If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.
Synopsis: With tensions and stakes high as Starfleet continues in their efforts to end the war with Klingons, Burnham begins to settle in to her new position aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. (IMDB)
Writers: Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Running Time: 43 mins
Now that all the “pilots” are done, we can finally get into the most challenging part of a first season, maintaining its momentum and premise. This show has already shown us how serialized it will be, but what makes Star Trek work so well is the individual episodic adventures that viewers can tune in to without missing a beat. While this episode’s arc still deals with the serialized aspects, it’s the closest this show has come to being like the original series.
The main plot of this episode revolves around Burnham’s reinstatement aboard the U.S.S. Discovery and her apparent usefulness to Captain Lorca. Burnham gets her new uniform and receives a package containing the Last Will and Testament of Captain Georgiou. Oh my, too soon. Burnham ignores it, has another conversation with Saru (who is still skeptical of her trustworthiness) and arrives at the bridge where Captain Lorca has gone full Colonel Kurtz and is training the Discovery crew for solo battles against Klingon warships.
Lorca takes Burnham to his war room and reveals he captured an alien creature (named Ripper) from the U.S.S. Glenn in the hope that she can study the creature and weaponize its powerful attributes against the Klingons. Whatever wins the war in Lorca’s mind. He also sends Commander Landry as Burnham’s babysitter to make sure she focuses on Lorca’s wants rather than her own curiosities.
The Captain receives a distress call from Starfleet that their colony Corvan II is being attacked and without its mines the Federation will most definitely lose the war. Luckily the Discovery can warp anywhere in an instant, if the technology were ready. Well Lorca decides to say it is anyway and forces Stamets to test it out.
The Discovery warps to the wrong location, almost sucking the ship into a star. Lorca confronts Stamets in the medical bay (where Stamets is getting treatment by his love interest Dr. Culber). The two verbally spar, but with the clock ticking Lorca can’t waste any time and decides to broadcast the last message from Corvan II letting everyone onboard know that lives will be lost if they don’t succeed.
Meanwhile Burnham has made a discovery that Ripper reacted to the spore drive and that the creature must be connected to it somehow. However, Landry has gotten sick of waiting and decides to do things her way. She attacks Ripper, but is quickly killed.
And yet Burnham is still curious and continues to bring more crew members to the war room. First she brings Saru to explain Ripper isn’t a predator despite Saru’s incessant need to chastise her. Next, she brings Tilly and unleashes some spores in the room to see how Ripper reacts with them. Turns out she’s right and the creature is connected to them.
She brings her findings to Stamets and concludes that Ripper is a tardigrade and acts like a supercomputer that can symbiotically connect with the spores and become the missing part of their navigation system. With their new navigator, the Discovery successfully warps to Corvan II and saves the colony, but Burnham sees how the spore drives affect the tradigrade. She visits the creature in its containment pen and feeds it spores while apologizing to it, again setting up a moral dilemma.
With the story of the week finished, Burnham returns to her quarters where the package is still waiting. She finally opens it to find a recording from Captain Georgiou. Even in death Captain mom is laying down words of wisdom. She leaves her with an ancient family heirloom, a telescope. Be an explorer Burnham.
Meanwhile the b-story of this episode is a little lackluster as it brings us back to the Klingons. Voq and the T’Kuvma ship have been stranded at the battlefield for the past six months. With rations low (they ate Captain Georgiou’s body!) the crew hopes Klingon Kol can save them. Voq and his right-hand L’Rell go to the Shenzhou to salvage the warp drive tech, despite being against assimilating with Federation technology, but when they return there has been a mutiny. Kol steals T’Kuvma’s ship and strands Voq aboard the Shenzhou. But, lucky for him L’Rell’s betrayal was a ruse and she gives Voq a way to become the true torchbearer, but it requires sacrificing everything. Cool, not ominous at all.
At this point Stamets is the most interesting of the characters as he has dealt with some of the most prominent moral conflict. The impact of Landry’s death was lost on us as she wasn’t as instantly loved like Captain Georgiou, so it’ll be interesting to see if her death sets up a new character’s arrival and what stance they have on the science versus war debate.
- With a named USS Discovery officer already getting killed off, how much should we invest in the remaining crew?
- With Burnham’s insight on the spore drive, will Stamets’ opinion of her change sooner rather than later?
- Does Saru like anyone on the ship?
- Will Dr. Culber slowly become a season regular?
- What other main characters have we not been introduced to?
- And the biggest question this episode poses: Most Star Trek TV series have focused on the Captain and their crew while this one focuses on a disgraced Federation officer. Is Season One going to become a prequel to set up Burnham’s redemption, how she gains the trust of her crew and her eventual promotion to Captain? Lorca’s war-focused mind doesn’t work with the scientific themes that make Star Trek so unique. So perhaps his days are numbered.
Overall, this was an excellent episode that actually dives into the episodic nature of the Star Trek franchise. The episode expands on the spore drive and the Klingons, while characters like Burnham, Lorca and Stamets were all fleshed out a bit more. The show continues to have great production value and action scenes, but focuses more on the science and that is what Star Trek is all about.
What did you think of “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”? Let me know in the comments below!