Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Die Trying

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Discovery's return to the bosom of the Federation on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 is everything we expected and a few bits thrown in for seasoning.

We got the joyous homecoming with the crew's astonishment at the advancements apparent everywhere they looked. There was heartwarming relief as they recognized a safe haven at last with some elements of familiarity.

There was the inevident suspicion on the part of Admiral Vance and his staff. The cloak of the unknown that billows around the Burn seems to get more impenetrable each time someone who should know something about it admits they don't know.

And then there are the new mysteries -- Adira's cello tune and the nameless Man in Glasses -- which are sure to recur.

Georgiou Smirks - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

There's been a lot more humor this season and I've appreciated it.

The interrogation scenes with Discovery's crew are great, both for the recognition of the craziness they've survived and the coping mechanisms they've had to develop in order to be able to discuss it all now.

Tilly: All of this is after I got my hair blown out and became a Terran captain slash dominatrix and before we jumped through a wormhole into the future so, I mean, I love Starfleet -- I really do -- but ask me if any of this was in the handbook.
Starfleet AI: Was any of this in the handbook?
Tilly: No.

In addition, the trifecta of snark in Engineering is almost too much but I live for Reno's scenes so the more, the better.

But Willa's observations of their working rapport are spot-on. Any reasonable outside observer would expect their dysfunction to be a detriment to operations.

Willa: Dysfunction aside, y'all make a pretty good team.
Reno: Dysfunction is the team.
Stamets: We've just accepted it.
Reno: No, we haven't.

The camaraderie and trust on the bridge was pushed into the spotlight none too subtly. The fact the Nilsson and Rhys were each handed the com felt deliberate, possibly a reflection on some of the team-building done on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 4.

To be honest, I still find Nilsson's presence disconcerting, like an interloper. Since she took over for Airiam on the bridge after Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 9, but the actress actually PLAYED Airiam throughout Season 1, it's a weird flex on the part of casting.

Lt. Nilsson - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

The Ticov mission feels like a classic Trek sort of mission and that's a nice reprieve from the introspective, post-traumatic healing theme of the season.

And yet, it is a mission mired in trauma and which leads Nhan to work out her own resolution for her personal regrets.

My species is known for two things. Diligence and poverty. What little we get, we invest in our children.


If you've forgotten, Nhan joined Discovery under the command of Captain Pike, coming with him from the Enterprise. As Discovery's security officer, she was the one who airlocked Airiam to prevent Control from getting the entirety of the Sphere data.

Discovery's security chiefs seem to have the longevity of a Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. In less than three seasons, we've seen Landry killed by a tardigrade, Tyler revealed as a Klingon sleeper agent, and now Nhan defects to a seed vault ship.

Commander Nhan - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

Not that I blame her but I'm interested in how quickly she'll need to pick up the skills to pilot a ship with technology a thousand years ahead of her time. Dr. Attis doesn't have much time left in which to train her after all.

My only real gripe about this offering is Burnham's plot armor.

In the past, I've defended her against the haters on the "Mary Sue" nature of her character but this adventure makes it kind of difficult to do that with much conviction.

Make no mistake, the show is and always will be about Michael Burnham. But she's been flawed -- troubled, repressed, self-conscious, even entitled -- so I've never been that frustrated by the height of her pedestal.

Here, she's everything and a bag of chips. Her impetuous and headstrong impulses need to be tempered by Saru's diplomacy and regulation-conscious reins but they are the hallmark of the hero-warrior-woman.

Let's show them who we are.


She not only solves the mystery of the Kili illness, leads the mission, and talks the seed vault caretaker out of his grief, she notices the musical connection between the Barzans and Adira, something I'm going to guess we're going to hear more about later.

Reporting for Duty - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

A lot of her Mary Sue-ness is enabled by Culber at this point.

When they brought Adira to Trill, he insisted Burnham accompany Adira to the planet, ostensibly because they could bond over the weirdness of losing part of their world.

Here, he pushes Burnham to talk to Dr. Attis because she is LESS relatable than Nhan.

Two truths now exist in one space. That never goes well.


We know that Burnham has a brilliant mind, that she is brave and driven and protective of her people.

So Nhan's goodbye speech is just that much too much, padding her halo to an annoying degree.

Burnham - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

How Discovery and its crew fits into the new Federation and its Starfleet remains to be seen.

Everyone will require therapy and retraining. They have a thousand years of tech to familiarize themselves with, after all.

From the look of the headquarters, there's no actual planet to call home as much as a terraformed starbase.

It's unlikely they'll be given a ton of time for convalescence. Burnham's got a look about her when it comes to solving the Burn and now there's the music thing.

Seated Georgiou - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

Meanwhile, we have Georgiou processing the idea that she is the last Terran standing.

Whether that was all she was doing while zoned out in the corridor or if the Man in Glasses (played by David freakin' Cronenberg, if you missed it, by the way!) did something more to her during their exchange, it'll be an interesting and potentially complicating element to the story.

Silly holo. You cannot rattle me by introducing a completely fabricated biological component to my nastiness and inherently bad behavior. I'm extremely wicked. Even for a Terran.


Knowing that Michelle Yeoh's Section 31 project is still in the works, I suspect we are seeing the seeds of her return to black ops.

Who's development are you most interested in seeing next?

Will Tilly's dark matter navigation system take form soon? How's that going to affect Stamets' ego?

Starfleet AI: So you would consider yourself essential personnel?
Stamets: Have you been talking to Detmer? Because I can't seem to get away from this question.

Will the politics of the Federation in the 32nd century be any less exacerbating than the era of Star Trek: Picard?

As you watch Star Trek: Discovery online, note that Adira never comes back after being taken off for a medical check-up.

Was it just a check-up or did Vance want Tal debriefed and held elsewhere while Discovery was interrogated?

Hard at Work - Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Die Trying Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5 Quotes

I believe that here, there are answers for you. And solace for all of us.


Burnham: Words aren't enough, are they? Nine hundred and thirty years.
Saru: I trust that what matters most will have endured.