“The Brightest Star” is beautiful, an old-school planetary culture exploration disguised as some well-received background on both Saru and his Kelpian people, well-timed in the Prime timeline … while at the same time, raising a host of new questions. It’s bizarrely and freshly off-kilter as to the “predators” of the famously “prey” Kelpians, and exactly who and how the “Great Balance” equation evolved.
That said, there’s even a layer of the “oddball” being the truly visionary outcast of a culture, who has little to lose by leaving. And even an old-school Prime Directive debate, if you want to go there– although exceptions prove the rule, and they are certainly enunciated for the record here, by a surprise and welcome contact.
Booey Kim and Erika Lippoldt haver a great, straight-0ahead origin tale framed only audibly by the present, not a “flashback”—so it’s another victory for the #ShortTreks format and taking a no-overhead risk.
Before I see Thursday’s “The Brightest Star,” the third of four #ShortTreks before Discovery‘s Season 2 debuts Jan. 17, I just want to repeat what I said this week on Trekland Tuesdays LIVE on Facebook:
We’re about to see Trek history.
And I mean that by way of this Saru mini-episode actually being an origin story for a regular main character— an A story. A short “A story” to be sure—but it’s not a flashback, nor a subplot B-story, nor a mind delusion or dream, nor a “holodeck” (!!) situation. Apparently.
Now, I could be wrong. There could be a lengthy framing scene with an A-minus, or a sub-A story, that provides an envelope.
Adult Saru might even pop in to say, “I remember like it was yesterday…” and we get a token wipe/wave for a toten memory trope moment. But I doubt it.
And even if so, it doesn’t change the fact that would still be a FIRST for Trek. I mean, about the closest thing to an origin story we’ve ever had were… well, young Spock on Vulcan in TAS’s “Yesteryear,” echoed in Star Trek ’09 scenes … and echoed again in bits on Discovery. You had bare glimpse of the Trois, station-era flashbacks of Kira, Odo, Quark on DS9 a couple times …that one glimpse of young Tuvok? And Archer’s minute with his dad to open the whole series.
See what I mean?
And for that now, you have to thank this short-form format— with no risk in budget and/or creative to carry a whole “hour,” if such a risk ever even be deemed. What the fans and audience are going to realize, even after the mind-blowing uniqueness of “Calypso,” is what a #Short Trek can do for, well, short subjects. As much as webpages liberated journalism from the limits of dead-tree-media page … or CGI liberated analog models from the limits of motion control models… so too has the short-format actually opened up such travels to characters’ lifepoints, out from under such budget and time worries.
It really is a whole new world, folks. And Star Trek is going to reap the benefits, once again.