[REVIEW] STAR TREK: DISCOVERY “Point of Light”

After Star Trek: Discovery‘s journey to the Beta Quadrant to explore the appearance of another red burst on last week’s episode, “Point of Light” jumpstarts this season’s post-war Klingon arc, featuring for the first time L’Rell and Ash Tyler/Voq as they struggle to maintain control of the Klingon Empire.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

While other important plot points did happen, including traction on the Discovery’s red burst mystery, this Klingon arc took front and center stage, indicted immediately by the chuckle-worthy use of the “previously on…” preface, spoken in Klingon. It’s a neat, fan-pleasing detail.

Fans also get a much-appreciated look at the origin of the classic Klingon D7 battlecruiser, a staple of the Klingon fleet throughout all incarnations of Star Trek. The idea that this signature ship can help unify the Klingons following the war with the Federation is a great addition to continuity and could help explain why it’s so ubiquitous in Trek canon. But, this is but a nice reference and only one thing that happened in L’Rell’s empire in this episode. She and her partner, the Klingon-turned–human Ash Tyler play politics with a couple of Klingon houses and react to a surprising discovery that deepens the relationship between the two Klingons.

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell and Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Mary Chieffo as L’Rell and Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler | CBS

Shazad Latif was a star player in season one, expertly portraying the intricate and unique struggle Tyler, a Starfleet officer, experienced as he had Voq graphed into him (a process that could stand a little more illumination, honestly). While he isn’t yet given material as striking and nuanced as what he tackled last season, Latif impresses again as he returns to the character, and the interaction between him and Mary Chieffo is a highlight here.

Equally striking is Discovery’s interpretation of Qo’nos, the Klingon homeworld, which is looking more like Mordor from Lord of the Rings than the stylized cityscape from, say, The Next Generation. Not that this interpretation is wrong or inappropriate; indeed, it looks great, and plenty of care was taken to grant the Klingons an environment that complements their Discovery redesign, while symbolizing their political upheaval.

Meanwhile, back on Discovery, Tilly’s hallucinations of her dead childhood friend get worse and even cause a scene on the bridge at the most inappropriate time.  It was a good call by the production crew to not draw out the “should I tell them?” mentality Tilly was facing about her imaginary friend. Tilly’s storyline in “Point of Light” is perhaps one of the most intriguing the show is currently offering. It’s known now that May Ahearn is from the spore network, which opens to door to how dead people can manifest themselves in reality. Paging Dr. Culber?

Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham and Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson
Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham and Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson | CBS

Elsewhere, Amanda gets more screen time than ever when she visits Discovery sans her husband. Seeing Spock’s mother and Burnham’s foster mother is a treat, as we delve deeper into the somewhat dysfunctional family dynamic the Vulcan household produced. Amanda taking matters into her own hands by stealing Spock’s medical record is a key bit of characterization – and one could see where Burnham gets her gung-ho attitude. The care evident within Burham, her mother, and Captain Pike for the still-yet-unseen Spock is adding fuel to his eventual appearance. Perhaps we’ll see him in the mid-season finale?

So, a lot going on in “Points of Light,” although it’s no surprise that veteran Star Trek director Olatunde Osunsanmi was able to weave together these various plot lines to keep the pacing interesting. While this episode ditched the reborn Trek-esque structure of the previous episode, it did provide key movement for most of our characters, and even helped introduce key players for the incoming Section 31 series.

Stray thoughts:

  • While we didn’t get a moment that spotlighted a bridge officer as we have in the past two episodes, there was an excellent tracking shot of all the bridge officers in this episode’s beginning.
  • In case there was any doubt, that was indeed Kenneth Mitchell playing Kol-Sha, father of Kol (Mitchell’s character from season one who met a fiery end on the Sarcophagus ship).
  • While it makes sense between seasons to change the appearance of a character (L’Rell in this case, and she is certainly not the only example of this in the Star Trek pantheon), the throwaway line between Burnham and Tyler about the Klingons growing their hair back after the war needs a little more elaboration. Why did they shave in the first place?
  • What is with this show and just completely vaporizing people?
  • It speaks volumes that L’Rell considers the title “Mother” more formidable than “Chancellor.”
  • Did you catch Linus in this episode? Hopefully, his sinuses are all better.

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