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Recap / Star Trek Discovery Short Treks E03 "The Brightest Star"

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Saru looking up at the night sky.

We learn the story of how Saru first came into contact with Starfleet. The son of a village priest, Saru is uneasy with the arrangement his people have with the Ba'ul, namely that in return for the Ba'ul not hunting the Kelpiens, regular offerings of Kelpiens are made as sacrifice. Saru wonders if there might be someone out there other than the Ba'ul, and when a piece of advanced technology falls from a visiting Ba'ul ship, he tries to reach anyone he can by building a transmitter.



  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: As Lieutenant Georgiou explains, the Prime Directive prevents Starfleet from interfering with a pre-warp society. As a rule, such cultures are not typically successful at initiating First Contact.
  • The Engineer: Saru proves to be quite clever, studying the lost bit of Ba'ul technology to create a communications beacon, which he uses to make First Contact with the Federation.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We already knew from the first season of Discovery that Saru left his homeworld to join Starfleet. What we didn't know is why, or that he's not allowed to ever return home or communicate with his people again thanks to the Prime Directive.
  • First Contact: Saru manages to initiate this with the Federation, despite being from a world without warp travel. The latter detail causes complications for Starfleet when they have to decide what to do about it.
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  • Gadgeteer Genius: Saru manages to at least partially disassemble the piece of Ba'ul technology and get it working as an interstellar transmitternote .
  • Human Resources: The Kelpien villages on Kaminar are People Farms for the Ba'ul. The Kelpiens live freely enough, but from time to time a selection of them are volunteered as tribute as part of some agreement.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Saru's father collects a piece of something that falls from the Ba'ul ship during an offering, and orders Saru to dispose of it. Naturally, Saru does nothing of the sort.
  • Irony: In this episode, we see Saru being one of the boldest and most inquisitive Kelpiens among his society. Even so, by the time he is a senior officer during the first season of Discovery, he is still one of the most cautious Starfleet officers portrayed in Star Trek.
  • Meaningful Name: The Kelpiens (or at least those we see) spend much of their time on Kaminar harvesting kelp.
  • The Mentor: This episode shows how Georgiou first met Saru.
  • Missing Mom: Saru, his father (Aradar) and his sister (Siranna) appear in the episode, but no mention or appearance is made of Saru's mother. Given the nature of the Kelpiens' arrangement with the Ba'ul, she may well have been sacrificed some time before when the episode is set.
  • Rank Up: Inverted. Since this episode is set years or even decades before the first season of Discovery, Philippa Georgiou is still a lieutenant, while Saru is a young civilian who has yet to enter Starfleet Academy.
  • The Reveal: The person Saru has been communicating with is Lieutenant Philippa Georgiou, Saru's future captain aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Played with; Georgiou mentions how hard she had to lobby for an exception to be made in the Prime Directive for Saru (and Saru alone) to be contacted and allowed to leave Kaminar.
  • Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids: Saru's father is one of the village priests, so naturally, Saru manages to conceal his beacon inside their home.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Georgiou never directly mentions what ship she serves on. "The Sounds of Thunder" establishes that she was serving aboard the Archimedes at the time.
    • Saru's mother never appears or is mentioned, but given the ongoing arrangement with the Ba'ul, it's likely that she was among a past group who were sacrificed.
    • The Ba'ul never appear in person, nor is it ever truly explained or confirmed why or exactly how they take the Kelpiens away, or for what purpose. We only have Saru's word that the Kelpiens are a "prey species".
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Georgiou offers to take Saru away from his homeworld, but if he accepts, he can never come back again due to the dictates of the Prime Directive.


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