Star Trek: Discovery is back this week with more emotional stakes, galaxy-ending (or possibly expanding) possibilities, and boldly going where our crew has never gone before. Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 4×10, “The Galactic Barrier.”
Raising the Stakes
The external crises our crew is facing are immense. Watching them navigate the pressure of the situation with grace is encouraging, but the external and emotional stakes have never been higher. We’ve got Earth and Ni’Var in the crosshairs of the DMA. Our crew barely made it past the galactic barrier, and there’s a distinct possibility they won’t return. Book and Tarka are close behind and we have a better understanding of Tarka’s “Why.” I still don’t think it justifies his actions in the last episode, but I at least see how he got there.
But it’s not just the crew of the Discovery that’s at risk here. We’ve got delegates from within the Federation, the presidents of Ni’Var AND the Federation, all taking some huge risks to join this first contact mission beyond the Galactic Barrier. If Discovery blows, then not only are we losing our crew and an important ship, but we’re also losing a large population of our governing bodies.
But even if that happens, we’ve still got to deal with the fact that the DMA is heading for Earth and Ni’Var and we are truly screwed if this doesn’t work. Failure is not an option. Our crew will be under tremendous stress and that’s definitely going to impact their ability to get the job done. I’ll be holding my breath until next week.
…But to Connect: Shipper Edition
We’re really in the thick of it with these high-stakes circumstances, which seem to be further intensified by the emotional stakes. These connections are what give the show its heart and give our heroes something worth fighting for. That being said, I need you to brace yourself because I’m about to enter full-on shipper fangirl mode.
First up, we’ve got Mr. Saru basically saying, “Hey, I like your face. Wanna be my ladyfriend?” to President T’Rina. And girl allows herself to be pulled away by her assistant! Now, while T’Rina may be from Ni’Var, she’s already made some “overtures” at our guy Saru, but this is not the time to go all emotionless Vulcan! But then at the end when she tells him, “I find you to be a comforting presence,” man, I’m down for the count. You go be that comforting presence, Saru!
…But to Connect: Friends and Family Edition
Now that we’ve got the shipping out of the way, let’s move on to the familial and friendship connections. Found family is a guaranteed way to melt me into a puddle of feels. So when Stamets tells Adira, “Fair warning–I will always reach for you if it seems like you’re hurting. My dad never did that for me, so I might do it a little extra for you,” I melted. Paul is such a sweet dad. Adira is lucky to have him.
Finally, I especially appreciate the understanding that President Rillak and Michael seem to have now. Both of these women are especially powerful and strong-willed. While they don’t always agree and are occasionally at odds, they have worked to understand the position under which each is operating. They agree on how they should function as leaders. They understand the position of power each holds and use that power to work in a just and humble way. The line, “I’m glad we had this chance to…connect,” is a nod back to episode 4×07, “…But to Connect.” It also highlights what I think is the theme of the season–connection. I’ll be writing more about that in my review next week.
We’ve been given much to mull over in this episode of Discovery. The stakes have never been higher and our crew is thinking more clearly about how to communicate well and work together as a team, especially when they are in disagreement. That’s such a valuable and applicable skill for our world now. Think about that for a while.
Finally, I did notice something a bit silly in this rather serious episode. Michael does the “Picard Maneuver.” Did you catch it? If so, did it make you laugh as much as it did me? If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, check out this video and enjoy the earworm.
What did you think about “The Galactic Barrier”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on March 3, 2022, on Paramount+