Lots of “thrillin’ heroics” are going down in 3×11 of Star Trek: Discovery. We’ve got season-long questions getting answered, mettle getting tested, and some costuming shake-ups in “Su’Kal”. What do you think about this Christmas Eve gift from Star Trek? Here are a few of my thoughts on “Su’Kal.”
Test Your Mettle with some Thrillin’ Heroics
I know I keep quoting Firefly when I say “thrillin’ heroics,” but I truly can’t think of a better phrase to describe the action in this episode. The selfless actions of the Discovery crew in this episode are inspiring. Book jumping in to determine the safe place for the Discovery to jump, Culber and Saru staying with Su’Kal, even if they know it will be their demise if Discovery does not return in time made my Gryffindor heart ache in the best way.
What really got me in this episode is the theme of found family. The way Stamets goes all protective dad over Adira, assuring them of their part in the Discovery crew, the assurances Michael and Tilly give each other as they both prepare to embark on their individual missions, all of it just made me melt.
The found family dynamic is a guaranteed way to punch me in the feels, and Star Trek: Discovery has been nailing that dynamic in practically every episode this season. Does this look like “thrillin’ heroics” on the outside? No, but this is the stuff that gives me courage. Caring for and protecting my people gives me the courage to do those “thrillin’ heroics.”
Tilly is a great example of this idea. She’s nervous. She’s scared to sit in the captain’s chair for the first time, knowing the responsibility that comes with it. She knows the dangerous situation they’re in, but the assurances from Michael help her to get her head in the game.
Tilly is tasked with a deadly assignment for her first time in the captain’s chair, and she mouths off to Osyraa like the schoolyard bully that Osyraa is. The taunts Osyraa throws at her, targeting her insecurities could have easily been my own. I winced when I heard those words, but Tilly threw them right back at her. I loved it. I have to believe Tilly and the crew will come back out on top, despite the current dilemma they’re facing.
“You’re Bajoran! You’re Trill? You’re HUMAN?”
While yes, it’s something simple, but the costume changes we get for Michael, Culber, and Saru are interesting because they take our crew out of their element, none more than Saru. This is interesting for multiple reasons, the main one being that this is the only time I can ever recall seeing Doug Jones as himself, not a creature, a monster, or an alien.
While I have not seen the man’s entire catalog, I can say with certainty that this is the first of his works that I’ve seen where he’s not been in costume. I had the pleasure of meeting Doug at a con several years ago and he’s a very kind and handsome man for his true face to hardly ever be seen on screen. It was a nice change of pace to see the real Doug on my screen.
The other reason I found these costume changes interesting is that when Saru meets another Kelpian for the first time in a long while, he does not look Kelpian. This is also fascinating because Su’Kal presumably has not met another like himself since he was very young. This creates a sense of longing and ache to be with one’s people, one’s family, but it’s a so close, and yet so far situation. If that’s not a metaphor for Covid Christmas, I don’t know what is. I’m eager to see how this situation shakes out.
I’m not sure what I had in mind for The Burn’s true cause, but a radioactive, DNA-adapted Kelpian was definitely not it. They’ve plotted the story well and all the clues make sense. I’m just not sure what to make of it yet. I will say that we might have a type of “Charlie X” (episode 1×02 of Star Trek: The Original Series) type situation with Su’Kal, but perhaps one with more devastating consequences.
How will the crew of Discovery escape Osyraa? Will they be able to rescue Culber and Saru in time? How will Book and Michael be able to help? Did Adira make it back onto Book’s ship? These are the questions I need to be answered!