BATTLE AT THE BINARY STARS
In Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 2: Battle at the Binary Stars, we watch the concluding events of the first episode that left us on a cliffhanger. This episode was streamed on CBS All Access exclusively. All episodes of Star Trek: Discovery after this episode will stream on the CBS service, too.
- Michael Burnham
- Lt. Cmdr Saru
- Captain Phillippa Georgiou
- Danby Connor
- Brett Anderson
- Story by Bryan Fuller
- Teleplay by Gretchen J. Berg
- Directed by Adam Kane
While T’Kuvma rallies the Klingon houses to fight with him against the Federation, Starfleet ship reinforcements enter the area. Captain Georgiou opens hailing frequencies to rectify the conflict and talk peace. The Klingons open fire on Starfleet. Burnham is confined to the Brig and seeks a release by logically convincing the computer to grant her freedom. Ensign Connor arrives looking for sickbay and he is sucked out to space by a hull breach. That breaches propels Burnham against the wall and renders her unconscious.
Sarek reminds Burnham how he gave her part of his katra during a previous injury in the past and it is their way of communicating from long distances. Through this telepathy Sarek reminds Burnham of who she is and her purpose. She awakens from her unconscious state.
Burnham logically outwits the computer to cooperate with her escape. She is propelled from the Brig through doors to a safer part of the ship.
A Klingon ship is zeroing in on the Shenzhou, her engines are deactivated and its heading toward a huge asteroid. Out of nowhere, a tractor beam pulls the Shenzhou to safety. It is the USS Europa. It contacts T’Kuvma to agree to dialogue and T’Kuvma does so. Immediately after the discussion, he revokes Stafleet’s offer and destroys the Europa after the Klingon ship uncloaks.
T’Kuvma claims victory and the Klingon ships travel to Qo’nos to report on the battle. T’Kuvma ship stays behind to funeralize the dead Klingons. The Shenzhou makes other plans. Burnham offers the strategy of boarding T’Kuvma’s ship and capturing him to use him as a deal maker with Klingons and avoid war. Georgiou agrees.
After a photon bomb is transported into one of the Klingon’s dead and taken to the ship, Georgiou and Burnham board as well. A fight ensues and Georgiou is killed by T’Kuvma. All bets are off for Burnham and she kills the Klingon. Racing to Georgiou’s body too late, Burnham is beamed aboard the Shenzhou and faces charges of mutiny and is sentenced to life imprisonment after all hands abandon the ship.
THEMES AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
Heavenly light in the form of a tractor beam is another motif in the story that I believe insinuates salvation in this story line. The USS Shenzhou was aided by the USS Europa when they were endangered of decimated by the asteroid with no shields for protection. USS Europa destroyed itself minutes later in the episode.
Burnham is a “cat with nine lives.” She should have died in the brig. The hull breach in that section hurled Ensign Connor into space while Burnham and he were in conversing. She immediately sees the repercussions of her actions. Captain Georgiou ordered life support halted to that section, but she was interrupted by another matter. If T’Kuvma searched deep enough into Klingon’s prophecy, he would have discovered Burnham’s name, I believe.
She also “tumbles down this rabbit hole” if you ask me to get out of the Brig. Burnham’s life appears to be spiraling out of control.
Death continues to be a theme with Star Trek: Discovery. To me, Captain Georgiou and T’Kuvma’s deaths paralleled and their apprentices loyalty to them as well. Although, Burnham’s acts were regarded as treacherous, her ultimate goal was to save her captain. She was more than aggressive about it. The disposing of the bodies of the two opposing parties were contrary. I believe T’Kuvma’s burial was proper and in order, however Burnham was unable to retrieve Captain Georgiou’s body because cautious Lt. Cmdr. Saru transported Burnham to the Shenzhou before she could reach her captain.
The Klingon vessel’s goal of collecting their dead versus USS Shenzhou attempting to survive by placing a photon torpedo in the dead of the Klingons floating in space displays such contrast in the plot.
I like the way the events flow from one episode to the next episode in a very cause and effect sequence. I enjoyed “Battle at the Binary Stars” for the same reason I enjoyed “The Vulcan Hello.” The suspense. The writing felt fluid to me almost in textbook Hollywood writing for success manner. Timing of the cliffhangers in this series so far are excellent. I refused to step away from the computer to grab a bag of potato chips.
Burnham escaping the Brig is the only time I have seen anyone logically defeat the ship’s computer through reason and rationale. Leave it up to a Vulcan trained human to set a precedent.
The Klingon makeup was very complex. T’Kuvma was a leader I believed in until his untimely death. I regretted his death. The Klingon translations at the bottom of the screen were a little distracting, but only a little. Klingon lore is even more interesting now than it was in Star Trek: The Next Generation. We receive a real feel for their prophesy and the passion behind it. I want more backstory into their bloodthirsty cravings. Is it DNA? Were they once pacifists or pushovers? Was there ever peace for these people at all in their history? I hope it is written in this series.
Visual effects were on cue again. This episode was directed by Adam Kane of “Pushing Daisies,” “heroes,” and “The Mentalist” fame that starred Simon Baker. He also is credited in movies like “Hail Caesar” with Robert Downey, Jr. The USS Shenzhou rescued by the USS using a heavenly light was breathtaking. This reiterated a recurring theme about salvation connected to Michael Burnham.
THE HONEYMOON IS OVER
After this episode, the launch of Star Trek: Discovery is basically over. It will have to settle into its time spot and its ratings. Each week, it will have to deliver quality episodes to maintain its viewership. The fledgling series is off to a good start. If Star Trek: Discovery continues to create excellent story lines, wonderful CGI and creditable cinematography, it should last well past seven seasons and maybe sign on for a movie deal or two.