Star Trek Discovery: 2.09 Project Daedalus
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Discovery is on the run - following last week's breakout of Spock from Section 31 custody and our brief visit to Talos IV, the crew are now all fugitives who must find a way of clearing their Vulcan friend's name.
However it turns out Section 31 may be more rogue than ever - Admiral Cornwell arrives aboard Discovery undercover with news that the intelligence organisation has gone dark and Cornwell's access to their systems has been cut off. The only answer? To set course for Section 31 headquarters and find out what's going on.
Project Daedalus however isn't all about that, and instead it's a chance to get to know one of the other members of the bridge crew in more detail - something, that in most shows might have happened during the first year; it's telling that until this week we knew next to nothing about the augmented human - why is she augmented? was she really human? The only info we really have is from outside of the show so it's good to finally get some canon background on the character.
We quickly learn that Airiam is human but she was involved in a shuttle accident that killed her then-new husband. We even get to see she has something of a warm relationship with the rest of the crew - with a special friendship with Tilly in particular. Why this warmth and character development has to happen in flashback across the course of this one episode rather more naturally through character development over the last couple of years is anyone's guess - and is clearly one of the biggest flaws of Discovery last season.
Unfortunately, we also know that Airiam is compromised by the alien probe from the future that Tyler and Pike were sidelined by a couple of episodes ago - there's clearly a link to Section 31 here and we learn that she has been sending covert messages to the organisation, or specifically to 'Control' - the system that Section 31 and Starfleet use to help inform command decisions.
Meanwhile Spock and Burnham continue to be at loggerheads arguing over both their past and what the red angel means to both of them - eventually leading to a full on meltdown on Spock's part over a game of chess. It seems the stoic Vulcan might not quite the level of control over his emotions as we might come to expect and he sees the introduction of chaos as a logical path to find answers.
There are some pretty hefty revelations by episodes end - we know what Airiam has been doing, and we know who or what sent back the probe and for what purpose - unfortunately those revelations come with a price and that is the loss of one of the bridge crew. Oddly enough that price would have passed viewers by completely had it not been for the snippets of history and character development that we got to see over the preceding 45 minutes and I have to hand it to them that they managed to effectively tug on our heart strings with some deft weaving of history that gave us some relationships to actually care about.
We now know 'Control' is hoping to go all Skynet on sentient life; using the 'knowledge' that Discovery picked up from the sphere in An Obol for Charon to inform its artificial intelligence and become completely independent of its creators. It didn't get the full data dump but probably picked up enough to go on so it'll be interesting to see how this life vs machine showdown evolves. It feels a little like a disappointing endpoint to the red angel storyline so hopefully there's some evil mastermind behind the plan who'll be revealed; otherwise the endgame could well be yet another 'Bad AI' tale and we'd like to think the Discovery writers have something more exciting for us than that.