We’re starting to wrap things up for this third season. We now know the cause of The Burn — a Kelpian named Su’Kal, who lives on a planet rich with dilithium deposits and embedded deep within a radioactive nebula. Last episode, we saw Osyraa take over the Discovery while Tilly was sitting in the captain’s chair. “There Is A Tide…” gets us a little closer to solving what the Emerald Chain’s ultimate goal is.
We begin “There Is A Tide…” as the Viridian pursued the U.S.S. Discovery toward Federation headquarters with phasers blasting. This was a ruse since Osyraa was in command of the DISCO. She even told the Viridian to back off a bit.
Inside the Federation force field, Admiral Vance asked all the right questions, wondering why they could not reach Saru.
On her new ship, Osyraa checked off everything she wanted from her team. They were holding the crew in the brig (bridge crew was in the ready room), and they had converted all ship computers to Emerald Chain systems. Except for one small piece of code, which appeared to be concerned with “entertainment.”
NOTE: This was the Spore Data, which had now been made a part of the ship. Interesting that they were able to “delete” it so simply.
Osyraa ordered it be deleted. Her henchwoman, named Kanak (played by Canadian actress Lisa Berry), seemed to have no trouble “turning it off.”
In the ready room, Rhys watched out a window and commented on possible attack strategies by the Viridian but was attacked by a Chain guard. Tilly told the guard to go after her (the captain) instead of her crew. As she said this, in walked a familiar face — Zarah (from the episode “Far From Home”).
NOTE: Remember that Tilly and Saru set Zarah free on the ice after he terrorized them.
Zarah walked in with Ryn the Andorian and a few Chain thugs (who were known as “Regulators.”)
“Remember me?” asked Zarah. “Make the kill next time instead of leaving the job up to the ice.” He waved his frostbitten hand in front of Tilly’s face. He then mocked Tilly, saying that it took just 12 minutes to take over the ship she was in charge of. He warned the Chain goons not to touch any of the Discovery crew — even Ryn. He then left.
Meanwhile, Michael and Book used a debris-filled courier network tunnel to catch up to the Viridian. Once they saw the Discovery, they flew right into the open hangar bay.
NOTE: Some on social media have wondered why the DISCO left its back door open through so many episodes. Apparently, it was a set-up so Book and Michael could save the day!
Michael noted that they almost hit a Wanderer Class ship in the tunnel. This is interesting because that ship was seen only in Trek video games and referenced in on-screen graphics on The Next Generation.
Osyraa was outraged that Book pulled off this secret landing. She had Zarah investigate but wanted anyone found to be spared.
She then walked into the Stamets’ engineering bay, where a scientist named Aurellio was examining the spore drive and interface.
“I cannot believe this is 900-year-old technology,” said Aurellio to Osyraa.
“930,” said Osyraa.
“That must have been a golden age of science … remarkable,” said Aurellio.
NOTE: Aurellio was played by Discovery alum Kenneth Mitchell, who has been stricken with ALS. This was an incredible thing to see Mitchell back on screen. He was in a specially designed hover-chair, which allowed him to move about despite his ailment.
Aurellio said that he’d need to do a bio-analysis on Stamets to understand how he fits into the spore drive system. He asked her if it was safe for him to work, and she said that it was. But he noticed that she was nervous.
“I’m in hostile territory about to take the gamble of my life,” said Osyraa.
NOTE: In a recent Ready Room episode, the one which followed “Su’Kal,” actress Janet Kidder said that we’d soon find out that Osyraa is not a one-dimensional bad guy. She’s got real-world motivations for what she does on the show. Now we’re starting to learn what those motivations are.
Aurellio said that the Federation was hoarding tech (spore drive), which would free everyone from the “yoke of dilithium.”
“The galaxy is a much better place with you in it, Osyraa,” said Aurellio.
Meanwhile, in the shuttle bay, Michael said that the DOT robots had put out the fires, and Book gave her a dose of radiation meds. He gave her a “concealing device” bracelet, which would allow her to move around the ship without being detected. He stayed behind, knowing that the Regulators would be looking for a pilot. She reluctantly let him stay.
“Go save the day Michael,” said Book.
“Is this the wrong moment to tell you that I love you for the first time?” she asked.
“Not quite the first,” said Book. “You talk in your sleep.” FUNNY! They kissed, and she ran off. Zarah and his men soon arrived.
Vance asked if there were any life signs from Book’s ship. The Starfleet communications officer Lt. Teemo (played by Dorren Lee) said there was some kind of jammer on Discovery, blocking scans. Vance then realized that they had just allowed Osyraa to enter their shields on board the Discovery. He ordered all ships within the bubble to prepare to fire.
