For our review of the last episode of Star Trek: Discovery, click here.
Synopsis: When a new signal appears over Saru’s home planet, Burnham, Saru and the crew embark on a perilous mission that puts Saru in danger and raises questions about the Red Angel’s intentions. Hugh struggles to come to terms with his new reality. (CBS)
Writers: Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
Running Time: 44 mins
“The Sounds of Thunder” starts off with Saru going about his day and relating to Dr. Culber on their transformative experiences. After some tests, Saru learns that his fear is being suppressed causing him to travel into the unknown. Pike, Burnham and Tyler discuss the Seven Signals and the Red Angel. Is it sending them to rescue mission or is it causing these disasters? Only Spock knows the answer to that question.
Discovery locates another signal which takes them to Kaminar, Saru’s homeworld. Saru informs everyone of the Kelpiens and their predators. Saru had made contact with Starfleet seeking refuge after the Ba’ul achieved warp capabilities. Unfortunately, the Kelpiens are not an advanced species so Discovery cannot make direct contact as per General Order One. They jump out of warp and try to make contact with the Ba’ul, but they scan their weapons.
Pike orders them to make contact with Kelpien priests to investigate the potential appearance of the Red Angel. He suggests Burnham go which enrages Saru as he believes himself to be the logical choice. After a heated argument between him and Pike, Burnham intervenes and asks that Saru accompany her. Meanwhile in med bay, Dr. Culber receives the news that he is cleared for duty. However, he learns that this body isn’t his own and in fact is a completely new one free of previous wounds.
They beam down to the surface as they enter Saru’s village which is being watched by the Ba’ul’s Watchful Eye. Saru and Burnham approach a native Kelpien priest who turns out to be Saru’s sister Siranna. He immediately decides to tell her everything about Starfleet, the universe and how vast it is. She offers them tea and informs Saru of their father’s death. Siranna blames him for the agony that the Kelpiens faced when he disappeared.
However, she realizes his return must come with a reason. Burnham shows Siranna the image of the Red Angel and hopes that she might have some information. Luckily, Siranna has seen signs of it, but she becomes enraged that Saru did not return for her. Suddenly, her threat ganglia become exposed as the Ba’ul come their way. They manage to beam back to Discovery before being caught.
The Ba’ul decide to hail Discovery and want them to return Saru to their planet. Saru decides to speak out of turn and berate the Ba’ul for their lies and the Great Balance. This causes them to send some ships towards Discovery and threaten the safety of Saru’s village. Pike dismisses Saru from the bridge causing him to disobey orders and head to the transporter. Burnham tries to intervene, but Saru speaks to her family loyalty allowing him to leave. The Ba’ul ships power down and head back to the planet.
Burnham receives information from the sphere’s archives concerning the history of Kaminar. Tilly, Burnham and Airiam discover that the evolved Kelpiens used to be the predatory species of the planet. However, the Ba’ul fought back and destroyed them making the unevolved ones believe themselves to be a primitive prey. Saru and Siranna are brought to the Ba’ul’s ship where they are confronted by Ba’ul drones that immobilize Saru. With him unable to fight back, the Ba’ul reveals its true form: a grotesque, oily slime creature.
Saru berates the Ba’ul for lying to his people about the Great Balance. He manages to break free, destroys their drones and decides to set things right and free the Kelpiens. Saru calls Discovery as they exchange information and try to figure out a way to speed up evolution for his race. With modifications to the sphere’s frequency, Saru sends the signal across Kaminar starting the evolutionary process for their species.
Suddenly, a massive ship rises from a Kaminar lake. Pike believes this is where Saru is being held so they engage with the Ba’ul stronghold. The Ba’ul opt to start a genocide order rather than let the Kelpiens evolve. Pike issues a threat order, but the Ba’ul are not phased. He orders Discovery to fire on the stronghold where Saru and Siranna see an image of the Red Angel. Its appearance causes an EMP spike that disables all the Ba’ul technology across the planet saving the Kelpiens. They return to their homes, ganglia-free, able to explore the now fearless world. When they question what has happened, Siranna reveals the truth to her people.
Back on Discovery, Pike brings a more detailed description of the Red Angel to Tyler to bring to his superiors. Turns out Saru saw a mechanized, humanoid figure that appears to time travel in order to protect the universe. Saru shows his sister his quarters on Discovery. He asks her to come with him to see the universe, but she must stay for her people. Saru thanks Burnham for helping him with saving his people. They share an ancient Greek proverb as Saru hopes to help Burnham find her brother. She believes the next step in her mission is to return home to Vulcan.
- Who is the Red Angel and what is its directive?
- Is Hugh still Hugh?
- How did Spock predict the signals?
- What do the red energy sources mean?
- Will more Kelpiens join Starfleet after Saru freed them?
Overall, The Sounds of Thunder was a good episode. Discovery gets its groove back by returning to its scientific and moral roots. After weeks focused on the spore parasite, the story moves back to the moral dilemmas of alien species and rejuvenation. Both plots help to not only feel like good, classic Trek standalone episodes, but progress the Red Angel plot as well. The discovery of the angel’s potential nature helps to further complicate the situation and set up further scientific situations. As long as this show stays that route rather than the war focused one and it should be smooth sailing for Discovery.
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