Star Trek Discovery: Burnham and “The Burn”

It was notable. Now she's back, Burnham's knowledge of The Burn" gives her an extra edge, reestablishing main star status.

For those unaware of “The Burn”, or who haven’t watched last week’s episode yet, major spoilers lie ahead. At the end of “Far From Home”, the crew of the U.S.S Discovery are reunited with Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). We felt it was a little too soon, as discussed. However, that’s what went down. Crucially, in season three’s opening episode, Booker (David Ajaja) had important news for Burnham. Owing to the nature of temporal mechanics, he stated that if the crew arrive at all, it could be one year, or a thousand. Turns out it was one year. With that in mind, we take closer look at how significant this may be.


The Burn and Michael Burnham

We’ve already discussed “The Burn”, at some length. This includes assessing a cool fan theory. The said theory explores possible links of “The Burn” to Star Trek: Voyager. Short version: because of “The Burn”, there’s minimal dilithium in the future. An unknown event caused it all to explode, around 120 years before Burnham arrived. Whilst we don’t know what that is yet, we can assume that Michael Burnham may do, now. Booker will probably have filled her in on at least all he knows. So, why does the one year gap matter?


Burnham’s Twelve Month Head Start

Star Trek: Discovery is very much about Michael Burnham, and Sonequa Martin Green. Green is the main star, Burnham the central character. Doug Jones is a close second, and his fantastic role as Saru. Until the end of “Far From Home”, Burnham didn’t feature. It was notable. Now she’s back, Burnham’s knowledge of The Burn” gives her an extra edge, reestablishing main star status. As always, Burnham runs things from the role of second in command. But it may also mean character developments, too. We’ve already touched on this, in the review of the episode. Let’s consider it further, and not just in terms of Burnham. There’s a chance Burnham has developed a strong bond with Booker. Potentially, a romantic relationship. This might affect Burnham’s position within the ranks, in terms of character relations dynamics. A year apart must surely have meant changes. At a minimum, Burnham’s had more time to get used to things in the future. As well as learning more about the fate of Starfleet and The Federation.

Going Forward

Burnham will have to guide the crew, based on experiences of what she’s learned so far. Her input will have a crucial significance, as the unique vantage point held will ensure that. Additionally, as stated, she may feel torn between loyalties to Saru and the crew, The Discovery, and Booker. We already know that when it comes to people she cares about the rules do not always guarantee 100% adherence. What Booker knows, what’s needed, might clash with Saru’s and traditional Starfleet morality. Consequently, she may well have an unlikely ally in Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), of all people. Perhaps, last week’s showdown between Saru and Georgiou was a foreshadowing of further tensions between the crew. That could make for some very interesting conflict. Furthermore, Burnham’s development puts even more distance between this season and the first two. We could finally be getting the modern Star Trek show we’ve been waiting for. One thing’s for sure, we’re excited to find out! Keep up with our weekly episode reviews, and other related features at SciFiPulse.


The next installment of Star Trek: Discovery Season Three drops this Thursday in The U.S., on CBS All Access, and  Friday in the U.K. on Netflix.

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