We’re seeing the The Federation of the future in Star Trek: Discovery Season Three. The organization is not the one we’re used to. At least not in the traditional sense. Because of “The Burn”. Finally, we got to see the source, in “Su’kal”, episode 11. Perhaps not what we expected. Since we heard of this season’s central story-arc, we’ve been writing about it, analyzing implications and results of it. Our first feature, The Burning Question assessed possible links to events in a Star Trek: Voyager episode. But that can be ruled out, now.
Last week’s episode, “There is a Tide”, episode 12 , saw an interesting development. Osyrra (Janet Kidder) declared intent to join The Federation. Furthermore, she mentioned the necessity of Capitalism, too. Its merits. So, we’re here to explore that ideal in Star Trek.
Since the very first series, Star Trek (1966) hit screens, Capitalism was all but over. A radical idea. The films that followed, and subsequent shows went with that, too. As the socio-political premise of the story-world. Essentially, a utopia. But Discovery Season Three went 900 years into the future. No dilthium meant that Starfleet could no longer explore as it did. Its operation had to be scaled back. And there were also serious implications for The Federation, the political arm of Starfleet. In short, no more Utopia. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) discovered this before the rest of the crew, as she arrived first. That helped to give us a different version of the show’s central character. Burnham and The Burn offers a fuller breakdown of how we felt that would impact the season.
Introducing Booker (David Ajala) helped to establish The Federation of the future. His character showed that in many ways socialism was a luxury. One no longer able to be enjoyed. And the show was better for it. A more interesting premise, for us. More on that in Discovery: Finding its Feet in the Future. The feature makes the case for show using a bold move to bolster the show’s credibility. And indeed, that of the franchise as a whole. Additionally, we made some suggestions on how to further integrate Star Trek’s Past into the show’s future, where we are now. That was following the revelation about Carl’s identity, we pondered in Q Continuum Continued.
Needs Must and Crew Response
The set up in Discovery Season Three’s future society is one that’s very much come about via necessity. Osyrra (Janet Kidder) said as much to Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr). Consequently, the show’s characters had to have ways for that things impacted upon them. The writers haven’t done a great job of it, unfortunately. We hoped that Saru (Doug Jones) would stamp his status as first non-human to head up a Star Trek show. The significance of that was at the heart of Saru: Alien Territory. At least he did make one big decision . . .
We’re back to “Tillygate”. The promotion of the character played by Mary Wiseman was accurately predicted by us, in Tilly: Time For Promotion. It came as a result of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) again going rogue. Arguably, this had little to do with The Federation of the future. Still, we had to ask: Tilly as “Number One”: Too Much Too Soon? We felt so. But at least it was some development. More than can be said for Detmer (Emily Coutts). We made a case in Discovery: Developing Lieutenant. Nothing happened, unfortunately. It’s a shame that individual character development wasn’t better linked in with The Federation of the Future.
As mentioned, Star Trek has always incorporated social commentary. Good science-fiction does. At least, it should. The discussion between Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr)and Osyrra was maybe a little too forced. In terms of a way on exploring themes. What was happening was obvious. Viewers don’t need everything spelling out for them. Though, the issue is a vital one to discuss. And an important element to the feel of a Star Trek show. In many ways, our global society is very different now than when the franchise began. So, things should adapt. But in relation to the show, we need to ask Will Solving The Burn Mean Discovery Burns Out? We did, in that feature. The issue of “The Burn” and socio-political/ socio-economic impact is intrinsically tied to The Federation of the Future.
Another way to measure this show will be via Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, once that drops. And possibly Star Trek: Section 31, too. We’ve written about Strange New Worlds, stating Things We’d Like to See In Strange New Worlds. And also, Concerns around Cast & Characters in Strange New Worlds, too. The past and the future may well link in to one another. We stated so in aforementioned feature Will Solving The Burn Mean Discovery Burns Out , our latest piece discussing Discovery. It also dabbled in methods that might be used in a potential crossover event. Our best bet is time-travel. Certainly one way to connect The Federation of the Past and The Federation of The Future. Yet another possibility is that the big finale of Discovery Season Three may have lasting consequences.
Star Trek: Discovery airs weekly. Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. Fridays on Netflix in the U.K. and Europe. Read your weekly review and associated features here at SciFiPulse. And you can tune into our Podcast too, where we discuss season three’s events.