“Battle at the Binary Stars” is the second episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “The Vulcan Hello“.
Note. This article contains several spoilers on “Battle at the Binary Stars”.
The episode is the direct continuation of the previous one, with the situation that quickly rushes between the Klingon and the Federation ships arrived after the alarm launched by USS Shenzhou Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh).
In my opinion, “Battle at the Binary Stars” represents a clear step back compared to the first episode. My problem is that basically the plot is based on a numbero of twists but I felt that they’re dull and therefore gave me no real sense of tension.
First of all, I hoped that there was some insight into the motivations of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) for her mutiny, but I was disappointed. The substance is that the only logic underlying her actions is that of the end justifying the means. In my opinion, that’s by far too little.
In particular, the plan to capture T’Kuvma (Chris Obi), the Klingon leader who wants to use a war with the Federation to rebuild the Empire, made no sense to me. From the Shenzhou they send the head of a photonic torpedo to a Klingon’s corpse to make it explode in T’Kuvma’s starship without any guarantee that he will not be killed. At that point, Captain Georgiou herself teleported to the Klingon starship to try to capture him accompanied obly by Michael Burnham after locking sending her to the brig for mutiny just a few hours earlier.
It’s far from surprising that the plan falls badly. Perhaps even in 2017 they think that Star Trek shouldn’t be too intellectual: in the original series they put some brawls to add some action to the episodes, today there’s a bigger budget so it’s possible to create something more sophisticated but if they want to use that kind of scene to create dramatic moments they should do it better.
The episode’s ending, with Michael Burnham facing the martial court, is what left me most puzzled. The style of the images, with the judges’ faceds in the dark, is of the kind that’s expected when story is set in a dictatorship. This is even worse because Burnham gets a life sentence but was introduced as the show’s protagonist so it’s obvious that she won’t remain in jail. In short, much ado for nothing.
I was expecting better since the story was written by Bryan Fuller, though then the screenplay was developed by Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts. Obviously I hope to see better in the upcoming episodes!