THE VULCAN HELLO
CBS All Access has launched the new Star Trek series that has been 15 years in the making since the last series Star Trek: Enterprise aired. Star Trek: Discovery aired September 24 on CBS television with the following episodes to appear on the streaming service. Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 episode 1, “The Vulcan Hello,” follows Michael Burnham onto the USS Shenzhou and her seven year service to Starfleet under Captain Phillipa Georgiou.
THE MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, WRITERS AND DIRECTOR
- Captain Phillipa Georgiou
- First Officer Michael Burnham
- Lt. Commander Saru
- Brett Anderson
- Danby Connor
- Story by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman
- Teleplay by Akiva Goldman and Bryan Fuller
- Original Airdate: September 24, 2017
The Klingon T”Kuvma, a unifier, is attempting to connect all 48 houses of the Empire by warring against the Federation. Captain Georgiou and First Officer Michael Burnham of the USS Shenzhou help a planet of aliens survive an almost 100 year drought by opening a much-needed well.
The USS Shenzhou receives a call to repair a damaged interstellar relay. There they discover an unidentified object. The radiation from a binary star from a system close by makes scanning the object difficult. In the captain’s ready room Georghiou, Burnham and Saru peer at the object through an antique telescope. Still they need more information on this object. Burnham travels alone to the object in a spacesuit attached to a thruster pack when Lt. Cmdr. Saru declines to go along for the ride with her. Burnham can only stay in space for a limited amount of time before suffering radiation sickness. Communications are disrupted between her and the USS Shenzhou, she is separated from the ship. When Burnham reaches the object, it is protected by a Klingon in a spacesuit of his own. Attacking Burnham, the Klingon is accidentally killed by her with the battle that ensues.
A younger version of Burnham is on Vulcan answering question given by a computer for testing at the Vulcan Learning Center. Several questions delve into her past and the Klingons. Burnham awakens in sickbay. She is in the middle of radiation sickness treatment.
The Klingon killed on the beacon is funeralized. He was known as the Torchbearer. Bursting onto the bridge, Burnham asks if the Klingons have made contact since she was retrieved unconscious from space. She describes her encounter with the Klingons to Captain Georgiou. To prove her idea, Burnham locks weaponry of the beacon and the Klingon ship uncloaks to reveal itself. Instead of fighting the USS Shenzhou, T’Kuvma has Voq, an outcast, to become the new Torchbearer and light the beacon, the object in space Burnham observed earlier. The beacon lights up sending audio waves throughout the system.
Meanwhile the Shenzhou is ordered to wait until Starfleet reinforcements arrive. Burnham leaves the bridge to speak to Sarek on how to handle the Klingons. He recommends “The Vulcan Hello,” firing on the ship to earn the Klingons respect. Burnham explains her idea to the captain, but Starfleet protocol strongly states the opposite so she renders the captain unconscious with the Vulcan neck pinch. Burnham struts onto the bridge and orders the attack on the Klingon vessel but Georgiou stops Burnham just in time, but many more Klingon vessels appear.
AN IN DEPTH LOOK AND THEME
The themes and motifs in Star Trek: Discovery were well written into the script and enjoyably introduced and fleshed out. One of the main themes was war and how unpleasant it is. Captain Georgiou states directly that war is screams while First Officer Michael Burnham, a novice to war, states war is about a well-trained crew. Death also follows-another theme. The Klingons funeralizing their dead, the preparation of the dead and how the Klingon ship is covered in coffins emerged as a strong link between those scenes and death. I recognize a parallelism between the relationship with T’Kuvma and Voq to Captain Georgiou and Burnham. In the second episode, I believe this is reaffirmed.
Burnham’s flashback is perfectly fit into the story and worth a nod to the writers. We learn so much from her backstory in this flashback, her emotional wounds, her parents’ death still haunts Burnham, her hesitations and her emotional turmoil. We also take a peek into the extent Vulcans will go to quell the emotions in the most distressing events of their lives. This could hint at Burnham’s fortitude in difficult situations.
Burnham can be paralleled to the Klingons in that they are both aggressive. Lt. Cmdr. Saru’s cowardice is the flip side to this coin. He will always retreat in a problem if possible and Burnham will always advance.
I believe Star Trek: Discovery is Star Trek close to its best since Star Trek: The original series. The writing was above par. Fuller and Kurtzman’s story shows both sides of the Federation-Klingon argument. And Akiva Goldman is known for adapting Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code into the runaway hit movie. He has been involved in movies like” Batman Forever” and “I Am Legend” with Will Smith. The series hired the right actors to pull of the big budget episode. From special guest Michelle Yeoh to actor Saru’s Doug Jones to actress Burnham’s Sonequa Martin-Green, this episode was loaded with talent.
I rate this episode with a 5 out of 5 stars. Its heightened suspense could not be any better especially when Burnham meets the Klingon on the beacon. With masterful directing by David Semel, I felt like I was watching a movie not a television show. A producer as well as director, David Semels’s credentials include Beverly Hills, 90210 and American Dream. Saru and Burnham’s interaction served the story well as they vie for Captain Georgiou’s approval like children do with a mother. Saru is cautious to the captain’s displeasure and Burnham is aggressive much like the Klingons.
The Starfleet uniforms had a fresh look to them replacing the standard gold, blue and red colors with gold, silver and copper to organize different ships occupational fields. The Medical white uniform the doctor wore seen when Burnham was recuperating in sickbay from radiation exposure was a pleasant, appealing surprise.
The Klingon culture’s inside look fascinated me. T’Kuvma’s belief in uniting the 48 Klingon houses resonated with me that he was a rounded character. Lots of depth. His connection with Voq also captured my attention and refused to let it go. The story line of Starfleet and the story line of the Klingons contrasted each other very well.
Stunning visual effects captivated me from start to finish. I thought I was sitting in a first row of a movie theater. Again, the effects with the asteroid field that Burnham races through to find out more information on the object in space made me feel I was on a roller coaster ride.
This was a great episode full of surprises.
IT BEGINS HERE…
So, Star Trek: Discovery embarks its voyages September 24 and it is off to a good start. Most Trekkers are pleased with the CGI, backstories of Burnham and the Klingons and the cinematography . If Star Trek: Discovery continues on this path, it is sure to be a sensation.