Locking spoilers on target…
Following a slow start, "Star Trek: Discovery" pulled its socks up with Episode 2, which we hoped would set a new benchmark and keep the standard high. Bar one or two minor moans, the third episode entitled "Point of Light" is not bad and sits somewhere between the first two in terms of quality. And then there is an interesting turn of events at the end that no one will have seen coming.
In a nice touch, the "Previously on 'Star Trek: Discovery'…" recap sequence is in Klingon, with English subtitles, giving a pretty strong indication of at least one of the story arcs in this episode. [The Evolution of 'Star Trek' (Infographic)]
We begin during the closing stages of a half-marathon through the corridors of the USS Discovery, during which the annoying apparition of May Ahern (Bahia Watson) keeps talking to Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and leaving her unclear as to what it means and even questioning her own sanity. As the race finishes,the Discovery receives a request to rendezvous from a long-range shuttle with Sarek's wife, Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner), aboard. Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) greets her foster mother and Amanda speaks of her concern for her son, Spock.
Following the opening credits we get to see TylerVoq (Shazad Latif) and L'Rell (Mary Chieffo) for the first time this season as they deal with issues caused by unifying the Klingon houses, a process that was just beginning at the finale of the first season.
In an effort to convince the leaders of the different houses of his leadership abilities, TylerVoq promises the Empire a new weapon, a (newer?) D7-Class battlecruiser. Since we saw reference to one of these iconic Klingon warships in the episode "Choose Your Pain" (S01, E05), we can only assume this is a new variation of that same ship type.
Kol-Sha (Kenneth Mitchell) remains unconvinced and insists that the "half-breed" TylerVoq — recall, he was transformed last season to resemble and have the memories of a human — is unfit to be the "torchbearer" and because she follows him, L'Rell shares his shame. Being Klingons, they naturally end up in a bit of scuffle, which sets up one of this episode's aforementioned moans, a somewhat suspect and unconvincing plot device which we shall revisit a little later.
Back on the Discovery, Amanda and Burnham share information on Spock. Burnham explains that her step-brother knew of the mysterious red bursts (which the Discovery has been chasing since Episode 1) long before the Federation detected them, but that she's run out of leads to investigate. Amanda produces a copy of the encrypted Starfleet medical file on Spock that she stole from the psychiatric unit on Starbase 5.
And then we're back to Q'onoS, the Klingon homeworld. TylerVoq and L'Rell continue to ponder their position and talk about how they might convince the other houses of the importance of their cause. Cut to a close-up of TylerVoq trying to wash his hands of the war paint that he acquired during his scuffle with Kol-Sha. But it's just not coming off.
Their conversation turns to the feelings they once had for each other, feelings that L'Rell still has, but poor TylerVoq is more than a little confused. Don't forget he and Burnham had strong emotions for each other at the end of Season 1 with his human form, whereas L'Rell and he were in love when he was fully Klingon.
"You touch me and that intimacy to me, Tyler, feels like violation," he says to L'Rell, causing her, understandably, to withdraw from him.
Meanwhile, on the USS Discovery, Burnham has done the right thing and consulted with Captain Pike (Anson Mount) about Spock's medical file. It is of course against Starfleet regulations for Pike to authorize that stolen medical file be decrypted, so to get a better sense of the situation, he puts a call through to Captain Vela (Xavier Sotelo) on Starbase 5. The dialogue is nice here and Pike handles the situation with both empathy and professionalism. In fact, Pike is pretty much stealing every scene he's in at the moment and is rapidly becoming a fan favorite.
He explains to Vela that he's well within his rights — not only as Spock's commanding officer, but also as the individual assigned by Starfleet to investigate the red burst signals — to be given Spock's prognosis. However, Vela isn't budging. He says that Spock is wanted for murder, apparently killing three of his doctors and then fleeing the station. This is enough for Pike; he politely hangs up the call and orders Burnham to proceed and decrypt the stolen medical file. ['Star Trek: Discovery' Tried Out Over 400 Spock Actors Before Casting Ethan Peck]
Amanda recognizes images of the red angel and identifies them as something Spock drew when he was a boy … and then Burnham unexpectedly receives a call. She returns to her quarters and we see that it's TylerVoq calling from Q'onoS.
He explains the fragile and potentially volatile situation on the Klingon homeworld — if L'Rell falls, peace falls with her — and he asks that the Federation be made aware. The emotional awkwardness of their hologramatic conversation is handled well and the scene benefits from some creative cinematography and editing. They share with each other that they both currently have deeply personal issues to deal with, and TylerVoq all but admits he still has feelings for Burnham.
A throwaway remark is made by Burnham, who says, "I heard that post-war, the Klingons are growing their hair again," which is nice way of addressing this "Discovery" costuming decision.
The most minor, yet most annoying, subplot taking place in this episode is Ensign Tilly and her whole dealing-with-an-invisible-entity issue. During a command training exercise on the bridge, Tilly resorts to shouting at her imaginary friend, to the absolute shock of everyone watching. She ultimately freaks out and excuses herself from the bridge.
We cut back to Q'onoS and TylerVoq is still struggling with that pesky war paint on his hands. He spots someone lurking in the shadows and confronts the cloak-clad Klingon who reveals to him … his infant. Evidently, L'Rell became pregnant with Voq's child before he underwent the choH'a surgical procedure that made him look human. The baby appears to be albino, as Voq was. Following this revelation, TylerVoq clears his head of any confusion and makes a solemn vow to willingly take on the responsibility of being the child's father and remain at L'Rell's side.
