Breaking up is hard to do and Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 6 marks a very quick (even if you include the three weeks we didn't get to see) end to the Saru-Burnham match-up from Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 5.
That being said, Saru himself notes that Burnham was ambivalent about taking on the role of First Officer.
Furthermore, we saw that she only really committed to it once Book had left.
So, is it any surprise that Book would be the catalyst for her breaking trust with Saru and Starfleet?
There are three primary conflict plotlines here: Burnham, Georgiou, and Adira.
Of the three, I'm most interested in Georgiou but I've always been a sucker for the Mirror Universe tidbits thrown our way.
After spending far too much time rewinding and pausing, I was able to discern two things from Georgiou's flashback episodes.
One, she is screaming "Son!" and, two, the dagger she holds up has the Terran Empire crest on it.
From this sparse data, my initial conclusion is that before she was Emperor, she was a mother and the Empire killed her son.
Extrapolating further, based on her comment to The Man in Glasses, she sought revenge by becoming Emperor herself.
Man: There are very few species that do things simply to do them.
Georgiou: We're mostly untroubled by pesky motivations. Except for revenge. We do like that one.
Man: It seems you've created an empire based on the maxim,'Because we feel like it.'
Which then ties into her affection for Mirror Burnham, whom she raised as a daughter, and that affection transferred to Prime Burnham which leads us to the once-Emperor Georgiou in her second universe and third timeline.
What I wonder about is how or what triggered her memories of this traumatic death.
This isn't the Terran universe. A vulnerability is not a death sentence. You're not alone.Burnham
Was it just the talk with The Man in Glasses? Was it something he did to her or gave to her during their session? Was it something to do with his glasses?
In any case, it does complicate things to have Discovery's super-soldier sidelined at inconveniently unpredictable moments.
Adira's glacially slow emergence from her cocoon of work and ghost-chats is a sweet narrative device for growing Stamets out of his own work and Culber-chat (with the occasional Jett-spar) existance.
I'm not sure how the two-for-one Trill/human crew member is going to contribute to the season's whole "Who Caused the Burn?" mystery plot but, for the time being, I'm pretty okay with Stamets gaining some empathy.
Gray: Adira, we're on this amazing moving world and I've only seen where you sleep, work, and eat.
Adira: And these are all vital functions.
Gray: Could we make a new memory, please?
With Culber on Adira's "I like him" list and Gray approval of Stamets, it's clear the connection is being made.
It's also interesting to note that it's a relationship cluster that doesn't actively involve Burnham and that's refreshing.
Adira's contributions to the improvements of the ship are impressive. Mind you, once Tilly gets the dark matter navigation system going, Stamets won't necessarily need to act as navigator as much.
I thought it was telling that Culber comments about how much he disliked the stents in Stamets' arms since he was the one who came up with them in the first place.
It's a non-flashy sort of element to the show but I really appreciate that we get to check in with the two of them every once in a while.
After all, considering Burnham's problematic romances, and relatively few other obvious romantic partnerships on-board, it's comforting that Stamets and Culber continue to abide.
Georgiou: The Tyler thing ended in disaster - surprise, surprise - so I get why you wouldn't want to have feeling for the blob-whisperer.
Burnham: I don't have feelings for the blob-whisperer. And transworms aren't blobs.
Georgiou: I was referring to the cat.
As for Burnham, I could've done without a Book romance although that was given away in pretty much every promo for Season 3.
I liked the partnership they'd formed and Burnham's romantic relationships always come across as contrived which is odd because her relationships with Spock, Tilly, Sarek, Georgiou (deceased), and even Saru never have.
You're not qualified to judge these things. You're emotional spectrum runs from cranky to homicidal.Burnham
Emperor Georgiou is in a bit of a league of her own. (Always.)
Romantic shenanigans aside, what it ultimately came down to here is the trust a captain and the first officer must have.
Although Burnham knows and trusts Saru well enough to be able to pull stunts like on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 3, it's clear that her impulses align even less with his goals than when they vied for position on the Shenzhou.
I will be honest, ensign, I have not felt this mistrusting of [Burnham] since we served on the Shenzhou. I assumed, after all we have endured together, this feeling would never return.Saru
Futhermore, there's something symbolic in her removal of her badge after he'd left.
He hadn't kicked her out of Starfleet. She's still the Chief Science Officer.
But, still, something in that moment felt like a good-bye.
All this leaves us with the question of who could be the next Number One?
The obvious, if improbable (due to her rank), choice is Tilly. From Saru confidence in her on Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 2, to their meeting of minds here, there's been a distinct shift in Tilly's relationship and role aboard Discovery.
Tilly: I might've done the same thing in her shoes. Just for the record.
Saru: For the record, I do not believe you would have.
Tilly's flaw has always been her insecurity and lack of confidence in herself but, lately, she's started to recognize her own value and abilities.
Although, she'll always be good for a comedic moment.
Tilly: [talking to Grudge, the cat] Full disclosure - I am not a cat person so you're going to have to go back in the box, bud. Computer, locate Burnham.
Computer: Commander Burnham is not on board.
Tilly: [to Grudge] Did you eat her?
Another possibility is asking Lt. Willa to join Discovery.
She's spent a lot of time aboard the ship for the retrofit and upgrades. She's gotten to know some of the crew. She's a modern Starfleet officer, someone who knows what's going on now and not weighed down by 930 years of baggage and knowledge gaps.
The only drawback is how close she is to Vance. The crew may not accept her and there would always be doubt as to where her true loyalties lie.
Jett Reno has Commander rank but I can't see her wanting to Command.
Stamets would be a terrible Number One.
Both Rhys and Nilsson have taken the conn since Discovery arrived in the future and it's felt deliberate, like attention was being directed, so that may be a route to take, promoting within the bridge crew.
So, will Burnham step away from Starfleet altogether in order to pursue her investigations?
Can we expect Osira of the Emerald Chain to make an appearance soon?
How does Rin fit into the crew/Federation after he recovers? He probably has some good intel on the Emerald Chain to share.
Is having Gray around going to be a benefit for the ship? Is he Adira's superpower or just the ultimate cure for loneliness?
When you watch Star Trek: Discovery online, riddle me this:
Assuming Prime Universe's Tilly is held back by the self-doubt seeded by her family, what happened to Killy Tilly's family in the Mirror Universe to put her in the captain's chair in the same years as it took Tilly to get to ensign? Hmmm?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.