TV ReviewsStar Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 9: Project Daedalus Review

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

Synopsis: The Discovery crew infiltrates Section 31’s headquarters and suspicions arise that the crew may have a traitor in their midst. Meanwhile, Burnham tries to help Spock, but her efforts don’t go as planned. (CBS)

Writer: Michelle Paradise

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 60 mins

“Project Daedalus” starts off with a mysterious shuttle boarding Discovery. It’s Admiral Cornwall there to discuss the Section 31 problem. She sits down with Spock and goes through a lie detector to clear him of any suspicion. Meanwhile, Pike and Burnham discuss who the mole on the ship could be. She firmly believes that Tyler is innocent and will prove that to the captain. Cornwall speaks with Pike and Saru about Spock’s innocence. She shows them a video of him murdering people in the psych ward, but Pike still is unconvinced.

Airiam is in her quarters looking over some distance Earth memories. She ends up going through her daily memories and archiving them before Tilly comes by. She needs help to decipher something on the bridge. However, during this Airiam is taken over by the virus and becomes distracted. Airiam is confronted by Nham in her quarters and they have a conversation about the virus. They return to the bridge where Airiam asks Tilly to not leave her side until they have finished the decryption.

In Engineering, Spock and Burnham look into the Red Angel as they try to discover its purpose. After Stamets kicks them out for being distracting, they go to Burnham’s quarters. Burnham suggests they play chess in order to find logic in reality and hopefully extend it to their problem. The game only results in a heated argument about logic, family and the Red Angel conundrum. Spock attacks Burnham’s character and morals causing her to believe that their relationship is irreparable.

Cornwall believes that Section 31 is under the control of extremists and that they need to infiltrate the base and regain control. By investigating Tyler’s messages they manage to find the location of Section 31 headquarters and off they go. Discovery exits warp to learn that the headquarters is surrounded by mines. Pike berates Cornwall for the lack of Federation morals and she reveals he was kept out of the war because if they lost they needed the best to survive. They discover that the mines are attracted to shield signatures and so they have to go in completely vulnerable.

However, the buzz mines are still trying to slice through the ship causing them to go to Red Alert. Airiam becomes infected again and starts her download again while Discovery’s navigation is shut off. Detmer is told to fly in unexpected patterns to stop the mines from anticipating their movements. She miraculously maneuvers her way through the minefield and brings Discovery to safety. All while Airiam is able to send her latest message out.

They are hailed by Admiral Patar from Section 31 who wants them to stand down by order of Starfleet. They are to be arrested for treason, but Pike and Cornwall have no intention of going freely. With Saru left on the bridge to investigate a lead, Pike instructs a landing party to make their way over to Section 31. Burnham, Nhan and Airiam beam over as they try to find the base’s control system.

The base is filled with frozen blood and the life support systems are off. They find bodies floating in the corridors, but they collapse when gravity is restored. The bodies are at least two weeks old and frozen solid and one of them includes Admiral Patar. Saru’s able to deduce that not only Admiral Patar’s message was a hologram, but so was Spock’s footage. Section 31 is trying to frame them. To make matters worse, Tilly learns that Airiam removed her memories and replaced them with something that the A.I. attacking them wants.

Meanwhile, Stamets manages to convince Spock to help him fix the spore drive in case of emergency. They give each other pep talks about trusting in their own abilities. This causes Stamets to confront Spock about his relationship with Burnham. Spock returns the favour by giving Stamets insight into his own relationship with Dr. Culber.

They warn the landing party where Airiam turns on them. She removes Nhan’s breathing apparatus and using her synthetic body to pulverize Burnham. Burnham manages to get free and locks her in a nearby airlock. They realize that Airiam was bringing all of the sphere’s information regarding A.I. to the base. It wants to become fully conscious, but that would be the end of sentient life like the Red Angel predicted.

Tilly tries to send Airiam memories of her friendship and her human side. Airiam is able to regain voice function, but she is no longer in control of her body. She pleads with Burnham to open toe airlock to protect Discovery. Burnham tries to break into the server to save Airiam before she comes in and kills Burnham. The crew orders her to do it, but she can’t bring herself to. She tells them to find Project Daedalus before she is ejected into space by Commander Nhan.

Captain’s Log

  • Who is the Red Angel and what is its directive?
  • How long will Discovery be on the run?
  • Can Airiam be rebuilt with her saved memories?
  • Can Control be stopped?
  • What is Project Daedalus?
  • What do the red energy sources mean?
  • How will the mycelial network play into the Red Angel mystery?

Overall, Project Daedalus was a great episode. Jonathan Frakes’ impressive directorial run continues with another strong, layered and thought-provoking tale. While the overall arc of this episode feels like a bit of a cliched cop-out, it manages to be an excellent hour of television. To tell the detailed backstory of a character enough for the audience to care about them by the credits is a feat unto itself. This worked nicely to set up a major revelation for the crew as Star Trek’s own Skynet has been calling the questionable shots for most of the season. With Control in command of Starfleet, it’s now Discovery versus the galaxy and that should make for an exciting fugitive story.

Score: 8.5/10

What did you think of “Project Daedalus”? Let me know in the comments below!

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