Episode 4×03 of Star Trek: Discovery, “Choose to Live” has several different meanings in the context of the episode. It’s a mark of good writing to layer your main theme in so many different ways and that’s exactly what today’s writer, Terri Hughes Burton, did in “Choose to Live.” Let’s look at the different ways that our crew “choose to live” in today’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery.
The Qowat Milat Choose to Live
“The path you are on has come to an end. Choose to live.” I’ve made no secret that I adore Star Trek’s warrior nuns, the Qowat Milat. Their commitment to aiding lost causes, the principle of absolute candor, and the integrity that absolute candor brings all resonate deeply with me. The way that the Qowat Milat work to understand all sides of things is something that’s not seen often in our world. The other thing that is interesting about this is that just because all sides can be understood, that does not mean that there is no justice in their investigation. Seeking understanding while also seeking justice is a choice to live.
Book Chooses to Live
Book is still processing the loss of Kweijian and his family. He’s making progress in coping, but his survivor’s guilt is still plaguing him. The fact that he chooses to undergo reliving the destruction of his planet during the mind meld in order to help find a solution demonstrates his willingness to work through the pain. His determination not only helps them rule out what the anomaly is or is not, it also helps him to work through some of his own pain. Book gets clarity about his parting with his nephew, assured that his nephew knew how much he loved him. Choosing to live for Book comes from remembering Kweijian, rather than wishing he could forget it.
Adira and Gray Choose to Live
Adira and Gray’s choice to try to transfer Gray’s consciousness into a synthetic body is a risky one. But it’s a choice for life, rather than the half-life Gray has been experiencing. Even with the risks involved, it’s a choice to either live, or to move forward in life and mourn death in a natural way. Fortunately for our heroes, the transfer is a success. New life flourishes.
Tilly Learns to Live
Tilly’s had a tough go of it this season. She’s shaken by the trauma she experienced with the tragic death of Commander Nalas on Deep Space Repair Beta Six. She’s questioning the choices she’s made and if she’s on the right path. Watching her use her skills in their mission, but especially her gifts with empathy and diplomacy is particularly satisfying. Watching their mission’s success helps her embrace the idea of “Choose to live” that the Qowat Milat espouse. I’m eager to watch where her path takes her this season.
This season is still dipping into discussions of how to manage trauma, how to seek help, and how to heal. I cannot iterate enough the importance of these discussions to our current western society. The loss that the world feels in the wake of the pandemic is a wound that needs healing. The tangible ways to heal that Discovery is showing–trying something new, getting counseling, etc.–are applicable to today. I want to see more of this in more shows and films. Caring for your mental health is incredibly important. I’m thankful that Discovery is leading the charge in this.
What did you think about 4×03, “Choose to Live”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on December 9, 2021 on Paramount+.