Reminder: ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Episode 3 “The Brightest Star” Debuts Tonight

The third Star Trek: Short Treks episode debuts tonight. Short Treks are four standalone mini-episodes related to Star Trek: Discovery, released one a month from October through January. This month’s short was written by Discovery writing duo Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt (who also wrote the mid-season finale for Discovery season one — “Into the Forest I Go”) and directed by Douglas Aarniokoski (“Lethe”).

Preview: “The Brightest Star”

Star Trek: Short Treks – Episode 3

Before he was the first Kelpien to join Starfleet, Saru (Doug Jones) lived a simple life on his home planet of Kaminar with his father and sister. Young Saru, full of ingenuity and a level of curiosity uncommon among his people, yearns to find out what lies beyond his village, leading him on an unexpected path.

The mini-episode will be available in the US on CBS All Access at 9:30 pm ET (6:30 pm PT). In Canada it airs on Space at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT), it will be available on CraveTV Friday at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT).

Promo trailer


A “passion project”

What say you?

TrekMovie will be posting a full review of “The Brightest Star” in the coming days. But you don’t have to wait to offer your views in the comments below.

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Bah! On a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean at the moment, so I won’t get to see this for another week or so… and this is the one I’ve been waiting for the most eagerly! Must resist the temptation to read any spoilers or reviews until then!

I am a bit wary of the kelp collecting Kelp-ien angle as it sounds too much of a cheap pun, but I am hoping to find an intelligently written twist.

I love Star Trek Discovery, but between The Game Awards and the midnight launch of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Saru’s mini-adventure will have to wait until tomorrow.

There’s an ad saying its now available on my AA app but its not there…

Same here, and 9:30 has come and gone.

And so has 10:00.

No…not tonight. Tried to watch it and CBS All Access said it’s going to air tomorrow night due to a technical error. What the hell?? You promise yet again….and don’t deliver.

Man that sucks – okay no spoilers from Canada. I just edited my post.

It’s up, they took ~30-40 mins past the time to get it up. CBS really screwed up tonight.

NO SPOILERS – Another pretty good short story, although Calypso has been my favorite. Anyone know where they filmed this? All I know is Kanimar sure looks a lot better than Toronto in December. (Relax my fellow Canadians – I am not some random fan mocking Canadian winter haha)

I think they filmed it in one or both of the places they filmed Pahvo: The Hilton Falls and Kelso Conservation Areas in Milton.

Also remember they filmed this back in early August :-)

Ah yeah had a brain fart regarding when it was filmed. I sometimes forget there are lots of nice natural looking places around the GTA – you just have to go looking for them.

Are the Short Treks missing on the CBSAA site? I can’t find them anywhere.

Its up now.

I cannot find short treks anywhere on the website on my laptop but I was able to watch it on my phone cbsaa app. No spoilers but it is officially my favorite short trek yet

I didn’t care much for Saru for most of season one, but I did really like this short. I wish that the show had done a few episodes of Georgiou, Saru, Burnham et al. as a crew to properly build their chemistry before blowing them up, because they could have been an interesting crew.

Just saw it…a little late for CST, about 25 minutes, but it showed up.

I liked this a lot because it established the true alienation of Saru. On the one had non-Kelpians look at him as prey and cowardly but on the other hand he also was rejected by his homeworld. I also loved the fact that Georgiou found him and it seems like she will become his mentor , just like she did with Burnham. To some degree it makes me wish we got to see more of the Georgiou character (non Mirror universe type) as she seems to be much more nurturing than other Starfleet officers.

Ok, hands down this was very good! It felt like a real story. A nice ‘origin story’ seeing how Saru left his planet to join Starfleet. And to see Georgiou at the end was perfect. I loved how she disobeyed the prime directive and took him because she saw something more in him and wanted to help. God I wish PU Georgiou lasted longer. And it explained how he made it to Starfleet because it was pretty confusing knowing what we knew about them. No one is going to create warp technology if they are second on the food chain. And it answered the naysayers who kept saying it made no sense we never met a Kelpian before in the later shows. Its a really stupid argument IMO, but now the show has explained it for them, because he literally was the only one in Starfleet like Data.

And like Calypso, THIS felt like Star Trek to me. This could’ve been any episode of TOS, TNG or VOY frankly. The show is finally showing things some of us wanted first season, just a little more heart and character development.

It wasn’t perfect, but with 15 mins (actually 13 mins) you can only do so much. My guess is this is being set up for next season too. I think we will be going back to Saru’s homeworld. I really felt bad he had to leave his sister so I think that will be covered hopefully.

Anyway this is my favorite one so far and now I see Saru very differently than before.

My guess is this is being set up for next season too.

Yep, we know there’s a Saru centric episode in DSC S2 that takes him back Kaminar. One of the writers of this short even implies that many of our questions will be answered later (i.e. part of season 2).

