‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 3 Episode 5 recap: Worst. Welcome. Ever.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 is an emotional rollercoaster as the crew finally find the Federation, and don’t receive the warmest welcome.

The Discovery crew has been desperate to locate the remnants of Federation headquarters, and they get their wish in Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5. With Adira Tal’s intel, Discovery enters Federation space, but it’s nothing like they expected.

The remaining civilian ships of the Federation are clustered together and in a constant state of red alert. Something is always falling apart or being destroyed as we’ll soon find out.

But the technical advances floor the Discovery crew. I love seeing them so excited about how advanced the Federation ships have become. Of course, it helps that the first ship that comes across their viewscreen is Voyager. Oh, my heart! Captain Janeway’s state-of-the-art ship was honored enough to continue for ten more generations. Kudos to the Star Trek: Discovery showrunners to venerate Star Trek: Voyager.

Mind-boggling ships aside, there’s still work to be done, which begins with meeting the Federation. And that’s when it all goes downhill.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 – We’re not home yet

Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) greets Saru, Michael and Adira before ordering Adira to be whisked away for scanning. Everyone stares at the two Discovery officers as if they’re oddities and the entire welcome is as cold as ice.

Vance has an insurmountable task ahead of him—keeping the Federation alive. He aptly describes his situation as being in ‘triage’. Vance needs help to heal the Federation, but he won’t accept Discovery’s.

He doesn’t trust Discovery because neither the ship nor her crew exists in the Starfleet database. Unfortunately, by landing in the future, the ship has also accidentally broken the Temporal laws of the 32nd century.

Burnham is convinced a small act of kindness will win Vance over, but Saru is adamant that Discovery will not go behind Vance’s back to do good. I love how Burnham’s ‘responsibility hoarder’ personality makes her act irrationally, but it’s very in-character.

Vance subjects the entire crew to interrogation by the creepy AI of the future. And yes, the AI are all holograms, which is yet another nod to the everlasting successes of Voyager and her Emergency Medical Hologram.

The AI, unfortunately, has not adopted the Doctor’s good humor. They are stoic and relentless. But Nhan doesn’t break; Stamets is snarky; Culber is a conundrum; Tilly vents about how none of her missions adheres to Starfleet handbooks; and Jett somehow convinces the AI to get her snacks because she’s starving.

None of these interactions is particularly warm, and it’s evident the Federation has become far more rigid and cold than seen before in Star Trek.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 – Terran history

Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

The one interrogation that we dive into is that of Georgiou’s. Not only is Georgiou her usual irreverent self, but she successfully disables the two AI questioning her by blinking at a particular frequency. That woman is the smartest cookie in any timeline.

Kovich has long been interested in the Mirror universe but reveals to Georgiou that there hasn’t been a Terran sighting in 400 years. He believes Georgiou’s departure may have led to the unraveling of that universe, and now the bridge between worlds has simply disappeared.

Kovich is most interested in Georgiou’s connection to Discovery. He accurately surmises that the only reason Georgiou has remained with them is that she cares about someone among the crew.

I’m unsure if Kovich will return, but he was an intellectually stimulating character. While he has his own agenda (which is still unclear), it’s obvious that he respects Georgiou. Kovich spoke to her as an equal—not condescending to her, nor frightened of her.

Why was Georgiou so enamored by Kovich’s badge? I initially thought she may have connected him to Section 31, the clandestine agency she once belonged to. But then she smashed the badge and kept inspecting the insides.

Later, Michael finds Georgiou stock still and lost in thought. Georgiou snaps out of it as if nothing happened. It’s obvious that Kovich’s conversation triggers something in Georgiou. Could this be how she segues into the yet-undeveloped Section 31 spin-off? Or are we going to lose this incredible character once again?

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 – A noble sacrifice

Doug Jones as Saru and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

Vance demands that Saru relinquish Discovery while he reassigns the crew. The way Culber grabs Stamets’ hand when he hears the news is so heart-warming.

Michael leads the crew to the Tikhov, a repository of all the seeds secured by the Federation for centuries. They discover it is caught in an ion cloud and the life signs appear to be Barzan. They are Nhan’s people and joined the Federation centuries after Nhan’s disappearance.

Michael, Culber and Nhan beam aboard the Tikhov to find it overgrown with plants. Nhan is finally able to breathe without her apparatus and immediately looks happier. Her eyes change color too.

Nhan is mesmerized by the logs of the ship’s leader, Dr. Attis (Jake Epstein), and his family. She hasn’t seen Barzan people since she left her home. Her family was devastated when they heard she’d joined Starfleet, and Nhan never saw her people or heard her language again.

Something isn’t right with the Tikhov. Attis is missing, and the bodies of his wife and two daughters two preserved in cryo-stasis. Stamets, Tilly and Jett analyze the ship and conclude that the family was hit by a star’s radiation, killing them.

Attis survived because of a transporter accident, but now he’s out of phase. Added to that he is also struggling with grief. Without him, Michael can’t retrieve the seeds to save the Killi.

They’re able to stabilize Attis, but he’s catatonic with grief. Michael helps him see the light—he can’t save his own family, but there are other families who need him. Attis agrees and gives Michael the seeds she needs. However, he remains adamant that he won’t leave his family and is willing to die from his condition.

Since Starfleet can’t sacrifice such a valuable resource, Nhan offers to take Attis’ place to remain with the Tikhov and continue the ship’s mission. Nhan will get to see her people again and honor her culture.

After a teary goodbye, Discovery returns with the seeds and cure the family. Vance sees the power of the crew sticking together and offers to give Discovery her own missions. With that, Vance welcomes Discovery home.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 – Final thoughts

This episode really embraced Star Trek episodes of yore. Packed full of storylines, confrontations, and character growth, ‘Die Trying’ was excellent entertainment. More than anything, Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 hit so many emotional notes throughout.

I don’t know why the showrunners are dragging out Detmer’s undiagnosed issues. I thought we’d already dealt with it in the previous episode. I also feel like some of the main characters, like Tilly, are being left out in the cold.

The spotlight on Nhan was long overdue. But it really bothers me that yet another episode where a side character is given more screen time ends with her leaving the show. We only just got Nhan; why did we have to lose her?

Nhan transferred to Discovery in the previous season to honor the sacrifice Airiam made to save her. Now she’s making yet another sacrifice. It’s too much for one character to take. Are we expected to believe that Nhan will pilot the Tikhov on her own? If Star Trek shows have told us anything, it’s that lighthouse keepers in this universe usually don’t fare too well.

Part of me wishes we see Nhan again. Maybe the Barzan will find other willing pilots to take over the Tikhov reins, and Nhan can return to Discovery.

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 are available every Thursday on CBS All Access.

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