TV ReviewsStar Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 8: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum Review

Dylan PhillipsNovember 6, 2017

If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.

Synopsis: The USS. Discovery is tasked with a high priority mission to planet Pahvo and learn the science behind the Klingon’s cloaking technology. (IMDB)

Writers: Kirsten Beyer

Director: John S. Scott

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 43 mins

“Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” (Latin for If you want peace, prepare for war) starts off with the USS Discovery coming to the aid of the USS Gagarin as they are attacked by a group of Klingon vessels. Problem is the Discovery can’t target the ships because of their invisibility technology and unfortunately they are unable to save their comrades’ ship. Lorca receives some pressing information from Starfleet on his ship’s crucial mission to the planet of Pahvo to find sonar technology that would render the Klingon’s stealth useless.

And here we see the episode divide into three storylines which all bring the innately Trek tropes of The Original Series (TOS) and The Next Generation (TNG) to a modern style of storytelling. Let’s start off with the main plot: the mission on Pahvo.

Instantly the story feels more and more like Trek of old as Discovery finally brings us our first landing party mission. Part of the Trek mantra is to “explore strange new worlds” and they are certainly doing so on the planet of Pahvo. This very alien-looking planet is in harmony with itself and even has some sentience to it. The landing party of Burnham, Tyler and Saru investigate the planet’s surface in an attempt to find how to harness its naturally occurring sonar technology.

Things take a turn for the worst when the planet’s sound waves affects Saru and cause him to resort to a primal behaviour. He wants to stay on the planet and even destroys their comms. As the landing party deal with their morality and ethical dilemmas in typical Trek trope fashion, they are eventually beamed back onto the Discovery.

The b- and c- plots surround the stories of Stamets condition and the Klingons, who we haven’t seen for a couple episodes. Stamets seems to be feeling the effects of the spore drive as he once perky personality has now reverted to cranky and grumpy once again. He reveals to Tilly (after mistakenly calling her captain) that he doesn’t always remember where or when he is and fears opening up to Dr. Culber about this will have him end up in a lab.

Meanwhile the Klingons get a lot of development in this episode as we catch up with L’Rell (Tyler’s ex-captor) who is sporting a less than badass scar. She’s aboard the Ship of the Dead with Kol and his house. She pledges loyalty to Kol and attempts to prove that through interrogating Admiral Cornwell. Except it isn’t an interrogation, but a hope to defect and escape with the her. That plan backfires though and Cornwell is seemingly caught in the crossfire. L’Rell is only saved thanks in part to her knowledge of the Discovery’s spore drive. She didn’t get that information from Cornwell so it’s hard not to assume the theories circulating the internet aren’t true.

The episode ends with Pahvo sending a signal to the Klingons to try to make peace between them and the Federation, but Discovery knows the Klingons will destroy the planet and now they are its only line of defense.


  • Will Stamets continue to have this dual personality? Is the lighter side his mirror universe persona?
  • Will an episode end up traveling to this mirror universe where characters are the reverse image of themselves?
  • Is Saru more volatile the more confident he becomes? Are those good qualities of someone seeking a captain’s chair?
  • Is Cornwall still alive?
  • What is L’Rell’s plan?
  • Where has Voq been?
  • Will Burnham be pardoned after the war is over so she can stay aboard Discovery?

Overall, this was a great episode. It took the tropes of Trek and brought them into the modern TV storytelling of Discovery, mixing the high intensity action of the Klingon-Federation conflict with the scientific and moral dilemma of a planet-based mission. While this episode didn’t develop as much for its human characters as the last few episodes, the Klingons were fleshed out a little bit more helping set up a mid-season finale where both sides are worth investing in.

Score: 9/10

What did you think of “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”? Did you enjoy Discovery’s first stand-alone episode? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this, check out my other reviews here as well as my channel and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.


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