After the rip-roaring, fabric-of-time-and-space-tearing, explosively exciting, and terminally serious Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 finale, Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 1 was strangely slow and surprisingly humorous.
Yes, it begins with a mysterious somebody living a perfectly Westworld sort of daily routine.
Yes, we also get a space chase with a couple of less-mysterious-but-still-unknown people, butting heads (and bulkheads) over a stolen cargo.
But then the rest of the journey to the credits is a long -- but beautiful -- unfurling of a heck of a lot of exposition.
Time travel's tricky. Ask anyone.
So the fact that the new Red Angel suit isn't able to precisely deliver on the planned journey to Terralysium isn't surprising.
And to bring Burnham and Discovery through to the same point in time? Nah, no one was betting on that either.
It's a super-cool story. It's just that it's in a completely devastating way.Burnham
Way back on Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 3, it is established that Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was a formative text in Michael Burnham's life.
It taught her, despite growing up in Vulcan surroundings, that the world isn't ruled by logic and that she would need to apply it to the world around her.
Furthermore, it allowed her to believe in impossible things.
So, my conclusion is that the wormhole that brought her to the future is just the newest rabbit hole she fell (flown) through and that, although the literary allusion has pretty much worn out its welcome at this point, she'll just Alice her way through this new Wonderland.
Now, whether Book is her White Rabbit or, switching literary references, her Mr. Tumnus, remains to be seen.
What we do know is that he's smart, slick, and just a little desperate. Talks a good game. Loves his cat -- a lot.
Burnham: You have a very large cat.
Book: Yes, she has a thyroid condition.
Burnham: Does she have a name?
Book: She's heavy and all mine.
He's also got that cool Dr. Doolittle thing going on.
We know that he's goig to be a series regular because his ship has been added to the opening credits.
(Also added is an army of Dot-7s, which tweaks my interest in how Star Trek: Short Treks Season 2 Episode 5, "Ephraim and Dot," is going to tie into this season.)
But, back to Book, he's got a lot of the Han Solo vibe going for him, which probably means a romantic side plot for Burnham, but, honestly, from everything I've seen thus far, she's trading WAY up from her last entanglement.
Plus, he's got a cat.
And a ship.
And we can be pretty confident that he's never been a Klingon, unless they programmed this one with a memory of familial dysfunction.
Burnham: What is it like, feeling everything?
Book: Uncomfortable. My family are killers. Poachers. Every so often one like me shows up in the gene pool. I don't know, something to do with balance, I guess.
He also saves transworms and transports them to sanctuary planets so that they can breed -- and splash around a lot. (Unless that's part of the breeding process? Huh.)
The Orion-Andorian Mercantile system is an interesting twist, especially since they don't seem to work together all that well.
Burnham would be fully entitled to still be in shock after what she'd been through, but I think my favorite moment was her country mouse look of amazement when she saw people using personal transporters.
(Small plothole nitpick: Why are they waiting to be scanned in if people can just transport wherever? Perhaps they can transport out but not in?)
We left everything that I have ever known or loved behind me for the sake of creation. Right? If you think about it, let's be honest, I saved all the things. And then I shot out of a wormhole and I hit a guy.Burnham
My second favorite scene was Burnham under the influence of the truth gas the security Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum hit her with.
Between her moments of self-realization and her frenetic stream-of-consciousness babbling, it's probably more range than Sonequa Martin-Green's been allowed to have in the role in years.
Burnham: You guys have a real problem if your couriers are stealing stuff and then colliding with thousand-year-old women in space.
Orion: What cargo was he hauling?
Burnham: I don't know. But it was temperature-sensitive and really valuable so it's probably ice cream.
And she obviously had a lot of fun with it. I liked how she warned them NEVER to hit Tilly with that gas.
Let's see. We've covered shooting out of the temporal wormhole, meeting Book and Grudge, and getting drugged. There's not much to discuss regarding the escape from the Mercantile (and the many times she punches Book) and getting swallowed then regurgitated by the transworm.
Ah, yes, the Burn and the current state of the Federation.
The Burn was the day the galaxy took a hard left. Dilithium. One day, most of it just went boom.Book
I still find it suspiciously coincidental that the moment seen as the beginning of the Federation's fall is called "The Burn" when our central hero is named "BURNham"
It'll be interesting to see if why dilithium became unstable is actually investigated or if it'll just be accepted as a thing.
It's more likely that rebuilding the Federation will be central. Perhaps with a fleet of spore drive ships?
The Federation isn't just about ships and warp-drive. It's about a vision and all those that believe in that vision.Burnham
Did anyone else almost forget about Mysterious Routine Man from the opening scene by the time Book docks at the relay station?
His story is touching but borders on some hella crazy fanaticism.
(Also, if the flag's been in his family for generations, why didn't his father or grandfather -- commissioned officers by his testimony -- hang it?)
I watched this office every day as I have for forty years believing, one day, others like me would walk through that door. And my hope was not in vain. Today is that day and that hope is you, Commander Burnham.Sadil
But, all snarkiness aside, I know the takeaway is that he's an example of the hopeful remnants of the Federation. That there is a Federation waiting to be revived.
I mean, Burnham et al. (wherever they are atm) saved the universe already. Surely reinstating a bureaucracy to govern two quadrants without warp-capable ships or long-range communications won't be harder than that?
Sadil: Hope is a powerful thing.
Burnham: Sometimes, it's the only thing
Sadil: Our numbers are few. Our spirit is undiminished.
However you feel as you watch Star Trek: Discovery online -- whether disappointed, elated, or maybe a little sleepy -- it's nice to have them back.
With Jonathan Frakes at the helm for much of the season, there's bound to be a lot of legacy love stirred into the execution of a season that quite literally goes where no other Trek has gone before.
Let us know in the comments what your impressions are so far?
What are your craziest predictions?
What are your deepest concerns?
Go ahead, fill me in at a "warp factor of five, six, seven, eight!"
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.