TV ReviewsStar Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 14: The War Without, the War Within Review

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

Synopsis: Burnham and the crew are faced with the harsh reality of the war during their absence. In order to move forward, Starfleet must use unconventional tactics and sources to take their next action against the Klingons. (TVGuide)

Writers: Lisa Randolph

Director: David Solomon

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 43 mins

“The War Without, The War Within” starts off with Saru coming to meet Burnham where he is startled to find the ghost of his former captain. She tells him to kneel and explains where his kind fit into her universe. Saru teleports the Emperor to her quarters asks why Burnham did not reveal her discovery of Kelpiens in the Terran Universe.

Burnham apologizes for bringing the Emperor, but says she couldn’t let Georgiou die again and Saru agrees. He reveals that Tyler underwent emergency surgery by the hands of L’Rell in the hope it can bring back the former Starfleet officer. He suggests that Burnham go to see him as a familiar face may help, but she refuses to go. Instead, Saru confronts his security officer about what happened. Tyler is himself, but he can access Voq’s memories and explains the grueling procedure he went through. Saru asks for Tyler’s help in understanding these Klingon experiments and he agrees. Tyler apologizes for everything he’s done and understands if he is sent to the brig, but Saru says it was not his actions, but Voq’s.

Saru returns to the bridge where he’s informed they are being boarded and suddenly a squad of Federation soldiers appear and take it over. With the bridge secure, Sarek and Admiral Cornwall board and demand to see Captain Lorca. With Saru, Burnham and the rest of the Discovery crew confused, Sarek does a mind meld with Saru and concludes they are the real crew of the Discovery and that Captain Lorca is dead.

Cornwall and Sarek explain what’s happened the past nine months to Saru, Burnham and Stamets and it is not good. Without the Discovery, the Federation lost their upper-hand and slowly they were decimated while colony after colony was destroyed. Turns out the Klingons are divided on their goals so all 24 houses are doing their own missions to help purge the universe of the Federation. Cornwall orders Saru to send the Discovery into warp through Klingon territory to get to Starbase One.

While in warp, Burnham brings Cornwall and Saru to Emperor Georgiou’s quarters where they ask some questions about the Terran universe. While the Emperor avoids these questions, Cornwall tells her that they plan to put her in the prison at Starbase One, but she isn’t technically a prisoner. Cuz that makes sense right? Meanwhile, Tyler is walking around the halls of Discovery where he bumps into Stamets. Uh oh. He tries to apologize for what happened and Stamets is not having it and is surprised Tyler still has any shred of humanity. Tyler enters the mess hall where everyone goes silent. They are not fans of him. He sits down alone, but is immediately joined by Tilly who tries to be welcoming and soon other crew members join them.

As Discovery attempts to dock at Starbase One, they find it taken over by Klingons and all 80,000 Federation troops gone. While the dmiral goes into shock, Saru warps the Discovery away from danger. Meanwhile, Cornwall visits L’Rell in the brig where she reveals the truth: the Klingons are winning the war, but the houses are divided and pillaging colonies filled with women and children. L’Rell explains how T’Kuvma proclaimed that the Federation will try to destroy their culture and while Cornwall attempts to reason with this belief she fails at making any progress.

Burnham goes to the Emperor for guidance. She sees no solution other than winning the war against the Klingons and asks the Emperor how she managed to defeat them and she gets her answer. Cornwall and Burnham message the Federation Council and propose a joint offensive against the Klingon homeworld of Kronos. Destroying their military operations will cause the Klingons to retreat home. While it sounds like a great plan, they have no maps of the planet’s surface and any attempt of surveying would be suicide. Except Burnham has an idea: use the dormant volcanoes and caves of the planet to survey the surface.

Now onto the next problem: the lack of spores required to do these jumps! Well Stamets apparently has a solution and sends the Discovery to another system. He’s decided to terraform a moon to get the necessary spores, heck he’ll even let Tilly name it! Culber perhaps? While the crew make a planet, the Emperor brings Sarek to her quarters asking if he would like to end the war. Turns out her plan will only cause a ripple in the Klingons plan and she pleads to his logical mind in knowing that only she and her methods can defeat the Klingons once and for all.

Sarek departs for Vulcan in the hope of discussing options with the council. He reassures Burnham that she shouldn’t apologize for her feelings towards Tyler and says in times of war this could be their last goodbye. Burnham goes to engineering for an update, but opens up to Tilly about being fearful she won’t see her adoptive father again. Tilly tells her to go see Tyler because they need each other and no matter what he did in the past, he isn’t that person.

At this point the Discovery is ready to do their terraforming experiment and sure enough plants sprout from the ground and spores begin to populate the air. Success! At this point, Burnham decides it’s time to visit Tyler. She confronts him about her feelings towards him and how betrayed she feels. He continues to apologize, but she can’t shake feeling his hands around her neck or his eyes wanting to kill her. No matter what he will always Voq. He explains that he is only there thanks to his feelings for Burnham, looking to her to guide him back into the light, but she can’t be that for him. Meanwhile, Cornwall calls Sarek to deliver the good news of the spore harvest, but he has even better news: the Federation Council has agreed with the Terran’s methods to stop the Klingons.

The episode ends with Cornwall opening a ship-wide channel to give a speech on their struggle against the Klingons and how their mission will be vital in changing the tide of the war. All they need is a Captain who can get them there: Captain (Emperor) Phillipa Georgiou. Saru and Burnham look on hesitantly as they let their mentor’s mirror counterpart assume control of their ship. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.


  • How will the crew of the Discovery react to the return of their deceased captain?
  • Will Emperor Georgiou’s plan work or does she have her own scheme?
  • Is Tyler REALLY Tyler?
  • What did Tilly name the planet?
  • Will L’Rell somehow break out of the brig?
  • After the war is over, where does the story go from there? Who is the Captain, what is Burnham’s role, and is the real Lorca still out there?

Overall, this was a decent episode. After wrapping up the Mirror Universe arc, the penultimate episode decides to be a bit more self-contained in its storytelling as it focuses on the journey many of the crew members have taken throughout this first season. While this is a great sentiment and helps embody the tone of the franchise, other aspects like the big reveals in previous episodes as well as the need to tie up the series arc in two final episodes causes an uneven pacing in the narrative that continues to bring into question what type of Star Trek show this is going to be. If anything this is hopefully the calm before the storm.

Score: 7.5/10

What did you think of “The War Without, The War Within”? What do you think will happen in the finale? Let me know in the comments below!

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


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