“Unification III” is the 7th episode of the 3rd season of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “Scavengers“.
Note. This article contains spoilers about “Unification III”.
The discoveries on the Burn obtained thanks to the information gathered by Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) offer some more information on its origin. However, to make a real leap forward in the research into its causes, it’s necessary to obtain the data jealously guarded on the planet Ni’Var, formerly known as Vulcan. Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) has a tough decision to make.
The double episode “Unification” of the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” saw the return of one of the characters that made the Star Trek saga. Leonard Nimoy reprised that iconic role in movies produced in subsequent years, but it was the last time he played it in a television episode. It’s the story of what Spock called his personal mission of peace: the reunification of Vulcan and Romulan peoples.
Spock’s mission paid off, but produced unpredictable results in the 32nd century. Already in the second season of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” some plots were developed going to the roots of the saga. In this case, the roots are in Spock’s personal mission on Romulus adding also some references, albeit indirect, to the TV show “Star Trek: Picard,” where the warrior nuns of the Qowat Milat order already appeared.
Over the course of nearly a millennium, Vulcan has changed in many ways, but there are still traditional rituals and one of them allows Michael Burnham to ask for data from the SB-19 experiment, closely related to the Burn. The black boxes recovered by Michael Burnham offer the possibility of making other tributes through the names of spaceships, in this case to actor Anton Yelchin and astrophysicist Riccado Giacconi.
“Unification III” is a sequel to the first two parts of “Unification”, and at the same time continues the story-arc about the Burn and offers some serious development for Michael Burnham. Screenwriter Kirsten Beyer wrote various Star Trek novels, and the result gives the impression that she really knows the saga. In essence, it’s an episode that proves once again that “Star Trek: Discovery” can be a show well connected to the saga.
The episode also has a subplot about Ensign Sylvia Tilly. She’s a character who had limited space at this beginning of Season 3 that was generally related to her relationship with Michael Burnham. Now I hope that she too has a serious development that goes far beyond her role of comic relief.
The only complaint I have about this episode is that, as it also concerned the Romulans, I was hoping that some explanation would be offered as to why they seem to have been struck by the Burn. Since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” we have known that their warp drive is based on a singularity, not a matter-antimatter reaction in an engine that requires dilithium. I’m afraid that they keep on just ignoring the issue.
An episode set on Vulcan/Ni’Var that also includes stock images of Leonard Nimoy offers a strong emotional connection for Star Trek fans. In my opinion, “Unification III” offers a strong development of both the story that began in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the protagonists. If the episodes were all like this one, there would be far fewer complaints from fans!