Star Trek: Discovery has only aired its first two episodes and already the series is bucking Star Trek tradition by killing off not one but two major characters.
SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery episodes "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars" follow.
There are actually quite a few fatalities in the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, as war breaks out between the Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, which now appears to be on the verge of reunification. Discovery seems poised to explore the horrors of war in a way that hasn't been done by Star Trek since Deep Space Nine was on the air.
That said, certain deaths seemed more significant than others. The marketing for Discovery led fans to believeT'Kuvma, the Klingon played by Chris Obi, could be the big bad of the first season. Instead, it seems that he'll be a greater threat as a martyr than as a leader, as T'Kuvma was killed by First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in "Battle of the Binary Stars."
However, Starfleet also lost a leader. Before he was shot by Burnham, T'Kuvma stabbed Captain Phillippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) through the chest with his blade. Burnham tried to recover her body, but she was beamed back aboard the Shenzhou before she could.
The ramifications of these losses will likely be felt throughout the remainder of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. T'Kuvma is now a martyr whose memory and whose message could bring the fractured Klingon Empire back together in unity.
As for the death of Georgiou, she was a mentor and mother figure to Burnham and Burnham betrayed, mutinied against, and assaulted her shortly before her death. Burnham has been sentenced to prison for her crimes, but it may be her final interactions with the captain she served under for seven years that haunt her most.
However, the preview for next week's episode of Star Trek: Discovery, "Context is for Kings," suggest that Gabriel Lorca, captain of the USS Discovery, may have other plans for Burnham.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS All Access.