“The Sanctuary,” the eighth episode in season three of Star Trek: Discovery, officially introduces a new nemesis for the vulnerable Federation, while validating Federation ideals as worth fighting for. Here are five memorable moments:
Science rules in Star Trek
The mystery at the third season’s heart becomes a little clearer as Adira and Stamets isolate the point from which the Burn began.
This scene reminded me of Uhura and Spock isolating and enhancing the whales’ song early in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Science in action, solving mysteries—and discovering new ones to solve next!
Osyraa throws down her gauntlet
We’ve heard her mentioned a few times in season 3, but in “The Sanctuary” we meet Osyraa, leader of the Emerald Chain, for the first time.
The episode begins with Osyraa feeding Tolor to a captive trance worm because her forced labor escaped him in “Scavengers.”
Her introduction to the Discovery crew isn’t as brutal, but leaves no doubt Osyraa isn’t playing around.
"I feel like her intentions are pretty clear and she does not shy away from them… I think [the Federation] should take her very seriously."
Detmer and Ryn “go rogue” in Book’s ship
Saru must stop Osyraa from breaching Kwejian’s planetary defenses, but he knows any attack on the Viridian from Discovery could spell doom for the Federation.
Proving her worth as acting executive officer, Tilly proposes a way out of this no-win situation of which Captain Kirk would have approved: Use a non-Federation vessel to get the job done.
Does it feel more than a little like Detmer is piloting the Millennium Falcon? Sure. But the scene’s exhilarating for more than the fancy flying. It brilliantly pays off the character arc she’s been on this season.
“If you face something,” she tells Ryn, “you can beat it.” She means her trauma and self-doubt as much as she does the Viridian.
(Fun fact: According to StarTrek.com, Book’s ship is named the Nautilus, but we’ve yet to hear the name on screen. Maybe in season four?)
Khyeem, Book, and Discovery move Kweijan’s sea locusts together
When Osyraa leaves, she takes the Emerald Chain’s sea locust “repellent” with her, meaning these iridescent but insatiable critters will again consume Kweijan’s crops.
But Burnham tells these estranged brothers moving the locusts back to sea doesn’t have to be a job for just the two of them.
As Khyeem, Ache Hernandez turns in a compelling performance throughout the episode, including in this climactic cooperation and reconciliation with Book.
The scene also reaffirms one of this season’s core theses. Working together, people can do so much more good than they dared to imagine. “Carry on,” indeed!
Book decides he’s with Discovery and Burnham for good
Moved by what the Discovery crew has risked and accomplished freeing Kweijan from the Emerald Chain, Book announces he’s decided he wants to be a permanent part of the mission.
Yes, he’s also motivated by his love for Burnham! But the final scene of “The Sanctuary” is ultimately about vindicating faith in Federation ideals.
You can’t help but think that big smile on Burnham’s face as she leaves is about more than her feelings for Book. It’s about having won him over to the dream of a brighter future.