Star Trek: Discovery – Season 3, Episode 6 Recap: “Scavengers”

Dept. of Upgrades and Uprisings

Star Trek: Discovery Director | Douglas Aarniokoski
Season 3 | Episode 6 | 60 minutesWriters | Anne Cofell Saunders
As Discovery completes a much needed refit, Burnham finds her self torn between Book and her duty to Starfleet while Georgiou’s problems grow.

On this week’s Star Trek: Discovery, the ship and her crew approach the halfway point of the third season, and undergo some much needed upgrades to help them be of use to the Starfleet of the 32nd Century.


Bahir Yeusuff:  Can I start? I’d like to start. I really liked this episode. This is the first episode since the first where I have immediately wanted the next one now. Can you figure out why this episode worked so well for me when the last few didn’t? Is this more, or less, Star Trek?

Iain McNally: I think this episode  really addressed one of your complaints from last week (and of the season so far) in that it had a clear A-plot, B-plot, and C-plot (and maybe D-plot and E-plot)? 

  • In the A-plot, Michael wants to rescue Book, even if it goes against Starfleet (and Saru, but more on that later).
  • In the B-plot, we get the adventures of Grudge and Tilly. 😉
  • In the C-plot, we get the visions that Georgiou’s been having.
  • In the D-plot, Saru has to come to terms with being part of Starfleet again, being part of the chain of command and what that means for Michael. 
  • Then we have the exploration of The Burn and the buildup of the Emerald Chain and Osyraa(?) in the background.

Crucially, all of it has a nice structure and, ironically, because Discovery spent the entire episode going nowhere, if felt like it was all going somewhere with purpose.


Star Trek: Discovery

BY: When you say it like that, the episode suddenly sounds busy! But it wasn’t. Everything was nicely paced and with just enough drama (Saru and Michael), enough comedy (Tilly, and Grudge, and Linus), enough action (all the scrapyard stuff), and enough emotion (Stamets and Adira). It didn’t feel like it tried to rely too heavily on one aspect or another.

IMN: To borrow a phrase from last week, the table setting is done, now it’s time to feast!

BY: Oh yeah that’s a good one. It’s only surprising that it took this long to do it!


IMN: I think it also has something to do with the human scale drama in this episode. No one is dealing with “PTimeSD,” the weight of the entire universe, or anything like that. Instead, it’s about choosing between your friends and your job, or deciding when to ask for help, especially if you’ve not been used to doing that before. It’s a lot more “#relatable.” 

BY: I think for me, even if the show wanted to have them deal with PTimeSD (copyright© Goggler Media), I just wish they’d do it already. Just move on it and address it. Detmer didn’t seem to have a problem (other than her reluctance to use the upgraded equipment) this week. Did she just take a magic future psychologist pill and is now over it? I’m okay with them not dealing with everything every episode, but also maybe get to it already! We’re in Episode 6 dammit!

Go Faster Stripes

Star Trek: Discovery

IMN: I think they may still come back to the PTimeSD and Detmer, and I think it’s a better way to depict trauma as an ongoing problem rather than something that is fixed in an episode. Which is how many older series would deal with things. Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad, and I think it’d be interesting if Trek took a look at that side of humanity.

But yeah, why didn’t she like the ship’s upgrades! 

BY: Speaking of which, CAN WE TALK ABOUT ALL THAT FUTURE TECH CAUSE THAT SHIT IS COOL? Later in the episode we see Book’s ship disassemble and reassemble in mid air instead of doing a u-turn which was most excellent.


IMN: 3 point turns were outlawed along with time travel in the 28th century.

I’m happy that Discovery is now fighting fit as it removes a lot of unnecessary worry about them getting trounced by some broke ass raiders or something. Owosekun (Editor’s Note: So that’s her name!) also answered a question I didn’t even realise I needed answering: smart matter “feels smooth and cool, like glass!”

Look Ma, No Hands

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BY: Explain to me that upgrade that they so clearly showed on screen. What is that “thing” that is now detachable and what does it do and mean for Discovery? Tech me up!

IMN: I have no clue! 


IMN: Well actually…. the “nacelles” are where the warp field emanates from and this enables ships to travel at faster than light speeds. They create a warp bubble, essentially “warping” the space around the ship at crazy speeds instead of moving the ship itself, which also handily avoid turning the crew into chunky salsa. The shape of your warp field can effect your speed, which is why Starfleet ships usually have that dish and nacelle configuration. Voyager, which got name checked last week, had an elongated dish and warp engines that were on hinges so that they could alter the warp field, although I can’t remember if that was for better manoeuvrability or warp efficiency (I think the writers forgot about it as well).

As the warp scale gets re-evaluated every couple for decades (Kirk’s Warp Factor 9 and Picard’s Warp Factor 9 are not the same speed), I assume Discovery can now travel faster at warp and turn on a dime, if it has to.

