This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery gives us some nail-biting moments, an epic game of cat and mouse, some serious tragedy, and a bit of narrative misdirection. That’s a lot for a 45-minute show! Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 4×09, “Rubicon.”
Lots of Action
Star Trek: Discovery gave us some of the most exciting ship action we’ve seen in some time in “Rubicon.” It’s always fun to watch the Discovery go to Black Alert (because in my head it looks like the ship is doing a space kickflip, which amuses me greatly), but to get to watch the Discovery and Book’s ship jump all over the place is quite entertaining. I also especially love how well-matched Book and Michael are. I already shipped them so hard, but watching their tête-à-tête piloting skills is such a treat for my little shipper heart. They are not only well-matched in their personalities, but in their skills as well. While I’m more into Star Trek for the relational stories, I definitely wouldn’t mind more ship battles like this. It’s visually entertaining, and in this case, really enhances the relational aspects.
Speaking of relational aspects, my little shipper heart swooned when President T’Rina asked Saru to dinner. And yes, Saru, Dr. Culber is right, you’d be an idiot to pass that up. Especially when you’ve got a Vulcan who’s blowing past this no emotion thing and making lots of remarks about feelings. That’s a big hint if I ever saw one! Here’s hoping that their dinner date will provide just a little bit of much-needed levity in the next episode.
What’s a Rubicon?
If the title of the episode, “Rubicon” seems confusing, Wil Wheaton in this week’s episode of The Ready Room makes note that “Rubicon” is a reference to Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon River and changing Rome forever. That’s something that wasn’t on my radar, so I appreciate that analogy. We are now at a point of no return. Like it or not, we’ve made first contact with Species Ten-C, and we’ve not put our best foot forward.
Perhaps even worse, all of Tarka’s scheming has come to nothing. He blew up the DMA, but he can’t get the power source he needed to get back home. I can certainly be sympathetic to Tarka’s plight and desire to get back to where he belongs, but he acts without any consideration of repercussions. Especially since his whole plan is to get back home, he would leave Book with the bag for going rogue and blowing up the DMA. Now they’re both stuck. This is made even worse considering they had the week-long calculation and knowing that if first contact failed, they could go ahead with their plan? Talk about a compromise! And Tarka threw ALL OF IT away. It’s terrible.
With a second DMA appearing, we now know that we’re up against something truly powerful. What will our first encounter be like? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Learning to Compromise
The best line in the episode comes from Mr. Saru, paraphrasing Dr. Culber.
“In times of division, we identify that on which we can agree. A shared goal that can lead to compromise.”
I’ve got to be honest. It feels difficult right now to find anything in common with those with whom I disagree. And it’s painful because many of these people are people I love. People I would happily take a bullet for. And it’s worse because it feels like I have been cut off and barred from entering a discussion with them. What do you do when you find yourself in that situation?
For me, it looks like being open. Being willing to have the discussion, even when others are not. And when they are, I’ll be ready to find that common ground together. I appreciate that Star Trek always illustrates a way to imagine better. To push forward through difficult, challenging, and painful situations. Even if it’s just a TV show, it does give me hope. It helps me to imagine a way forward, and that’s the only way out.
What did you think about “Rubicon”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on February 24, 2022, on Paramount+.