In the ready room, Zarah dropped off Booker. Tilly and Book made eye contact, and he signaled to her that Michael was “outside.”
Speaking of Michael, she started kicking some regulator’s butt. Before she choked him out, the guy stabbed Michael in her leg. She took his combadge and was now able to listen to what the Emerald Chain people were up to.
Osyraa hailed the Federation HQ. She appeared to them as a holo projection and announced herself as “Minister Osyraa of the Emerald Chain.” She apologized for coming in the way she did but said that she wanted to talk. She noted that the Discovery crew would be shipped back to Starfleet via shuttle (all except the bridge staff).
Lt. Willa (Vanessa Jackson) confirmed that a shuttle was leaving Discovery. Vance said to have medical teams intercept them. He also ordered to prepare for a visit from Osyraa.
Meanwhile, Michael limped around the ship, bleeding everywhere. She cauterized her wound, then used a communications panel in a Jefferies Tube to send a subspace message to her mom.
Vance and his team welcomed Osyraa to headquarters. She asked where the Federation president was, and Vance said that he was authorized of this security-related matter. He had the power to negotiate for the release of Discovery and the crew.
In the ready room, Bryce and Rhys were tapping, using Morse Code. The regulators soon caught on, and the crew rose up. They disabled the regulators and took their guns. Ryn told them that Osyraa had taken over the ship’s operating system and they would not be able to access the computers.
Book told them that Adira took the radiation tablets to Saru and Culber. Tilly said they’d need to jump back to the nebula as soon as they regain control. Tilly started bossing everyone around (she’s still captain) as they began to figure out their next steps.
In his ready room, Vance hosted Osyraa. But that holo named Eli (Brendan Beiser) was at the table staring at her. Vance explained that he was checking her for lies.
“I certainly do not intend to lie,” said Osyraa.
“She does not,” said Eli.
She mocked Vance, telling him that it was “so easy” to take over the Discovery. She thought it was a trap until she found that it was Tilly in charge.
“Did you send Saru to Kaminar?” she asked. He did not answer her question and told her to “talk.”
“I want peace,” she said. “I want the Emerald Chain to unite with the Federation.”
He was a bit shocked. She told him that they were almost out of dilithium, and he had a spore drive which they could not replicate. She offered her scientists to study the technology and duplicate it. She said the Federation was a symbol of hope, and the Chain is not viewed the same way.
“You’re a chain of planets — we are a federation of mercantile exchanges,” said Osyraa.
Simultaneously, the regulators realized that they had a “free agent” aboard the Discovery. They soon found Michael because she was carrying the stolen badge.
Aurellio took the “neural locks” off Stamets so he could ask questions. Stamets was handcuffed to a ladder within his lab. They discussed the Andorian opera, which was playing. Aurellio said that Osyraa would want to put Stamets to work in the name of science. Stamets noticed Aurellio’s piercings, which signified his children (with an Orion wife).
“Children are a blessing,” said Stamets. “I have one myself.”
Stamets said he was concerned about his child and partner. As he spoke, Aurellio rolled away and began to ask questions about the spore drive. He ignored Stamets when talk was not about the technology.
Aurellio asked how Stamets could interface with the system. Stamets said it was thanks to the tardigrade DNA, which was now in his body. Stamets said they’d have to kill him to get the DNA. Aurellio said they’d grow new copies of the DNA instead.
In the tubes, the regulators closed in on Michael. She strapped herself to the tube’s side and shot a sensor, which started fire control measures. The system opened a hatch to suck out the “fire” into space. Instead, it sucked out Kanak, who was handing on to Michael’s boots.
Oh yeah — Ryn hacked into the Emerald Chain computers and scrambled Michael’s location. After she climbed out of the Jefferies Tube, she signaled to Zarah that he’d need more regulators.
As negotiations continued, Vance and Osyraa enjoyed a platter of fruit. She told him that the apples didn’t taste very good. He said that was because they were made of “shit.”
“That’s the base material that we use in our replicators,” said Vance. Osyraa took the bit of apple out of her mouth that she was eating.
She told him that he needs to acknowledge that the Chain’s methods (capitalism) are viable. She noted that Deep Space 253 was trading with the Chain already. He brought up that her mercantile exchanges are used for the slave trade and how they get involved with pre-warp societies (like Kwejian — Book’s home planet). She said the Chain would soon get rid of slavery and would stop that sort of meddling.
They were interrupted to get the news of Kanak’s spacewalk. Osyra was visibly angered by this but brought up the written agreement that she proposed between the Chain and the Federation.
