With a name like “Kobayashi Maru,” every Star Trek fan should be on edge. The infamous no-win scenario test sets the tone for season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery. We’ve got some real craziness lined up for this season, just in this episode alone. Here are a few things I found of note in episode 4×01, “Kobayashi Maru.”
Reopening of Starfleet Academy
At the end of season 3, the Federation is on a high note. With the discovery of the dilithium planet, the capitalization of the Discovery’s spore drive, and the breaking of The Emerald Chain, the Federation is reborn. The inaugural class of the new Starfleet Academy presents us with a glimmer of hope. What I find hopeful about this scene is not just the reopening of Starfleet Academy; it’s also the diversity within.
There are Bajorans, Ferengi, Tellarites, humans, and more among the cadets. It presents a universe where a diverse group of people have come together for a common cause. That is the kind of inspiration our world needs. I am looking forward to seeing all the new life and new civilizations that comprise this Starfleet Academy this season.
Meet the President of the Federation
In season 3, we have references to the Federation president, but no mention of who that president is. Because of this, the interest in meeting the actual president of the Federation, Laira Rillak, is extremely high. Rillak is played by The Man in the High Castle and Firefly Lane’s Chelah Horsdal. There are quite a few things that pique my interest in her.
First, President Rillak is of Cardassian, Bajoran, and human descent. This mixed lineage might come as a shock to longtime viewers of Star Trek. The crux of Deep Space Nine’s storytelling revolves around the Cardassian/Bajoran conflict. Knowing that eventually, the bitterest of enemies will come together brings me hope.
Second, President Rillak addresses a valid criticism of Discovery. No one seems to be able to go toe-to-toe with Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green). No one is challenging her decisions or giving her pushback. In light of this, it seems the writers are creating a foil for Michael in President Rillak. She is going to be an interesting character to watch this season. Comparing Michael’s flouting of danger in impossible circumstances to the Kobayashi Maru test is an interesting one. This will not be the last we see of this comparison.
Finally, there is a problem of epic proportions. We have an anomaly that has the ability to destroy worlds. Make all the Star Wars allusions you want, but this is a bit different from the Death Star. Unfortunately, the home of our favorite empathic courier is the first to go. Because of the destruction of Kwejian, we’re left with a Cleveland Booker (David Ajala) that escapes his planet’s demise by mere circumstance. He is facing the devastating reality that his home and his family are all gone, including his young nephew.
Consequently, Book is going to be working through some survivor’s guilt this season. Likewise, I predict that we will get commentary on surviving and processing trauma. This is a discussion worth having in today’s world, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our crew.
What do you think about “Kobayashi Maru”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on November 25, 2021, on Paramount+.