Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery’s Detmer Proves How Great a Pilot She Really Is

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 8, "The Sanctuary," now streaming on CBS All Access.

The third season of Star Trek: Discovery has gone to great lengths to give Lieutenant Keyla Detmer her own storylines. The character has been part of the series since it began, but was rarely given the spotlight. This season, however, Detmer has developed into a more complicated and accomplished character.

After the arrival of the U.S.S. Discovery in the 32nd century, Detmer was one of the most affected by the sudden and drastic change. Fortunately, she overcame that challenge, just in time for a new one to manifest in the form of Starfleet's future technology. The Discovery's new controls are unreliable at first, but Detmer eventually proves how great a pilot she truly is.

Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now

When the U.S.S. Discovery and its crew were reunited with the Federation, the ship was given plenty of upgrades. One of them was a new helm, which was comprised entirely of programmable matter meant to adapt to its user's needs. But as we learn in the series' latest episode, Detmer isn't ready to let go of her previous helm just yet. She's had modifications built in as a fail-safe because she doesn't fully trust these new controls. It's understandable, after all: Detmer is the ship's pilot -- she has the life of everyone onboard in her hands, and she isn't ready to trust technology she isn't familiar with on the next mission.

However, in "The Sanctuary," she has no choice but to start using this new technology -- and she shows that she had no reason to doubt herself or the adaptive controls.

In the episode, the Discovery goes on a mission to protect the planet Kwejian from the Emerald Chain and its brutal leader, Osyraa. The Discovery's orders prevent them from getting directly involved with Osyraa, lest they start a war with the villainous syndicate of Orions and Andorians. However, First Officer Tilly finds a loophole when she determines that a non-Federation starship could attack Osyraa's forces -- all they would need is a "rogue" pilot who would later get disciplined for their insubordinate actions.

Detmer, of course, knows she is meant to be this rogue pilot. Without hesitation, she hops aboard Cleveland Booker's ship and flies it into battle against Osyraa's Viridian. Book's ship is a much smaller vessel than the Discovery, and it allows Detmer to cut loose. She uses the ship's full speed and maneuverability to avoid Osyraa's blasts and attacks every chance she gets. Then, when she's ready to kick things up at notch, she switches to full manual control, using the programmable matter to create controls that are adapted to her needs.

With this, Detmer soars, revealing herself to be one of the best fighter pilots in the Star Trek franchise. For years, she's been at the helm of a massive ship that was limited in its movements and attacks. On the Discovery, she showed the crew could depend on her and that she prioritized the safety of everyone onboard. But on Book's ship, she demonstrates she's a force to be reckoned with.

Streaming on CBS All Access, Star Trek: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Commander Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, David Ajala as Cleveland "Book" Booker, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Ian Alexander as Gray, Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. New episodes of Season 3 air on Thursdays.

About The Author