Star Trek: Discovery – Season 3, Episode 12 Recap: “There Is a Tide…”

Dept. of Dots and Crosses

Star Trek: Discovery Director | Jonathan Frakes
Season 3 | Episode 12 | 48 minutesWriters | Kenneth Lin
There Is a Tide…
Burnham and Booker are hot on the heels of Discovery as Osyraa’s plans are revealed and aren’t quite what anyone expected.

As Star Trek: Discovery approaches its Season 3 finale, we learn to be careful what we wish for as this week’s Die Hard on Discovery episode both exceeds our epectations in some regards and disappoints in others.

Are the problems the guys see with this episode a necessary step on the way to a better Star Trek series? Star Trek neophyte Bahir and long timer Iain discuss below.


Hailing Frequencies Open

Iain McNally: In a very Star Trek turn of events, we should learn to always be careful what we wish for. After last week’s discussion we got what we thought was coming which was “Die Hard on Discovery,” but somehow the execution left me colder than the empty vacuum of space.

Bahir Yeusuff: I was more interested in the negotiations between the Admiral and Osyraa personally. I mean, action is always great, but I agree with you in that it just wasn’t all that.

IMN: Congratulations! You have now joined the hallowed ranks of Trek fans who would rather see a well reasoned argument on screen, than space battles and pew pew pew!

As I’ve mentioned before, criticisms that Michael was ALWAYS the centre of the show, and the show’s universe, didn’t bother me so much previously but I’m beginning to see it now in this season, when it seemed like we were finally getting to know the rest of the bridge crew more. It did irk me that Michael had to be the one that went full John McClane on The Chain’s asses. Why couldn’t it have been Linus! 

BY: Well probably because they had turned off the transport function on the badges. We both know how dangerous he is with that thing.

IMN: Which is why it would be perfect! The ship’s sensors wouldn’t detect him as they’d turned off his badge and he was covered in mucus!

BY: Hahaha. All jokes aside, my first question to you is: have you changed your mind with regards to the Admiral? Are you still doubting his position?

Admiral Qualities

IMN: *strokes chin while staring pensively out into space* Weeeeelll there’s still plenty of room for him to be crooked, but even I have to admit that in this episode he was Starfleet AF. Taking the time to read the armistice during a heated situation, considering its merits and not dismissing it entirely out of hand just because Osyraa was presenting it, that was all great.

I even believe he was being genuine about having Osyraa charged with her crimes in order to bolster the legitimacy of any new alliance (although there is still a chance he was just using this to not look like the bad guy).

BY: You just can’t let that “crooked-Admiral” thing go can you?

IMN: No, but I am loosening my grip on the argument. 

I really liked how they filled in the background of The Emerald Chain during their discussion. Osyraa isn’t just a gang lord, she’s a “Minister.” It’s just that her culture abides by different rules (although her actions after the meeting may contradict that).

What did you think of “Capitalism is already happening?” Bit on the nose, no?

BY: Maybe, but I liked the explanation of it. How the Federation may see it as a bad thing, but out there at Deep Space 253 these things happen already, just so people can survive. Whether the Federation likes it or not, their ideals may not necessarily work in the real universe and that seemed like a bitter pill for the Admiral to swallow. 

Pressure on The Fed

IMN: I would have loved to have seen this concept explored in a full season, instead of the mini arcs we got this year. The Federation has always existed as a post scarcity society, where you can run a restaurant in New Orleans if you want to, or become a Starfleet Captain, but that’s all because no one has to worry about resources like food. A season of Discovery engaging in missions of mercy that illustrate just how fragile the concept of the Federation is when it comes up against the realities of a post Burn universe, with the the crew still striving to be true to those ideals, would have been very compelling. We can hope that we’ll get that next season, but I seriously think they are going to undo The Burn somehow by season’s end.

BY: It does feel like there’s a more compelling bigger picture that Star Trek: Discovery could have addressed. The idea of the Federation is an ideal at the best of times but, in the current reality, where ideals are always looked on as a zero sum game, this show could have taken the opportunity to tackle some of that, but they instead decided to focus on smaller character stories, which is nice, but just seems like a missed opportunity. 

IMN: Exactly. Imagine how cool it would to have seen the crew horrified about how bad things had gotten as they took on mission after mission. We could have seen how each member of the bridge crew reacted, building up their characters more.

Chains of Love?

IMN: I wasn’t a big fan of how quickly Osyraa reverted to being a villain again after the negotiations failed either. It was too many character reversals too quickly. 

That scientist guy has got to be her husband, right? 

BY: Oh. I didn’t think of that at all to be honest. Also didn’t Aurellio say that Osyraa saved him when he was 10? A lil’ young maybe?

IMN: I don’t know how long Orions live, but as Stamets pointed out, he did have those Orion parenthood tattoos. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be a big reveal next episode when he turns on her? 

BY: Maybe. Speaking of Aurellio, he’s played by actor Kenneth Mitchell, who has played several Klingon characters throughout Discovery’s past. He was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease which had left him in a wheelchair since October 2019. It really goes to show you that if writers wanted to, and were willing to, there are great actors out there that can fill any role they want, despite any disabilities.

