'Star Trek: Short Treks' recap: 'Runaway'

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In the first Star Trek: Short Treks set in the Star Trek: Discovery universe, “Runaway” focuses on Tilly meeting an alien named Po.

“Runaway” opens with Starfleet personnel leaving the Discovery cargo bay. Seconds later, an alien named Po begins to leave one of the containers. In another part of the Discovery, Tilly is talking to her mother via a hollocall. Tilly is agitated by her mother, who seems to dismiss her daughter’s desire to go into Starfleet Command training. Her mother seems to think Tilly cannot handle the training program, citing Tilly’s tendancy to run away from her problems as a child. Tilly ends the call feeling frustrated.

Tilly goes to the cafeteria and asks for coffee. After getting annoyed with the replicator, she sits down to drink her coffee. Tilly notices something in the room feels odd, then something invisible runs past her, making her hair move. She sees a substance on the floor and bends to touch it. then the invisible alien causes a ruckus. The lights flicker, the replicators throw food everywhere, and the room gets wrecked.

When Po materializes, Tilly uses her tricorder on the blood to figure who the alien is and her home planet. She discovers Po’s home is a planet called Xahea. Tilly tries to talk to Po and shares food with her to try and connect. Tilly gets her translator and introduces herself, but Po is reluctant to give her name at first. The two bond over being science nerds and Po introduces herself as Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po.

Tilly asks Po why she hid on the ship. She mentions reporting Po, and the alien says she had to leave her planet. Tilly insists Po’s family must be worried about her given that she is still a teenageer, but Po reveals her family are dead. The two hear noises and Po cloaks herself, again becoming invisible. Tilly faces the confused stares of several crew members as they look a the messy cafeteria. Tilly makes up a story about an excitable lab animal that escaped and tore up the room.

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Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Once in Tilly’s room, Po tells her about Xahea. She says her people were born at the same time as the planet, calling the planet her twin. She also talks about mining dilithium. When Tilly’s computer brings up a report on Po, she realizes the girl is withholding information. Po’s people are looking for her and want her safely returned to Xahea. Po shares that she created a way to recrystallize dilithium, but in doing so, everything changed. She wanted to give something back to the planet, but her people did not understand. Tilly connects with Po over the people in their life not understanding or supporting their goals.

Tilly heals a wound on Po’s arm and talks about the importance of Po’s scientific discovery. The two argue. Po is worried for her planet and is upset with her people for caring more about the possibility of warp travel, than Xahea. Tilly encourages her to return to her home and take responsibility for what she created and her planet.

When Tilly takes Po to the transporter room, she asks how Po knows so much about technology. Po tells her about her father, the former ruler of her people. Now that her family is dead, Po will be the crowned queen. She kept the information from Tilly because she wanted to be treated like anyone else. The two encourage each other’s respective leadership paths, both having helped the other decide to believe in themselves and be brave. Before she leaves, Po gives Tilly a dilithium crystal as a gift.

I liked this short and look forward to the rest. Tilly is probably my favorite Star Trek: Discovery character so far, and I liked this little look into her life. Po was underdeveloped, but I thought the actress did a good job with what little time she was given.

There are three more Star Trek: Short Treks to come: “Calypso” airs November 8, “The Brightest Star” airs December 6, and “The Escape Artist” airs January 3. Each short will be available on CBS All Access in the US and air on Space in Canada. There is no news on if or when Star Trek: Short Treks will be available elsewhere in the world.

Star Trek: Discovery returns for its second season on January 17 on CBS All Access in the US and Space in Canada. Just like the first season, Star Trek: Discovery season two episodes will be available on Netflix for other countries the day after they first air in the US and Canada.

If you need to catch up on season one of Discovery, check out our recap of the first episode or the finale.

Check out the poster and the trailer for season two of Star Trek: Discovery below.

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© 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

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