The name of the episode sets it off from the very start. “Scavengers” means that our friends from the Discovery will be searching for something. This might not be a physical object, but they could be looking for answers. Answers to what caused The Burn…
We begin the show with a glimpse of the automated robots hovering outside the Discovery. The ship had gone through several upgrades, including its name. The Discovery is now the Discovery-A.
NOTE: This has caused many questions on Trek social media, with some pointing out that this breaks canon. While the old Starfleet pattern was when a new ship was christened, it could be an “A,” or whatever letter. This is why the Enterprise from Star Trek II was the Enterprise Refit, not the Enterprise-A, which we’d see in the later films. It seems that Starfleet renamed the Discovery the “A” because they wanted the galaxy to think this was an all-new ship and not one that was 932 years old.
Anyhow, the ship got the detached nacelles, programmable matter controls, and the crew got the new combadges. These were communicators, tricorders, personal transporters, and supercomputers with a heads-up display hologram for all who used them. Nifty!
Saru appeared at a Starfleet meeting and made all of these upgrade announcements to the rest of the captains and Admiral Vance. He also mentioned that Michael was supervising the crew’s retraining.
As Vance dispatched ships to various hotspots, Saru asked that the Discovery be used for these missions. The vessel could jump to places much faster than the other ships. Vance said “no” because he wanted to reserve the DISCO for “rapid response” activity. The rest of the captains were told not to share the abilities of the Discovery.
Book’s ship came back to Federation Headquarters on autopilot with only Grudge Cat aboard. The ship carried a message from Book, saying that he found a black box, and if things did not go well, the ship would be sent back (which is what happened). The black box he was after was on Hunhau, which is Emerald Chain territory.
NOTE: A cool little nod to DS9 here. When Book said he heard about the black box, he was on the way to the Bajoran Exchange.
Michael told Saru that these black boxes contain the information on when the ships exploded in The Burn. They had two boxes from two different ships, which contained two different times. A third would confirm her theory that The Burn had a point of origin and may have been something that happened deliberately.
Saru told her that Discovery could not go to Hunhau because they are on standby as per Vance’s orders.
“The Admiral would not be convinced by a cat on a ship,” Saru told Michael. Saru told her to prepare the crew for a jump to Argeth. Michael went to Georgiou, who agreed to go to Hunhau to get the black box and save Book.
“I don’t care about your eyes unless they are dangling from my belt,” said Georgiou.
On the way to Hunhau, Georgiou asked Michael what she sees in Book and intimated that Book was Michael’s boyfriend. Michael was embarrassed by that and denied the charges. While they spoke, Georgiou experienced something strange in her own mind. More on that later.
They arrived at Hunhau and were greeted by an Orion (Ian Lake) named Tolor, who told them that the planet was a private salvage yard and should leave. Georgiou argued with him for a bit, and he eventually allowed them to beam down.
“OK,” he said. “You’re cleared to land. But I’ve got my eye on you.”
“I don’t care about your eyes unless they are dangling from my belt,” said Georgiou. WOW! She’s rough. Michael told Georgiou that she was tracking Book with the device he uses to find Grudge Cat.
Speaking of the kitty on the DISCO, Tilly had a fun scene of her own as she looked for the cat. Tilly told Grudge that she’d have to go back in the cat box. Tilly then asked the computer to locate Michael (who was not aboard). Tilly figured out that Michael and Book left the ship.
On Hunhau, Georgiou hassled Tolor (who mentioned that he was the nephew of the mysterious Osyraa, the person behind the Emerald Chain) about nearly everything. As they walked past all the beings hard at work, they learned that they were essentially slaves to Osyraa. Georgiou said that she’d like to meet Osyraa.
Michael mentioned that they were looking for self-sealing stem bolts (which Jake and Nog tried to make some money off of in the DS9 episode “Progress), then walked away from Georgiou and Tolor.
Georgiou told Tolor that they were interested in items from before the year 2400. Tolor picked up a TNG phaser, and Georgiou said that half of what was inside that phaser did not exist in that era.
NOTE: What does she mean? I have a feeling that this might be a reference to a time-traveling incident. But how would Georgiou know?
As Michael looked for Book, she pretended to be escorting Georgiou around.
Close by, a new “recruit” got a tracking device implanted in his neck by an Andorian (Noah Averbach-Katz) named Ryn. We then saw Book working with another detainee — a Bajoran (played by Daniel Jun) — who had a hurt elbow. Ryn tried to give him some pain meds, but the guy told him off and walked away.
As Book tried to tell Ryn not to get upset about it, he saw Michael and Georgiou.
NOTE: Ryn’s Andorian antennae are cut off.
The Bajoran guy stole a ration of water, and the guards caught him. Tolor walked over and forced him to run out of the building, where he was cut apart by a perimeter laser fence.
Back on the Discovery, Adira and Gray were “chatting” about why Adira was not using the newly installed holodecks. Stamets walked up, complaining about the state of his lab. As he talked, Linus beamed in accidentally. The Saurian apologized and said it was due to the “new badge.”
Adira showed Stamets that she improved the interface on the spore drive. She made pedestals for each of his hands to touch. Nanogel (goo) covered his hands when he laid them on the pedestals’ top, which connected him to the system. He didn’t need the implants (shunts) anymore. Stamets was happy.
On Hunhau, Georgiou told Tolor that she wanted to buy the tech which made the fencing work. He said it was not for sale. Michael found Book, and they hugged behind some aisles of junk. Book told her where the black box was, and he told her that she needed to leave. She said that she wouldn’t leave without him.