IMN: I didn’t know that! It’s awesome to see Star Trek (the show) sticking to the ideals of Star Trek (the future).

So… there’s no getting around it, did “Die Hard on the Disco” do it for you? I found so much of this part of the episode highlighted problems others have been pointing out about the series for a while now. 

BY: Look, despite my earlier comment, I didn’t think it was awful. But I wish the writers hadn’t decided to do it during a big story moment.

The Chain Gang

BY: We’ve been hearing about Osyraa and “The Chain Gang” for weeks now, about how they are the big bad villain, and just the absolute worst. We get to have them in a room, negotiating to be a part of the Federation and offering to fall in line with the ideals of what the Federation stands for!

Instead of sticking with the reveal of how Osyraa is not the single note villain we thought she was, the episode cuts back to “Die Hard on Discovery” and Michael (again!) trying to save everyone (again!).

It just feels like there was a moment to be had there, where we, the audience, could focus in on Osyraa, empathise with her, and maybe even question the Federation’s place in this new universe, but no.

The Admiral sits down to read while we go back to Michael crawling through a Jeffries tube.

I did like Captain Tilly though. She really is coming into her own. Which makes me think more and more that Saru isn’t going to make it out of radiation alive.

IMN: You name checked the Jeffires Tubes! You‘re one of us now!

BY: I will say that I giggled a little when the show mentioned the Jeffries tube.

IMN: I hadn’t thought about Tilly becoming Captain. I would have enjoyed “Disco Die Hard” if it was JUST the bridge crew taking back the ship. So much of what Michael was up to reminded me of this Red Letter Media video on some of the issues they had with Season 2. So much of what happened was because the plot needed it to, often disregarding rules the series had already established.

Rules of Engagement

IMN: How was Book’s ship able to get through the shields to shuttle bay? (Shouldn’t have been possible, no matter how small the ship was made.) How handy that Book reveals he has ONE device capable of hiding someone from the ship’s sensors just when Michael needed it.

Last week you pointed out how it worried you that everything could be solved in sickbay, and this episode reinforces that by having Michael’s radiation scarring just go away immediately after taking her meds and yet she has to cauterize the stab wound in her leg with a phaser, instead of rushing to to the nearest med bay to get it stitched up as good as new. Why? I guess so that there is some hardship for Michael to face? So there’s a blood trail later for the regulators to follow?. 

Also I believe the airlock trick has been used before on other Star Trek’s, so by the 32nd century I’d assume the ship’s computer would be smart enough not to eject people into space? This could have been easily addressed by Burnham hacking the fire suppression system but again I guess that doesn’t look as cool as firing a phaser at what looked like a mesh Wi-Fi router.

I rolled my eyes when she lost her boots. Look! it’s just like John Mcclane! WE’RE DOING DIE HARD! CAN’T YOU SEE?

It all smacks of the writers room trying to be too cute.

BY: I absolutely agree. Also, are socks not Federation standard issue? Is everyone just walking around without socks on or is that just a Michael character thing? She’s crazy that Burnham.

Star Trek III: The Search for Sock

IMN: Hahaha! Socks were outlawed as part of the time travel accords. You ever wonder where the missing sock goes? Socks spontaneously manifest portals in time and space when placed in pairs, for one to disappear into. Had to be outlawed.

BY: Also we now know how replicators work. I didn’t think I needed that to be the answer, but okay I guess.

IMN: OMG! I lost it at the “It’s pretty good for shit” line. I mean its always been the case that the replicators “repurpose” the crew’s…”waste,” I can remember reading about it in the Enterprise D Technical Manual, but to have Oded Fehr say it out loud was *chef’s kiss*.

“The Federation: They eat their own shit.”

BY: I know you don’t like the guy, but when the Admiral said that I thought to myself, I wouldn’t mind if he took over Disco.

IMN: I’ll allow it.

What did you think of Stamets this episode? I know you said last week you didn’t want to see whiny, mopey Stamets again, but it looks like that’s what you are getting? Although his line about giving up everything for Michael was interesting, would have been more interesting if that had been part of the plot this season.

BY: I just can’t have another season of mopey Stamets, man. Not only that, but mopey Stamets angry at Michael, AGAIN. I just think that we’ve seen that show and we don’t need to go back to it. Although, after what he said to her, there really is no coming back for Hugh. It’ll be such a cop out if Hugh comes back, and all is well, and that big emotional beat is for nothing.

The Stamets Connection

BY: Did you feel a lil weirded out when Stamets essentially claimed Adira as his family? I know the show had been leaning towards that throughout the season, but to do that did not come off as sweet.

IMN: Yeah, that didn’t quite seem to fit. I put it down to “Starfleet Advanced Interrogation Resistance Tactics 101: Establish Common Ground with Your Interrogator.”

BY: Oh that bit was fine, but for him to do it again with Michael later, during his emotional breakdown, just felt a little icky?

IMN: Not really earned, right?

