‘Star Trek Discovery’ Season 3 Episode 6: Scavengers

Burnham puts Saru in a precarious position when a message from Book compels her to pursue an unsanctioned mission.

Clarence Brown
Discussing Network

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I’m the biggest bully here.

Michael Burnham has already seen a Star Trek-arc unlike any other, yet Discovery continues to evolve the character in an interesting and profound way. An evolution in which Michael’s human nature has constantly been at war with her Vulcan upbringing, and in the process, taken her from one of Starfleet’s most promising officers to disgraced mutineer and back again. However misguided in her actions, Michael’s belief in Federation principles had never been a question of debate. But after a year-long life as a courier, and skirting those principles as a means of survival, one has to wonder if she will ever be the same. Or what’s more, if Captain Saru (Doug Jones) can handle a first-officer who may not be the Burnham he has come to know and trust.

Season 3, Episode 6: Scavengers

We open the episode with a meeting led by Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr), with Saru making his debut amount the council of captains. A meeting in which Vance vaults Discovery and her crew to the top of the list of vital strategic importance for Starfleet. Ironically enough, it a place not too dissimilar from Discovery’s role during the Federation-Klingon War of the 2250s. While Discovery is ready to contribute to Starfleet duties of exploration and diplomacy, Admiral Vance has staged Discovery as Starfleet’s first responder; a position which may cause some ire among the other captains. Vance also brings up Osyraa, whom we learn is the head of the Orion-Andorian syndicate known as the Emerald Chain, seemingly setting up Osyraa as the big bad of the season.

Meanwhile, we are also privy to the technological advances of the three-week-long refit of the U.S.S. Discovery, getting the ship ready for the 32nd century. We also now see the United Space Ship Discovery has added an ‘A’ to its registry, signifying the refit; which includes updates to internal systems, detached nacelles, and programmable matter consoles. The crew also receive a huge bump in combadge technology, with integrated holo-pads, tricorders, communicators, and even transporters; quite a leap from the combadge of the 2250s.

Do we really need all this? Hell yeah, we do!

While breaking in the new tech, Lieutenant Bryce (Ronnie Rowe, Jr.) picks up an incoming transmission from outside the Federation distortion field from the ship of Michael’s close friend Cleveland Booker (David Ajala); a ship which is now only occupied by Book’s ‘queen’, Grudge. Burnham and Saru view a message from Book; stating that while traveling to the Bajoran Exchange, he received a lead for another Federation black box on Hunhau — an m-class salvage planet within the Emerald Chain. And since his message was made more than three weeks ago, in all likelihood Book has been captured.

Upon learning of Book’s possible capture, Burnham explains her black box theory to Captain Saru; stating that she has found a time variance in two black boxes during her year as a courier and that finding more could be the key to triangulating the source of the burn. While Saru finds Burnham’s theory fascinating, he reminds Burnham of her duties as the ship’s first officer, and that Discovery cannot go on any mission while Admiral Vance has the ship on standby for a possible jump to Argeth.

Next, Burnham confers with Phillippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh); emploring her help in a rogue mission to both retrieve the black box and rescue Book. After a little coercing, the duo head out on their rogue mission. On the journey to Hunhau, we get at the core of the relationship between Book and Burnham, a companionship that Georgiou, and we-the-viewer for that matter, has seen all along. Some of the best moments in the episode occur on this journey, as we see Georgiou deliver a masterful array of quips at the bond between Burnham and the blob-whisperer.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yep.

As the conversation continues, an even bigger mystery emerges in Georgiou, as it would seem that Georgiou’s conversation with Kovich in ‘Die Trying’ may have triggered something with our resident terrain. We see Phillippa have a very disturbing vision. A vision that occurs again later in the episode. We also find that she’s been having these visions for about two weeks; which is about as long as Discovery has been at Starfleet/Federation headquarters. The visions are mostly comprised of terrain imagery, ranging from the I.S.S Charon to Lorca’s death; but the most fascinating nugget is found in what seems to be a younger Georgiou, kneeling over someone wearing a black and red suit with a luchador-style mask, all while yelling “San!” As of yet, there really aren’t many clues as to what we are seeing, but I’m willing to bet Starfleet’s terrain-expert Kovich has something to do with it.

Upon arriving on the salvage planet, our duo goes to work at devising a method to obtain the black box and a means of escape for Cleveland Booker; dangling their dilithium as collateral to obtain entry, and reverse engineering the tracker in Grudge’s collar to locate Book. Naturally enough, Georgiou takes on the role of a captain in need of 23rd-century technology, while Burnham is her number one. We learn the salvage yard is run by Osyraa’s nephew, and its workforce is comprised of people who owe Osyraa.

Suffice to say, it doesn’t take long for Burnham and Georgiou to disable the Running Man-style parameter and save Booker and the friends. While cliche, the dynamic of our rogue team working on the outside, while Book rallied the workers from inside the facility, was fun to see play out. For me personally, it also solidified just how much Burnham has rubbed off on Book as well, as I’m not so sure the Book from a year ago would have gone back for the Andorian doctor, Ryn (Noah Averbach-Katz).

You find Book, while I stir up trouble.

As an aside, everything visually about the salvage yard was top-notch. In particular, the outdoor visuals and the overall look of the planet. The debris field in space and the older federation ships within the planet’s atmosphere make the world look lived in and authentic. We also get a shot of Book’s ship dynamically reconfiguring while making a last-second rescue of Book and an injured Ryn. Improbable, yes, but it made the visual no less breathtaking.

Lastly, we have to look at the precarious position in which Burnham has left her captain. She went rogue. And while she didn’t directly defy orders, she went off-script to do what she thought needed to be done. Not only did it leave Saru with having to convey the actions via an already rocky relationship with Admiral Vance, but it also left Saru with the responsibility of invoking an appropriate punishment for Burnham, the ship’s first officer, having compromised the success of a possible mission to Argeth. The entire ordeal leaves Saru being chastised for not bringing Burnham’s idea to the admiral, and Burnham being demoted from her role as Discovery’s first officer.

We have a lot in store for the rest of the season. So many mysteries yet to be uncovered. I think it’s time we started getting some answers to some of these burning questions. What caused the Burn? What is the mystery in Adira’s song? What’s going on with Georgiou’s visions? We wait with collective bated breath.

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Clarence Brown
Discussing Network

Podcasting and writing mostly about Star Trek. Somewhere in Texas.