I’m not sure I’m a big fan of having a major part of your ship, NOT BE A PART OF YOUR SHIP! Having a car that coasts on a magnetic field above the wheels is cool and all but what happens if you lose ALL power? Those things will fly off on their own!

Seeing as you weren’t a fan of the site to site transport last week, what do you think of the crew, well Linus mostly, being able to beam wherever they want, from wherever they want, now? 


Star Trek: Discovery

BY: Well, I wasn’t wrong. The site-to-site transporter was used to great comedic effect by Linus beaming on to the captain’s chair when he wanted the toilet. 

IMN: You’d think they’d have protocols to prevent that? I guess he had shortcuts set up in the interface of his new comm Badge and “the captain’s chair” is what he calls the toilet.

BY: It still feels like it might end up being an easy out for moving crew members around for the writers. Need to get somewhere? Site-to-site transport! Can’t get somewhere? Oh no, site to site transport doesn’t work because *insert random tech thing here*.

IMN: I think maybe they might just need the transporter room set for something else? 

BY: They needed more storage space.

IMN: Then they should use the basketball court! As for the other plots this episode, did you get the feeling that they are building The Emerald Chain and Osyraa up to be the new “big bads” for the remainder of the season?

BY: I can’t say I gave them much thought but they were mentioned a lot. Are they a thing in Star Trek lore? Have they showed up before?

Off the (Emerald) Chain

Star Trek: Discovery

IMN:  Well the Orions and Andorians go all the way back to TOS. The Andorians are the blue guys with the antennae and the Orions are the green skinned folk, first encountered by Kirk in the form of the “Orion slave girls” which did not date well.

Some of the better parts of Enterprise was adding more lore to these cultures, with the Orions recast as a criminal syndicate, with the slave girls just a pose for the females to dupe unsuspecting aliens. Geoffrey Combs who played multiple characters on DS9 played Shran the awesome Andorian on Enterprise and constantly referred to Archer as “pink skin” which never got old. 

It would make some sense for these guys to team up after The Burn, although there was no Emerald Chain before it.

It makes me wonder. We saw Michael picking through a bowl of badge insignia in this episode and there were Klingon symbols there. Have we seen any Klingons since arriving in the future? This episode had a Bajoran (and multiple references to the Bajoran exchange), and we’ve seen Cardassians in the backgrounds of a lot of scenes, but no Klingons?

Whither Klingons?

Star Trek: Discovery

IMN: It doesn’t seem to be a cost issue, as there are plenty of full face makeup characters. I wonder if that is going somewhere, plot-wise? Are Klingons extinct in this future?

BY: Would that be a bad thing? I can’t quite decide if I like that there isn’t a “bad” race, like in previous iterations (the Klingons and the Borg being the first that comes to mind), but also, are Starfleet just now up against the space mafia? 

IMN: Maybe they are saving Klngons, Romulans, etc. for later seasons. With the smaller travel radius of everyone after The Burn, it does look like Starfleet are now space cops. As they (hopefully) get bigger, maybe they’ll be able to rely on others, state police, to deal with crime?

After the events of this week’s episode, however, do you think that Michael sees a future place for herself in this Starfleet? 

Michael T. Kirk?

Star Trek: Discovery

BY: Correct me if I’m wrong but what Michael did was very Kirk, in the “I’ll do what I think is right, consequences be damned” sense, which is fun, but less effective when you’re not the Captain. 

IMN: Also Kirk was on a 5 year exploration mission away from the chain of command, Michel is not. Her actions were like pissing off the boss in the car park of the head office, instead of sneakily undermining them in the remote office.

BY: I think she does still believe in Starfleet, maybe she realizes that she is no longer on her own. But then again, this is exactly the kind of thing that Michael used to do in the first season, when she was just a lowly ensign officer. On one level, she is doing what she feels is right and needs to be done.

IMN: On the other, she made Saru sad!!!!

BY: Yeah! But like Tilly says, Michael had put Saru in a very awkward and bad position, especially when he is trying to prove the worth of Discovery (and her crew) to the new (future) bosses. Starfleet barely trusts the ship (and her crew or captain), so to have Michael just gallivanting ahead and breaking protocol looks bad. Especially when she’s Discovery’s Number One!

I’m also looking forward to the fallout between Michael and Tilly. Although with the way Michael took her demotion (BIG DEMOTION), she may not take it out on Tilly as much as Tilly taking it out on Michael. 


Star Trek: Discovery

IMN: At Episode 6, it does feel a little late to be investigating the repercussions of Michael’s “gap year,” but I suppose they have to address it sometime. And this feels like them trying to get back to a regular “Star Trek” show after going buck wild for some time. Do you think they could be setting things up for Sonequa Martin-Green to leave the Discovery and head off with Book?

She’s playing with her own (rule) Book now!