Back on the USS Discovery, an emotional exchange takes places between Amanda and her adopted daughter. Burnham confesses that it wasn't Spock's vision of the red angel he'd had when he was a child that drove him to become a recluse — as his mother believed until this point — in fact, it was Burnham's actions.
"My presence was a danger to the family," Burnham says. "If the logic extremists couldn't get to me, they would try to get to him. He was my little shadow, so I had to wound him deep enough to keep him away from me."
"What did you do?" Amanda asks, voicing what we're all thinking at this point. Burnham says nothing; her top lip quivers so much it almost hits resonance and the furrow in her brow is deeper than a dilithium mine on Deneb V.
"The fact that you're not saying anything means you must have hurt him irreparably," Amanda says, her steely gaze not wavering for one second. "Which is why the four of us can never get together, which is why you're always too busy."
Thus this unconvincing reason sows the seeds for not only for an emotional Burnham-Spock reunion, but possibly also the reason why Spock never once mentions his step-sister after this chapter of his life. It begs the question whether Sybok, Spock's older brother, has rejected logic by this point — as detailed in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" — and if anyone, particularly his parents, knows about it. [Where No Films Have Gone Before: The Complete 'Star Trek' Movie List]
The rapid pace of the episode continues and while it's enthralling to see so much, it does feel a little rushed in an attempt to set up so many plot points in a short time.
TylerVoq and L'Rell enter the baby's chamber to find the guard impaled and the child missing. Which brings us to the second major moan for this episode. Turns out that indelible war paint was "swimming with sensor implants" and so Kol-Sha has been able to listen in on everything, including the call TylerVoq made to Burnham. The infant hostage will only be released in exchange for full control of the Klingon Council.
Tilly meanwhile makes her way to Burnham's quarters to talk about her unexpected apparition. Through some slightly questionable logic, Burnham deduces that the entity is not something from Tilly's subconscious (despite the fact that Ahern knew Tilly's nickname in the previous episode) and that the dark matter from the asteroid reacts to one thing: spores. Time to check in with Stamets (Anthony Rapp).
Kol-Sha, TylerVoq and L'Rell meet to exchange the kidnapped Klingon infant and, naturally, it all turns violent. In a furious hand-to-hand battle with Bat'leths, and possibly even a Gin'tak or two, TylerVoq and L'Rell fight as a team to defeat Kol-Sha's guard. Kol-Sha himself, however, remains and gains the upper hand over TylerVoq.
Out of nowhere, a mysterious figure appears, vaporizing the remaining guards and immobilizing Kol-Sha. TylerVoq wastes no time and thrusts his sword deep into his adversary's torso. The figure approaches and removes a holographic disguise to reveal Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) from the Mirror Universe, last seen in some backwater shantytown on Q'onoS being recruited by the clandestine division of Starfleet, known as Section 31.
Georgiou explains that it is essential that L'Rell lead the Klingon Empire and that as long as TylerVoq remains alive, L'Rell will not be taken seriously. The child is a liability as well and must also be disposed of, she says. L'Rell isn't exactly overjoyed at this news and insists that she will not be forced to choose between, on the one hand, becoming chancellor and, on the other, her child and its father.
Back on the Discovery, Stamets performs a scan on Tilly. He confirms that she's carrying a eukaryotic organism as a result of that tiny green spore attaching itself to her in the episode "What's Past is Prologue" (S01, E13). In order to remove this multi-dimensional fungal parasite Stamets will use the attraction between the fungal spores and the dark matter asteroid to … er ... suck Ahern out of Tilly. The ridiculous procedure works and the offending alien blob of snot is contained within a force field.
In front of the leaders of the Klingon houses, L'Rell produces the decapitated head of TylerVoq and her infant child. Tossing them both into the lava stream below, she swears allegiance and unswerving loyalty to the Klingon Empire.
Cut to deep space and a ship bearing a resemblance to Federation design, but significantly more advanced in appearance, settles in orbit around the planet Boreth, where the Boreth monastery that was established by the Followers of Kahless is located. To the Klingons, this is the most sacred location in the Empire. Worf visits the monastery to explore his Klingon heritage in "The Next Generation" episode "Rightful Heir" (S06, E23).
Aboard this ship, TylerVoq explains to Georgiou that the monastery is where he wants his child to grow up. The baby Klingon will never know his mother or his father, but this way, it will be safe. Through helpful exposition we learn that the decapitated heads L'Rell used were digitally synthesized using technology beyond what Starfleet has. This could only be the work of Section 31.
And then, the single best part of this whole episode: It's subtly suggested that TylerVoq is joining the clandestine Starfleet division. "He's in," Georgiou confidently says to Agent Leland (Alan van Sprang).
Of course we all already knew Georgiou had been recruited by Section 31, so as much fun as it was to see for the first time, it was no surprise. The additional recruitment of TylerVoq was a well-kept secret that no one saw coming, and it ultimately saves this over-packed episode of exposition and scene-setting.
The first season of "Star Trek: Discovery" is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the U.S. and Netflix in the U.K. "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 1 is available now on Blu-ray.
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery comprises 14 episodes with no midseason break. It airs on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on the Space TV channel in Canada, and in the rest of the world on Netflix on Fridays.