Star Trek: Discovery "Scavengers" Review: Swashbuckling Under Pressure

Star Trek: Discovery - "Scavengers"
8/10
Michelle Yeoh shines in this more action-oriented episode of Star Trek: Discovery taking every chance to chew every scene with razor-sharp moves and matching wit. Director Doug Aariokoski and writer Anne Cofell Saunders continue to show us why some birds aren't meant to be caged.

This week's episode of Star Trek: Discovery is an exercise in duality as Starfleet and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) find each other at odds at one another trying to do what's right. On the one hand under the Federation's perspective, they're doing everything they can to preserve peace within their limited capacity including a ship that's beyond their current capabilities since the Burn affected all warp travel. On the other, you have Burnham who operates everything within her capacity and not within the Federation's to help others. Burnham's instinct and duties to help others in need overrides the jurisdiction of Starfleet's fears and caution, which leads to the current episode "Scavengers."

Star Trek: Discovery "Scavengers" Review: Swashbuckling Under Pressure
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The episode finds Book (David Ajala) in trouble on a remote planet when his ship arrives in Federation space with just his Maine Coon, Grudge. The U.S.S. Discovery gains a letter designation as the "ancient ship" gets futuristic upgrades while still not knowing what caused the "Burn." So under orders to be on call for a separate mission, Michael breaks ranks and goes on a rogue mission with the only other person not stuck up on regulation, Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), and takes Book's ship to his location. Posing as traders, the two find a slave camp they look to try to liberate with Book among its prisoners.

Star Trek: Discovery "Scavengers" Review: Swashbuckling Under Pressure
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While most of the episode takes place on Michael and Georgiou's rogue mission, the rest of the crew find themselves in a dilemma. Since Starfleet in the 32nd century just opened themselves up to them, they're still largely bound by regulation and structure as with previous generations even if the mission meant they're one step closer to finding out how the burn happened. Obviously, the episode is non-existent on the traditional science phenomena or bringing attention to an important geopolitical ethical issue. "Scavengers" is largely driven by performances by Martin-Green. Yeoh and Doug Jones' Saru, who makes most of his limited screen time being in a profound difficult position he's in.

Star Trek: Discovery "Scavengers" Review: Swashbuckling Under Pressure
"Scavengers" — Ep#306 — Pictured: Mary Wiseman as Tilly of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I can watch Yeoh's one-liners and enjoy Georgiou's cut-throat sass all day long with the way she's lead. It seems like, given the drive of both characters, Starfleet rules and regulations are an afterthought given the situation the Discovery finds itself boxed in. Given the current course of the series and everything that's happened since it becomes surprising why Burnham still puts up with Federation BS that's only holding her back. Other noteworthy performances come from Anthony Rapp and Blu del Barrio, which sees a softer side of Stamets when not exuding his curmudgeon intellectual narcissistic ways in the middle of a crisis. Directed by Doug Aariokoski, who also did the same for the Star Trek: Picard episode "Nepenthe" and written by Anne Cofell Saunders (The Boys), "Scavengers" provides another strong entry in Discovery that reminds us home is more a state of mind than just a physical place. Here's hoping the sidelining is only temporary and not a sign of things to come the remainder of the season. Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All Access.


This post is part of a multi-part series: Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Reviews.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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