Tuesday, 5 January 2021

There is a Tide...: Discovery S03 E12

Forming the middle piece of a clear three part story, There is a Tide... also offers the unexpected as with its immediate predecessor. 

Osyraa is in full control of Discovery and through a rouse utilising her own ship, the Viridian, she manages to get inside the shield bubble of Federation Headquarters. Oddly her reasons for getting into the base are not what you would consider. Apparently instead of taking down the Federation she wants the Emerald Chain to join them and utilise the good points from both organisations. Just to be sure he’s not being taken for a fool, Admiral Vance utilises a lie detecting hologram (Eli... geddit?!) to fact check Osyraa.

She’s telling the truth and suddenly everything isn’t as crystal clear as it might have been although. Acne is understandably remaining cautious to Osyraa’s motives. 

Aboard the Discovery it’s a different story. Book and Burnham crash his ship into the landing bay just before it skips into the shield bubble of headquarters with the pilot accepting capture so Michael can slip aboard unnoticed.

Cue Discovery’s Die Hard with Burnham even managing to lose her boots at one point. I was half expecting her to have to walk across glass a few minutes later. To be fair I don’t think it’s a benefit to compare it to the ‘80’s action classic as Burnham doesn’t really go all out gung ho and the action splits between her and the bridge crew who are set on escaping from the ready room.

The diplomacy aboard headquarters balances comfortingly with the shooting and adrenalin aboard Discovery. The episode also brings back Zareth from Far From Home as Osyraa’s heavy plus there’s an even more welcome return to the franchise for Kenneth Mitchell in his first appearance without Klingon makeup. 

Keen to uncover the wonders of the spore drive, Stamets has been placed under mind control and now faces Osyraa’s lead scientist Aurellio. Blinded by the opportunities he has been afforded, Aurellio is unable to see his employer’s true colours. Mitchell is excellent in the role and the use of the hovering wheelchair fits the character while also being sadly necessary as the actor revealed some time ago that he is now suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The penultimate episode does a lot of things right - in fact it’s a step up again from Su’Kal in that even the Emerald Chain twist feels to be the right move in the story. Vance makes a wise move in a counter demand that Osyraa stand trial for her actions prior but this, as you might think, is a sticking point she cannot get past. It also means the episode isn’t over action-orientated and Burnham centric but the absence of Saru and the events inside the Verubin Nebula is conspicuous. It heightens the tension that Stamets is hellbent on getting back there to rescue Saru, Culber and Adira - his life is back in the nebula.

His outbursts are understandable as is his reaction to Burnham’s solution. Stamets has to be off the ship to remove him from danger and activating the spore drive but he is therefore unable to launch a rescue. It's an incredibly moving moment and a character conflict that makes sense within the Discovery framework. 

There is a Tide... certainly ends with a lot of hope and a call back to not just the titles but also to a couple of Short Treks. The sphere data piece which has been alluded to on more than ne occasion is set to play a key role in the finale as are those cute little DOT droids. Stage set, one more to go.

Track back on our season three Discovery reviews HERE

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All images CBS All Access

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