That’s right I forgot about that! Thank you Matt. I’m excited now! Yeah I definitely have a few questions lol. I really want to know what happened to his family.

@Tiger2- I agree. I have been immensely disappointed at the lack of Star Trek’s positive vision in STD. But this short was true to the spirit of Trek. Even the classic Trek music stirred when themes of “Hope being stronger than fear” emerged. It was short- with bare bones writing, and it was formulaic, but it was indeed Star Trek. And it was touching.
I hope it is a prelude of things to come, but I fear it isn’t. Let’s see which feeling comes true…

The musical score is one thing that impressed me. It felt right. If that’s the direction DSC Season 2 is taking, I’m quite encouraged.

They were at war for like 99% of the first season, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for classic Trek positivity. Anyone remember the Dominion War or the Xindi War (or whatever you want to call that)?

…a war which conversely, we saw 1% of.

Sadly, so true. :(

By nature of the very show you couldn’t spend episodes looking at the war like you could on DS9 because of the MUCH fewer episodes that were released.

Yes, I LOVED we heard that classic fanfare at the end followed by Saru’s line. It’s the little things like that that gets me on board. I do hope this is a sign that we are going to get more of these type of stories in season two. I honestly miss them a lot.

I enjoyed your review and had much the same reaction to the episode. Re: violating the Prime Directive, Georgiou makes a comment about having to go through many layers of permission to come get Saru, so seems like she was on an approved mission.

Great review of a good episode. Really like that we got to see Lt. Georgiou and perhaps one of the contributing reasons why Saru felt jealous of Michael’s relationship with the Georgiou once she became Captain of the Shenzhou. Btw that telescope scene with Burnham and Saru seems to have a lot more significance and like you said – too bad we didn’t get more backstory and character development BEFORE the pilot. That could have saved the producers a lot of grief.

Thanks! :)

And I agree, if the first season had some of these kinds of stories, I think there would be a lot less negativity about the show. This is the kind of stories fans love and sadly the people running it didn’t seem to get that. But maybe now that will change next season.

Also yes, now I truly see Saru and Georgiou in a new light. I think like most I thought he was just another member of her crew. But now it seems like she was just as much of a mentor to him as she was to Burnham. More so because he was completely alien to that world. And someone on Reddit calculated this episode’s timeline and that happened nearly 20 years before The Vulcan Hello. So if they were together the entire time imagine how connected they had to been by then? And Burnham and Saru now seem like her children vying for her attention. I can understand why he hated her so much when she came aboard Discovery.

I have to admit, this episode really impressed me. Like I said it wasn’t perfect but I really liked it because I didn’t see any of it coming, his backstory is very unique like Odo and Data and the situation with the Baul and his planet opens up some great potential story telling. This is the stuff I love about Star Trek. More of this and less soap opera twists, obvious fan service and canon filling.

yeet! :D

As usual, Netflix here in Russia just ain’t showing it. As an American expat Trekkie, I got Netflix for Discovery primarily. Guess I’ll have to binge-watch Black Mirror instead ;-)

Ha! I never realized was the only American expat Trekkie in Moscow! I binged-watched Discovery on Netflix last December.

This may have been my favourite Short Trek so far. It wasn’t just the acting, the music or the story: the tone felt right. There was nothing ‘in your face’, like so much of DSC Season 1 was.

The balance has been restored.

in your face?

DSC Season 1 was blantantly provocative at times (the Klingons, the designs, etc.) and at times it seemed it was just for the sake of it. It was also quite agressively done and did not make the show move forward in a flowing way; if anything, it took away from the show because it attracted more attention than the actual story they were trying to tell.

Big parts of the Mirrorverse had a certain… let’s just say ‘lack of subtlety’ about the point the writers were trying to make.

What was the point about Mirror Georgiou making Burnham eat Kelpian threat ganglia, except for the shock value?

My second favorite so far. “Calypso” still beats it by pretty far though.

This episode didn’t make any sense, even within the context of Discovery’s own cannon. Kelpians were introduced as being a prey species that evolved to sense fear and danger. But in this episode they’re not prey, they’re domesticated sentient cattle. Why would such a species evolve to sense danger or fear, when they just give themselves freely to be sacrificed?

Then Captain Georgiou picks Saru up because of his ability to understand technology, but she has to only take him since otherwise it would be a violation of the Prime Directive. But isn’t taking the smartest Kelpian in the planet a pretty significant violation as it is?

Lastly, Georgiou is aware of the race that harvests the Kelpians by acknowledging that Saru used a piece of their technology. So Starfleet is aware of an advanced sentient species that harvests another primitive sentient species and hasn’t done anything about it? We’ve seen Starfleet intervene plenty of times covertly with pre-warp societies to save them from natural disasters. Wouldn’t this scenario be considered an equally valid situation in which to intervene? These people are being abducted and sacrificed! WTF.