The Goggler Podcast

BY: Came out of the blue. Again, I get that that was where the show wanted us to be, but having seen very little of that connection, it just seemed a little hollow.

IMN: Maybe the buildup was left on the cutting room floor in favour of MOAR MICHAEL!

Someone I was happy to see more of, was Jake Weber as Zareh. Nice to bring him back. I’ve always liked him as an actor since American Gothic

I’m not so sure about the DOTs though. Ever since the Short Trek “Ephraim and Dot,” these things have been popping up everywhere and I’m not sure putting the sphere data in them is a good (storytelling) idea. 

Having a semi-sentient ship’s computer occasionally make suggestions is very different to having three little robots running around the ship and talking to people. I’m not sure I like it. 

BY: It’s cute but you can’t put that genie back in the bottle. Once it’s out, how do you not just have them around all the time now.


IMN: Exactly! Maybe murder a few of them so there’s only one left. It’s a genie that has to be put back into the bottle though, in order for the Short Trek episode “Calypso,” to make any sense.

BY: I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and I wanted to run this by you. Do you think Discovery would have been a better show if it had been a traditional 22-episodes-a-season style network TV show? A lot of our recent complaints have been about the sped up nature of the stories (I guess Detmer is fine now?), and the hyper-focused storytelling around Michael and what she is to the TV show.

Would the story arcs have been better served over a longer season? I am not asking for 22 episode seasons to come back into fashion, but would this show have benefited from it?

IMN: I don’t think that kind of show would survive this long (or get the budget that Disco has), but I do think that the focus on Michael needs to end. Even when he was ship’s Number One, Riker never got that much focus! 

Is it a case of *Puts on Stan Lee Hat* “For Disco to survive, Michael must die!“?

Michael Learns to Stop?

IMN: I don’t think so, but the focus on Michael (or just ‘Number One’ at the pitch stage) was an interesting in to get people interested in a new Star Trek again, one more in line with modern storytelling styles, back when Bryan Fuller was involved. Interestingly, his show was supposed to be an anthology with a different setup each season. So far Disco has fallen between those two stools, with different arcs per season but still with a laser focus on Michael. I think the foundation they’ve built is strong enough to now try and modernise those older style of stories. Give us a ship wide A-plot and a different B-plot for each of the bridge crew (DEAR GOD, NOT MICHAEL AGAIN) each week.

BY: Sure, but I also think that right now, this need to have Michael be a part of everything is just too much. She went down to investigate The Burn. Then Osyraa attacks Disco, so she has to come back and sort that out?

IMN: It makes the entire universe revolve around her and that’s wearing thin. To put the nail in the Die Hard comparisons, “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” Or three times. Or every week for 900 years? 

Maybe this season is the detritus laden transwarp conduit that the show needs to traverse to get from a Michael focused series to a more crew oriented one?

BY: You know, the more I think about it, the more I think that Michael needs to die. Or go off with Book. Or something.

Final note from me. Are pets a thing that Star Trek has always done? Specifically the introduction of a pet in all it’s marketing and then the consequent ignoring of said pet?

Where No Pet Has Gone Before

BY: I mean, Picard had a bull dog prominently in its poster, only for us to see him once. So much was made of Grudge’s appearance in Disco Season 3 and all we get are small cutesy appearances? I mean look, I have cats and I know they don’t have opposable thumbs, so it’s not like they can grab a phaser or fly ships or anything like that, but it just feels a little too much like Internet catnip. Oh look Internet! Discovery has a cat now! 

IMN: Haha! Data had a (much smaller) cat, Spot, on TNG but I’m pretty sure Grudge could drive the ship no problem if it’s smart matter control panel was configured correctly.

I think you’re right on the money with the Internet marketing of it all. It’s kind of hilarious that the showrunners prioritize taking time to let the audience know that Grudge is safe before Book rams his ship into Discovery’s shuttle bay. Has she had more time on screen than the “tappy” bridge guy? 

Maybe Grudge will save the day next week, wrestling back control of Disco, teaching Michael the power of humility, and finally revealing that cats can also naturally pilot the spore drive, saving Saru and Culber, and finally making cats the dominant power sources/power in the galaxy! 

Grudge Approved?

IMN: I reckon they’re saving her for her own Short Trek, where we get a day in the life of Grudge as she wanders the halls of Discovery. (Either that or the actress herself turned out to be too much of a diva and they wrote her out of the show!)

BY: I have to admit when I first saw the marketing stuff with Grudge I thought the writers were going to pull a Men In Black, Orion’s Belt style reveal at some point. I still think that might happen.

IMN: I mean, it wouldn’t be any more of a leap than anything else that’s happened this season. 

We’ll find out next week either way in the finale!

BY: Maybe Grudge is a Flerken.

IMN: I’d watch that.

Subspace Report

  • Continuity error! Discovery’s floor must be cold! Despite losing her boots and socks in the previous scene Sonequa Martin-Green can be seen wearing socks when she “rescues” Stamets.

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3, is now streaming on CBS All Access in the U.S., as well as on Netflix internationally. You can check out all our other Star Trek content here.

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