Warning: This Review Might Contain Minor Spoilers For Star Trek: Discovery S1E3
After a surprisingly impressive double premiere, Star Trek: Discovery delved into its central storyline in Context Is For Kings. The episode, which takes place six months after the events of the season premiere, picks up with Michael Burnham as she serves her life-sentence for mutiny. After her prison transport malfunctions, Burnham finds herself aboard the U.S.S. Discovery, where she comes into contact with members of her old crew and a new Starfleet Captain, Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs). Lorca uses Burnham’s intellect and skills to his benefit, helping him to create a faster form of warp travel, which will help Starfleet win the war against the Klingon army.
While the series premiere delivered an extraordinary amount of spectacle, plus some great special effects, Context Is For Kings is the true beginning of Star Trek: Discovery. Not only does the episode cut back on exposition, but we get to meet the primary set of characters, and the U.S.S. Discovery is finally revealed. The series seems to be finding its rhythm and is certainly prepared to trust that the audience already has a basic understanding of Star Trek, which allows the storytellers to tell a confined story, which doesn’t feel the need to explain every creative decision. The introduction of Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca and the U.S.S. Discovery itself add an extra layer of intrigue to the series and injects a new dynamic between the characters and how they interact with Burnham.
Possibly the most exciting and entertaining aspect of the third episode is the narrative and the adventure that unfolds. Instead of adding to the backstory and developing the events of the past, Context Is For Kings throws us straight into the overall narrative of the season and gives us an idea of what Star Trek: Discovery is really about. Even more than the first two episodes, Context Is For Kings shows how much potential this series has and what Star Trek: Discovery might look and feel like in the weeks to come. It’s also clear that the show is bringing in things that the fanbase will connect with and already be familiar with, but just like the series premiere, Context Is For Kings adds a lot of new ideas and concepts to the franchise, that many die-hard fans might not appreciate and enjoy.
If Context Is For Kings has one major flaw, it is the same issue that stopped the series premiere from being great. Compared to the beautiful visual style and cinematography, the writing and dialogue for the series continued to be incredibly lacklustre. The episode might not throw exposition in our face, but the dialogue ensures that every character adds a little exposition as to what is happening and who is being introduced.
Overall Context Is For Kings does a great job of in setting up the main story of the season and introducing the characters that will undoubtedly grow to become fan-favourites. The episode delivered an entertaining adventure and developed Burnham’s character enough to make us care, while at the same time fitting in enough nods and teases for what’s to come in future episodes. Hopefully, with more weeks and more character development, we’ll start to see the dialogue improve to match the visual quality of the show.
Fans of Star Trek might still find issues with the latest instalment of the franchise, but if they can push their preconceptions aside, they might discover (ha) that Star Trek: Discovery is a thoroughly entertaining show, that might one day be great.