Star Trek: Discovery - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Well, we are only one episode away from the “we don’t want to chance you missing any episodes while you’re doing holiday stuff, so we’ll see you in January” mid-season finale of ‘Discovery’ – this season-splitting stuff is an incredibly annoying tactic, and certainly the ‘Discovery’ folks didn’t invent it… but I certainly don’t harbor many warm, fuzzy feelings for whomever did.

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: After another “cold open” with only a “Previously on…” recap before the credits, we find the Discovery coming to the aid of another Federation ship under attack by the Klingons, the USS Gargarin.  After the Gargarin is lost, Lorca lets his bridge crew know how displeased he is at their performance; their defeat is the latest in a string of setbacks for Starfleet, now that the Klingon* cloaking technology is being put into more widespread use .

Saru, Burnham, and Tyler are noticeably absent from the scene, and we soon find out why: they are on an away mission on the planet Pahvo, a world where all the living organisms seem to be living in one big harmonic unison.  And the harmonics are literal: the planet seems to “sing,” and there is a large crystalline antenna projecting from the planet that Starfleet believes cold be the key to detecting cloaked ships.

As Saru settles in on the planet, he starts to go a bit cuckoo causing Burnham and Tyler to plot a way to get back in touch with Discovery without him. We catch up with Admiral Cornwell in the captivity of Kol and L’Rell aboard the Klingon Resurrection Ship – still no appearance of Voq, or is there *cough*heisTyler*cough* – who appears to catch a break when she gets to work with L’Rell on an escape plan but then is killed by the Klingon herself.  It’s an odd sequence, and I’m still not quite sure where the creative team is taking it.

Back on Discovery, Stamets admits to Tilly that he’s not really feeling like himself since being hooked up to the spore drive, but that issue will have to wait a bit longer, as the ship arrives to pick up the away team just in time to learn that Pahvo inhabitant(s) have used their crystal beacon to call the Klingons, who do show up just as this episode closes…

*: it’s Romulan technology, at least according to Trek canon; see more info below.


  • For those of us who aren’t fluent in Latin (I took four years of it in high school, Nerd Alert!), the title of the episode is translated as “if you want peace, prepare for war.”
  • The opening Klingon/Federation starship fight sequence is quite good – but it’s still a bit odd that Discovery, a science vessel, seemingly has the capability to be an effective warship.
  • On Pahvo, Burnham states that interference from the crystalline communications array meant the team had to beam in 30km away… what, Lorca couldn’t spare a shuttlecraft so the team wouldn’t have to walk so far?  And at the conclusion of the episode, they get beamed out right next to the antenna anyways?
  • I do enjoy the oft-used Trek trope of “energy-based beings,” but it does seem that the away team is awfully nonchalant for having effectively made first contact with a heretofore-unknown planet-wide-based species.
  • Tyler references “General Order 1” but has the meaning all wrong – he clearly knows nothing about Starfleet, eh?  Almost as if he… isn’t really a Starfleet officer?  Not to mention the fact that Saru’s threat ganglia come out when Tyler reveals his “true self” via the Pahvo gemstone… is it because he’s truly a Klingon? If this theory does come to be shown as true, though, I have one big issue wuth it: almost assuredly, as the Chief of Security on Discovery, Tyler has been in Lorca’s ready room, so why wouldn’t Lorca’s tribble have gone nutso around Tyler?
  • Back to the Pahvo: do we think the planet bears any connection to the Bajoran “pah” and the pah-wraiths we were shown in ‘Deep Space Nine?’  Or is this simply a case of “outer space words” just randomly sounding similar across series?
  • “She took my blade!” L’Rell tells Kol when she is discovered in the hallway with the high-security Starfleet Admiral prisoner.  That is officially the weakest excuse ever – how does Kol not instantly shoot and kill L’Rell? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: these ain’t no real Klingons.
  • To elaborate on the point made in the above recap: now that the cloaking technology has been integrated across much more of the Klingon fleet, doesn’t this essentially blast to hell the canonical point that the Romulans had the tech first and the Klingons got it from them?  And how in the hell did the Resurrection Ship, the only ship in the known universe with that technology, just sit on a battlefield for six months with neither side attempting to capture it and use this very important piece of tech weaponry?  Plot holes so big you can spore-drive a starship through them!

CLOSING THOUGHTS:  This week’s episode was the second in a row where I wasn’t filled with an underlying sense of anger while watching.  I credit the storyline for getting better and building towards an interesting conclusion – but I’d still be infinitely happier if the show was set in the timeline after the events of Voyager instead of seemingly being a constant flip-of-the-bird to established Trek canon.


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.