Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery’s Burnham and Lower Decks’ Mariner Now Have a Common Role

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 4, "Forget Me Not," now streaming on CBS All Access.

At the start of the third season of Star Trek: Discovery, Michael Burnham time-traveled to the year 3188 in order to stop the A.I. system known as Control. But although the Discovery was right behind her, it showed up in the future a year later. During that time, Burnham learned to survive in the dystopian landscape. She got a new job as a space courier and started operating outside of the rules of Starfleet.

Now, Burnham has been reunited with the rest of her crew and named the ship's First Officer. She has also become their guide in the 32nd century, and the new skills she picked up during her year alone have already proven extremely crucial to their survival and success. What's more, Burnham's newfound dependence on rule-breaking makes her similar to Star Trek: Lower Decks' Ensign Mariner.

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Beckett Mariner is the star of Star Trek: Lower Decks. In the animated series, the Ensign serves aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos, which is captained by her mother. Mariner is far from the starship's command crew and inner circle, but throughout Lower Decks' first season, she proves to be an invaluable part of the ship thanks to her skills as well as her general disregard for Starfleet rules and regulations.

In fact, Mariner's insubordination is front and center in the show's Season 1 finale, when her out-of-the-box plan allows the crew to survive a devastating attack. While Mariner often clashed with Captain Freeman because of her constant rule-breaking, the season ends with mother and daughter reaching an agreement: Mariner is now officially tasked with disregarding the rules in order to keep the crew safe from all manner of threats.

And this is, essentially, what Burnham is now doing with the Discovery in the 32nd century. While she is still a Starfleet officer at heart, during the year she spent on her own she also became something else. She believed in the ideals of the Federation, but she had to break all kinds of rules to survive.

Indeed, even Burnham admitted she was no longer the same person to Saru before she accepted his offer to become the ship's First Officer. The crew of the Discovery doesn't really understand what the future is like -- not yet anyway -- but Michael learned to navigate it. She knows what it takes to survive, and sometimes Starfleet's rules just don't cut it.

Burnham shows how much she has changed in Discovery's latest episode, "Forget Me Not," when she accompanies Adira on a mission to Trill. When both of their lives are potentially threatened, Michael doesn't hesitate to attack and incapacitate their enemies. Adira remarks her actions aren't exactly Starfleet regulation, and Burnham is well aware of that fact. But she's doing what needs to be done to keep others safe and ensure they complete their mission.

Burnham and Mariner may be separated by centuries but they both act in the same capacity aboard their respective ships. They are both on the fringes, disregarding the rules whenever necessary to ensure the safety of their crews.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Captain Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, Blu del Barrio as Adira, David Ajala as Cleveland “Book” Booker and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. A new episode arrives on CBS All Access every Thursday through Jan. 7, 2021.

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