With Osyraa in the U.S.S. Discovery-A’s center seat and the Viridian pretending to pursue the Starfleet vessel on its approach to Federation Headquarters, Admiral Vance remains unaware that the Emerald Chain controls the Crossfield-class starship. Zareh, the courier who was last seen venturing out into a parasitic ice-filled environment in “Far From Home,” makes his surprising return overseeing the Chain’s regulators and imprisoning Ryn and Discovery’s bridge crew in the ready room.
Aboard the Nautilus, Burnham and Cleveland “Book” Booker brave the debris-laden courier transwarp network to arrive at Federation Headquarters, crash landing in Discovery’s hangar bay just as the ship enters the refuge’s shield barrier. Aware that they need to prevent Osyraa from using Stamets to jump away, Book hands Burnham a lifesign-concealing device and convinces her to search for the astromycologist. Book promises to distract the regulators from noticing Michael. Despite the danger surrounding them, Burnham and Book take a brief moment to express their love for one another.
Osyraa heads to engineering, where Emerald Chain scientist Aurellio (portrayed by Star Trek legend and fan-favorite actor Kenneth Mitchell) prepares to study the connection between Stamets and the mycelial network in the hope of bringing the technology to the entire galaxy. After Lieutenant Teemo (Dorren Lee) informs Vance that Captain Saru has not sent any transmissions to them, the admiral deduces that Osyraa holds dominion over Discovery and orders the fleet to prepare to fire. However, Minister Osyraa contacts Vance to open a dialogue, proffering the return of her captives (minus Book, Ryn, and the senior officers) as a good faith gesture.
Back on the ship, Burnham subdues a regulator and acquires his comm unit, sustaining a knife wound to her leg in the process. Unable to reach anyone at headquarters, Michael sends a distress call to Gabrielle Burnham on Ni’Var and acknowledges that this might be the final message she will be able to share with her mother. In the ready room, Tilly and the bridge team take down two regulators and begin to outline a plan to retake Discovery.
Meanwhile, Osyraa and a small cadre of regulators beam over to meet with Vance, who employs the holographic doctor Eli as his own personal lie detector. Shockingly, Osyraa conveys a genuine desire for peace, explaining that she wants the Emerald Chain to unite with the Federation. Osyraa sees establishing a new Federation as a step forward for her people and a means to replicating Discovery’s spore drive for all to use.
In engineering, Aurellio and Stamets bond over opera, yet the astromycologist attempts to convince his Chain counterpart of Osyraa’s cruelty. Stamets even goes so far as to describe Adira as his own child, illustrating both his true feelings for them and his fears that they are in peril on the dilithium planet. Caught up in his work, Aurellio assures Stamets that he will find a way to safely recreate the astromycologist’s link to the mycelial network.
As negotiations proceed, Osyraa requests that the Federation sanction trading with the mercantile exchanges, but Vance hesitates over the unconscionable acts of slavery that the Chain perpetuates. Osyraa presents the admiral with a written armistice and informs him that she has submitted a charter amendment to outlaw slavery. The Emerald Chain even commits to abiding by the Prime Directive going forward, as well as walking back their incursions on worlds such as Kwejian.
Once Ryn proves able to cause disarray with Discovery’s lifesigns detectors, Tilly sets out to retake the ship. Aurellio and Stamets continue to debate Osyraa’s tactics as the alarms sound, allowing Burnham to sneak in and stun the Emerald Chain operatives. Stamets argues that an immediate jump is necessary to save Saru, Culber, and Adira, but Burnham knocks him unconscious with a Vulcan nerve pinch and ejects him from the ship in an emergency escape field.
Impressed by the armistice, Vance asks for one more concession: that Osyraa be tried for her well-documented crimes. The admiral agrees that the Federation and Emerald Chain should join together, but the Orion departs in anger. Returning to Discovery’s bridge, Osyraa pressures the recently recaptured Ryn and Book to fix the starship’s internal sensors. Book offers to guide the Chain to the dilithium in the Verubin Nebula, but a furious Osyraa still executes Ryn. Aurellio witnesses the brutal deed and reacts with horror.
Zareh apprehends Burnham just as the science officer manages to get Stamets away from Discovery. Tilly and the bridge crew move through the ship, taking down several regulators and securing a weapons locker. Armed and ready, the team bumps into three Starfleet DOT-23s. Controlled by the Sphere data (voiced again by Annabelle Wallis), the repair robots pledge themselves to assist Tilly in her quest to recover Discovery.
“There Is A Tide…” is a fast-paced adventure that also sheds a great deal of light on the nature of the Emerald Chain. The organization’s willingness to change and its dedication to science sound admirable, and reintroducing Kenneth Mitchell to the franchise serves as a welcome development. With so much at stake, ranging from the landing party on the dilithium planet and Discovery under siege to Tilly’s rescue mission and the fates of the Federation and Emerald Chain, the season three finale is set to be one for the ages. Stay tuned as we continue to boldly go…
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer who has contributed 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 Paramount+ 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.