Show Reviews

Star Trek: Shorts, “Runaway”

Image Credit: StarTrek.com

I’m pretty positive that, like yours truly, the rest of y’all are counting down the days until Star Trek: Discovery season two drops; like a fat, jolly old man down a chimney in December. I mean, January 17th is only a mere 3 months away, but it might as well be in 2020 as opposed to 2019, for all the good it’ll do my insatiable appetite for more Trek at this juncture in time and space. Thankfully, the progenitors of Discovery know that our collective fandom is made-up of a bunch of rabid, sentient beings who are easily miffed when it comes to our beloved franchise and, like loving parents, have decided to throw us a few, tiny morsels to hold us over until then. These tiny morsels that I speak of are four, 15-minute shorts, spread out over the next few months, leading into the season premiere on the 17th (well, just a few weeks shy of that date, actually).

 

“Runaway” – Thursday, Oct. 4

Onboard the U.S.S. Discovery, Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman) encounters an unexpected visitor in need of help. However, this unlikely pair may have more in common than meets the eye.

Written by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman. Directed by Maja Vrvilo.

 

“Calypso” – Thursday, Nov. 8

After waking up in an unfamiliar sickbay, Craft (Aldis Hodge) finds himself on board a deserted ship, and his only companion and hope for survival is an A.I. computer interface.

Teleplay by Michael Chabon. Story by Sean Cochran and Michael Chabon. Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi.


“The Brightest Star” – Thursday, Dec. 6

Before he was the first Kelpien to join Starfleet, Saru (Doug Jones) lived a simple life on his home planet of Kaminar with his father and sister. Young Saru, full of ingenuity and a level of curiosity uncommon among his people, yearns to find out what lies beyond his village, leading him on an unexpected path.

Written by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt. Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski.


“The Escape Artist” – Thursday, Jan. 3

Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), back to his old tricks of stealing and double-dealing, finds himself in a precarious position aboard a hostile ship – just in time to try out his latest con.

Written by Michael McMahan. Directed by Rainn Wilson.

 

The first of these four premiered on October 4th, but since I’m backlogged  – ridiculously backlogged, that is – on all of the shows that I’m attempting to watch, I just now was able to make some time to watch it (don’t judge me).

Entitled “Runaway,” and directed by Maja Vrvilo (with a script by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman), the story follows a stowaway from the planet Xahea, who is discovered by Sylvia Tilly in the ship’s mess hall, apparently on the lam. The stowaway’s name, which we learn along with Tilly, is “Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po” (has a sort of “Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore” feel to it, doesn’t it?). We also discover that “Po” (an abbreviation Tilly decides on) is a brilliant engineer who invented an incubator to recrystallize dilithium, a process which will be of great importance for improving intergalactic travel amongst ships with warp capabilities in the near future.

Now, what does this actually mean, and how does it relate to future timelines that we are all familiar with? Let me see if I can assist in breaking it down in a manner that Bones would markedly appreciate. Or, to borrow a phrase from Kirk: English, Spock. Can’t confirm if this was ever said, but it should have been (nyuk, nyuk).

Let’s take a wee trip back to the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in order to gain some perspective. Recall how the trek through time with our crew of the Enterprise drained the dilithium crystals onboard the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Furthermore, remember how this caused a problem for the return journey home?

Kirk: Is there no way of recrystallizing dilithium?

Scotty: Sorry, sir. We can’t even do that in the 23rd century.

Now, I don’t know what transpired between the advent of capable technology which could have solved this conundrum (thanks to Po), and the events of The Voyage Home (maybe the Xahean tech was unstable, or couldn’t be reconciled with the matter/antimatter reaction assembly – who knows?), but if it had been available for Scotty, Chekov and Uhura wouldn’t have had to sneak aboard a naval vessel (coolly named “USS Enterprise”), and thieve its high-energy photons to aid in crystalline restructure. But, then we wouldn’t have gotten that classic hospital scene, now would we?

Bones (to police officer): Damn it, do you want an acute case on your hands? This woman has immediate post-prandial, upper-abdominal distension. Now, out of the way! Get out of the way!

Kirk (to Bones): What’d you say she’s got?

Bones: Cramps.

Regardless of the obvious riddle this mini-episode presents, I thought it was still particularly enjoyable; especially since we got to focus on Tilly for an entire story (who I absolutely adore). Additionally, the crux of the theme wasn’t necessarily about 23rd century tech. It was about Tilly’s ability to empathize with another being that was going through a similar ordeal. They are both kindred spirits, and at odds with themselves about how to overcome self-doubt. For Tilly, it’s about not being good enough for the Command Training Program. For Po, it’s a lack of belief in her ability to govern Xahea as queen; a planet which also happens to be her sister (still can’t wrap my head around this, but I’m just gonna go with it).

I suppose the only thing that was a bit odd (and the only criticism I can offer) was the fact that nobody else was to be found on Discovery, save for a few crew members that walked in on Tilly while she was dithering around the mess hall, unsure of how to proceed with assuaging Po’s trepidation. It kind of reminded me of the scene in Deadpool when he visits 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center:

Deadpool (to Negasonic Teenage Warhead): It’s funny that I only ever see two of you. It’s almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.

But, I’ve digressed. This is just me being a prototypical Star Trek fan, dissecting every last bit of a story. But, hey, that’s what we do, kids.

In my opinion, “Runaway” is a nice supplement to the series, while concurrently broadening the scope of Tilly’s life outside of Starfleet. It may, or may not, be your cup of Earl Grey, but at the very least, it’ll give you a proverbial snack to chew on until the series returns in January; a “snack” which indubitably hits all the proper notes we’ve come to expect in our show.

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