Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Anomaly

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But, if we’re honest, this episode belongs to David Ajala. Book’s grief is both immediate and overwhelming – the show essentially confirms that, barring the discovery of offworlders elsewhere, he is now the last of his kind – and he reacts to it in…probably the way we all assumed he would. He’s angry, he’s desperate to do something, he’s devastated, that the new beginning he didn’t even know he needed was ripped away from him before he could tell the people who were part of it how much he cared about them. It’s our clearest look yet into who Book is and what makes him tick, and I look forward to more of that as the season continues.

Yet, it turns out that Ajala and Anthony Rapp have rather fabulous chemistry together and the fact that Stamets not only doesn’t like Book much but actually feels jealous of him in some ways provides a nice and necessary contrast to the kid-glove treatment he’s getting from everyone else.  Is it kind of a terrible cliche that the two discover a grudging respect for one another during their near-death trip through the anomaly’s outer edges? Yes, absolutely. Do I care? Not at all. Because the two bonding over feeling helpless – as well as Stamets’ quiet promise to solve the mystery of what happened to Kwejian as a thank you for Book saving his family from the dilithium planet last season, well. I am grown-up enough to admit that got me right in the heart. I don’t know that it makes sense for these two men to become friends, but this prickly new connection between them really works for me. 

There’s actually a surprising amount of other stuff happening in “Anomaly,”, despite the fact that most of the episode is focused, rightly, on trying to figure out what the unexplained space event might be. Saru’s back and serving as Burnham’s new second in command. (“Mr. Saru” is a perfect title.) There’s something to be said for the fact that the show doesn’t drag out the question of his return, quietly reinstating him as the ship’s emotional and moral compass with little fanfare. It’s almost laughable how quickly Saru is called upon to be literally everyone’s therapist, but Doug Jones simply radiates the sort of quiet care and kindness that make it clear why everyone wants to tell him all their problems. 

Culber is getting pretty close to completing the synthetic body for Gray (complete with a Picard name drop and with some details about the technology that Star Trek: Picard fans will certainly find interesting). Adira’s working overtime to impress Tilly with their algorithm skills in a crisis, although the freshly minted lieutenant seems to be having a small crisis of faith about the career path she’s believed in all her life. A classic overachiever, it makes a certain amount of sense that Tilly might find herself floundering now that she’s at least partially achieved a goal she likely meant to spend most of her life chasing, all while trying to process everything she experienced during the repair ship disaster.

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