BY: I hope not. Because it looks like the writers are setting up some nice stuff to happen on Discovery. Like you said, there’s still the PTimeSD (copyright© Goggler Media) stuff to work on, Stamets and Adira’s frienship, Starfleet matters, and whatever the hell is happening with Giorgiou.

IMN: Did you catch everything in her seizures? There was the Terran logo, the energy orb at the heart of Georgiou’s ISS Charon that she threw Lorca into at the end of Season 1, some moisture vaporators from Star Wars, and it looks like she killed someone in Black Panther armour? 

It’s weird, Emperor Georgiou doesn’t seem like the type to repress ANYTHING, let alone memories.

Hello to Jason Isaacs!

BY: Is she just mentally breaking down from not only swapping dimensions, but then jumping 900 years ahead?

IMN: I guess you can only do one or the other, not both, and especially not directly after eating.

I do think it’s going to tie into what happened with her version of Micheal. I need to double check, but Terran Michael died because she was off with Lorca right? And Georgiou sent her to kill Lorca but she joined him instead?

BY: I think so. I was leaning towards the repressed memories thing. Because she was calling out to “San?”

IMN: I thought she might have said “son” but who knows? I think the dagger thing on the floor was a callback to the Terran’s knives which they kept handy on their belts for any sudden opportunities for literal backstabbing.

Maybe Michelle Yeoh’s rumoured Section 31 spin-off isn’t set in the past and she’s going to get annoyed (well more annoyed) and head off on her own, or found a section 32 for this future Federation?

Grudge Report: Pass

Star Trek: Discovery

To bring this all back to where we started I think that the real  reason you enjoyed this episode so much was that for the first time in ages, an episode passed its Grudge Report!

BY: I want my cat to make video calls too. But the lack of thumbs might be a problem. Grudge’s interactions with Tilly were nice. I wonder if Grudge is going to be more than just Book’s cat (queen!). Will she hold the secret to time travel? Does she have the universe in her cat collar (shout out to Men in Black!)? 

IMN:  Hopefully Grudge (and ok, Book the Blob whisperer) stick around to help find out who started The Burn, as it looks like it was intentional, or at least that it had a source.

There are seven episodes left. But it’s still a lot to cram in.

Make Room for the Queen

Star Trek: Discovery

BY: I wonder if this will be a two season storyline arc. Because, like you said, there isn’t much time left to cover a whole lot of ground. It would be nice it was a two season thing. I mean, they did just travel into the future, so maybe spending one season to set up this new universe they are in, and then another to solve the universe’s problems would be a nice way to go about it, without just rushing through all the different story threads that they’ve set up.

Previous seasons have always felt very focused. There was the Klingon arc in Season 1 and the Red Angel arc in Season 2, but now, they’ve got a lot of story to wrap up. With just about seven hours of TV, it may feel rushed if they try to wrap everything up, or incomplete if they leave stuff hanging.

IMN: Grudge is a big cat. She deserves at least two seasons.

BY: I want a big cat.

IMN: Correction, you want a QUEEN.

Subspace Report

  • Those drones are back again, opening the episode and finishing off a new coat of paint for Discovery.
  • Admiral Vance answers Bahir’s question from last week that not everyone in Starfleet knows about the spore drive. Only Starfleet command knows, for now.
  • Burnham and Georgiou say they are looking for “self sealing stem bolts” which are a nice call back to the great recurring MacGuffiins of DS9.
  • That also looks like a 24th century type 2 phaser the Scavengers showed to Georgiou.
  • While Andorians use their antennae for balance, they can survive the loss of one or both and they usually grow back. Ryn’s disfigurement may have been more permanent due to it’s nature as a punishment.
  • Stamet’s said “thank you” in this episode!
  • Admiral Vance mentions that a returning crew should “clear the ship before doing the Baryon sweep.” A Baryon sweep, where Baryon particles are removed from a ship, is a necessary part of regular maintenance for warp capable vessels. It’s basically descaling your space kettle, and is fatal to life forms. A Baryon sweep memorably formed a major part of the Starship Mine, the TNG episode that was basically Die Hard-on-the-Enterprise.
  • Both ships escaping Hunhau went to warp within the planet’s atmosphere at a very low altitude so we assume the ill effects of warping inside a planets gravity well no longer apply in the 32nd Century?
  • Why doesn’t Adira have a Starfleet badge or uniform?
  • Of all the things to survive into the future, calling someone “the bomb” as a mark of respect, was not one we expected.
  • Those mini Starfleet insignia on Stamets and Culber’s lounge wear are so cute. Do they work as holo keyboards/transporters as well?
  • Does Michael removing her Starfleet badge at the end of the episode mean bigger changes are afoot for the rest of the season? Hopefully we’ll find out next week.

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3, is now streaming on CBS All Access in the U.S., as well as on Netflix internationally. You can check out all our other Star Trek content here.

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