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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S3E12 "There Is A Tide..."

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After capturing the U.S.S. Discovery, Osyraa seeks a meeting with Admiral Vance. Meanwhile, Burnham and the crew attempt to regain command of their ship.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Absentee Actor: Doug Jones (Capt. Saru) and Wilson Cruz (Dr. Culber) are credited, but do not appear.
  • Air Vent Escape: Burnham uses the Jefferies Tubes to sneak around Discovery while it's being held by the Emerald Chain.
  • And Another Thing...: The negotiations seem to be going well...and then at the last minute Vance demands that Osyraa stand trial for her crimes, scrapping the negotiations.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Zareh is back in the employ of the Emerald Chain, having survived his time on the surface.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Osyraa orders the bridge crew to be kept alive because she needs them as leverage against Vance, who might destroy Discovery otherwise.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The presence of old Earth black-and-white movies in the Discovery computer, which cannot be deleted, reminds us that the Sphere Data AI is out there somewhere.
    • Osyraa's pet scientist, Aurellio, has a long talk with Stamets that plants the seeds of Aurellio's inevitable Heel–Face Turn.
  • Cliffhanger: Vance and Osyraa are at a stalemate, and Osyraa returns to Discovery to secure her control over it. Book has volunteered the location of the planet where Su'Kal, Saru, Culber and Adira are stranded, dangling in front of Osyraa the promise of dilithium. Finally, Tilly and the Bridge Crew (Detmer, Owosekun, Rhys, Bryce and Ina) have reached the Armory and are ready for a concerted run on the bridge, joined by a trio of droids inhabited by the Sphere data; Burnham will presumably link up with them at some point during the season finale.
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  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The three DOT-23 repair bots' eyes are colored red, blue, and gold; the three colors Starfleet uses to differentiate Command, Science, and Operations divisions.
  • Coming in Hot:
    • The Nautilus crash-lands in Discovery's hangar just before it slips inside Starfleet's displacement field.
    • The Discovery, meanwhile, is making a dash to Federation HQ, pursued by the Viridian. The audience knows it's a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, but Admiral Vance isn't sure either way.
  • Continuity Nod: Burnham and Book are able to reach Discovery by traveling through a transwarp conduit like those used by the Borg. Presumably this is the same conduit Oysraa used in the previous episode.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Transwarp conduits can be used to go quickly from place to place, but even couriers don't do it because the conduits are filled with wreckage and any ship that tries it is just as likely to add to the pile. Of course, that's a risk Book and Burnham have to take.
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  • A Day in the Limelight: The scenes away from Discovery serve as this for Admiral Vance, who until now has generally just been confined to expository conversations with Saru and Burnham.
  • "Die Hard" on Discovery: Burnham and Book successfully get aboard Discovery and start wreaking havoc while Tilly and the other bridge officers escape their captors.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Rhys and Bryce are tapping in Morse code, which was apparently still taught at the Academy in the early 23rd century. Played With: all they were saying to each other is "keep tapping," knowing the guards would recognize that the taps have a pattern as an Incessant Music Madness that allows the bridge crew to get a jump on their guards.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Admiral Vance muses aloud about why Osyraa would come alone to Federation Headquarters and then not leave once she failed to catch Discovery, then realizes she must have captured Discovery and is already on it.
  • Fingore: Zareh lost a couple fingers to frostbite after being forced to go to the surface and brave the parasitic ice.
  • Genius Cripple: Aurellio is Osyraa's top scientist and has some kind of birth defect that has paralyzed him from the waist down.
  • Gonna Need More X: After managing to space one of the Regulators pursuing her, Burnham radios the bridge to tell Zareh that he is going to need more Regulators.