I came here to write the exact same thing. Couldn’t agree more, absolutely nonsensical and failed completely to deliver on a storytelling opportunity with a series of absurd and meaningless contrivances. Total miss, first time I’ve felt that way about any Discovery story so far. I came away really annoyed.

I’d lay odds that plotline is followed up when Saru’s planet is visited by Discovery this eason.

Well, real cattle are “domesticated” but still fearful of humans and other predatory animals. So there’s that.

Let’s address point by point.

– The Kelpians, being the prey, evolved to feel fear. Fine. But here we see domesticated Kelpians. And they were domesticated through culture, not artificial selection (the method by which humans domesticated other animals). So, they keep their prey genes, but through religion find acceptance of their condition. (Not unusual between human cultures as well; our history is full of sacrificial rituals and imposition of inequality justified by religion.)

– Georgiou makes it clear it was tough to get approval for the rescue. It was probably framed as a request for asylum, not an intervention. She was clearly not allowed to do more. But it doesn’t mean the Federation abandoned all hope of helping the Kelpians out. Perhaps they sought diplomatic relations with the Ba’ul to intercede on the Kelpians’ behalf, without changing their culture per se. But even this could be seen as interference. See the episode “Symbiosis”, from TNG’s first season, for more on this kind of situation.

– Although you’re right to point out that the Federation has intervened before in situations like that, I don’t think there is a clear Federation policy on what to do. Taking into account the historical perspective, it seems that the Federation took a very cynical approach towards the Prime Directive when it concerned the Cold War with the Klingons, during TOS. But many of the violations of the Prime Directive we’ve seen were made by Kirk’s decision, and we’re not sanctioned by Starfleet. In “The Apple”, Spock disagrees with Kirk’s decision. In “A Private Little War”, McCoy disagrees with Kirk’s decision. So, those were not clear, by the book decisions.

– The whole point of Star Trek is putting their characters in hot spots, in situations for which there are not black-n-white solutions. “The Brightest Star” follows that tradition beautifully.

Well I have read some theories or speculation that maybe at some point the Kelpians and Baul did have a more hunter and prey relationship but over the centuries they found a more ‘humane’ way by basically turning them into live stock. So they could’ve been hunted for thousands of years but as the Baul just got more powerful would manage to put them in settlements just like humans do now with animals they once hunted.

As far as why they would make themselves for sacrifice, they are clearly brain washed. Again just speculation but if they been doing this for centuries and this was already a less evolved species, its literally all they know. They have just fallen into submission and have learned to accept the life they have and in return are sacrificed from time to time.

As far as Starfleet not doing anything about the Baul, remember Starfleet doesn’t get involved in ANY non-Federation issues if it’s not in their space. That was the entire reason the Cardassians were able to subjugate the Bajorans for decades. You think they didn’t know about that either? And maybe the Baul has a claim on this planet? It could be in their part of space and so the Federation can do nothing about it. But thats why I love Prime Directive stories, it highlights how cut throat it is, but they do believe in non-interference for a reason.

You’re absolutely right. Data mentions in “The Last Outpost” that “(t)hey should add that Starfleet has permitted several civilisations to fall. We have at times allowed the strong and violent to overcome the weak.”

The Prime Directive means you don’t mess with other people, period. If they are warp capable, you can talk to them, you can try to convince them to do good, but you can’t pick a fight with them or impose things on them at your will. And when you have a pre-warp society, you can’t even influence them to make change.

Exactly, the PD is really one of the most genius but also most debatable ideas within Star Trek because it probably hurts just as many people as it helps in so many ways. But as Captain Picard said, anytime a more develop society gets involve with a less develop one, history proves constantly it only ends badly, no matter how well intention the more developed society has.

And in the Kelpians and Baul’s case, this might have been a dynamic that has been part of their existence from the beginning so as you said the Federation can’t really do anything other than negotiate or plea with them not to do it. Once you do anything more than that then it violates the PD interfering with another society customs no matter how ‘wrong’ it looks to the rest of us on the outside. But thats why its there, the Federation isn’t there to right the wrong of everything or everyone in the galaxy, its simply there to maintain a natural order which sadly can be a very cruel order to many but that’s how the universe generally works unfortunately.

This was simple and yet so powerful and wonderful. I was disappointed after the first one but each subsequent one so far has been really great. I love Discovery!!!!

I thought it managed to tell us a lot in a very short runtime, much better than the Tilly short did.

Saru is established as a great big rebel, as a smart thinker, as a risk taker. And the end message — hope is stronger than fear — we need that SO much in today’s world!

I also thought it made it a lot clearer why most people know nothing about Kelpians, and why Saru has to explain his people all the time. Spock was always explaining about Vulcans, and while I yield to no one in my adoration of Spock, it always seemed weird that working Starfleet officers knew so little about Vulcans. But knowing nothing about Kelpians makes sense. Cool!

It was great seeing the real Georgiou again; I wish we had HER instead of the Mirror version.