Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery: Why Detmer Is Acting Strange In Season 3

What's going on with Lieutenant Detmer in Star Trek: Discovery season 3? The good ship Discovery finally crashed into the future in the second installment of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, only to find Burnham had already beaten them by a full year. With the wormhole trip testing the Discovery to her limits, Saru and the crew are forced to execute a crash landing on a planet that looks suspiciously like Iceland. While the situation looks momentarily hairy, Lt. Detmer suggests a thermal roll and manages to land the ship with only minimal casualties, earning a well-earned round of applause from her peers in the process.

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While Detmer should be reveling in a job well done, things are rarely so simple in Star Trek: Discovery, and immediately after landing the ship successfully, she began spacing out. Distracted or disorientated, Detmer is given the one-over in sickbay and receives the all-clear, but when the Discovery attempts to take off from a patch of parasitic ice at the climax of the episode, Detmer's detachment is only getting worse, and she struggles to focus on the task at hand. Were it not for Burnham arriving in the nick of time with a well-placed tractor beam, Detmer's failings might've proved fatal.

The simplest explanation is that Detmer is injured, or her cybernetic implant is damaged. The character appears perfectly normal before the landing, but receives a nasty head injury during the crash. It's entirely possible that she's still groggy from a bump on the head. But then why would sickbay clear her, and why would she still be struggling when the episode ends? A second possible explanation is PTSD. The entire crew of the Discovery was in Detmer's capable hands during the landing, and while she saved many with her skills, there were severe injuries too. As Detmer sits in sickbay, the many casualties seem to weigh heavy upon her, perhaps hinting towards some guilt that she couldn't do more. This could lead into Hugh Culber taking on a therapist's role in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, as with Troi in The Next Generation.

By far the most exciting explanation, however, is that Keyla Detmer has a small fragment of Control stuck inside her cybernetic enhancements. The main villain of Star Trek: Discovery season 2, Control was a deadly AI intent of wiping out organic life. The Discovery worked with the Enterprise to destroy Control (Georgiou even had some leftovers on her shoes) and took the data it sought into the future for safe keeping. Despite such hard work, it's possible Control has followed the Discovery into the 32nd century, and Detmer might be the carrier. Control was capable of infecting machinery like a virus, and already plagued the Discovery's Airiam, leading to her death in one of Star Trek: Discovery's saddest episodes. Before his death at the hands of Georgiou, Leland was perhaps able to transfer into another partially cybernetic organism. And it makes sense that Detmer's corruption would be less obvious, since she's more flesh and blood than Airiam. Detmer herself likely doesn't know what's wrong - only that something is wrong.

Needless to say, bringing Control into the future is very bad time travel etiquette indeed. Without warp ships or a Federation, the galaxy is already enduring a tough time in the 32nd century, and throwing an evil AI program into the mix is sure to make matters worse. Moreover, the future offers a host of new toys for Control to play with, including nanotech, which would be devastating in Leland's cold, mechanical hands.

On one hand, Star Trek: Discovery's focus on supporting characters such as Detmer is very welcome. Some of the Discovery's bridge crew have been little more than set dressing at times, so affording Detmer a proper mystery storyline goes some way towards fixing that. However, the Control infection angle already played out with Airiam, and the Detmer plot would have to play out very differently in order to avoid a retread of Star Trek: Discovery season 2.

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