In the eighth episode of “Star Trek: Discovery,” Season 4, which is titled “All In,” a few interesting things happen, which could drastically affect the show’s future. Some of these events might also be call-backs to earlier episodes of Trek, as the story and theme of the episode sound a little familiar. The episode began streaming today, February 10, 2022, in the United States and is the first new episode of DISCO since the mid-season break.
To catch you up, Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is upset because her boyfriend and former business partner Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) has gone rogue. He and the scientist and inventor Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) have left Federation space with a new, experimental version of the Spore Drive. Their mission is to destroy the Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA), which decimated Book’s homeworld. Michael and Starfleet are committed to meeting Species 10-A (who is behind the DMA) and making first contact rather than destroying the DMA outright.
ATTENTION READER: THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS AND INFORMATION ABOUT “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY” SEASON 4: EPISODE 8
When Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) dispatches Michael to figure out how to reign Book in, she sidesteps earlier orders from President Rillak (Chelah Horsdal) not to get involved. Sticking with her style (which is also precisely how James T. Kirk would have handled this situation), she goes after Book, who needs a particular element to fuel the anti-DMA weapon.
This can happen because she needs star charts to help determine more information about where Species 10-A came from. The guy who can supply exotic fuel and mysterious star charts is someone that Book and Michael worked with during that year they were couriers together. He is a devilish-looking alien named Haz Mazaro (Daniel Kash). This fellow runs a gambling establishment which would make Quark from “Deep Space Nine” a bit jealous.
So she wasn’t by herself; Michael brought Lt. Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) along for the ride. This is nice because, as so many have pointed out, aside from Michael and Saru (Doug Jones), very few members of the bridge crew have had many lines or much to do.
Eventually, Michael catches up with Book but is unable to talk him out of his quest of acquiring the element called “isolynium.” But the episode breaks neatly into tried-and-true Trek plots, which should entertain most everyone.
Back in the Ring
Much like how Kirk (William Shatner) was shunted into a ring — like on “Amok Time” or “The Gamesters of Triskelion” — Owosekun ends up fighting a larger, more powerful opponent. Strangely, there is no set-up for these scenes, and her commanding officer paces the outside of the boxing ring. Owosekun just decided to fight for the latinum to buy the isolynium before Book could. Michael Burnham becomes Michael Buffer for about 20 minutes of the episode.
This sort of thing is familiar to Trek fans, who have seen many, many fights like this. Besides Kirk, fans have witnessed similar struggles featuring Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby), Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and more.
Oh, and Owosekun beat her opponent like Stallone beat Drago in “Rocky IV.”
Gambling for Something
Much like the above, gambling and card playing are long-held Trek traditions. The aforementioned Riker was the best card shark on “The Next Generation,” unless trapped by an alien race, like in “The Royale.” That’s when Data (Brent Spiner) started counting cards.
Book, Michael, and two former members of the Emerald Chain sit down and play. Book beats everyone, and Michael says that she knew she would lose, so she was playing with that in mind.
This is also reminiscent of when Data played a game of Strategema, only attempting not to lose. The episode “Peak Performance” is a classic.
Perhaps the most interesting scene of the episode was when Book and Tarka caught someone cheating. Who could walk into a casino and change their appearance at will and use that power to cheat? A Changeling, that’s who. And just like Odo (René Auberjonois), this Changeling was able to use her powers to try to escape. She even turned into a Tribble!
Tarka caught her with a pop-up containment field. But the plot quickly switched to the card game. This could mean that the Changeling could play some sort of role in the DMA crisis. Could the Founders, the main enemies of “Deep Space Nine,” have something to do with the DMA? Could that device be a new, ultimate weapon created by the Founders to destroy the “solids” once and for all?
This could be a red herring or something the writers inserted to remind viewers of the power of the Changeling race.