Light and Shadows is the episode in which Joe and Jason both gradually convince each other that Star Trek Discovery is picking up the unresolved thread of the Temporal Cold War from Star Trek: Enterprise.
The Discovery encounters a time rift above Kaminar, so Captain Pike and our man Voq decide to fly into it. This yields mixed results. They don’t die, but they are attacked by a Sentinel from 1999’s The Matrix. A probe they just launched that all of a sudden has 500 years worth of upgrades on it? Five hundred years in the future seems like it might be smack dab in the middle of Future Man times.
Given that Joe and I do another Star Trek podcast where we are currently talking about Enterprise, we’re very much into the possibility that Discovery is picking up some threads from that criminally underrated show. And Future Man is a fella we met at the very beginning of that series in Broken Bow, and whose identity was never revealed. Discovery can right this wrong. Also, it seems very likely this is going to tie into the Calypso episode of Short Treks.
Burnham misses it all because she’s home on Vulcan in the middle of some serious family drama, where Amanda has been secretly hiding Spock for God knows how long. Sarek tells Burnham to turn him into Section 31, but Emperor Georgiou says that’s a bad move and helps her escape. So instead, they set course for to Talos IV.
Behind the Camera
“Light and Shadows” was directed by Marta Cunningham, and marks her first addition to the Trek universe. Fun fact? She’s married to James Frain. Frain’s Sarek is a character we met way back at the beginning of our Star Trek Discovery podcast journey in The Vulcan Hello.
The story for “Light and Shadows” was written by Ted Sullivan and Vaun Wilmott. We’ve seen Sullivan already this season on his episode “Brother,” as well as last season on “What’s Past is Prologue” and “Lethe.” This marks Vaun Wilmott’s second episode of the series where he’s earned a writing credit. The first was just a few episodes back with “New Eden.”
In Front of the Camera
- Michelle Yeoh swings by reprising her role as the recently dethroned Emperor Georgiou, just long enough to apparently save Spock’s life. Star Trek fandom is appreciative of his continued survival.
- James Frain, husband of the director of this episode Marta Cunningham, comes back as Sarek. But his great idea this episode is to hand Spock over to Section 31. So he didn’t do anybody any favors.
- Mia Kirshner is back as Amanda Grayson, where she spills the beans that she’s been hiding Spock in a cave.
- Alan Van Sprang as Leland ends the episode with a bunch of egg on his face after Spock escapes.
- Patrick Kowk-Choon gets a bunch of lines finally as Lt. Gen Rhys. And they’re all great lines and we want more of him.
- Arista Arhin returns to her role as Young Michael Burnham, and she continues to just be adorable. She played the same role back in season one in The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars. Also this season back in the season premiere, “Brother.”
- Challenging Arhin’s supremacy for most adorable kid with a Vulcan haircut is Liam Hughes. This is his second episode in that role, after the season opener “Brother.”
- And finally, the face we’ve been waiting an entire season for: Ethan Peck. The fella lovingly dubbed Hipster Spock finally makes his appearance this episode.
“Light and Shadows” first aired on February 28th, 2019 on CBS All Access.