Star Trek: Discovery has just lost one of its key crew members of the USS Discovery and the series just said goodbye to one of its beloved cast members. In Star Trek: Discovery season 3 episode 5, "Die Trying", the crew of Discovery finally tracks down the version of Starfleet that exists in the 32nd-century future. Needless to say, the old adage about 'never going home again' proves true: Future Starfleet is a remnant of what the Federation once was, and the mission to restore lost faith is not an easy one. In the end, one Discovery crew member decides to make a major sacrifice, in the name of the cause.
Major Spoilers Follow!!!
Star Trek: Discovery said goodbye to Commander Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) this week - but no worries, she didn't meet any kind of gruesome end! Nhan chooses to stay behind on a mission, in order to help rebuild Future Starfleet in a different kind of way...
In "Die Trying" the new Admiral of Starfleet, Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) wants to de-commission Discovery and re-assign her crew. To prove that they are more of value together, Discovery takes on a mission to retrieve some much-needed plant samples from a Federation storehouse located on the USS Tikhov. The ship turns out to be lost in a major ion storm, but Discovery manages to extract it.
As it turns out, the Tikhov was being piloted and taken care of by a Barzan scientist and his family. Since the ship is set for Barzan atmosphere, Nahn (who is Barzan) is selected to accompany Michael Burnham and Doctor Culber onto the Tikhov. What unfolds is a tragic tale about the scientist's family being fatally stricken with mysterious radiation, and stored in cryostasis waiting for a cure. Things get crazier with the reveal that the scientist is trapped in some kind of phase-in, phase-out limbo, due to the ion storm hitting while he was in transport. The genius squad on Discovery gets the mess with the scientist sorted out, but there is no way to save the family.
In the end, the scientist helps Burnham and co. get the specific plant they need to cure an alien race's disease, but there's a catch. The scientist no longer has the passion for the mission, but the Tikhov and its catalog of every plant in the galaxy must be preserved. Since the ship is bound for Barzan, Nhan decides to find purpose in this future by guiding Tikhov to the home she never thought she'd see again. After a tearful goodbye to Burnham, Nhan heads on her way.
Star Trek: Discovery season 3 has already set up a theme of the crew desperately needing to find purpose in this new timeline. It seems that it's also a great framework for saying goodbye to secondary characters, in order to make room for new ones (like Admiral Vance and his security chief, Lt. Willa). Gotta keep that budget flat. Nhan has a small but loyal circle of fans who will truly miss her - especially since Captain Pike and her original USS Enterprise crew get to continue on in their very own series!
Speaking with Comicbook.com, Rachael Ancheril shared her thoughts on Nhan leaving Star Trek: Discovery:
"When I read it, I loved it. I cried a little bit. I read it a few times. And then when I went to the read-through, I really honestly tried to be professional. I tried to hold it together. And I was choking out the words. I was so embarrassed because I couldn't get some of the words out."
Of course, there may be no need to weep: Discovery leaves Nhan's fate open-ended, so a return is possible, and Ancheril is ready for the call:
"Oh, 100%. I'll always be ready for those guys. To be honest with you, I really honestly was not supposed to be around for as long as I was. So, even still I was supposed to come in and do my business for a couple of episodes and then go. I felt so grateful that they wanted me around more. That's always a compliment. Right?"
Catch new Star Trek: Discovery season 3 episodes every Thursday on CBS All Access.