Star Trek Guide

Discovery Season 3 Breaks A Star Trek Crash-Landing Tradition

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

The USS Discovery crash-landed in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2 "Far From Home," but, by the end of the episode, it achieved liftoff once more, unlike the other Starfleet ships that crash-landed in other Star Trek TV shows and movies. Instead of saying goodbye to their fallen starship, the crew of the Discovery repaired and resurrected their vessel with a little help from Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and a tractor beam.

Starship crash-landings are often major events in Star Trek, with the destruction of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek Generations regarded as the most famous loss of a Starship vessel. The Enterprise-D's doom is so well-known that it was parodied in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Crisis Point" where a holodeck simulation of the USS Cerritos had an identically cinematic crash-landing. The alternate Kelvin universe version of Captain James T. Kirk's (Chris Pine) Starship Enterprise also crash-landed in Star Trek Beyond, which was an homage to the Enterprise-D's demise. However, none of those starships, including the USS Voyager, which crashed in an alternate timeline, were able to return to space after being destroyed by the impact of their crash-landings.

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At the onset of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, the Discovery was separated from Michael in the wormhole they time-traveled through. The eponymous starship crash-landed on an unnamed ice planet one year after Burnham arrived in the distant future, making the Discovery's arrival year 3189. Unfortunately, the Discovery was badly damaged from the crash, although the ingenious tactics utilized by Acting Captain Saru (Doug Jones), helmsman Lt. Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts), and the bridge crew such as using the shields to absorb the brunt of the atmosphere and graviton beams to slow their descent saved the starship from being disintegrated or coming apart upon collision with the surface. The fact that the Discovery's crew managed to keep their vessel intact despite the crash-landing was the key to them bucking Star Trek tradition and relaunching the Discovery once more.

Working against the Discovery and her crew in "Far From Home" was the planet's parasitic ice, which manifested in darkness and threatened to consume the starship and its passengers. While the ship's engineering team scrambled to get its systems back online, Saru and Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) made first contact with the Coridans who lived in a mining settlement called The Colony, but they were being extorted by their courier, a black hat villain named Zareh (Jake Weber). But with the help of Emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), the Starfleet Officers turned the tables on Zareh and liberated The Colony. In return, the Coridan allies Saru and Tilly made gave them the resources they needed to complete Discovery's repairs.

Still, the Discovery's impulse engines weren't sufficient to break free from the grip of the planet's parasitic ice. Fortunately, the comms were repaired prior to liftoff thanks to Georgiou's machinations and Michael was able to locate her starship, possibly with the help of Aditya Sahil (Adil Hussain), the new Starfleet communications chief Burnham commissioned at the end of Star Trek: Discovery's season 3 premiere, "That Hope Is You, Part 1." Michael came to the rescue aboard the starship owned by her new friend Cleveland "Book" Booker (David Ajala) and his tractor beam was more than enough to get Discovery off the ground and back to the stars, which was a thrilling moment in more ways than one.

In Star Trek: Picard, Jean-Luc's (Patrick Stewart) hired starship, La Sirena, and the Borg Cube Artifact also crashed on the planet Coppelius. La Sirena's motley crew were able to repair their starship and Picard flew it himself into space to face off against an invading Romulan fleet; however, La Sirena isn't a Starfleet ship, though it was also able to survive a crash-landing. Meanwhile, the Artifact remained mired on Coppelius and its fate is unknown.

The Discovery crash-landing and rising again like a phoenix wasn't just a rousing moment but it was gratifying to see the starship overcome a crisis that defeated even the Enterprise. As for the exterior damage the Discovery sustained from its ice planet crash-landing, there are, unfortunately, no Federation starbases or shipyards in the 32nd century the ship can turn to for a drydock refit. However, the updated opening credits of Star Trek: Discovery season 3 feature the schematics of Starfleet repair droids, which is tech the Discovery has aboard that the other Star Trek ships that crash-landed didn't have the benefit of.

Star Trek: DiscoverySeason 3 streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Netflix.

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