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The third episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s second season, “Point of Light,” brings to mind the breakneck pace and breathtaking twists and turns of the show’s first season. There wasn’t really an “A” plot in this episode; instead, we were served three different “B” plots that all served to move the overarching narrative forward.
The episode opens with Burnham continuing to study the signals and explicitly tying finding an answer to them to a relationship with her brother, Spock. It’s become clear that her estrangement from Spock is a source of worry and anxiety for Burnham, and in this episode we get closer to the answer of what really happened.
Anyone who reads these recaps knows what a fan I am of both the character Amanda Grayson and her portrayal by Mia Kirshner. Amanda is one of those Star Trek characters who has a rich history, even though we have barely seen her on screen through the franchise’s history. She’s mostly played a nurturing role, though we saw the steel and fire beneath that warmth in the Original Series episode in which she was introduced, “Journey to Babel.”
Kirshner has continued in that vein, primarily playing a comforting, nurturing role (especially with Michael), but there are always flashes of the fiery personality that’s just simmering underneath (or “persistence,” as the Vulcans call it). In this week’s episode, we got to see that in full force. Amanda turned to Michael after she was not allowed to see Spock on Starbase 5 and asked for her help breaking into Spock’s medical file (which she stole, go Amanda!).
Well, it turned out that Spock is no longer aboard the starbase. He apparently murdered three of his doctors and escaped. While Michael, Amanda, and Handsome Dad (I’m sorry, do you expect me to call him by his name?) don’t believe he’s capable of this, Amanda is forced to privately admit to Michael that she has regrets about how he was raised. Sarek insisted on a full Vulcan upbringing for his son, so Amanda was forced to ignore his emotions. As a result, they weren’t properly acknowledged. And who knows what effect that might have had on his mind?
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Red Angel, Spock, and Michael are connected somehow. The Red Angel is somehow protecting Burnham, and while Amanda has blamed it for the change in Spock’s behavior, that may not be the case.
Michael has some confidences of her own to share: She deliberately drove Spock away because she wanted to protect him from the logic extremists who were after her. Looking at it from the outside, it’s weak reasoning, but it’s easy to see how it made sense to a young, scared girl who had finally found a family after hers had been so brutally taken from her. Amanda is clearly taken aback by this revelation. She still loves her foster daughter, but she decides to take The Search for Spock into her own hands. I love this grim, determined Amanda, and I hope we see more of her.
Jumping plotlines, L’Rell and Ash are back, but all is not well with the Klingons. What is well? Their HAIR. The Klingons are growing out their hair, thanks to the war being over. Mary Chieffo looks resplendent as L’Rell, especially with the fabulous costumes designed by Gersha Phillips.Ash is clearly a liability, though L’Rell stands by him — and she loves him, though she knows he still loves Michael. Through L’Rell, we get to see a complexity to the Klingons that Discovery hasn’t otherwise really given them. If they’re going to be a central part of the show, I’d like to see a broader dimension to these characters.
The return of Tyler also brings with it the return of Emperor Georgiou, comfortably ensconced in the role of Captain Georgiou, retired Starfleet officer and current Section 31 operative. It turns out that L’Rell and Voq had a child, and both the boy and Ash are putting L’Rell's position in danger. Philippa forces her to choose between her son/Ash and the chancellorship, implying that if she tries to have both, Philippa will murder the son and his father. L’Rell tells the Klingons Ash betrayed her and murdered their son (that little head was pretty disturbing, even though I knew there was no way he was dead) and used it to secure her position in a brilliant way as head of the Klingon Empire.
Ash placed the child with the monks on Borath (a favorite hangout of everyone’s favorite grumpy Klingon, Worf) and is now running around the galaxy with Georgiou and Alan Van Sprang in their fancy Section 31 ship. (“The freaks are more fun," says Georgiou in her BLACK LEATHER PANTS, I DIE.) Burnham will be so thrilled when she finds that out. (And speaking of Burnham and Ash, I can’t wait for that reunion after the tense call between the two of them. It’s going to be SO GOOD.)And the last plotline dealt with May, Tilly, and the spore that found its way onto Tilly’s shoulder at the end of the first season. It turns out that May is actually a fungus that is trying to take over Tilly. Kudos to Mary Wiseman, because you could actually see how much of a toll May was taking on her in her performance. One thing I love about this show is that the writers don’t drag out storylines just for tension/story's sake. In another show, this May/Tilly storyline would have taken six or seven episodes of Tilly behaving increasingly erratically (and subjecting the audience to untold amounts of secondhand embarrassment while watching) before she finally came clean about what she was seeing. In this show, it’s just one episode. That’s not to say I think the full storyline has wrapped; this fungus had an agenda. It was after Stamets. And I have to wonder if he’s going to put it into play in order to get Hugh back.
WHEW. That was an episode with a lot of smaller stories and revelations, but it ended up being a lot of new information and shaking up the status quo. I love that so far this season, the writers have figured out how to balance the breakneck pace of the show with smaller character moments. We’re really getting to see these characters, and it makes every second we spend with them a great time.