The plot of “New Eden,” Thursday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, focuses on a schism between a planet of displaced earthlings who operate under a mystical belief system, and the scientific knowledge of their futuristic compatriots aboard the USS Discovery. With that topic on the line, the CBS All Access drama enlisted a familiar face who knows both the old and the new to direct the episode: former Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes.
Frakes started his trek on Trek during franchise creator Gene Roddenberry’s tenure. Roddenberry’s atheist beliefs permeated into those initial episodes as the characters refrained from discussing spirituality or mysticism. But “New Eden” deviates from that prime directive and puts faith front and center in a contemplative installment, as Frakes walks the audience through each character ruminating on their respective guiding principles.
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) struggles to reconcile the sighting she had of the “Red Angel” figure with her logical understanding of the cosmos. Unlike Burnham’s skepticism, Saru (Doug Jones) begins to find his own meaning in the seven signals, and the larger purpose Discovery may be serving in assisting those across the universe.
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