Star Trek: Discovery’s third season premiere introduced Michael Burnham to Cleveland “Book” Booker, a regal feline named Grudge, and a post-Burn 32nd century, but the fate of the U.S.S. Discovery and its crew remained elusive as Burnham acclimated to the year 3188. Fortunately, writers Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet, and Alex Kurtzman team up once again with director Olatunde Osunsanmi to bring us up-to-speed (or rather, “up-to-date”) with our intrepid band in “Far From Home.”
The season’s second installment picks up soon after Control’s defeat at the Battle of Xahea, as we find an incapacitated bridge crew awakening to the dreaded sounds of a red alert and the terrifying sight of an uncontrolled descent toward an unknown world. Commander Saru regains the center seat and rallies his forces moments before Discovery plummets through a floating, myth-like maze composed of segments from the planet’s surface.
Lieutenant Keyla Detmer expertly navigates the vessel through an icy crash landing, while the show’s breathtaking, cinema-quality visual effects continue to stun this writer’s optical inputs. With tactical systems, sensors, and communications offline, the bridge officers realize they are unaware of their location in time or space, leaving us wondering just how far they might have ended up from their intended rendezvous with Burnham on Terralysium.
Jett Reno helps Saru assess the damage and informs the acting captain that repairs will be needed before Discovery can fly once again. Saru sets the crew to their tasks before conferring with Ensign Tilly, who manages to confirm that the planet is not Terralysium… but there is life. The duo’s restrained elation over the news that their conflict against Control achieved the desired results beautifully juxtaposes Burnham’s fervent reaction from “That Hope Is You, Part 1.”
Philippa Georgiou catches up with Saru and Tilly, revealing that her Terran instincts implored her to take the necessary “steps” to ensure that Leland was truly dead. Sickbay ranks as our next stop, where Doctor Hugh Culber perfectly balances his roles as Paul Stamets’s physician and partner to guide the engineer out of his medically-induced coma. Considering all they have endured, the couple’s lovely reunion is one of the episode’s many highlights. Elsewhere, Doctor Pollard clears Detmer of any concussion symptoms, yet audiences recognize that the conn officer’s dazed demeanor is a cause for concern.
Saru, Tilly, and Georgiou chat with Commander Nhan, ultimately determining that an away team must visit the nearby settlement to obtain the rubindium that is required to repair Discovery’s systems. The lack of dilithium readings despite the presence of warp-capable ships on the planet puzzles the group, as they have yet to learn about the Burn and its tragic repercussions.
Saru assigns Tilly to accompany him on the recon mission, privately disclosing to the ensign that he believes her to be an excellent ambassador to the future. Discovery’s disheveled state compels the crew to operate in pairs, providing quality time between several officers. Stamets and Reno revive both their witty banter and Star Trek’s tradition of Jefferies tube adventures, while Nhan and Georgiou discuss their motivations for leaping ahead in time. Nhan surprisingly cites Airiam’s sacrifice as her inspiration. Georgiou postulates that leading Section 31 would have been her 23rd-century fate and argues that “bureaucracy is where fun goes to die.” Oh, and there is also the unsettling revelation that the ice accumulating on the vessel’s hull is actually parasitic in nature. Exciting developments, indeed!
Saru and Tilly arrive at a mining settlement with an interior that gives off a rustic, Old West saloon vibe… as long as you ignore the trip through the transporter that sends you to the establishment’s entrance. After a brief stand-off, the local Coridan named Kal (as with the last installment’s reintroduction of Betelgeusians, yet another classic alien species returns) expresses an idealistic view of the Federation and offers to help.
Kal sets to work on repairs utilizing programmable matter, the same material that made up Aditya Sahil’s fancy space bed in the previous episode. Echoing Sahil’s admiration for Starfleet, the Coridan bonds with Tilly just before the villainous Zareh beams in with the aura of an ancient gunslinger. Keen to Discovery’s temporally-displaced origin, the oppressive courier murders Kal and speaks in a dialect known as Pidgin.
Referring to the Federation as the V’Draysh (a term first coined in the Short Trek “Calypso”), Zareh plans to send Tilly into the perilous night to attain dilithium from Discovery. However, the courier is interrupted by Georgiou, who snuck off the starship to keep tabs on the recon mission. The Terran effortlessly tears into Zareh with verbal jabs before resorting to more violent measures to dispatch his accomplices. We even get to witness Saru subdue the lead antagonist with his threat ganglia-turned-badass projectile launchers!
Georgiou and Saru grapple over the notion of executing Zareh, but the Kelpien’s ethics overcome the Terran’s vengeful spirit and impress Kal’s comrade Os’Ir. After banishing Zareh from the settlement, Os’Ir presents Saru with a personal transporters (much like the ones that fascinated Burnham on Hima) so that the visitors from the past could safely return to the Discovery.
Meanwhile, Stamets courageously battles through his injuries to replace a damaged anodyne circuit. With Reno’s treasured reassurances (I’m sorry, Paul... but that bobcat nickname just has to stick), the astromycologist restores Discovery’s main power. The away team returns to install their recently repaired equipment and activate the majority of the vessel’s primary systems.
As the parasitic ice closes in around them, the bridge crew struggles to break the ship free from the surface. Suddenly, sensors detect a potentially hostile starship approaching. The new arrival pulls Discovery out of its grave situation with a tractor beam and hails the Starfleet crew. Unsure of what to expect, Saru orders Lieutenant Bryce to open a channel. Tension ravages the bridge, until… Michael Burnham’s face appears on the viewscreen in a glorious fashion. The cathartic transmission brings a gleam to everyone’s eyes (yes, even Georgiou), and Burnham divulges that she had landed a year prior to her friends.
“That Hope Is You, Part 1” tackled the challenge of welcoming Star Trek fans into the 32nd century, and “Far From Home” proves to be a masterful follow-up that mystifies us with advanced tech (from The Colony’s enchanting atmospheric conditions to Zareh’s agonizing weapon) and chronicles the continuing journey of Discovery’s main cast and recurring characters. The first two entries are also tied together by the fondness that “true believers” Sahil and Kal demonstrate for the Federation, although the Coridan’s story ended on a painful note. We are only two episodes in, and Discovery’s third season has already surpassed my expectations. Stay tuned as we continue to boldly go...
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer who contributes articles to the official Star Trek website and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and the official Star Wars website. Jay also serves as a part-time assistant and consultant advising many actors and creatives who work on his favorite sci-fi shows and films. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on CBS All Access in the United States, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 countries.