Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 25th September 2017
Story by: Bryan Fuller
Teleplay by: Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts
Directed by: Adam Kane
A HERO’S DEMISE
Following immediately on from the cliffhanger which left jaws agape at the close of “The Vulcan Hello” (reviewed HERE), Star Trek: Discovery episode 1.2 feels more like the second half of a two-part story than an isolated instalment in its own right. It is now clear why CBS and Netflix aired/released both episodes at the same time, because this is essentially the conclusion of the new show’s prologue; the televisual equivalent of a comic issue zero.
“Their ship is but a fleck. What threat does one ship pose?”
With the 24 Klingon houses lined up against the Federation in a deep space stand-off, “Battle at the Binary Stars” delivers exactly what the title implies: war. While it’s not quite 40 minutes of all-out laser fire, explosions and hull breaches, the space fight does dominate proceedings, with flashbacks (both Vulcan and Klingon this week) and strategy meetings bulking out the runtime. There’s action a-plenty, yet conversely, the pace is slower than in 1.1.
“Wow, you have been away from humans for a long time.”
Having nerve-pinched her way to insubordination, the Shenzhou’s second-in-command Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) finds herself holed-up in the brig and having interdimensional tele-communications with her adopted father, Sarek (James Frain), while Klingon warmonger T’Kuvma (Chris Obi) earns messianic status amongst his malicious kind by first agreeing to, then flouting, a ceasefire with Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Admiral Anderson’s (Terry Serpico) severely crippled Federation forces.
While “The Vulcan Hello” was heavier on dialogue and characterisation, “Battle…” favours a more Kelvin trilogy-esque approach where action and spectacle is at the fore-front, and sequences such as Bernham’s through-the-void cell escape and the prisoner-apprehension strategy both feel like scenes lifted from Into Darkness (reviewed HERE). Enjoyable though this prologue resolution was, I personally would have preferred to have seen it integrated into a feature length whole rather than presented individually; it still climaxes on a shock and leaves off with a tease to lure viewers back for more, but lacks gravitas for being all punch and no set-up.
CR@B’s Claw Score: