This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “All is Possible” takes a look at the difficult issues their world is facing. However, these issues are also applicable to our world as well. Episode 4×04 covers racism, distrust, healing, and hope. Let’s dig deeper into these challenging topics with “All is Possible,” this week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery.
“Trust is a journey.”
Saru’s words to President T’Rina echo a truth that Discovery has been working through for the past season and a half. It’s been difficult for this new iteration of the Federation to trust the Discovery crew and its intentions. It’s been just as difficult for the Discovery crew to trust the Federation. Bridging this gap between Ni’var and the Federation is a solid first step. However, the way the Federation has gone about it, particularly Federation President Rillak’s subterfuge in getting Michael and Saru to the ceremony-turned-negotiations simply doesn’t sit right with Michael. I don’t blame her.
Rillak does make a good point. Michael, who hates politics, is actually quite good with them. But Michael lacks the ability to play political theatre. She doesn’t use deception and outright despises it. I love that she called Rillak on it too, saying that she would have helped her, had she asked. I love that she also told Rillak straight up that if she wants her help, then she needs to be honest. Full stop. I don’t know how this will affect Discovery’s future role in the politics of the Federation, but let’s be honest, I don’t know that outside her role as the intermediary between Ni’Var and the Federation, that Michael really cares that much.
Speaking of which, one of the questions I got to ask Captain Burnham herself, Sonequa Martin-Green, earlier this year is how can we see Michael bring her Vulcan and human upbringings to the Captain’s chair. Michael serving as the intermediary between the two cultures embodies her background perfectly.
“…Leave any bigotry in your quarters. There’s no room for it on the bridge.”
This quote from Captain Kirk in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “Balance of Terror,” comes to mind when thinking about “All is Possible.” Our new batch of Starfleet cadets and Ensign Adira Tal all have things to work through in this episode. Growing up in a post-Burn society means that these cadets have experienced the effects of isolationism. They have not learned the value of teamwork and have little experience with anyone outside their own culture. And in the especially tragic case of Gorev, he’s experienced great loss and abuse from the tyranny of The Emerald Chain. His anger and distrust are totally understandable considering his experience.
But with this scenario, there is no room for distrust. There’s no room to try to go it alone. There’s not even room to do as Kirk says and leave the bigotry in your quarters. Discovery takes this a step farther, working through that bigotry rather than just turning it off. I love that the thing that brings them together is not necessarily their common goal of survival, but that they take the time to understand each other’s background. This moment of understanding between this new crew reminds me that trying to understand the other side, even if we don’t agree on things is important. It reminds all of us that even the bitterest of enemies can work past our differences if we make the effort to do so. With listening and understanding, “all is possible.”
Professor Tilly Has Entered the Class
I asked Mary Wiseman in my interview with her prior to the premiere of season 4 how we could expect to see Tilly’s leadership abilities come into play this season. Tilly really stepped into the spotlight with those leadership skills in “All is Possible.” Tilly often doubts herself, but once she steps into a position where she is calling the shots, she is IN CHARGE. I love watching her soar like that. Not only is she great at taking charge of their mission, but the way she is able to mediate conflict is masterful. She’s mentoring Adira. She’s functioning as a mentor to these cadets, and now, I can’t wait to see her take those gifts into Starfleet Academy.
I will miss seeing her on the Discovery, especially her interactions with Michael (#friendshipgoals). However, getting to see her lead this new class of cadets into the future of Starfleet will be a real treat. My only fear is that I won’t have as much Tilly on my screen this season. You best not do that to me, Paramount!
The Realities of Grief
It is quite easy in the world of a TV show or a film to put a band-aid on these very real emotional difficulties and traumas. I appreciate that Star Trek: Discovery does not do that. We see Book working through his grief in a very real way. While the mind meld with President T’Rina seemed to help, it’s not a cure-all. Grief comes and goes in waves. Why should it be any different in the 32nd century? Especially in the way that Book lost not just his family, but his whole planet. Add that he is from a culture of empaths, and he’s feeling this loss much more deeply than another person might.
The fact that Discovery is choosing to put this process on display is a bold choice, but I think it is also a cathartic one. Also, Dr. Culber’s gentleness and empathy here is a kindness that Book needs. It’s one that we all need. As the world works through our collective trauma of the pandemic, this emphasis on processing mental health needs is of immeasurable importance. I don’t know if other shows and films are showcasing the prioritization of mental health, but I am grateful for Discovery for making that choice.
What’s next for the Discovery crew? We’ve got the anomaly to contend with, we’ve got Tilly at Starfleet Academy, and we’ve got this interesting vibe going between President T’Rina and Commander Saru. Color me intrigued about that invitation to tea. We’ve also got the bit of friendly-ish friction between President Rillak and Captain Burnham. I think these two are understanding each other better, but as Saru said, “Trust is a journey.” I’m excited for that journey.
What did you think of “All is Possible”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on December 16, 2021, on Paramount+.