Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 7 ” Unification III” Review

The Vulcans and Romulans unified, forming the planet Ni’Var. Ni’Var disconnected from the Federation shortly after the Burn.

Spoilers

In Star Trek: Discovery Season Three, Episode Seven, ” Unification III,” directed by Jon Dudkowski, Michael re-connects with her little brother Spock. After studying the black box, Michael and Tilly discover that the Burn was not simultaneous, but they can’t find out exactly where it started. Captain Saru, Commander Michael Burnham, and the rest of the U.S.S. Discovery crew head to Ni’Var, formerly known as Vulcan, to gain access to the classified project SB-19 to help them finish tracing where the Burn started. Michael is Starfleet’s unofficial ambassador since she was raised on Vulcan and graduated from their Science Academy. Her father, Sarek, and brother Spock are heroes of Ni’Var.

Ensign Sylvia Tilly temporarily becoming Saru’s first officer is unbelievable. In the last episode, Saru demoted Michael to Chief Science Officer because of her insubordination. Saru needs a new first officer, but there are zero reasons why it has to be Tilly. She is an ensign meaning the lowest officer on board. More experienced commanders, lieutenant commanders, and even plain lieutenants are available to act as the first officer. Tilly has become a confidant to Saru. She has matured enough to advise the captain to tell Admiral Vance about Michael’s unsanctioned mission. In the second episode, Tilly stood up to Zareh, the courier who was oppressing the miners. She generally seems more confident than in prior seasons about her abilities. Saru should promote Tilly to lieutenant, instead of making her the first officer. Stamets, Michael, and the rest of the bridge crew being okay with taking orders from an ensign makes no sense. Saru mentions how he picked Tilly for the position partly because they are in lockstep, but the first officer’s job is sometimes to disagree with their captain. A “number one” should be equal to the captain in many ways, so they can take command of the starship for an extended period if needed. Right now, Tilly could not command the U.S.S. Discovery without Saru’s mentorship.

” Unification III” deals with Michael’s loss of her adopted family Sarek, Amanda Grayson, and Spock. My only minor complaint of season three as a whole until now is that the main character Michael only speaks about her biological mother, Gabrielle Burnham. She spent most of her childhood with her adopted family. Michael would not be who she is without Sarek or Amanda.

Michael is sent as an envoy to Ni’Var partly because Spock started the process of Unification between Romulan and Vulcan. Vulcans and Romulans remember Michael as the daughter of Sarek and the sister of Spock, the unifier. This references Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) two-part episode ” Unification” where Picard and Data go undercover on Romulan to find Spock. Spock embedded himself in Romulan to find a way to bridge their cultures since their species are cousins to one another. Mentions of Spock remind Michael of the last piece of advice she gave him. She told him to reach out to people in the galaxy who want to know him. This piece of advice has always been connected to Spock’s eventual close friendship with Kirk, but perhaps instead, it inspired the ambassador to re-unify the Vulcans and Romulans. Michael and her boyfriend Book watch one of Spock’s speeches from “Unification,” a.k.a. Jean Luc Picard’s logs. She tears up with pride as she hears how her little brother helped the Romulans reach their enlightenment instead of closing his mind to the possibility of common ground. The Romulans and Vulcans have adapted both of their cultures to fit together.

Michael’s t’kal n’ket reveals how Ni’Var is a genuinely new society. Vulcan Science Academy graduates can invoke t’kal n’ket. It’s a philosophical process created to unearth truth through logic and reasoning. The reason why the Ni’Var left the Federation is that Starfleet forced them to finish the classified project SB-19. The Vulcan and Romulans believe their project started the Burn, which is why they blame Starfleet. President T’Rina denies the U.S.S. Discovery access to SB-19’s data, so Michael forces the Vulcan’s hand by invoking t’kal n’ket. Michael learns that there is now a Romulan twist to the ceremony. Romulans are now part of the Quorum of three peers who the Starfleet officer needs to defend her hypothesis in front of to gain access to the data.

 An advocate supports Michael. The Vulcan term for advocate is sha-set, but she learns from T’Rina that they also use the Romulan word shalankhai. After Unification, only the Quowat Milt can serve as a shalankhai. The Quowat Milt are Romulan warrior nuns who are always honest. Star Trek: Picard Season 1 first referenced the warrior nuns when Picard visits Romulan. Michael is surprised to learn her advocate is her biological mother, Gabrielle, who forces her daughter to speak with complete candor.  Michael feels out of place in the U.S.S. Discovery, but she believes in the Federation. The Vulcans and Romulans’ disagreement about handing the data to Michael reveals that some want to re-enter the Federation. Ni’Var may crumble over Michael’s t’kal n’ket. The Starfleet officer withdraws her claim because Spock’s Unification means more to her than information. But Michael’s openness pays off because T’Rina grants her access to SB-19 data. The president sees how much she influenced the man Spock became.

Hopefully, there will be more Discovery Season 3 episodes where Michael wrestles with the loss of her brother Spock and father Sarek. There are plenty of Star Trek: The Original Series and TNG episodes to explore Michael, Spock, and Sarek’s relationship even if two of the family members are now dead. 

Post Author: Paloma Bennett

Paloma Bennett is a film and television reviewer based out of Los Angeles. As a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, a feminist, a voracious reader, and a super fan, she’s tapped into today’s mercurial identity-based culture. She brings this engaged understanding of contemporary culture to her film and television reviews. Her work can be found on Whedonopolis, Fandomopolis, Women at Warp, FanBolt, and her blog Decoding the Daemoverse. Paloma has also produced and co-hosted the monthly film podcast “Jump Start Cinema” sponsored by New Filmmakers Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Cinema Critical Studies from San Francisco State University. Paloma has a passion for everything pop culture, including TV shows, movies, comic books, and podcasts. The first significant fandom she was geeky about was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s a proud member of the Star Trek LA Away Team.

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