Star Trek: Discovery Battle At The Binary Stars Review
Star Trek: Discovery: Season 1, Episode 2: Battle At The Binary Stars is a loud follow-up to the quieter pilot that builds on the political analogies its predecessor drew.
Picking up where the first episode left off, Battle portrays the result of First Officer Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) plan to greet incoming Klingons with the Vulcan Hello: you guessed it, a battle. While war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire was a given, the way in which the show depicts the initiation of hostilities is surprising.
Although we are clearly supposed to view the Klingon upstart T’Kuvma (Chris Obi) as being in the wrong for egging the numerous houses of the Empire into war, Burnham is shown as being equally responsible for convincing Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) into trying to bluff their way to peace by making it seem like the Discovery is prepared to fire on the Klingons’ vessel. What makes this take all the more unexpected is the fact that the previous episode ended with Burnham seemingly vindicated by the arrival of the Klingon fleet, portraying her as a lonely Cassandra warning about the spacefaring barbarians at the gates. Instead, she comes across as a more reckless version of Captain Kirk, engaging in the kind of life-risking gambits that the Enterprise chief habitually indulged in but lacking the dumb luck necessary for them to work.
In another strange connection to earlier installments of the franchise, it’s easy to read the episode’s political set-up as an inversion of the sixth Trek film, The Undiscovered Country. But whereas Undiscovered saw doves amongst the Federation and Klingons foil the machinations of their respective sides’ hawks to make their space cold war go hot, Discovery sees the hawks triumph, with the galaxy being plunged into a devastating conflict that The Original Series repeatedly referenced but never depicted. Considering that Star Trek VI came out just weeks before the Soviet Union collapsed, it’s telling that the program has returned to portraying the Klingons as the black hats just as commentators and politicians talk up the notion of a renewed Cold War with Russia.
As if the whole “increasing tension between two ideologically-opposed superpowers” wasn’t on the nose enough, the episode doubles down on the obvious analogy between T’Kuvma’s “Remain Klingon” credo and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” ideology. With his talk of preserving the unique character of the Empire and defending it from foreign interlopers, it’s not hard to tell who T’Kuvma is supposed to be a stand-in for and how we’re supposed to receive him or his real-life inspiration. Regardless of where one falls on political spectrum, the episode is pretty solid and leaves viewers looking forward to more from Star Trek: Discovery.
Leave your thoughts on this Star Trek: Discovery review and this episode of Star Trek: Discovery in the comments section. Readers seeking more TV show reviews can visit our TV Show Review Page, our TV Show Review Twitter Page, our TV Show Review Facebook Page, and our TV Show Review Google+ Page. Want up-to-the-minute notification? FilmBook staff members publish articles by Email, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and Facebook.