The crew of the USS Discovery is still adjusting to life in the 32nd century after leaving the 23rd century behind. Some are having are a hard time acclimating, while others may have adapted too well. This week's episode reflects that in a command decision made by Discovery's new captain, Saru. One of his officers broke the chain of command and went on a rogue mission. This action left Saru no choice but to demote them. And yes, it is who fans most likely expect it to be. SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season three, episode six, "Scavengers," follow.
Michael Burnham has had a complicated history with Starfleet. Early in her career, she wanted nothing more than to rise in rank as quickly as possible and eventually take command of a starship. Her mutinous actions aboard the USS Shenzhou started a war and had her stripped of rank and imprisoned, seeming to end those dreams for good. During the Federation-Klingon War and Discovery's trip to the Mirror Universe, her actions earned her a second chance, and she had her misdeeds expunged from her record.
But then Discovery jumped to the future. Burnham arrived early, met courier Cleveland "Book" Booker, and lived the courier's life for a full year before Discovery caught up to her. Upon returning to Discovery, she passed on the opportunity to become captain and allowed Saru to take permanent command of the vessel. Saru questioned Burnham's state of mind that the ambitious former First Officer of the Shenzhou would willingly give up such an opportunity. Burnham warned Saru that she is not the same person she was before coming through that wormhole. Nonetheless, she accepted the position as Saru's First Officer.
This week's, Burnham's warnings and trepidation proved valid. She received a message from Book revealing that he was in trouble near the Bajoran Exchange and that he had information that may shed light on the truth about the Burn. Burnham took the intel to Saru, but Saru refused to bring it to Admiral Vance, stating that Discovery is needed as a rapid response vessel and should be on standby for immediate deployment.
Burnham took the matter into her own hands. She recruited Phillipa Georgiou for a rogue mission, freeing Book and other prisoners from an Emerald Chain forced labor camp and acquiring Book's new information about the Burn.
When Burnham returns to Starfleet command, she and Saru both get a stern talking-to from Vance, Burnham for going rogue, and Saru for not bringing the information to Vance in the first place. Vance tells Burnham that the only reason she's not in the brig is that she saved lives and leaves Saru to decide her punishment. Saru feels he has no choice but to relieve Burnham of her First Officer position, relegating her to Chief Science Officer duties.
What do you think of this latest twist in Burnham's Starfleet career? Let us know in the comments. New Star Trek: Discovery episodes stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.