Jonathan Frakes Directs a Game-Changing 'Star Trek: Discovery' Episode

Getty Images / David Livingston

Prepare for ramming speed! If the 1996 film First Contact is your favorite Star Trek movie, here’s some good news. The new episode of Star Trek: Discovery is directed by the same guy. Though you might know him by another name: Number One.

After a short mid-season break, Star Trek: Discovery jumps back onto television this Sunday. And the man behind the camera for the pivotal tenth episode is beloved Trek actor and director, Will Riker himself, Jonathan Frakes. After seeming to leap into another dimension, the crew of the USS Discovery has a lot going on in the upcoming installment. Which is why it’s awesome a Trek veteran is literally at the helm. Should you put your faith in Number One’s abilities to direct and excellent hour of quality contemporary Star Trek? You can answer that one with another question: is William Thomas Riker good at poker?

LEFT: Frakes directing Gates McFadden and Patrick Stewart in 1998's 'Star Trek: Insurrection.' RIGHT: Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca in 'Discovery.'


The next episode of Discovery is called “Despite Yourself,” and will launch the second chapter of the show’s first season. Frakes is uniquely suited to tackle this particular episode, and not just because of his familiarity with Star Trek. Of the two feature films he directed for the franchise, First Contact is notable not only for its edgy tone, and action-adventure breakneck pacing but also for the fact that it managed to unify several eras of Trek at the same time. Not only did First Contact reconcile some continuity from Deep Space Nine with The Next Generation, but it also retconned the original series character, Zefram Cochrane while also retelling the origin story of the entire Federation.

Discovery is in similar waters in terms of its complex connections to Trek canon. While the show is tonally very much its own thing, it still has to figure out where all the action fits in with the rest of Trek’s fictional history. And the next episode is particularly important on the canon front if only because it will launch an entirely new direction for the show.

But, if there’s one guy for the job, it’s certainly Jonathan Frakes.

Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access this Sunday, January 7 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Come back to Inverse after you’ve watched the episode for full coverage and analysis, including our interview with Mr. Frakes himself.

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