The Brightest Star

What’s the perfect topic for a Sunday Short post? A Star Trek Short Trek! The Brightest Star, the third of four Short Treks, premiered Thursday evening. I grabbed an opportunity to watch it this evening.

The Brightest Star

The Brightest Star Cast

This sci-fi short stars Doug Jones, Hannah Spear, Robert Verlaque and Michelle Yeoh. The episode was directed by Douglas Aarniokoski and written by Bo Yeon Kim, Alex Kurtzman and Erika Lippoldt. It has a run time of 15 minutes.

Star Trek Short Trek: The Brightest Star is available on CBS All Access.

The Brightest Star

Saru’s Backstory

Saru (Jones) is the first Kelpien to enter Starfleet. The Brightest Star offers a glimpse into this character’s intriguing past.

A young Saru lives in a village with his father Aradar (Verlaque) and sister Siranna (Spear). Life is simple on the planet of Kaminar, governed by traditions and meaningful tasks.

The Kelpiens are a pre-warp drive race that has developed a heightened sense of danger. Ganglia on the backs of their necks alert them to impending danger. They live in fear…and resignation, knowing that in accordance with their beliefs, they may be called upon to offer themselves up as sacrifices, to preserve “The Balance” in their way of life.

When Kelpiens look to the sky, they feel fear. But not Saru. He feels curiosity about what lies beyond his world. And in contrast to his upbringing and his father’s teachings, he feels hope. There must be something more out there beyond the stars.

The Brightest Star

Saru Goes Beyond

The intensity of Saru’s desires provides an opportunity to reach out. Advanced technology literally falls from the sky, from an unseen race that the Kelpiens fear and seek to appease. Rather than destroy the beacon, as commanded by his father, Saru sends a simple message into space that’s part greeting and part invitation.

After several days, his greeting is returned. And the invitation is accepted. TODAY the return message says. After a sweet goodbye to his sister, Saru waits in the dark, watching the stars. A shuttlecraft appears, with familiar markings. Out steps a young Philippa Georgiou (Yeoh), a lieutenant at this stage in her Starfleet career.

Saru makes a choice that opens the universe for him and alters his life.

The Brightest Star

My Thoughts on The Brightest Star

This was a lovely episode, about one of my favorite characters in the new Star Trek: Discovery series. During the first season I got to watch Saru grow tremendously, as a being whose race lives in perpetual fear. The short provides more pieces of information about the Kelpiens and Saru in particular. His curiosity and hopefulness set him apart from the others in his family and community. It becomes understandable why Saru is the only Kelpien to take to the stars.

The Brightest Star creates questions as well, which in my opinion is one of the signs of a good story. It’s a “page turner”, creating in me the desire to know more about the early development and customs of the Kelpiens. And I’m always open to learning more about Saru.

Doug Jones shines in this role. He is a talented actor who appears to be a genuine, good-hearted, kind man who brings those same qualities to Saru. I’m excited to see how the character develops in Season Two.

The end of The Brightest Star brought a lump to my throat. I identifiy with Saru. His yearning to go beyond is mine as well and has been a driving force in my life these last five years. I want to know what’s out there…beyond the stars AND beyond my fears.

Saru’s voiceover as the shuttle flies away is perfection:

“I saw hope in the stars. It was stronger than fear and I went toward it.”

I get teary eyed just typing his words. Hope is always stronger than fear. I keep moving toward it too.

The Brightest Star

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