Stardate 1027.32: Burnham reveals Spock’s personal log entry – and its coded message – to Captain Pike. Spock not only knew of the signals, but of their locations, before any of them were detected by Starfleet. But Pike has more troubling news: Spock took a leave of absence to check himself into a psychiatric ward due to whatever was troubling him. Discovery is diverted to an unexplored planet in the Beta Quadrant which is the source of the newest signal, necessitating use of the spore drive. But despite an alarming distress signal, the planet is home to a peaceful, pastoral, and most importantly pre-warp human civilization. Pike, Burnham and ops officer Joann Owosekun beam down incognito to find out how a human settlement reached this far into deep space before the invention of warp drive. What they discover is a group of survivors of World War III who have no idea how they got there. A sudden displacement of radioactive particle from the planet’s rings threatens all on the surface – including the landing party – with extinction, but Pike’s absolute adherence to the Prime Directive forces a monumental decision: are Discovery and her new captain here to save a civilization, or witness its destruction without interference?
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green (Commander Michael Burnham), Doug Jones (Lt. Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Sheila McCarthy (All-Mother), Andrew Moodie (Jacob), Bahia Watson (May Ahearn), Hannah Chessman (Lt. Commander Airiam), Emily Coutts (Lt. Keyla Detmer), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Lt. Gen Rhys), Oyin Oladejo (Lt. Joann Owosekun), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Lt. R.A. Bryce), Raven Dauda (Dr. Tracy Pollard), Julianne Grossman (Discovery Computer), Noah Davis (Lieutenant in 2053), Kira Groulx (Rose), Claire Qute (Teen May Hologram)
Notes: The mention of a Third World War in Star Trek’s otherwise hopeful vision of the future first appeared in the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with Picard’s identification of Q‘s kangaroo court based upon the near-anarchic state of law in the “post-atomic horror” of the 21st century (fortunately, if you’re reading this, you’re only in the pre-atomic horror). Later incarnations of Trek carried this idea forward, particularly the movie Star Trek: First Contact and numerous episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Even after Earth rebuilt itself following these events, there wasn’t a universal embracing of a technological lifestyle, as Lt. Owosekun is said to have grown up in “a Luddite collective”. No one in this episode ever refers to the Prime Directive, only Starfleet’s General Order One. The Beta Quadrant has long been known to be where portions of the Romulan and Klingon Empires are located, but the New Eden settlement is much further into the Beta Quadrant – 51,000 light years from Federation territory in the Alpha Quadrant, or, for comparison, roughly 2/3 of the distance that the U.S.S. Voyager would be flung into the Delta Quadrant in the 24th century. (Clearly, events yet unseen rule out further development or use of the spore drive technology by Voyager‘s time, otherwise the rescue of Captain Janeway’s crew would have been a simple matter.) The stardate for this episode is not given in the episode itself, but in the season finale, Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2.
LogBook entry by Earl Green