Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 2 Is A Proper TOS Throwback

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2, "Far From Home"

Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2, "Far From Home" harkened back to the classic episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and its sense of danger and cowboy diplomacy. Star Trek: Discovery's season 3 premiere was all about Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), who landed in the 32nd-century alone. "Far From Home" details what happened to her starship, the U.S.S. Discovery, which crash-landed on an unnamed ice planet and became embroiled in a dilemma they had to literally shoot their way out of to save the Discovery from the threat of parasitic ice.

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The original 1960s Star Trek was pitched to NBC as "Wagon Train to the stars" by its creator Gene Roddenberry. TOS oftentimes felt like a Western with outer space as the wild frontier where there was no telling who or what the Starship Enterprise would encounter in its travels. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and their crew were explorers and scientists, but they often had to behave as gunslingers as well when opposed by the hostile alien beings they crossed paths with. Kirk's starship was known for flying by the seat of their pants and they gained a reputation for "cowboy diplomacy", as Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) described his predecessors' methods when he met Spock in the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter "Unification".

In Star Trek: Discovery, Commander Saru (Doug Jones) and Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) had to practice their own brand of cowboy diplomacy. After the Discovery became stranded on the ice planet, Saru and Tilly ventured to a mining settlement called The Colony to bargain for resources. They learned that the Coridans who lived in The Colony lived under the heel of their courier, Zareh (Jake Weber), who ran a protection racket and extorted the mining town for its dilithium and other minerals. Zareh was very much an old-school TOS black hat villain and he literally held Saru and Tilly, who wanted to go by the book, hostage at gunpoint. With its saloon setting and a bad guy wearing boots with spurs, "Far From Home" was very much an old Western, like the TOS season 3 episode "Spectre of the Gun".

Zareh's scheme was foiled when Emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) interjected herself into the scenario. A one-woman rescue squad, the Mirror Universe's former ruler quickly turned the tables on Zareh, who soon ended up as the hostage of the Starfleet Officers. Saru then promised that Discovery would solve the logistical problems that have plagued the Colony settlement. Beaten and humiliated, Zara's ultimate fate was left up to Os'ir the bartender (Lindsay Owen Pierre), and the Coridan condemned the malevolent courier to venture into the parasitic ice, which basically doomed him to die a horrible death.

It was a messy, morally grey solution, but despite Saru's attempts to adhere to Starfleet regulations, the Kelpien was bound by the limits of his power and authority in the 32nd century where the Discovery's crew are strangers with secrets that must be preserved. Meanwhile, Georgiou seemed invigorated by the seemingly lawless 32nd century and the limitless opportunities it could provide someone with her raw ambition to accumulate power and influence. Saru and the Discovery's crew only got hints of the state of the 32nd century and that the United Federation of Planets collapsed because of the Burn. But it was already clear in "Far From Home" that the time-tossed Discovery will be forced to use more cowboy diplomacy in their voyages in this far-future era.

Star Trek: Lower Decks also invoked TOS and how it seemed like Kirk and his crew were constantly meeting new aliens in the 23rd century when the galaxy was wilder. Star Trek: Discoveryseason 3 has excitedly signaled that the 32nd century will be just as freewheeling and unpredictable as Kirk's TOS era as the flagship CBS All-Access series charts a new Star Trek canon a thousand years after Kirk's legendary voyages.

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