[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Episode 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. Read at your own risk!]
Standing on the shoulders of those that came before, Star Trek: Discovery ushers in an exciting new era for the beloved sci-fi franchise. Whereas previous iterations focused on the captains, this latest version follows Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), the orphaned human raised by the Vulcan ambassador Sarek (James Frain) and his human wife Amanda - making her Spock's adoptive sister.
She breaks ground as the first black female lead of the franchise and in "The Battle of the Binary Stars," earns the title of the Federation's first mutineer after incapacitating Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) - using the legendary Vulcan nerve pinch, no less - and taking over command in an effort to avoid a war with the Klingons. Unfortunately, her plan backfired and now the Federation finds itself engaged in a hostile encounter with a rejuvinated race that hadn't been seen in over a century.
Previous series have painted the Klingons as an aggressive warrior race with a permeable dislike for humans and while that may be true, Discovery looks to explore their motives on a deeper level. T'Kuvma steps up as a formidable leader who, through his message of pride and honor, managed to unite the 24 Klingon houses, sparking a renewed sense of nationalism and strong distrust of the humans who promise to "come in peace." In a sense, he is the successor of Kahless the Unforgettable, the messiah-like figure who founded the Klingon Empire.
So when he is killed by Michael at the end of the episode, it sets off a chain of events that not only put her on a completely different path, but also reignites a feud among the two races. It all goes down when Michael and Captain Georgiou transport onto the Klingon sarcophagus ship in order to take T'Kuvma as prisoner, a move that would diminish his image as the strong figure he presents. However, their mission fails and both Georgiou and T'Kuvma end up dead as a result.
For the Klingons, T'Kuvma's death is proof that the Federation cannot be trusted and that humans are actually the enemy despite their pleas for peace. There's no doubt that once word spreads of his demise, his followers will be emboldened with rage and less likely to listen to the Federation's attempts at diplomacy.
Captain Georgiou's loss means that Michael is once again alone and at the worst point of her life. She has lost a mentor and close friend, as well as the ship which had become her new home. She is now banned from the Federation (her dreams of becoming a captain in ruins just like the U.S.S. Shenzhou) and is sentenced to life imprisonment. While we don't exactly know how she ends up on the U.S.S. Discovery as of yet, it likely has something to do with her sudden availability.
In the grander scheme of things, (and much like the Broken Bow Incident a century earlier), the Battle at the Binary Stars means there's no turning back. The stalemate between the Klingons and humans has ended and now a new era has begun. Strap yourselves in cadets, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery stream Sundays exclusively on CBS All Access.
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