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Star Trek Dis - Season 2 - Episode 03

Star Trek Dis - 2x03 - Point of Light

Originally Aired: 2019-1-31

A surprise visitor to the U.S.S. Discovery brings shocking news about Spock and dredges up past regrets for Burnham. Following the asteroid incident, Tilly struggles to keep a grip on her reality. L'Rell's authority on Qo'noS is threatened.

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.38

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- Pike refuses to open Spock's medical file because it would be against the rules. But he was willing to let Burnham barge into Spock's quarters, rummage through his things, read his personal logs, and invade his privacy. He was also willing to ultimately reveal private medical information to Burnham which was also against the rules. What is it with Pike citing rules he refuses to break only to break them moments later?
- Speaking of which, Pike is told that Spock's case is classified. Pike says he's entitled to information about it because of the red signals. The guy he's talking to then replies by saying it's not about the signals and proceeds to rattle off all the classified information he moments ago said he wouldn't disclose.
- Burnham says the Stardate is 1029.46. This is more than 800 units lower than the last stardate we got in What's Past is Prologue.
- The D7 battle cruiser is shown as brand new in this episode, but in Choose Your Pain the ship that abducts Lorca is described by the shuttle's computer as a D7 battle cruiser.
- Tilly stops to have a conversation with May that lasts nearly a minute, then wins the marathon anyway? And why do they need strobe lights for the marathon? Well the ship is nicknamed Disco...

- The title of the episode is a reference to the planet Boreth, established in TNG: Rightful Heir. In that episode, the Story of the Promise refers to Kahless instructing his people to, "Look for me there, on that point of light," before leaving for Sto-vo-kor. The Boreth monastery was said to be built on a planet orbiting the star he pointed at.
- This episode shows the Klingon D7 battle cruiser being invented.
- Tyler says L'Rell is speaking English to him, further confirming the previous episode's implication that English is the national language of the Federation.
- Kenneth Mitchell who plays Kol-Sha in this episode also played his character's own son Kol in the previous season.
- The character of Leland first appears here officially, but he actually previously appeared in a deleted scene from the first season's finale Will You Take My Hand? which depicted the first meeting between him and Georgiou. Leland recruits her to join Section 31.
- Leland near the end says: "Control values his skillset." Control is likely a reference to non-canon novels which describe an AI that exerts power over Federation decision-making in some fashion, not unlike the "hierarchy" from Voy: Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy.

Remarkable Scenes
- L'Rell showing off the newly invented D7 battle cruiser.
- Tilly melting down on the bridge because of her imaginary friend.
- Tilly revealing May to Burnham.
- L'Rell and Tyler battling Kol-Sha.
- Georgiou rescuing L'Rell and Tyler.
- L'Rell faking Tyler's death and her child's death.
- Georgiou: "The freaks are more fun."

My Review
This is the strongest episode of the season so far, delivering interesting stuff on a few fronts. The red angel and Spock developments are proceeding apace without any real issues and Tilly's imaginary friend ended up being a fun diversion rather than the dumb distraction it risked being. It was used well for both comedic and dramatic effect, which is nice to see given Tilly's character so often falls flat. Though it would've been nice if she had asked May what she actually wanted at some point instead of immediately treating her as a threat. Another unfortunate but small detail was that there were so many shots beginning at weird angles and then rotating to level, a stylistic choice that needs to go away as soon as possible. Also Amanda not hailing Discovery on approach leading Discovery to declare a yellow alert was pretty dumb. When she boards Discovery, it turns out there was absolutely no reason for all this dramatic tension at all. She apparently nearly got fired upon because she was an idiot. Or more accurately because Discovery's writers wanted to create artificial tension in an idiotic way.

But for once these flaws don't really dominate the story. There is a lot to like here. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this story was the effort the writers went to to fix mistakes of previous episodes. The elephant in the room of course is Klingons have hair again. This plus the faithful depiction of a Klingon D7 battle cruiser and even pink Klingon blood (not seen since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country!) does much to stitch together visual continuity between Discovery and the rest of Star Trek. Though of course that ship sailed long ago, so making the situation somewhat less awful is of questionable value. Nevertheless we should still appreciate the effort even if it's not nearly enough and even though it has some internal problems of its own. For instance, one curiosity is the Klingons are said to be regrowing hair because the war is over. Okay, well if that is so, then why did they not have hair before the war started in the pilot then? Another appeal to canon repair is in the amusing remark about Pike disliking holo-communicators, which validates a common fan rationalization that the technology came in and out of fashion over the next century, guided mainly by personal tastes of individuals. Another curiosity is one wonders if L'Rell's and Tyler's baby will turn out to grow up to be "the albino" from DS9: Blood Oath. The timeframes would roughly line up for that.

The best piece of repair work this episode does for previous episodes though is how it handles Klingon politics. The end of the last season was a frustrating way to end the war with the Klingons. L'Rell's plan was stupid and it failed. This episode finally acknowledged that on-screen instead of continuing to pretend that it was a coherent plan. L'Rell only became chancellor through dumb luck. This episode makes that undeniable by having Section 31 directly intervene on her behalf to prevent a coup instead of continuing to pretend that L'Rell seized power through charisma and intimidation from a position of strength. It was manipulation from a position of weakness the whole time. It seemed inevitable that someone would mount a coup almost immediately since it seemed obvious that L'Rell was installed by a Federation-initiated regime change. This episode deals with that directly.

Not all of it works. It's unclear how it makes sense for L'Rell to build a new, fiercer Klingon warship to "remain Klingon" but it also made sense for her to call off the war. The two actions seem at odds. The depiction of Section 31 is also a problem. The last thing we want is for Emperor Georgiou, a former genocidal dictator, to be rebranded as some kind of badass secret agent antihero. The introduction of black badges, their own ships, whole crews, etc runs counter to the previous depiction of an organization that operates much more in the shadows than this. It calls into question how anyone could possibly be unaware of Section 31 a hundred years later if they were literally flying around with ships with crews. But we'll see how that plays out. The ship has a cloaking device after all. Maybe they manage to keep a whole ship and a whole crew from ever becoming public knowledge somehow.

Perhaps the most fun detail in the episode is Kol-Sha using a dishonorable weapon to seize power, paralyzing his opponent and forcing her to sign a contract as though he were a Ferengi only to get whacked by an assassin moments later, like some kind cosmic karmic repercussions for acting distinctly un-Klingon in that moment. Perhaps part of what made that moment along with much of the rest of the episode so satisfying is Discovery really needed someone to get in there and give the Klingons a good thwack to make them start acting Klingon again along with giving the rest of the storytelling a good thwack to make it start seeming like Star Trek again. This newfound attention to detail bodes well for the rest of the season. Let's hope it lasts and they build upon it.

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