Star Trek: Discovery is firing on all cylinders when it comes to the emotional beats this week. We’ve got a little more info about species Ten-C. We’re learning more about Lt. Detmer, and we’ve also got some serious horror movie vibes. The wry comedy and sage wisdom of Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) are back as well. Shipper feels, communication, and hope are intermingled throughout. There’s lots of ground to cover in episode 4×11, “Rosetta,” so let’s get started!
It’s Okay to Not be Okay
It’s crazy important that Discovery is focusing on mental health. While there is less of a stigma than there used to be, we still live in a world where people are shunned or considered weak for seeking treatment for mental health. The way these things begin to be normalized is by showing them in media, in our art. I’m so grateful for shows like Discovery that are doing just that. This entire episode focuses on discussing things like fear, uncertainty, and making it acceptable to not be okay. Especially when it’s our doctor/counselor that isn’t feeling okay. This Twitter user, @gavet97 says, “Healers need healing too.” She’s right.
Here’s hoping our cinnamon roll of a doctor can catch a break soon and find some healing of his own.
The Science of Communication
One of the more interesting aspects of Star Trek: Discovery is that while we’re rebuilding, we’ve also seen some more interesting ways to communicate. Last season, it was a melody that seemed to permeate cultures and races. This season, it’s emotion and feelings that are the universal language–something we all can understand. This “rosetta stone” of hydrocarbon pheromones might be the key for communication, but as Dr. Culber said, it’s possible that even though they may understand what it’s like to have your entire world blown to bits, to see your friends and family die, the Ten-C may not care. “Sometimes empathy can be uncomfortable,” is right, Dr. Culber. Some people run from the challenge of empathy, but as Michael said in response, “It’s the only way to connect.” I hope the Ten-C are willing to connect with the Discovery.
Raising Up the Next Generation
While the bulk of the episode focuses on the emotions at play through understanding the Ten-C, there are a lot of other emotional beats that I think are just as important. It was heartwarming to me to see Adira getting mentored from several different angles. Jett’s encouragement to them and Detmer’s acceptance of their admiration all call attention to the idea that we need to be caring for the next generation.
Depending on which chart you look at it, I’m either a young Gen Xer or an old Millenial. I’m cool with the term Xennial. Like many folks of my generation, having kids just hasn’t happened for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean we’re off the hook from caring about the generations that come after us. We must look after the younger ones to make sure they’re okay, to affirm their potential. Our empathy towards them must serve as our Rosetta Stone. This is a very powerful statement that Discovery is making, and I hope it’s not the last.
Aside from what’s already been mentioned, I really enjoyed the aesthetic of this episode. There’s quite a bit here that gave me horror movie vibes and this is the second time a Star Trek series has made me think of Alien this week. The suits, exploring those caverns, finding a nursery, all got me thinking about the first act of Alien. Fortunately for our crew, none of those things turned out to be truly malicious.
We’ve got Jett being taken captive by Tarka, we’ve got more insight into Lt. Detmer’s apparently tragic past, Mr. Saru and President T’Rina finding time for a relaxing walk on the holodeck, and Book working out a contingency plan with Captain Ndoye. While I’m eagerly awaiting this resolution, I’m scared of their first interaction with the Ten-C. Here’s to enjoying the episode again while we wait for the next one.
Finally, can I just say how much I love the shot of our landing party walking down the hall like the badasses they are? So cool.
What did you think of “Rosetta”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on March 10, 2022, on Paramount+.