TV Review: Star Trek: Discovery S2 – Episode 3: “Point of Light”
Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Mary Wiseman, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Shazad Latif, Mia Kirshner, Anson Mount, Mary Chieffo, and Special Guest Star Michelle Yeoh (I am honor bound to credit her presence as such.)
Written by: Andrew Colville
Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Set Phasers to MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Star Trek: Discovery S2 slows down for some emotionally weighty table setting in “Point of Light.” This episode is neatly divided between personal dramas on the Discovery and political intrigue on Qo’noS. This Olantunde Osunsanmi directed episode might not have the same zip as the previous two, as this episode is vaguely “problem free” in terms of immediate narrative, but it does serve to ramp up the emotional stakes of the show. As a highly emotional person myself, I can appreciate that. Plus, Michelle Yeoh! That’s always cause for celebration! Let’s discuss, shall we?
So, last week, Captain Pike revealed to Burnham that Spock isn’t just taking a leave of absence, but placed under psychiatric hold at Starbase 5. This due to some kind of mania induced by his returned visions of the Red Angel, who has apparently plagued Spock’s mind since childhood (per Burnham). “Point of Light” directly deals with the fallout of this revelation. When I say directly, I mean that freaking AMANDA (Mia Kirshner, who FINALLY receives a spotlight-worthy of her talents) shows up to the Discovery to confront her adoptive daughter about Spock’s condition and Starfleet’s hiding of such.
Y’all know I am kind of hit or miss with this Spock stuff so far. BUT I will say, the way the show, and in particular, Andrew Coville’s script for this episode handles these turns keeps the legendary character more as a background presence. They treat him almost as a MacGuffin, if I’m honest, and that keeps working for me.
I know fan’s mileage may vary about the Spock of it all (which could be the tagline of this column) in general. I am finding the show’s focus on the whole family unit gives the plot a much heart and relatability; a hallmark of the show overall that I am glad S2 continues to lean into. Time will tell how the show deals with all of this, especially with this episode’s revelation that he’s MURDERED someone and now escaped which isn’t exactly comforting, but we still have a lot of TV left to watch.
The episode also gets a bit of pep in the C plot revolving around Tilly and her ghostly new companion. Having absolutely tanked the “Shadow Exam” portion of her Command Training Program, she comes clean about her dead friend that has been haunting her as of late. Apparently during their jaunt to the Mirror Universe, one of the Mirror Disco’s mycelial spores caught onto Tilly’s uniform. Now having been charged by the Dark Matter last episode, it has grown into a big, weird, and sentient fungus spreading inside her chest. Mary Wiseman plays with the horror and confusion of this plot and the whole thing adds some fun interaction between her, Rapp’s Stamets, and Saru. It isn’t quite a problem to hang a whole episode on. However, it adds a fun kink to the heavy emotions at play here.
But remembered when I mentioned table setting earlier? Because while “Point of Light” is very much an emotionally focused episode, even on the Klingon side, more about that in a bit, nothing really much happens in terms of forwarding development. Each plot, neatly spread among the races, only really goes SO far and that has to be this episode’s weakest point. Amanda and Burnham come to only a stopgap resolution as they both decide through a fraught personal arc go on a Star Trek III: The Search for Spock separately.
The stuff on Qo’noS, centered around L’Rell struggling to consolidate power as High Chancellor. This only goes so far, ending the episode riiiiight when something interesting is ABOUT to happen. It’s a touch frustrating despite Mary Chieffo’s wonderful return being the ridges. Even Tilly’s fungus problem! The episode cuts away right into like…Act II of that! Leaving us hanging until next week! But that is living in a post Game of Thrones world, I suppose? This may sound nitpicky. But after the driving thrills of the opening episodes, it is kind of hard not to be disappointed in this third installment, even with the stellar performances.
VERDICT: Watch It (But Just For The Cast)
Though kind of a letdown in terms of payoff, “Point of Light” still made a good use of the cast and delved a bit more into the emotional stakes of Star Trek and that should be noted and appreciated. While this may not be the most essential of episodes, I still feel like this one might hold up better upon binge rewatches, as it sets up the cast nicely into new starting positions, going into the real bulk of the episode order. I would have liked just a TOUCH more pep (the finale fight scene was dope af tho), but I will always appreciate heart in any capacity.
NEXT TIME! “A Obol for Charon”! Which might be The MOST Star Trek title ever! Plus the debut of Rebecca Romijn’s Number One! Until then, Be Seeing You.