Spoilers from Star Trek: Discovery season four, episode two to follow!
Reeling from Kwejian’s annihilation and the deaths of Kyheem and Leto, Cleveland “Book” Booker continues to replay the catastrophe’s final moments over and over again. Having returned from Kaminar, Captain Saru learns from Captain Burnham that Book is the planet’s only known survivor. Interestingly, both Burnham’s brother Spock and Kelvin Spock experienced similar emotions to those of Book when Kelvin Vulcan was destroyed in Star Trek (2009).
Back in uniform once more, Saru dons the Kelpien symbol for community and service, a cultural adornment whose presence is reminiscent of Worf’s Klingon baldric and Ro Laren’s Bajoran earring. Starfleet had offered the Kelpien command of the U.S.S. Sojourner, but Saru makes an interesting request of Michael, asking to be her Number One. Facing trying times ahead, Burnham eagerly accepts the offer.
At Federation HQ, Paul Stamets briefs Federation President Rallik, Ni’Var’s President T’Rina, and other leaders from across the quadrant about the nature of the gravitational anomaly. Five lightyears across, the phenomenon is believed to be a roving binary blackhole, but Discovery needs to jump to the anomaly to acquire more data to analyze. Upon arrival, the sight of the distortion puzzles the crew, who must get dangerously close to collect the needed information.
As he did on numerous occasions in season three, Book suggests they utilize his ship, both due to its size and ability to change shape. The former courier’s mindstate concerns Burnham, who consults with Saru about the situation in her captain’s quarters. In a callback to the Short Trek “Calypso,” Michael mentions that the Sphere-infused ship’s computer selected Zora as her new name. Burnham and Saru suggest a compromise, that Book fly the mission with certain safeguards in place.
In sickbay, Doctor Culber meets with Adira Tal and Gray about the synth body that was constructed to house Gray’s consciousness. Developed using the Soong Method, a reference to Altan Inigo Soong’s work creating a golem for Admiral Picard in Star Trek: Picard, the body will age and eventually die. Guardian Xi, previously seen during Discovery’s visit to Trill in “Forget Me Not,” is scheduled to perform the incorporation.
Down in engineering, Stamets balks at Burnham’s idea to send him along with Book, particularly as the two are the only people capable of operating the spore drive. Surprisingly, Stamets cracks a joke about the captain’s decision to blow him out an airlock during the Emerald Chain’s takeover of Discovery months before, implying that the two have evidently healed their rift. Additionally, Burnham explains that they plan on utilizing a new holographic technology that will project Stamets onto Book’s ship and allow him to interact with the controls.
The pairing of Book and Stamets proves interesting, as the astromycologist feels awkward around the Kwejian pilot. With a tether made of programmable matter attached, Book’s ship launches, but unknown to the crew, Book sees visions of his family along the way. Suddenly, a subspace gravitational wave strikes Discovery, threatening its ability to stay within range. A second disturbance hits, sending the bridge officers into the air and causing significant damage.
Discovery pulls back, releasing the tether to permit Stamets to continue scanning the anomaly. In the chaos, the astromycologist admits to Book that the Kwejian reminds him how helpless he felt during Osyraa’s occupation of Discovery, especially after Book jumped the starship to save Dr. Culber, Adira, and Gray. Speaking of Adira, they collaborate with Tilly and devise a plan to get Book’s ship out of the maelstrom, hoping that the vessel can ride the subspace gravitational waves to safety.
Without navigation, Book needs to rely on Michael to signal when he should engage his engines, but his trust falters. Reassured by Stamets, Book nevertheless gets an added emotional boost from Michael, who opens a nifty private comm channel, featuring a privacy bubble that prevents the rest of the crew from listening in. At his partner’s urging, Book successfully pilots his ship into the next wave and out of danger. The encounter establishes a unique bond between Book and Stamets, and the astromycologist promises to use the data to solve the anomaly for Book.
In an important moment that will resonate with many fans, myself included, Tilly takes the ensuing downtime to bravely ask Dr. Culber if it would be possible to consult with him professionally about uncertain feelings she’s been having. Never afraid to break new ground, Star Trek: Discovery has made yet another often-marginalized group feel seen in the series. Communication becomes a recurring theme, as Adira opens up to Gray about their concerns over their partner’s upcoming incorporation.
Book admits to Michael that he was too distracted to undertake the mission, questioning whether his nephew Leto was aware of how much his uncle loved him. Despite Discovery’s heroics, Tilly’s assessment of the data pertaining to the spatial phenomenon indicates that the anomaly changed course during the mission, meaning there is no way for the Federation to predict the distortion’s course.
Although Discovery’s trip to gather information proved futile, “Anomaly” provides excellent character development for almost the entire crew. We also witness the rest of the galaxy’s willingness to cooperate with the Federation in relation to the dangerous disturbance that could go anywhere at any time, showcasing the government’s renewed stature in local space. Doctor Culber, who has healed his friends since season one, has now become the counselor who watches over his colleagues’ wellbeing, and Stamets has forged a new relationship with Book. Uncertainty abounds, yet Disco’s officers are learning to create dialogues with one another. Stay tuned as we continue to boldly go…
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer and consultant who has contributed articles to StarTrek.com, Star Trek Explorer, and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and StarWars.com. Jay serves as a BoldlyGo Campaign Ambassador for The Roddenberry Foundation. Jay can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Discovery currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. Internationally, the series is available on Paramount+ in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics, and on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Discovery is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.