Star Trek: Discovery this week shows how you do a prequel right, as Pike has an experience that lends texture and meaning to “The Menagerie” 53 years later. Plus Burnham and Spock get to work together! My take on “Through the Valley of the Shadow.”
Before we get there, though, we have a bit of personal business. We finally get Tig Notaro back as Commander Reno, and while the bridge crew plays a word game in the mess hall, Stamets is still moping over Culber—who is hanging out in the mess hall with a whole ‘nother set of people.
Reno takes matters into her own hands—literally, as she has a hangnail—and goes to Culber to get it treated and tell him to get his head out of his ass. Reno, it turns out, was married, but her wife died in the Klingon war. Reno reminds Culber that he and Stamets have a second chance that may not come again, and not to screw it up. It’s a nice little scene, the highlight of which is Culber and Reno comparing annoying habits of their respective partners. (“Believe me,” Culber says fervently, “I understand micromanagement.”) I particularly like that Notaro keeps the character’s edge, but the scene also gives her a bit more depth beyond “smartass engineer.”