‘Discovery’ goes all in with poker, kickboxing
"All In" describes the subject, but not the spirit, of this week’s episode of Discovery. This is fine as a routine stopgap sort of episode, but the lack of ambition is notable. Fortunately, the lack of ambition is somewhat offset by the fact that at least there’s a solid character core here, even if that character core feels mostly redundant when considering what happened at the end of the previous episode. This episode is not strictly necessary, but then what episode of television is? (I guess it’s probably a problem if I’m waxing philosophic on the existence of all television episodes.)
When you consider the previous episode ended with Booker deciding to go with Tarka to pursue their forbidden mission to destroy the DMA, do you really need "All In" to explicitly show how Booker and Burnham come to grips with that realization and further affirm to each other that they’re committed to their positions? On the one hand, Sonequa Martin-Green and David Ajala do a good job of making me believe the emotional stakes of this relationship. On the other hand, setting this aboard an alien port amid the major set pieces of an Epic Cage Fight and a High-Stakes Poker Tournament feels a bit tropey. It’s like a TOS throwback hour.
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