Review: Star Trek Discovery – An Obol For CharonFebruary 10, 2019
Big problems to solve, everyone needs to chip in, crewmates trapped, hurt or dying…this is the formula for some classic Trek episodes that Discovery tackled this week in An Obol For Charon. While there were some great performances and the episode on a whole was successful, the show continues to change week to week, which is both its strength and its curse.
The crew runs into what turns out to be a 100,000-year-old lifeform that is shaped like a massive sphere. Discovery seeming comes under attack, some kind of virus rampaging throughout the ship, but it turns out the sphere is just trying to communicate it’s life story before it dies. Watching the universal translator go down and languages flying everywhere was a great idea and well done. We sometimes take the universal translator for granted so seeing it ‘malfunction’ and watching the crew deal with it was hilarious.
Of course, the biggest effect this communications assault had on Discovery was what it did to Saru. His story arc here, the ‘I’m slowly dying over the course of an episode’, was both good and bad. It did shed some interesting light on his species the Kelpians and they’re views on life and death. This also allowed Doug Jones some great screen time and he took advantage of it, giving the viewers a great all-around performance as the ‘dying’, philosophical Saru. However, the reasons behind why he survived are a bit confusing, to say the least, and the emotional scenes between Saru and Michael were at best, overdone and at worst, really overdone.
Meanwhile, Tilly, Stamets, and Reno are trapped below near the spore drive. The spore-like being we have come to know as May still has some interest in Tilly, and it’s not really interested in letting her go without a fight. There are some great scenes here as well, between Reno and Stamets (hell, anytime Reno opens her mouth) and Stamets and Tilly. The song they sing together (once you see the episode you’ll understand) is like an exclamation mark on the wonderful relationship the two of them are building. However, one wonders how much Tilly can take, especially how things ended, in a very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ kind of way.
It was great to see the people behind the show finally take the time to make Discovery feel lived in and not just a shiny piece of metal with bright lights and buttons. The best example was Saru’s quarters, where you couldn’t escape the feeling of this feeling like his home now. They should expand this idea, make the ship more friendly and not so cold, even if they are thrown into chaos so often. It helps make the characters seem more real as well. (Pike has already thrown in some comfy seats in his ready room )
We also had a visit from Enterprise’s Number One (Rebecca Romijn), touching base with Pike about the status of the ship and what’s going on with Spock. Discovery was also hot on the trail of Spock’s shuttle, so hopefully, a face to face with the famous Vulcan, or infamous so far in this show, is coming soon.
It’s clear that Discovery has that ‘feel good’ mojo going on and that’s a good thing. However, there are still multiple moving parts on this show and that needs to be tightened up sooner than later before it becomes far too easy for the writers to become comfortable with that bad habit.
Three and a half stars out of five