Well, we’ve officially wrapped up the first half of Season 1 of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and now we – what’s that? This is just the end of “Chapter 1,” and the season continues with “Chapter 2” that will start airing again in about two months? If you say so, CBS. Really, though, shouldn’t “Chapter 1” have been just the first two episodes of the series, since they were so drastically different in tone and plot than these last seven episodes? We’ve lovingly dubbed these initial episodes ‘Star Trek: Shenzhou,’ since it feels like a completely different show altogether, and really the whole “Chapter” mess kind of encapsulates my feelings on ‘Discovery’ so far: interesting ideas, but poor execution.
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: Picking up immediately where last episode left off, the USS Discovery is in orbit around Pahvo, but the Klingon Resurrection Ship is on its way, thanks to the allegedly-well-intentioned Pahvans and their communications activity. Admiral Terral (yes, I had to look that name up online, that’s how “good” of a job the show is doing of making audiences care about secondary characters) orders Lorca and the Discovery to fall back to a nearby starbase to regroup and join the fleet, but Lorca doesn’t like to take orders, so he starts to head for the starbase but hatches a plan with his crew, who are all also very cool with disobeying orders, to trap the Klingon Resurrection Ship.
Tyler and Burnham are chosen for the dangerous mission of beaming onto the Klingon ship and covertly installing two sensors, because apparently nobody else on the entire ship is good for missions? Anyhow, the Klingon ship arrives, the duo beam over and find an alive-but-possibly-paralyzed Admiral Cornwell. Burnham installs the sensors and, needing to buy time for Discovery and Stamets to complete an insane 133 spore jumps in a row in order to triangulate the position of the cloaked ship, reveals herself to commander Kol and challenges him to a good old-fashioned Klingon duel. Cornwell and the PTSD-stricken Tyler beam back to Discovery, but not before L’Rell, who was also mostly alive in the Klingon corpse room (again, the fiercest race in the galaxy can’t figure out how to actually kill their helpless enemies – these Klingons are just really not great warriors, are they?), grabs a transporter ride as well.
Burnham gets off the Klingon ship as she’s being destroyed, Discovery gets away, Terral now wants to give Lorca a medal, and the crew is one spore-drive jump away from success – but to the shock of no one (especially since CBS spoiled themselves by releasing the next episode’s wildly descriptive synopsis before this episode even aired), the jump goes wrong and Discovery finds itself adrift in unknown space. #VoyagerDidItFirst
- Just a random thought here, but perhaps the stealth sensors we aim to covertly place on the enemy ship don’t have bright blue flashing lights and Siri announcing loudly what they are, eh?
- Big, important mission to the Klingon ship… so yes, let’s send the recently-tortured officer that hasn’t even had a day off since then and the mutineer who “started” this whole Klingon debacle. Worst. Away Team. Ever.
- Burnham: “I’m familiar with the Klingon ship.” Girl, you beamed on and off the bridge only, and were there for like 4 and a half minutes total. Slow your roll.
- We’ve got a Klingon warship at high alert, engaged in battle: all hallways completely empty. See the first paragraph of this review and the last paragraph: ‘Discovery’ thrives on poor execution and reliance on details of convenience only.
- Admiral Terral, you’ve got to be kidding me. Not a few hours ago, Lorca was disobeying a direct order and essentially stealing a Starfleet vessel to use as he saw fit, and now, you want to give his ass a medal and a commendation? Why does everyone in Starfleet hate Burnham so much for disobeying orders of a superior officer but is cool with Lorca doing the same damn thing?
- All the other spore-drive jumps this season have been shown as taking minutes to prep and execute, but sure, let’s do 133 in about 5 minutes, what the heck. This, again, is one of ‘Discovery’s’ biggest problems: trying to implement big ideas and simply just not caring about the intelligent details behind them.
- For those interested, the title of the episode appears to be pulled from a John Muir quote: “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
- One in-joke I can get behind: Stamets (played by Anthony Rapp) offers to take Culber (played by Wilson Cruz) to see a Kasseelian opera production of “La Bohème.” Rapp and Cruz are well-known in Broadway musical circles, as they appeared together in “Rent,” which is based on, you guessed it, “La Bohème.”
CLOSING THOUGHTS: Once again in this episode, it feels that ‘Discovery’ is its own worst enemy, as the intriguing ideas and plot points are pulled under by a general lack of caring about important details such as logic, continuity, and realism. We’ll have to wait and see where the second half of the first season takes us, but for now, you’ve got about two months until the show comes back, so feel free to cancel your CBS All Access subscriptions at least until January, and then you can make your own call at that point if you want to come back and get back on this frustrating ride.
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru
Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca
Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Cadet Tilly
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ features new episodes Sunday nights at 8:30 pm online via CBS All Access; the second half of the first season will return in January 2018.