Spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 3 “People of Earth” past this point.
With Pike leaving Discovery, and the crew headed to the future last season, Saru and Burnham tabled the discussion of who would take charge. That discussion — sort of — got picked up this episode, before the credits even hit. When Saru tried to prompt a sit-down thanks to a delayed reunion with Burnham, she immediately shut that s**t down.
“No, it’s… You, Saru,” Burnham said in front of the assembled crew. “And chain of command dictates it. I don’t know if it’s ever been me. You brought this ship through time. You carried this crew on your shoulders. You are a captain in the truest sense of the word.”
Humbly, Saru accepted, and kicked off his stint as Captain of Discovery with a classic Captain-style speech: “This ship has the name Discovery. Never has that been more fitting, or more pressing. She has carried us into the future, and it will be our privilege to make that future bright… Let us begin. Together.”
…and if you’ve been following the show since the beginning, you were definitely crying at this point, particularly when the music swelled and the camera pushed in on Saru’s proud expression. But of course, it wasn’t not going to be smooth sailing for the new Captain from there.
The first challenge he needed to face in the episode — other than the fact that Earth was locked down, and the Federation gone — is that Burnham gave up too easily.
“I must admit, Commander, I am having some difficulty trusting your judgement,” he later noted to Burnham in his office. “I am grateful for your support of my captaincy, but your refusal to even consider the possibility — surprised me. This past year has altered your perspective.”
“I will trust you to grow through change, as you have trusted me,” Saru tells her in the final minutes of the episode.
“Then I would be privileged to be your Number One,” she answers.
There will always be a sense that Burnham should be in charge, of course… She’s the face of the show, so why wouldn’t she be the Captain of Discovery? But this position suits her, and 3189 Burnham even more. It also suits Saru, who is the right man for the job. May he last longer than Lorca and Pike.
Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All Access.
Where to watch Star Trek: Discovery