“Osyraa breaks people — understand?” said Book. “Ryn the Andorian … he was born into the Emerald Chain. He tried to rally the people against them, and people began to listen. She hacked off his antennae and made him the guy who plants this thing (the neck tracking device). Now he’s a pariah.”
Michael said she would get Book and everyone else out.
Tolor and Georgiou walked up, and something fell in the building, which caught Tolor’s attention. He ordered a drone to follow Georgiou for the rest of her stay as he yelled at the workers who caused the accident.
On the ship, Saru asked Tilly where Michael was. Saru said she left against his direct orders.
“Oh shit… sorry,” said Tilly.
“My sentiments exactly,” said Saru.
Tilly said Saru needed to tell Admiral Vance that Michael left. Saru agreed.
Michael picked up a rod and smashed the drone, which followed her and Georgiou. Alarms went off. Georgiou built some sort of blaster from parts they found. They were soon surrounded by guards.
Book and Ryn huddled together. Ryn said he told many of the others about the “plan,” and he delivered Book the black box data stick. Ryn said he wasn’t sure if he was up to the challenge. Book said all he had to do was “run.”
At Starfleet Headquarters, Saru told Vance what happened with Michael. Vance said to him that the Emerald Chain has pulled out of peace talks. He ordered the Discovery to be ready to jump.
Tolor escorted Georgiou and Michael onto Book’s ship. Tolor struck Georgiou — who was mouthing off. Tolor realized that they hadn’t come for salvage. One of Tolor’s men found the dilithium. Tolor laughed and decided to kill Georgiou and Michael. But Michael told him they had more, so he hesitated.
In the work building, Book called out a signal, and all the workers started running. Tolor saw the chaos and ordered his men to leave Book’s ship to stop it. After they left, Georgiou and Michael attacked.
Book and Ryn led the workers into the yard, but they found that the laser fence was still up. Book said his friends would come through.
As they fought, Georgiou had another flashback, where she was back in the Mirror Universe. She called out “son!” and saw that her hand was full of blood. She passed out with her eyes open.
NOTE: Is she suffering from PTSD, or is this something else? Does she have a son in the Mirror Universe? If so, is he dead? Is that why she “adopted” the Mirror Michael?
She eventually came to and helped Michael beat Tolor. Georgiou deactivated the fence. The captive ran to a yellow transport ship. As they ran, Ryn took a shot, which was meant for Book. Just when it looked like the runners were pinned down and would all be killed, Book’s ship flew onto the scene and blasted all Tolor’s men.
WOW! What a cool scene. As the ship passed through, it swung around and broke up in the air — and reassembled itself to take another pass at the bad guys.
Book screamed with joy. Michael beamed Book and Ryn onto the ship. As Georgiou flew the ship away, she targeted four of Tolor’s ships.
“Salvage this — you son of a bitch!” Georgiou said. She shot and destroyed them. FUN! Book’s ship and the transport ship jumped away. Book gave Michael the black box.
On their way back, Michael confronted Georgiou about the “blackout.” Georgiou said it had been happening for a few weeks. Michael said that she wanted to help and that DISCO had medical staff who would diagnose Georgiou’s problem.
“You will tell no one,” said Georgiou.
“This is not the Terran Universe,” said Michael. “A vulnerability is not a death sentence.”
Michael told Georgiou to trust her. Georgiou said another Michael Burnham said that to her once, and it didn’t work there either.
Aboard Discovery, Stamets sat down Adira in the mess hall. Adira had been “talking” with Gray. Stamets said he didn’t think Adira was crazy but wanted an explanation. Adira told him about Gray (and recapped the Trill story from “Forget Me Not”).
Adira said she was not sure why she was carrying his “soul” and not just his memories. Stamets said that she was holding onto someone she loved, which he did with Dr. Culber while Culber was “dead.”
They got along after this admission. Gray said he liked Stamets too. Adira said she could help Stamets get rid of the implants.
In sickbay, Book told Michael that Ryn was going to make it. They walked out of sickbay together and got into a turbolift. Book apologized that he put Michael in a position where she would now get into trouble. She said he didn’t. He stopped the lift and thanked her for saving him. They hugged.
“I’m glad I found you,” said Michael.
“We always find each other,” said Book. They leaned in for a kiss, but Linus beamed in again on accident. They laughed, then smooched. Aww!
In Stamets and Culber’s quarters, they chatted about Adira. Stamets said he reached out to her because she’s brilliant and she loves someone who died.
“I want to help her somehow,” said Stamets.
At Starfleet Headquarters, Vance scolded Saru, saying that Burnham went rouge, but her mission was something that he might have approved. Vance was angry with Michael as well.
“The only reason you’re not in the brig now is because you saved lives,” said Vance.
Michael told Vance that until they figure out The Burn’s cause, the Federation can’t come back together. Vance said he wanted to know what her intel found and left her punishment to Saru.
Saru demoted Michael down to just Science Officer, and not First Officer. She agreed with his decision and cried.
She took off her combadge.
NOTE: Why did she do that? What does it mean? Does Michael plan to leave Starfleet?
TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:
Wow! Such a great episode. The total package — action, intrigue, and feeling. Many questions are left unanswered, including Michael’s future in Starfleet and Georgiou’s mental stability. “Scavengers” was a great mix of everything you’re looking for in a Star Trek episode. And it was edited by our friend, Chad Rubel!
RATING: 4 out of 5