“Anomaly” Goes Big on Classic Tropes

Sonequa Martin-Green captain Michael Burnham sits on a damaged Discovery bridge while Wilson Cruz's Dr.  Culber checks her.

This is just how it looks, emotionally decompressing, after something happens Discovery, frankly speaking.
Picture: Paramount +

Anomalies. What Star Trek fan does not love an anomaly? I love them, you love them, Starfleet bridge crews definitely love them, and Discovery is no exception. But Discovery is still the show it has been from the beginning, which means its approach to exploring the week’s unknown will be much, much more dramatic than its predecessors would have dreamed.

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“Anomaly,” on the surface, could just be any classic plot-of-the-week on your standard Star Trek, distilled to its most basic description: the crew travels to and investigates the titular mystical anomaly. In fact, it’s even a two for one deal, because in doing so, it’s also that classic ‘two characters who do not like each other are forced to take on a getaway mission together, which goes wrong, and they learn to understand each other, when they come out alive. “It’s reductive, to be sure. But for the first time in a while – between the high-stakes end of season sixty finale and season four are contemplative, yet very dramatic opening last week-Discovery gives himself the chance to just be one Star Trek show.

Image for the article titled Star Trek: Discovery Took a Classic Premise and Cranked It Up Way Past 11

Picture: Paramount +

It’s not one breath, however, as this still is Discovery-and for better or worse, that means it can not just be that Star Trek, it must be on it, and “it” here is “incredibly loud game stressful drama oh god everything blows up aaaaaaah.” That’s really what Discovery brings to the table in a way that its predecessors did not. That Enterprise or Voyager the crew treats perhaps two binary black holes that generate gravitational oscillations, with a detached scientific curiosity, because that really is what we have been taught to see Starfleet’s heroes as: calm, collected, and very interested in space-things. Discovery‘s crew and its new captain are similar, but over the last three seasons they’ve also been allowed to be more human around it in the process. Which means that when it inevitably, things go sideways, start happening in “Anomaly”, not only do they do so with an incredibly explosive effect, but the crew is exposed to a physical, mental and emotional twists to start up, leaving you almost as exhausted as they are when everything is coming to an end.

That sounds like a bad thing – and may be for some opponents who still do not like it Discovery‘s bridge crew are not so prim-and-correct with the wild nonsense they have put up with. But as Lower deck has proven, albeit to a much more comic rather than dramatic effect, that there is a kind of charm and catharsis in watching Starfleet officers reckon with the utterly insane, cool, scientific and catastrophic things they face week after week out of just having a kind of scream and shouting about it. Whose Discovery becomes the kind of sci-fi show where the stakes are so intensely high all the time – the irregularity in “Anomaly” is of course a threat to the whole galaxy, and our heroes’ reward for exploring it is only to discover that it can destroy any planet, anywhere, in any random direction – and then once in a while, and takes the time to see its characters reckon with the emotional Exhaustion of even something like humdrum as a scientific investigative mission with these efforts can be incredibly rewarding.

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Picture: Paramount +

And for the most part, “Anomaly” is that. Even before things get bad as Discovery sending Books ship to explore the titular anomaly to get more data, Michael struggles to connect as either captain or partner to Book himself, still devastated by the loss of his home world Kwejian last week. By playing on the lessons she struggled to articulate with President Rilak in the premiere, “Anomaly” becomes about the times when a captain do need to be changing in a dangerous situation, about when to be the detached leader who makes decisions with your head, and when your heart is needed to connect to your crew and get them through in one piece. Michael also finds himself with the blessing of Sarus’ return to Discovery as first officer, an emotionally charged rock that gets her through danger by navigating a star object that could at any time sling her crew and ship apart in a hail of sound and rage. Finding these stones among the crew becomes crucial, the more explosive and panicky “Anomaly” becomes – Stamets, holographically dragged along on the voyage to obtain scan data in Books ship, desperately tries to get his to shake the disgruntled Kwejian, who rightly points out , that they have barely talked together before. Tilly, who is trying not to crack under the pressure of her promotion and the long-term outcome of her rescue mission-gone-wrong last week, almost breaks out to snap at Adira, who is also still processing their perceived mistakes last week on the same manner. mission. And Book himself, raw and lost after the death of his home world and family, struggles to find out that his rock is ultimately Michael, not until it’s almost too late.

By showing all these breaking points with these characters – emotionally and darkly funny, almost literally, while Dr. Culber spends most of his time in this episode running around the bridge with his new 31st-century medical equipment, letting him almost instantly heal gaping head wounds and cracked ribs with a few waves of a tool – all in all , what would, classic Star Trekbe a kind of scientific event every week, Discovery reminds us of the kind of human, emotional turmoil that is the reality of a life in an organization like Starfleet. We can joke with how crazy it is, these numbers usually approach life-threatening cosmic oddities, just as it is administrative bureaucracy in others Trek shows, however Discovery‘s preponderance of great efforts and great emotions shows how stressful and dangerous as in Star Trek really can be. And crucially, it follows up with a bulging release when the immediate threat is over and our heroes come out of the fringes of the anomaly in one piece. During the final minutes of “Anomaly” we get to see characters like Tilly, Adira, Book, Stamets and Michael release the intense emotions they just built up and had to simmer during the episode, and that’s crucial. see them do so by trusting honestly with the friends around them, giving them ways forward to heal, and moving on from their current rawness.

Image for the article titled Star Trek: Discovery Took a Classic Premise and Cranked It Up Way Past 11

Picture: Paramount +

“Anomaly” may not do much in terms of moving forward Discovery‘s current great overall plot, and its ability to beat even the simplest of Trek premises for high-stakes, cinematic action savagery may be a little too exhausting for some. But acknowledges the strain of these efforts now and then in the text and in its characters, and reminds us all of the need that this crew has to lean on each other to get through the act of just existing in Star Trek: Discovery‘s world, certainly makes it worth carrying through the ups and downs of gravity.


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