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TV ReviewsStar Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4: An Obol for Charon Review

For our review of the last episode of Star Trek: Discovery, click here.

Synopsis: A mysterious sphere threatens the U.S.S. Discovery even as May, in her original form, implements a plan that puts Tilly’s life in danger. Saru and Burnham’s bond grows when Saru is forced to acknowledge a deeply unsettling Kelpien truth. Pike receives new intel on Spock from a loyal friend. (IMDB)

Writers: Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts and Jordan Nardino

Director: Lee Rose

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 44 mins

“An Obol for Charon” starts off with Captain Pike catching up with his Number One (Rebecca Romijn). They discuss Spock’s situation and the problematic nature of it. She plans to look into it and keep Pike in the loop. Down in Engineering, Stamets and Tilly look over their new fungal specimen May. She questions why it appeared as May to her and believes she took that friendship for granted. The bridge crew discuss the current mission, with Saru looking very under the weather, when Pike arrives. He tells Burnham that they found Spock’s stolen ship and they hope to find him. However, Burnham doesn’t want to complicate things for Spock and believes Pike is the best person to confront him.

They are interrupted when the ship is grabbed out of warp by an unknown organic object. This odd spheric object is unlike anything they have seen before. Things become worse when the universal translators are struck with a virus. Thankfully Saru can fix it enough that the humans can communicate. Burnham and Saru fix the entire system, but Saru collapses causing Burnham to question how sick he really is. She takes him to sick bay where Saru becomes hostile as they try to decipher what is wrong. He reveals that he’s going through a terminal illness known only to Kelpiens and death is inevitable.

Down in Engineering, Stamets and Tilly prepare the spore drive when Jett Reno arrives. She’s there to make sure Engineering isn’t hit by the virus. And of course she and Stamets get into a sparring match about their scientific beliefs. Suddenly, a power surge hits the ship and causes energy bolts to shoot through Engineering. They transfer the gas to a beam that allows them to fire at the sealed door. It knocks back Tilly and Reno, but it releases the fungi that instantly grabs onto Tilly’s arm. Tilly begins to talk about May again as the fungi seems to slowly be taking control.

Pike and Burnham discuss the virus when Saru suggests digital antibodies to repel the virus. Pike advises Saru to stay in sick bay, but he wants to help Burnham. They discuss how Saru hid this from Burnham. He felt like a coward in comparison to her strength, but she calls him her friend. He wants Burnham to catalog his data logs so that Kelpiens can see a different path for their lives. With the antibodies created, Burnham implements them and heads down to Engineering.

They discuss the Tilly situation and believe the best course of action is to try to communicate with it. Burnham realizes that the virus is the sphere’s way of communicating. She brings this information to Saru and he deciphers that it isn’t a message of First Contact, but last. Saru believes his empathetic biology has allowed him to understand the sphere. It’s dying and wants to preserve its knowledge on Discovery. They disarm Discovery’s shields and allow the sphere to upload its information. With a second left, the sphere pushes them to safety and implodes into a beautiful light show.

Reno realizes their only way to make contact is to drill a hole in Tilly’s head. With no access to sick bay they have to go old school. They strap her down and as she and Stamets sing Space Oddity, they drill into her brain and access the fungus. They learn that this creature is trying to protect its ecosystem by destroying the alien intruder: Stamets. He pleads that the creature let her go, but it breaks free and crawls over her face. Reno and Stamets are able to cut her out of the fungi cocoon.

With the crisis averted, Saru believes his time has come and Burnham assists him to his quarters. He questions if he ever accomplished anything and Burnham reassures him how much good he did in his life. He asks Burnham to grab a ceremonial Kelpien knife and cut off his threat ganglia. She breaks down and cannot bring herself to kill her friend. She prepares to cut them off, but they disappear and Saru is cured. In fact, he’s not only healthy, but has lost every sense of fear ingrained in his species. He questions everything he once knew and whether or not to uphold General Order One.

Pike thanks Burnham and Saru for gaining the sphere’s information. Luckily for them, it picked up Spock’s shuttle signal allowing them to continue on their original path. Pike tells her that he’ll keep Burnham in the loop, but she wants to actively participate in whatever happens. The episode ends as Reno and Stamets try to examine the fungus when Tilly notices May appear inside it. The cocoon explodes and releases spores into the air as they slowly infect the three of them.

Captain’s Log

  • What is the angelic figure?
  • What is the fungus doing to Reno, Stamets and Tilly?
  • How did Spock predict the signals?
  • What do the red energy sources mean?
  • What will Saru’s major biological change mean for his personality?
  • Will Tyler join Section 31 with Georgiou?

Overall, An Obol for Charon was a good episode. The self-contained episodes of Star Trek are really hit or miss. They rest on the situations at hand and how they affect the characters. The storylines here definitely have a lot going on for the characters, but it doesn’t downplay the seriousness of anything at hand. The major character change for one of the main cast will bring a dynamic shift to the crew. Hopefully this shift is for the better and not a destruction of one of Discovery’s most intriguing characters.

Score: 8/10

What did you think of “An Obol for Charon?” Let me know in the comments below!

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