Roush Review: A Time Jump Refreshes ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Star Trek Discovery Season 3
Michael Gibson/CBS

There’s no such thing as an easy landing for Star Trek‘s dynamic Discovery spinoff as the show reinvents itself for Season 3 by jumping forward 930 years into the unknown.

First through the wormhole: Cdr. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green, as formidably earnest as ever), zooming through time and space in her tricked-out suit, when she collides with the ship of space pirate Cleveland “Book” Booker (a jaunty David Ajala). With his craft damaged and her suit sent back to the great beyond, they’re going to have to get along to get ahead.

This is the Trek version of a combative meet-cute. The relationship predictably gets off to a rocky start — “Don’t call me Rocket Girl,” she bristles — but several firefights, arrests and escapades later, the Starfleet hero is no longer flying solo.

Where does that leave the U.S.S. Discovery? Its fate is revealed next week, and true to form, the ship finds itself stuck in parasitic ice after crashing on a hostile planet. But there’s more indignity to come — because everyone they meet regards the crew, and their gizmos, as antiques.

star trek discovery season 3

(Credit: James Dimmock/CBS)

“We like to think of her as a classic,” retorts perky Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman) when asked Discovery‘s age. I agree.

The temporal shift enlivens the fabled franchise with a new sense of adventure and purpose once they learn the status of a diminished Federation. New characters like the irreverent Book and, in future episodes, an inquisitive young scientist Adira (the non-binary actor Blu del Barrio), add elements of humor and wonder. There’s even heart-tugging sentiment as the crew is forced to consider what they’ve sacrificed and left behind all those centuries ago.

Only the awesome Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is unfazed, spoiling for a fight by taunting an enemy: “What you call pain, I call foreplay.” Bring it on!

Star Trek: Discovery, Season Premiere, Thursday, October 15, CBS All Access