The latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery finds the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery is fully embraced by Starfleet, they get tasked with a mission to be "observers" to help Book (David Ajala) deal with a crisis on his home planet of Kwejian. Since the Federation is in the unique position of being players again albeit in a limited manner since Discovery is the only ship capable of practical distant travel, they get placed in a conservative role so as to not rock galactic politics.
While Book and Cmdr Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) travel to the planet's surface to talk to his "brother" Kyheem (Ache Hernandez), the Andorian, Ryn (Noah Averbach-Katz) becomes a valuable target for the Orion overlord Osyraa (Janet Kidder) of the Emerald Chain. Despite his own rescue due to the efforts from the Federation, Ryn still distrusts them. "The Sanctuary" has all the makings of another classic with Book and Burnham trying to play their part as liberators and at the same time Capt. Saru (Doug Jones) tries to buy them time before Osyraa arrives.
Strong Character Development in "Star Trek: Discovery"
"The Sanctuary" follows the familiar crisis of the week non-serial formula even if it plays little into the greater arc of the burn. It's one of those "I scratch your back" type of episodes since Book's been a valuable asset non-Starfleet member of the crew even if he has his own ship. A few noteworthy scenes include a memorable one between Ryn and Book's Maine Coon, Grudge during the climactic battle. Another is more bonding between Adira (Blu del Barrio) and Lt. Cmdr. Stamets (Anthony Rapp), who's fascinated about Adira's own path as a human with Trill characteristics. Emily Coutts really shined as Lt. Detmer more involved than she typically is and you can tell she was definitely having fun. One last pairing that demonstrates the exemplary writing from Kenneth Lin and Brandon Schultz is the back-and-forth between Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) and Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). Georgiou makes the worst patient and Culber gives it right back to her so she complies even if it's reluctantly.
It's another gem directed by franchise vet Jonathan Frakes, who perfectly captures the pacing, tension and able to fine-tune the performances bringing out each actor's strengths. Saru is definitely a natural talent for captain even pulling off a nudge-and-wink maneuver that reminds us he's the right choice for the job. It's another strong outing for a stellar season.