  • Heal It with Fire: Burnham uses a phaser to cauterize a stab wound.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Book and Ryn stay behind to Hold the Line against (and, knowingly, eventually get captured by) the Regulators after the rest of the bridge crew escapes. Combined with the sensor glitch Ryn engineers to hide said escape, it serves to draw their attention long enough for the bridge crew to get to the armory.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Vance messes with Osyraa by revealing that the replicated apples they're eating are made from feces, broken down to its component atoms and used as material.
    Vance: Pretty good for shit.
  • It's All About Me: Osyraa offers an alliance with the Federation, one that requires the Emerald Chain to make significant concessions at that. However, when Admiral Vance insists that she stand trial for her own atrocities as part of the deal, she immediately drops the offer because it would force her to personally give something.
  • Kick the Dog: Osyraa murders Ryn even after Book offers the location of the dilithium planet in exchange for his life, just because she can.
  • Lie Detector: Vance has Eli present in negotiations with Osyraa, saying his program is designed to tell when someone is lying. He jokes that it was less intimidating than a red light.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Osyraa's motivation for breaking into Starfleet Headquarters? So she can help re-found the Federation by proposing an alliance with the Emerald Chain. Eli confirms that she's telling the truth.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Taken from Act IV, Scene III of Julius Caesar, where Brutus is speaking to Cassius.
    Brutus: There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Burnham loses her boots while fighting a Regulator in the Jefferies Tubes. She grabs a new pair from the ones she shoots while rescuing Stamets.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The DOT-23 repair bots that have been in the credits this entire season are finally given prominence: the Sphere AI is hiding in them. The last shot of the episode shows them reporting to Captain Tilly, prepared to join her in the Die Hard attempt.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Unable to disable the internal sensors, Ryn instead engineers a sensor glitch that plays all the sensor logs for the past few months simultaneously. Thousands of signals flood the displays and it becomes impossible to pick out the current data from the replays.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Burnham's first priority is to get Stamets off the ship, because the spore drive doesn't function without its Wetware CPU. She has to do this against Stamets's wishes, because he's dead-set on rescuing Culber and Adira despite the situation Discovery is currently in.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Osyraa's accent frequently drifts into an English one and back. Surprising, since actress Janet Kidder is from Canada.
  • Robot Buddy: The Sphere data takes over a trio of DOT-23 repair droids to keep itself from being purged by Osyraa.
  • Space Is Cold: The Regulator that gets flushed into space by the fire suppression system freezes and then shatters.
  • Take Up My Sword: Tilly makes it clear that they are retaking Discovery's bridge at all costs, and that means if someone falls, they go on without them.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Osyraa has a transport jammer placed on Discovery to prevent beaming in either direction, to make sure Starfleet can't beam in for a rescue. It also affects her own men, so the personal transporter Burnham steals is useless to her.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • Burnham uses her phaser to start a fire in the Jefferies Tubes, causing the fire suppression system to vent the tube and her attacker along with it.
    • Osyraa threatens Zareh with this if he can't find the hostages after their escape.
    • Burnham seals Stamets in an emergency forcefield then overloads a phaser to cause a hull breach, sucking him outside. Starfleet Headquarters then detects his signal and tractors him in, denying Osyraa the use of the spore drive.
  • Token Good Teammate: Aurellio is a genuinely nice person who believes Osyraa wants a better future for the galaxy, even if her methods can be distasteful at times. Stamets educates him on just how cruel she can be when he isn't there to see it, and he gets a front-row seat when she murders Ryn in cold blood just because he mouthed off to her.
  • We Need a Distraction: Book stays on his ship while giving Burnham a device that masks her life signs, reasoning that the Regulators will be expecting to find a pilot and she can sneak away while they think they've captured the only crewmember.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stamets is furious at Burnham for stopping him from using the spore drive to rescue Culber and Adira, since they're all he has in the future.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Osyraa has the Viridian chase after Discovery, firing on them and jamming comms, to convince Starfleet they're in danger so Starfleet will lower their displacement field to provide assistance. They open a hole just big enough for Discovery, which is what she wanted.

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