Star Trek has always been at its most interesting when it engages with the inherent imperialism of the Federation, taking a post-colonial view of an organisation, which is arguably just as much a space empire as that of the Klingons. For these Klingons to focus on their need for individualism in the face of this increasingly ubiquitous galactic hegemony immediately posits them as more interesting than they’ve ever been, adding a greater nuance to their status as a warrior race.
Immediately, this presents a huge amount of potential, making it perhaps the most important reinvention the Klingons have underwent since The Next Generation; no longer are the Klingons confined to a simple “planet of the hats” mentality. Suddenly, this is an alien race with a vitality – they’re not fighting simply because their culture demands it, rather they fight to defend their culture. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one; certainly, it’s dependent on further exploration of Klingon culture going forward, but I’ve little doubt that Discovery is willing to engage on that front.
Here’s my review of Star Trek: Discovery’s second episode, Battle at the Binary Stars – please give it a read!