Show Reviews

Star Trek: Discovery, S2, Ep. 8, “If Memory Serves”

Image Credit: CBS Interactive, Inc.

It would appear that there is one, seemingly incontrovertible truth which pervades the whole of the cosmos: if your species is sentient, there will be family drama amongst it.

This week we found ourselves on the forbidden planet of Talos IV. The plan for our wayward Vulcan visitor, and his estranged human sister, was for the Talosians to use both of their minds in order to set his straight (“his” being Spock’s). Not only was the mission successful in righting the proverbial ship of the Vulcan’s mental faculties (which were scrambled as a result of his mind-meld with the “Red Angel”), we also, as an added bonus, were treated to what caused the rift in Spock’s and Burnham’s relationship to begin with.  It was nothing considerably out-of-the-norm, as far as familial squabbles go, but it was pretty harsh of little Michael to make even-tinier Spock feel the way she made him feel. I believe her exact words to him were, “I don’t want you in my life. Stop following me, you weird little half-breed.” Kids can be a-holes with the best of ’em.

But you can’t be too annoyed with Burnham for the course of action she took. She was merely a child who believed that the only way to keep her brother safe was to completely cut him off; and to do this, she used words to fragment his love for her into a million pieces – words which, as we find out, have stayed with him his whole life, leaving scars that never fully healed. Hence the rift that holds steadfast between the two siblings.

We also got to see the extent to which Dr. Culber has changed, or been “reborn”. Turns out, he’s “pristine” in every way imaginable, including emotionally. It’s like the cord connecting his memories to their corresponding emotional responses has been severed. It’ll be interesting (as well as heartbreaking) to see where Hugh goes from here, and what becomes of his and Paul’s relationship. But I predict a ship-transfer is in the good doctor’s future.

Everything in “If Memory Serves” was great. As per my usual reviews, there’s nothing negative to report on my side of the Interwebs. Discovery’s weekly dose of Trek has yet again satiated my insatiable appetite with zero longings still to be had. That being said, despite the multiple plot points weaving the narrative of this week’s installment, and keeping me glued to my telly, I think the best part of the episode, by far, was the unexpected surprise we were gifted; a surprise that I think most of us were hoping would saunter over our way, but couldn’t definitively be sure ever would: a cameo by none other than Vina (played by Melissa George).

Melissa George breathes new life into the classic character from “The Cage” (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

What was so great about her appearance, and her interaction with Pike, is that it effectively bridged the gap between the “The Cage” and “The Menagerie, Parts 1 and 2,” something that Star Trek has never done before, especially when you consider that “The Cage” never made it onto network television during TOS’s original run during the 60s. It also gave us some context regarding whether or not Pike has been thinking about Vina during the years in-between. The answer to this, by the way, is a resounding “Yes, ma’am, he sure has.”

Pike’s love has never wavered for his girl on Talos IV (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

Additionally, as SYFY WIRE points out, Pike’s accident in “The Menagerie,” and his reunion with Vina on Talos IV at the end, can be seen more, now, as a victory for the captain rather than a tragic finale because of this Discovery episode. It puts a fresh new spin on a classic Star Trek episode, adding depth to a story we’ve all known for fifty-plus years. And, as the hosts of Transporter Room 3 have put it, “If Memory Serves” has given us a sequel to the long-unaired original pilot episode. It did for “The Cage” (and, by extension, “The Menagerie”) what Rogue One did for A New Hope.

I’m quite sure Star Wars loyalists will be quick to point out that they did it first, though….

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