Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 3
Context is for Kings
[Originally aired on October 1, 2017 on CBS All Access.]
Six months after being sentenced to life imprisonment for mutiny, Burnham is being transported with three other convicts when her shuttle is taken aboard the U.S.S. Discovery when it suffers damage from a space bug infestation.
Aboard the Discovery, she finds it is a brand new starship and meets Commander Landry, Chief of Security. The convicts are kept aboard while their transport is being repaired. The other convicts notice the uniforms aboard are mostly blue Science but some have unexplained black badges. Burnham sees Keyla Detmer, a bridge officer from the U.S.S. Shenzhou, in the commissary but Keyla snubs her. When Burnham sits down to eat at a table with the other convicts, they attack her and she defends herself.
Commander Landry takes her to meet Captain Lorca while the other convicts are sent to the brig. On the bridge, she comes face to face with the ship's first officer, Saru, who also served with her aboard the Shenzhou. She meets Lorca in a darkened ready room due to an eye injury he recently sustained. He offers her a fortune cookie. He assigns her to his Science team.
She meets Sylvia Tilly, her roommate, who is awkward and chatty in their shared quarters. As they get ready for sleep, the computer goes to "Black Alert" and Tilly can't explain it to Burnham because she hasn't been briefed. Burnham notices strange molecular behaviour in the cabin.
Next morning, Burnham is met by Saru as she leaves her cabin who escorts her to her lab. They have a discussion about what has happened in their lives since the Battle at the Binary Stars and Burnham apologizes for her actions that day. He recognizes her regret but feels that she is a danger to those around her. He leaves her in Engineering under the direction of Lt. Stamets.
Stamets is less than welcoming and gives her busy work. When she comes to report an error in the code, she overhears a conversation with a science officer aboard the U.S.S. Glenn. Stamets is cautioning that the other ship is being overly ambitious with their tests. After acknowledging the error she found, he leaves her to enter the internal lab, only accessible by breath scan.
Collecting some of her roommate's saliva while she sleeps, Burnham is able to fool the computer into granting her access to the internal lab and discovers a bio-lab filled with glowing spores and fungus.
Lorca receives an above top secret transmission and conveys the information to Stamets' team that all crew aboard the U.S.S. Glenn were lost while doing Black Alert drill. He sends a boarding party which includes Landry and Stamets and Burnham to retrieve the data and experimental materials from the Glenn.
The boarding party find the ship floating with no lights and all crew members dead, killed in a bloody manner. They find signs of Klingons but realize when they find the Klingon bodies that they boarded after the initial catastrophe. A live Klingon comes into sight, gesturing for the boarding party to be quiet only to be attacked by some large alien beast.
The team runs to the Engineering lab when Stamets orders Burnham to download the ship's data and Tilly to retrieve the telemetry. Landry has to cut through the hatch because it's jammed in order to get them out. The beast is attacking the hatch they entered through. As it comes through the hatch, Burnham fires a phaser at it to get its attention and leads it up into a Jefferies tube, reciting lines from "Alice in Wonderland" as she crawls. Once the boarding party communicates that they are safely in the shuttle, she instructs them to open their top hatch and she drops out of the Jefferies tube, directly into the shuttle and they return to the ship, leaving the beast aboard the Glenn.
Burnham, dressed in her convict jumpsuit, returns to the bridge to meet with the captain and Saru gives her a positive review of her time with them. She intends to be on the prisoner transport, scheduled to leave within the hour. When she meets with the captain, he offers her a place on Discovery which she turns down. She tells him her theory that he is developing a spore-based bio-weapon which is strictly forbidden by war conventions and she thinks he wants her because of her court-martialed status, thinking she would do anything to get back into Star Fleet.
Captain Lorca tells her she's mistaken. Transporting the two of them to Engineering, he explains the spore they are growing and harvesting is a new fuel for an organic propulsion system. He demonstrates how nearly instantaneously they can transport someone using this system but zapping her to all the places the Discovery has managed to leap to using the spores.
He confesses that he did select her for his crew but because her mutiny at the Binary Stars was the result of the type of war-time thinking he values. Offering her another fortune cookie, he pitches this job as a chance for her to help end the war. She accepts the fortune cookie.
Saru is having tea when the prison shuttle leaves, his hackles rising as he watches it enter warp. Burnham enters her cabin with her bag, surprising Tilly who nevertheless welcomes her aboard and shares with her the fact she dreams of being a captain someday. When Burnham opens her bag, Tilly spots a book and exclaims in surprise. Burnham shares it with her, a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and tells her that her foster mother, Amanda, used to read it to her and Amanda's son. She credits it with her understanding that logic doesn't always dictate the world.
The U.S.S. Glenn is detonated by the Discovery on command of Captain Lorca. He converses with Landry about their new guest. After she leaves, he approaches a large container with a shielded opening. They have beamed the alien beast aboard before the Glenn was destroyed.