On the DISCO, Ryn was able to scramble the bridge crew’s life signs by making the ship think there were thousands of new life signs aboard. Tilly and the crew left, while Ryn and Book stayed behind.
In the lab, Stamets argued with Aurellio about Osyraa’s methods — hijacking, hostages, and all. Aurellio defended her, saying that she would bring the spore drive to the entire galaxy. He then told Stamets to look at him.
“I should not be here,” said Aurellio. He explained that he should not have survived with his genetic defect. Still, Osyraa saw potential in him, and now he’s a scientist.
Stamets brought up the pesticides used on Kwejian as a bad example of Chain technology. He also pointed out that she threatened the people of Kwejian with famine if they did not cooperate. Aurellio couldn’t believe this.
“I believe you when you say that she’s more than what she appears to be, but she’s also exactly what she appears to be,” said Stamets.
Just then, Michael stormed in. She stunned Aurellio and the regulator. She freed Stamets and found some new boots. He started preparing for a jump back to the nebula (to rescue Dr. Culber). He began to freak out when she tried to stop him.
“My whole life is in that nebula!” he yelled. She used a Vulcan neck pinch to subdue him.
In the HQ, Osyraa noted that Eli was a totally blank canvas and not a real person. Vance reviewed the armistice and liked it. He did ask her who would be the “face” of the new agreement. She said a well-respected scientist, who would not be just her ‘proxy.’ Eli said that was a lie.
Vance said the only way the merger would work was if there was a new leader for the Chain, who would put Osyraa on trial for her crimes. That was too much for her to stomach. She left.
Osyraa beamed over to the Discovery, where Ryn and Book were being held on the bridge as prisoners. She chewed out Zarah for letting things get out of control. Zarah said it was Ryn’s fault for messing with the computers, which is why he couldn’t find the hostages. She ordered Zarah to find the missing crew, or she’d shove him out an airlock.
Aurellio didn’t like that. Osyraa told him to leave the bridge. He told her there was “no need for violence.”
“I know this is something that you don’t see every day, but this is how we make progress,” said Osyraa. “And it’s not always pleasant.”
He stayed. She turned to Ryn and told him to fix the sensors. He refused. She pointed a phaser at his head, but Book told her to wait.
“I know where you can find dilithium!” he said. She scoffed, saying that she knew it was in the nebula. Book said he could get her in safely. He begged for Ryn’s life. Osyraa looked at Aurellio and turned and shot Ryn. Book cried out. Osyraa ordered Aurellio to get truth serum to ensure Book wasn’t lying.
“Tell the Viridian to start firing at exterior shields — I’d like to get the hell out of here,” said Osyraa as she sat in the captain’s chair.
Meanwhile, Michael put Stamets in an “emergency escape field,” which is like a force field for one. It looked like a blue and red jellybean.
He yelled to Michael, saying that he will lose his whole life. She told him that Osyraa will destroy the Federation.
“And she’s going to us you to do it!” said Michael. She set a phaser to overload and explode, then stepped outside of the room. The door sealed shut.
“We came to the future for you!” Stamets yelled. “We followed you … Hugh followed you! We gave up everything so you wouldn’t have to be here alone! How can you do this?”
The phaser burst, and Stamets got sucked into space. She quietly wept. He was picked up immediately by a tractor beam and pulled to the HQ. Zarah walked up behind her and pointed a gun at her head.
“You’re gonna be really sorry you did that,” he said.
Elsewhere, the bridge crew fought their way to a weapons storage column. Tilly said they’d fight their way to the bridge, and if someone falls, they keep going. Three DOT robots rolled up, and one projected a Buster Keaton film. Tilly asked if they were the sphere data. They said they were.
“Are you going to help us?” Tilly asked.
“I’m at your service,” said a DOT. “Shall we take back the ship?”
TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:
Ah, now that’s more like it! We bounce back from the slow and “emotional” story of Su’Kal to an episode featuring guts and action. Heck, I really enjoyed the negotiating parts with Osyraa and Vance. I think that might have been the most exciting part.
But I must ask… did Vance really take this proposal seriously? Did we think that the Emerald Chain would really begin to act right after years of slave trading, piracy, blackmail, and everything else? I think Vance was negotiating to buy time until the Federation could figure out how to get Osyraa off the Discovery and out of their bubble.
It seems that director Jonathan Frakes is involved with the good ones, doesn’t it? And our friend, editor Chad Rubel, is really good at creating shows with movement in both story and pacing. Well done to both Chad and Number One!
RATING: 4 out of 5