Star Trek: Short Treks (2018/2019) – Runaway, Calypso, The Brightest Star, and The Escape Artist

Captain’s log: 2257

I take on the first season of Short Treks this week which aired between the first and second season of Star Trek: Discovery, Featuring shorter tales, some that will have a direct effect on future episodes and events.

The first episode, Runaway, lets Tilly (Mary Wiseman) have a bit of a moment to shine. Written by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman and first debuted on 4 October, 2018. It takes place after the events of the season one finale, and before the second season episode, Such Sweet Sorrow.

Tilly discovers a stowaway aboard the Discovery, Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (Yadira Guevara-Prip), who we learn is on the verge of becoming someone very important on her home world, and as the two get to know one another, and form a friendship, both of them realise that they have similar life problems (read as their mothers) and can help one another.

We see what Tilly’s relationship with her mother (Mimi Kuzyk) is like. It’s a nice touch, especially as we’ve heard how her mother has treated her growing up, and it apparently hasn’t changed much.

It’s a nice little character piece for both Tilly and Po, and plants a seed that will pay off in the second season.

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Captain’s log: stardate unknown

Calypso was written by Micheal Chabon from a story he developed with Sean Cochran. It first aired on 8 November, 2018.

At some point in a far flung future, a soldier, Craft (Aldis Hodge) comes to on a completely deserted Discovery, having been brought aboard in his escape pod. He begins to interact with the ship’s AI, Zora (Annabelle Wallis) and develops a close friendship with it.

The presence of the Discovery at this distant point in the future raises a lot of questions about how it came to be there, and what happened to the crew (who left one thousand years ago)… Answers this short aren’t going to give us.

We know that at the end of season two (spoilers if you haven’t watched it) that the Discovery ends up in the future, not quite this far, but what if events that happen during season three require the crew to desert the ship, even as its AI is developing awareness, and possibly, even a soul?

It’s a gentle character story, written by an acclaimed storyteller, and is a well told tale, that while not answering the questions we want, explores the human condition, which is the heart of Trek.

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Captain’s log: 2239

We get to see Saru’s (Doug Jones) backstory in The Brightest Star. Written by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt that first aired on 6 December, 2018.

It explores the Kelpian, and his fellows in their natural environment. We see their fear ganglia at work, and the predator prey relationship that goes on with his race, concluding with a first contact that takes him to the stars and beyond.

We see what Saru had to give up and leave behind to become Starfleet’s first Kelpian, and who his first contact was with.

The predator-prey, almost ritualistic relationship the Kelpians have with their predator is unnerving, and it comes as no surprise that Saru would hope and long for something more than what he finds on his home planet. Even if it means leaving his sister, Siranna (Hannah Spear) behind.

It’s a great chance to fill out some history for Saru, which allows for a deeper understanding of his character, where we’ve travelled with him so far, and where he is going to go and what he will become.

And Doug Jones! An exemplary performer and actor.

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Captain’s log: 2250s

Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson, who also directs) gets a Short Trek to himself in The Escape Artist. Written by Micheal McMahan, the final instalment in the first series of Short Treks debuted on 3 January, 2019.

It seems Mudd has been captured by a bounty hunter (Barbara Mamabolo) and the devious con artist will have to use every single one of his dastardly wiles to escape from a Tellarite (Harry Judge) before he is turned over to Federation authorities.

But is there more going on with Harry in this episode than we are first aware of? It’s a fun short, and lets Wilson play with one of Trek’s iconic characters. The ending is a lot of fun and makes for a delightful ending to the first season of Short Treks, which in itself, is a first – short films centred in that universe I so love, whether it’s an Alternate Timeline or not.

Next week we begin season two of Star Trek: Discovery and the Human Adventure continues. Short Treks is now available on blu-ray from Paramount Canada. Boldly go…

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