Sonequa Martin-Green Talks Facing Herself In Star Trek: Discovery’s Fantastic New Episode

Sonequa Martin-Green Talks Facing Herself In Star Trek: Discovery’s Fantastic New Episode

This week’s excellent episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Face the Strange”, let the series take a moment to reflect on the four seasons that came before it in a wonderful meld of a classic Star Trek storytelling device and metatextual commentary. But in preparing to do so, its star found it much more challenging than she expected it to be.

“Face the Strange” sees Burnham and her new first officer, Commander Rayner, caught up in a repeating time loop that sees them revisit multiple eras of the Discovery’s past and future—but it climaxes in a moment where they’re sent back to the first season of the show, back when Michael had only just joined Discovery’s crew as a disgraced former officer, yearning to prove herself again. Which means, of course, as much as she was dreading the ideas of it happening, present Michael comes face to face with past Michael.

“Can I just be honest? It was hard, because I had forgotten how far Burnham had come!” Martin-Green told TrekCore of the scenes where she had to face herself. “I lived it, I created it, but I was so consumed with what was going on in the present day for Burnham that when I was able to see where I had come from–when I had to step into that Season 1 version again–I was apprehensive about it.”

“I went back and revisited Season 1 in a couple of ways: I went back and watched a little bit, I went back and read some of the earlier scripts, and I went back into my journal as the character,” the actress continued. “I had a sort of stream-of-consciousness journal that I would keep… and man, I didn’t even know what it was going to be like.”

Of course, because this is Michael we’re talking about, the two ultimately end up coming to blows as one stubbornly determined force of nature meets another—and for Martin-Green, the challenge of having to differentiate the two versions of Michael we see became even more complex for a fight scene to portray their narrative development. “I loved that we got to see the different fighting styles against each other, because it’s one of the major reasons why present-day Burnham defeats past Burnham–there’s a freedom and a security, and you can see that in the fight. We wanted to make sure you could see that in the fight, and I need to give credit to our stunt coordinator Chris McGuire and to Lee Rose for doing that. It was important for us to showcase that contrast, that growth, in the physical performance of the fight.”

It definitely showed, and in doing so, paid off what was easily one of Discovery’s best episodes in a while—one that it could only tell as a Star Trek show, and one it could only tell as it prepared to meet its final end.

“Thank you Jesus for letting me tell that story, because we need to see that… but it was painful. So it blessed and inspired me to be able to say to myself, ‘Man, I forgot how hopeless this time was. Just keep going!’” Martin-Green concluded. “If only we could all get an opportunity to say that to ourselves, right? Each character could have that same conversation with their Season 1 selves… ‘There’s hope ahead of you, keep going and don’t give up.’”

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