger (which, fear not, spoilerphobes, we won’t reveal here) sets up plenty of juicy narratives to unfold before this run concludes.
The thrust of the episode, and where it’s leading, is hardly a surprise: two plot threads have carried on throughout much of Star Trek Discovery Season Three – the universe in the grip of the Emerald Chain, and the mystery of The Burn. The latter, of course, led to the emergence of the Chain, so it’s no shock that these intertwine and dovetail beautifully together. But its slight predictability doesn’t hamper the episode. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s immensely exciting.
But what precedes those final scenes is a little… weird. That is, weird in a good way. Because Saru, Michael, and Hugh head into the radioactive Verubin Nebula, the source of The Burn, and things are very different here. Thanks to a malfunctioning training program, the world they find is a nightmare, and the three are transformed, on the surface at least, into recognisable Trek species.
Burnham becomes a Trill, which doesn’t make much of a difference. She gets some nice new threads. Culber sports a grungy earring and ribbed nose, becoming a Bajoran. And as for Saru? Well, this is a real treat. Saru is human, which means we finally get to see Doug Jones without his prosthetics. That’s right! You don’t need to google “what does Saru really look like under his make-up?” anymore!
Jones is such a detailed and thoughtful performer. You really have to applaud the choices he’s made to play Saru in Star Trek Discovery, to make him alien yet graceful, his unique body movements setting a template for all Kelpians. His personality radiates throughout his being, marking him as one of the best actors – and Saru one of the most instantly recognisable and iconic characters – Star Trek has ever had.
(This does lead to an underrated realisation on Saru’s behalf: “My heel is touching the ground.”)
Doug’s credits are certainly impressive: Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of the Water, Hellboy. Though a much-derided film, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer saw him play one of Stan Lee’s favourite creations, the titular Surfer, and he was astonishing.
So yes, give Jones some facetime in Star Trek Discovery. He deserves that. His wide-eyed wonder lends added poignancy to proceedings, and the trio work really well here. But Michael’s right: he’s emotionally compromised, and you can’t help but think, after the joy of seeing him take the Captain’s chair, things will not end well for the poor Kelpian. And let’s face it, Burnham certainly knows what being emotionally compromised is like…
Back on the USS Discovery and – yay! – Tilly is in charge. It’s about time. She’s been quite underused so far this season, and yet everyone seems to love Tilly. She’s been called the heart of Star Trek Discovery and the closest thing we get to an audience identification figure. Her placement as the ship’s Number One is both a joy and justified. The crew is behind her and so are we. Which makes the cliffhanger of ‘Su’Kal’ especially infuriating.
But great things are promised, and based on Season Three so far, great things will be delivered too.
NEXT: Star Trek Does Die Hard?
Star Trek Discovery scarf – available now from Lovarzi!