Cmdr. Michael Burnham and USS Discovery crew face their own Kobayashi Maru scenario in Star Trek: Discovery's third season finale. Following the debut of "There Is a Tide…," the penultimate episode of the season, CBS All Access revealed a preview of the upcoming finale, "The Hope Is You, Part 2." The preview sees Zareh (Jake Weber) confronting Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) after Burnham transported Lt. Cmdr. Paul Stamets off of Discovery, rendering the ship's spore drive inoperable. Zareh informs Burnham that she in the middle of a no-win situation. Burnham responds, emphatically telling Zareh that she doesn't believe in those. You can watch the preview below.
The no-win scenario for Burnham here likely has to do with her being trapped aboard Discovery while it's under the control of Osyraa and the Emerald Chain. With Discovery parked at Starfleet headquarters, Burnham is in a precarious position. But there's also the issue of Dr. Culber, Capt. Saru, and Adira, all of whom are perilously close to death by radiation poisoning. They're still in the Verubin Nebula where they discovered Su'kal, the Burn's origin. If Discovery doesn't pick them up soon, they'll be gone for good.
A no-win situation is a familiar concept for longtime Star Trek fans. The Kobayashi Maru test in Starfleet Academy is famously supposed to test an officer's response to being in command during such a situation. Capt. Kirk famously beat the "no-win scenario" by reprogramming the test. While some accused him of cheating, Kirk remained proud of his victory and famously told Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that he doesn't believe in no-win scenarios. Burnham's line in the preview echoes Kirk's from the beloved film.
Of course, these scenarios don't always work out so gloriously. The Wrath of Khan ends with Spock sacrificing his life to solve the no-win situation at hand. Data made a similar sacrifice in the film Star Trek Nemesis. The Kirk of the Kelvin Timeline took a similar approach to his Kobayashi Maru test, but rather than receiving praise for his ingenuity, Starfleet disciplined him for breaking the test.
What do you think of the preview and Discovery's current situation? Fans will see how this no-win scenario plays out for Burnham and the Discovery crew when Star Trek: Discovery's third season finale, "That Hope Is You, Part 2," premieres on CBS All Access on Thursday, January 7th.