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Star Trek: Discovery Finally Hits Its Stride

Michael and Tyler on Star Trek: Discovery

The third episode of Star Trek: Discovery‘s second season, “Point of Light,” felt like the Star Trek show I’ve been dying to watch with this crew.

I often find myself critiquing Star Trek: Discovery not because I dislike the show, but because I like it very much and think it has potential that has been squandered by some previous episodes and plotlines. That’s why season two’s third episode, “Point of Light,” felt like such a breath of fresh air and zoomed Discovery in the right direction at warp speed. The episode was tightly-scripted and action-packed, yet still managed significant character and plot development. More of this, please.

To my surprise, revisiting the Klingons this time around was the real emotional wallop of the episode. The saga of L’Rell as a female leader—complete with many of the struggles women in power face today—felt apt and important. Yet for the seeming familiarity of that plot, the complexity of her relationship with Tyler/Voq was new.

Ash Tyler and L'Rell on Star Trek Discovery

On the one hand, the two shared a love story when he was Voq. On the other, Tyler’s memories of L’Rell are of her abusing him, or as he put it, in his memory it feels like “a violation.” Considering that Discovery was pretty groundbreaking in showing a male victim of assault dealing with its aftermath, I’m very glad the show didn’t totally retcon or ignore this part of their history.

The duality of Tyler’s existence—not quite a Klingon, and not accepted as one, and not quite the human he was turned into—is fascinating. He’s no longer Voq, and he was never really Ash Tyler. This sets up a character journey unlike anything I’ve seen before.

The scenes of Tyler and L’Rell fighting for their baby’s life were nail-biting, and I only wish the “scenes from next week” the prior episode hadn’t spoiled Georgiou’s dramatic arrival and intervention. Michelle Yeoh is so good in this role that I would gladly watch a whole hour of her in it, so I hope that this episode could be the set-up for the rumored Section 31 spin-off. If Tyler were to join that show I’d have no complaints, though I also enjoy his dynamic with Michael and it was excellent to see them get to interact again.

Both of them treat their severed relationship like adults who accept the extenuating circumstances while remaining wounded by the fallout. The yearning mixed with pain they both evince during their holographic interaction, and the gorgeous way it was shot, may be one the best moments on Discovery thus far. Michael smiling encouragingly at Tyler through tears in her eyes was just perfect. This was some quality space drama.

Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler on Star Trek Discovery

Rather than dragging out the bizarre situation of Tilly and May, Discovery also quickly brought this subplot to a head, though it obviously has more places to go in the future. But many characters got to partake in Tilly’s mycelial mystery, including Saru, Stamets, Michael, and Pike. Tilly’s conundrum provided for the kind of supportive ensemble moments and problem-solving I love to see on Star Trek.

Amanda’s time on Discovery forwarded the plot concerning what’s going on with Spock and neatly tied into the “mother” theme running through this episode. I’m also even more interested now as to what went down between Spock and Michael that could have been so deeply felt. But this week, the “searching for Spock / Red Angel” main plot shared space well with the other action onscreen, namely Klingon politics, Michael and Tyler, and Tilly. “Point of Light” showed that Discovery can deftly handle several storylines at once.

I loved this episode. There were a few overdone moments: did anyone really believe L’Rell was hoisting her baby’s severed head up for the Klingon assembly and did we really need that imagery? But the fast-moving pace that still managed emotional resonance made this one of my favorite hours of Discovery to date. Please say this is where we’re headed in the future.

What did you think of “Point of Light”?

(images: CBS)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.