Some mild spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery in general, and this week's episode in particular, lie ahead. Yellow alert.
Going head to head with Michelle Yeoh, the actor, is no small feat. Same goes for her first character on Star Trek: Discovery, Capt. Philippa Georgiou. It gets even tougher with multiverse alter ego, Emperor Georgiou.
We saw that in Season 2 when Georgiou helped stave off a universe-ending event, allowing heroine Michael Burnham to do her thing. But Episode 5 of Season 3 (read our review) of the CBS All Access exclusive series just have unleashed an even bigger adversary. And it's comes in a cameo I'm more than a little excited about.
The Discovery crew has made its way to what's left of the Federation, and folks are being debriefed individually. Sometimes by advanced holographic artificial intelligence, and sometimes by humans. And in Georgiou's case — both. It's a prescient move, and one that actually lends itself to a little bit of comedic relief. Not only does Georgiou stymie her AI interrogators, she actually gets them to shut down by blinking her eyes at their harmonic rate.
Meanwhile, an older man stands by, just ... watching. He's silent until the AIs are defeated. Then he sits with Georgiou. He's almost certainly her intellectual equal, and quite possibly superior. The final scene in "Die Trying" alludes to something — we're just not quite sure what. Or how. (And it's at this point that I had to remind myself that Discovery isn't beyond the long play — just look at how things ended up for Capt. Lorca.)
That's not just any interrogator, though. It's David Cronenberg.
Cronenberg gives Discovery a crazy-awesome link to some of the more terrifying moments in film in the past, oh, 50 years. Cronenberg is the director best known for some of the darkest and scariest movies of their time. HIs work dates back into the late 1960s, but it was his 1983 take on Stephen King's The Dead Zone and the remake of The Fly three years later that made him more of a household name. Other major releases include Dead Ringers in 1988, Crash in 1996, A History of Violence in 2005, and Eastern Promises in 2007.
We don't really know what happened in that interrogation room. "You broke my holos," Cronenberg's (his shadowy character didn't actually have a name) first words to Geogiou. She's bored — or pretending to be bored, more likely — while asking questions of her own. Like, why he's wearing glasses. "They make me look smart, I like them."
This is going to be one of those back-and-forths that, frankly, I could have watched for hours. And as Cronenberg's interrogator points out, it's not actually about getting any answers. Or at least the answers won't come from the answers. He's been fascinated by Terrans since he was young, he said. He's perfectly calm. Scarily so. So is Georgio.
After a bit of a warmup, they get down to it.
Georgiou: "I'll answer your questions if you answer mine first."
Interrogator: "No, you won't really do that. ... And even if you did yo'd like. So the only way I'll glean any information is by the questions you ask me. So, please ..."
Georgiou gets right to it, asking about the cause of the Burn. He comes back with the fact that Georgiou is utterly alone, with no one crossing from her universe more than 500 years. "You're all alone now." (My guess? The Federation wants to get to that other universe — and back — to snag some dilithium.)
Cronenberg's interrogator then notes that he knows there's someone on Discovery's crew Georgiou cares about deeply.
And ... that's it. We don't see Geogiou again until the end of the episode when something's ... off. Or is it? It's impossible to tell with her. (And with Yeoh.) What else happened in that interrogation room? Did the mere asking of questions spark something in the emperor? Or did the interrogation go further?
And what, pray tell, might have just been unleashed in Geogiou?
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery drop Thursdays on CBS All Access in the United States, Bell Media CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 other countries.
In the States, CBS All Access runs $5.99 a month. It's available without commercials for a few dollars more. It's home to the entire Trek universe, including the exclusive Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks, along with Discovery. It's also where you'll find exclusives like The Twilight Zone and the new take on King's The Stand.
Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.
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