Even the space battle seems to move a little more leisurely, allowing characters and big ideas room to breathe.
Here are five highlights from “People of Earth”:
1. Saru Delivers a New “Captain’s Oath”
Star Trek: Discovery season 3 gives Saru many chances to shine, including this address to the crew after he takes the center seat as captain:
"This ship bears the name Discovery. Never has that been more fitting or more prescient. She has carried us into the future, and it will be our privilege to make that future bright. Let us begin. Together."
Surely it’s no accident Saru’s speech is 37 words long—exactly the length of the monologue we heard Captains Kirk and Picard recite every week (“Space, the final frontier…”).
Like those words, these capture Starfleet’s aspirations. What’s more, Saru’s oath enshrines the crew’s commitment to each other at the heart of its mission.
2. Burnham and Tilly Try to Reconnect
Ever had a welcome but awkward reunion with a friend after too long apart?
It’s not the joyful reunion you sense either woman hoped it might be. Tilly’s grieving shipmates who’ve died recently and family and friends now dead for centuries. Meanwhile, Burnham’s wrestling with having let the Discovery crew go without ever stopped loving them.
But amid all this emotional turmoil, they agree: “Cake is eternal!”
Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt wrote a beautiful scene—hesitant, honest, heartfelt—and Sonequa Martin-Green and Mary Wiseman perform it perfectly.
3. Burnham and Book Prove It Takes Two to (Orion) Tango
To avert war between the United Earth Defense Force and Wen’s raiders, Book and Burnham take Book’s ship, which hides all Discovery’s dilithium, out for an unauthorized spin.
They engage the raiders with a tactic they call the “Orion Tango,” one of several options from a personal playbook they’ve developed in their year together as couriers.
How to execute an Orion Tango isn’t as clear as how to execute, say, the Picard Maneuver. But it works!
4. Adira Reveals They Are Starfleet Admiral Senna Tal
When CBS released trailers for season 3 of Discovery, sharp-eyed Star Trek fans noticed Trill symbiont pools and speculated we might meet the Dax symbiont’s 32nd-century host.
While seeing Dax in this far future could be fun, Blu del Barrio is instantly engaging as Adira, a UEDF tech who turns out to be not only “a friggin’ teen genius” but also the human host of the Trill symbiont Tal.
As Senna Tal, the symbiont was a Starfleet admiral. What Adira can and can’t remember from Senna’s experience, let alone those of Tal’s other hosts, will come to the fore in the next episode, “Forget Me Not.”
Stamets’ unexpected but lovely relationship to Adira as mentor and friend also continues. Throughout the season, Anthony Rapp and del Barrio create one more strong and touching friendship in the finest Star Trek tradition.
5. The Crew Are “People of Earth” Again at Starfleet Academy
Remember how Tilly told Burnham she hoped there’d be something on Earth she’d recognize?
In the episode’s last scene, she and other Discovery crew members get that wish.
It’s a well-earned moment of peace and joy—relief from the crisis just past, and refreshment for the adventures yet to come.
What are your favorite moments in “People of Earth?” Let us know in the comments!