Full spoilers follow for this episode.
Oh, Airiam. We hardly knew you.
And now, we love you! Somehow, this episode’s writer Michelle Paradise, director Jonathan Frakes, and Airiam actress Hannah Cheesman managed to take what was, essentially, a glorified extra for the past season and a half and give her a fleshed-out back story and a character arc that ends tragically yet heroically, all in less than hour. It’s a fairly miraculous feat, and continues Discovery’s strong upward swing that began with last week’s visit to Talos IV.
Airiam is one of several bridge characters in Discovery who has served to give the ship (and show) a sense of continuity, always hard at work with the main cast but rarely getting more than a few lines of dialogue here or a reaction shot there. This group, which also includes helmsman Detmer, ops officer Owosekun, tactical officer Rhys, and communications officer Bryce, has gotten a bit more to do in Season 2, but this is the first time that one of them has really been treated as a full character. And man, in Airiam’s case it was worth the wait.