Michael Burnham and the USS Discovery crew face their own setting from Kobayashi Maru in the Star Trek: Discovery season three finale. Following the debut of “There Is a Tide …”, the penultimate episode of the season, CBS All Access revealed a preview of the upcoming finale, “The Hope Is You, Part 2”. In the preview, Zareh (Jake Weber) faces off against Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) after Burnham transported Lt. Cmdr. Paul Stamets out of Discovery , rendering the ship’s spore unit inoperable. Zareh informs Burnham that she is in the middle of a dead end situation. Burnham responds and emphatically tells Zareh that he doesn’t believe those. You can see the preview below.
The dead end scenario for Burnham here probably has to do with her being trapped aboard Discovery while under the control of Osyraa and the Emerald Chain. With Discovery stationed at Starfleet headquarters, Burnham finds himself in a precarious position. But there’s also the problem with Dr. Culber, Captain Saru, and Adira, all of whom are dangerously close to death from radiation poisoning. They are still in the Verubin Nebula where they discovered Su’kal, the origin of Burn. If Discovery doesn’t pick them up soon, they’ll be gone forever.
A dead end situation is a concept familiar to longtime Star Trek fans. Kobayashi Maru’s test at the Starfleet Academy is supposed to test an officer’s response to being in command during such a situation. Captain Kirk overcame the “dead end scenario” by rescheduling the test. While some accused him of cheating, Kirk remained proud of his victory and told Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that he does not believe in dead end scenarios. Burnham’s line in the preview echoes Kirk’s from the beloved movie.
Of course, these scenarios don’t always work that well. Khan’s anger ends with Spock sacrificing his life to solve the dead end situation. The data made a similar sacrifice in the movie. Star Trek Nemesis . The Kirk of the Kelvin Timeline took a similar approach to its Kobayashi Maru test, but instead of receiving praise for his wit, Starfleet disciplined him for breaking the test.