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Star Trek Just Did Die Hard In Space (Every Reference)


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Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 12 - "There Is A Tide..."


Star Trek: Discovery season 3 did their version of Die Hard in space, with Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in the role of John McClane (Bruce Willis). In Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 12, "There Is a Tide...", Burnham infiltrated the USS Discovery and fought a one-woman war against the Emerald Chain, which had taken over the Starfleet vessel and held the crew hostage.

Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard is one of the greatest action movies (and also Christmas movies) ever made. In the role that launched him into movie superstardom, Bruce Willis played John McClane, a lone NYC cop visiting his estranged wife in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. When a group of terrorists led by a German radical named Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) seizes Nakatomi Tower and holds everyone inside hostage, McClane finds himself taking them all on alone. McClane's efforts attract the attention of the LAPD, FBI, and the news media, but the increasingly bloody and battered hero single-handedly kills the terrorists and saves the day. Die Hard spawned four sequels and countless imitators that used variations on the concept ("Die Hard on a boat", "Die Hard on a plane", "Die Hard on a bus.", etc.) but the original 1988 film is a classic of the action movie genre and remains the best of them all.

Star Trek: Discovery's "There Is A Tide..." was essentially "Die Hard in a starship" and paid homage to many of the movie's famous tropes. After Burnham was able to board Discovery, her objective was to rescue Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) in Engineering and get him off of the ship because, without him, the Emerald Chain and their leader Osyraa (Janet Kidder) can't use the spore displacement hub drive. In Die Hard, McClane fought through most of the movie injured and bleeding; his physical condition only worsened as he was taxed to his limits. Aboard the Disco, Michael's first fight with one of the Regulators Osyraa hired to secure the ship saw her stabbed in the leg. Michael was immediately injured and bleeding, just like McClane, who was barefoot when the terrorists took over Nakatomi Plaza and was quickly shredded by shattered glass from fighting the bad guys.



Michael found refuge in Discovery's Jeffries Tubes, where she was able to try to access the ship's systems, just like McClane crawled through the skyscraper's air conditioning shafts to hide. John also snagged one of the terrorists' radios, which he used to call for help, and eventually made a friend on the ground in uniformed LAPD beat cop Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald Veljohnson). Likewise, Michael made her own distress call for help to her mother Gabrielle (Sonja Sohn) on Ni'Var. Of course, the villains had access to their radio signals, and Zareh (Jake Webber), the leader of the Regulators, taunted Burnham just as Hans did McClane on their walkie-talkies.

Burnham not only proved to be just as much of an action star as McClane, but she also ended up barefoot just like Die Hard's hero cop. One of the Regulators found Michael in the tubes and, as they fought, Burnham opened the airlock, which blew the bad guy into the airless void of Federation headquarters, taking Michael's boots with her. Michael was undaunted and hit Zareh back on the comm, telling him, "You're gonna need more Regulators!", just like McClane zinged Gruber with what became his catchphrase: "Yippie-ki-yay, motherf----!"

McClane and Gruber did come face-to-face at gunpoint in Die Hard, but John was able to outsmart Hans, kill the mastermind, and save his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). Comparatively, Michael had a difficult choice to make. She forced Stamets to leave the ship, despite his pleas to let him jump Discovery back to the Verubin Nebula to rescue his stranded and dying family, Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), Adira (Blu del Barrio), and Captain Saru (Doug Jones). Meanwhile, Zareh found Burnham and held her at gunpoint to end the episode. It remains to be seen in Star Trek: Discovery's season 3 finale if Michael can dispatch Zareh by dropping him from a great height to his death the way Hans Gruber unforgettably met his end in Die Hard.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Netflix.
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