It's counterintuitive to every fiber of my modern-day Star Trek soul, but I am having a niggling suspicion that Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 8 was playing for laughs.
Despite the darkly serious setting of a world under threat from climate change, pestilence-induced famine, and the Emerald Chain's extortion; the poignant tale of estranged brothers; and the troubling nature of Georgiou's medical scan, there was an inordinate number of humorous inclusions throughout this narrative plot-web.
From the obvious visual connection of Osyraa to the Wicked Witch of the West to Saru's repeated attempts to coin an appropriate signature command to Linus's annual shedding, I honestly felt the absence of a laugh track.
And yet, despite all the shenanigans, there are major long-arc plot developments as well.
So, yeah, I'll admit I found Saru's attempt to find his catchphrase incredibly endearing, as well as funny.
It's also something novel in the well-established Star Trek 'verse since we've never actually seen a captain actively trying out various options.
There's an implicit assumption that captains just have their signature phrase ready, fully formed from the moment they take command.
Saru's approach of discovering one by committee (or at least in consultation with his temporary Number One) might not be the way it's usually done, but Discovery doesn't do things by any book we've seen so far.
The trick will be finding one that suits Saru, who is, himself, a captain unlike any before. His demeanor is more suited to Cronkite's sign-off than Pike's -- or even Picard's -- to warp catchphrase.
Osyraa's reputation preceded her with all that was said about her on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 6.
Feeding her nephew to a trance worm seems to indicate that there wasn't much exaggeration in the rumors.
The Chain's turned Prime Directive violations into an art form. They make reckless contact with pre-warp civilizations that have something they want.Vance
The fact that the Orions and Andorians are both named as leaders in the Emerald Chain syndicate makes me wonder who her Andorian counterpart is and whether they'll factor into the retribution, she plans on dumping on the heads of the Federation.
She's not subtle in her technique by any means. She's no L'Rell of the House of Mo'Kai, but she seems to have a track record of getting her way.
My ancestors knew that power is virtue and that there is no nobility in suffering. You do what it takes to get what you need or you don't.Osyraa
Ryn's revelation that the Chain is running out of dilithium may be key intel for the Federation, but the question that needs to be answered here is what has happened to Xahea and Po's dilithium incubator?
Tilly, as First Officer and Queen Me Hani Ika Hai Ka Po's bestie, should be ideally situated to investigate if The Burn affected the dilithium-rich planet.
Of course, the possibility exists that Po's heirs were not as protective of their planet and, 930 years later, the dilithium mines were depleted. But, then, the question still remains regarding her incubator.
Speaking of Tilly, it's heartening to see her taking on her new position with some confidence. Her quick takedown of Ryn's disrespectful tone was impressive (and probably channeled her station-conscious mother to no small degree).
Even better, her innovative mind manages to pull a bit of a Burnham and throws Detmer into Book's ship where, faced with Ryn's debilitating fear and insecurity, our hotshot pilot gets her groove back and goes all Han Solo on the Viridian.
Detmer: I need failsafes.
Owosekun: The only failsafe you ever needed was you.
It seems unlikely that one successful Top Gun mission can reverse all the PTSD Detmer was suffering, but it's probably given her a much-needed boost.
Georgiou continues to get all the best lines (when Jett Reno isn't around), so her Worst Patient Ever schtick is entertaining even while it's mildly terrifying.
Where I'm from, the Emperor's personal physicians were buried with them when they died. It incentivized loyalty.Georgiou
We still don't know what triggered these episodes of hers, but she's admitted that they're getting worse.
What's terrifying is the possibility hinted at by the physical warping of her body that occurred during the medical scan.
Unless it's a special, heretofore-unknown feature of Terran physiology, the last time we saw someone doing that with their face, it was Leland being -- dare I say it? -- assimilated by Control's nanobots.
While the interwebz have speculated at the start of the season about Detmer carrying Control into the future with her implant, until now, we haven't had reason to look too closely at the person who boot-stomped Control into the floor of the spore drive chamber.
Georgiou's clashes with Culber are her version of tantrums because she's losing control (no pun intended) of the situation.
Furthermore, she's resolutely refusing to share whatever memory of the Mirror Universe she's reliving during her episodes.
Georgiou: If I had time, I'd poison your children.
Culber: If I had time, I'd have children.
Instead, she throws up snarky defenses -- pushing Burnham away and trying to insult Culber into leaving her alone.
Georgiou: You don't scare me, human.
Culber: I don't need to. You're already terrified.
LOL. Unfortunately for her, Culber has a lifetime dealing with Stamets' bitchy brilliance, so he's fully equipped with the bottomless patience and unflappable tolerance. It must be so frustrating for our dear Emperor.
The common thread through a lot of the other plotlines here is one of loving courage, in all its different forms.
Adira's revelation to Stamets of their non-binary identification reflects the trust they've placed in him.
They haven't (and probably won't for a while) declared their pronouns to the rest of the crew, but the fact they wanted Stamets to know is indicative of how important he's become to them.
(By the way, the fact she is being ghosted by a ghost is both heartbreaking and uncomfortably hilarious.)
Kaheem's love for his brother overcomes his fear of Osyraa (and the danger threatening his son). Book's faith in his brother leads him to give Kaheem the chance to take him down, thus proving that Kaheem still retains that love for him.
Oh, and then there's the little matter of them solving the origin of The Burn AND the mystery of the recurring tune all in one short scene, which no one bothers to refer to at any other point. Seriously?
So, after you've watch Star Trek: Discovery online a few times, I challenge you to come back at me with the single weirdest moment for you.
Was it, "Manifest!"?
Burnham: I'm going to show you something amazing.
Lido: The lizard guy?
Burnham: Mm-hm, his name is Linus and you can peel off a part of his face if you want.
Lido: Ew, gross!
Was it Linus's molting?
Rin: You know, all I ever heard about when I was little was how deceitful the Federation was, how they'd turn on you. I mean, you want to scare an Andorian child, tell them they're going to Federation summer camp.
Tilly: That's not a thing.
Was it Tilly and Ryn's heart-to-heart?
Was it Book deciding to join Starfleet?
Or was it Ryn's reaction to Grudge?
You'd think, considering his friendship with Book, he would've heard something about the queen of his ship.
How about the random (and, as yet, unnamed) Osnullus crew member who has suddenly been promoted to the bridge?
Was there something I missed in this melee of moving parts?
"Engage" with me in the comments, and maybe we can "hit it" out of the park, discourse-wise.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.