If you’re a betting person, you could easily win good money so far this season on ‘Star Trek Discovery’ if you’re playing the odds on “NO” for whether Spock will actually show up from week to week. “The Sound of Thunder” is the sixth episode of the season, and so far we are 0-for-6 on appearances for the character that most of the pre-season marketing was built around. It’s past wearing thin: it’s downright duplicitous on the part of the creative team.
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: This is a fairly by-the-books episode in terms of plot, so this will be a quick recap. Another mysterious signal appears (along with the Spocktease, this is another plot crutch that is starting to wear thin), this time directly over Saru’s homeworld. Conveniently timed, since Saru now knows that what his people are being told about their evolutionary pattern by the dominant species, the Ba’ul, is horse manure. So he wants to go back and visit, and tell his people all about it. Pike says no. Burnham says that yeah, maybe they should let him go. Pike says okay. P.S. General Order 1, aka the Prime Directive, now appears to be a “gray area” that bridge officers can just make the call on, apparently.
Burnham and Saru go to the planet. Saru’s sister is still alive, hooray! They find her and tell her about the evolutionary thingy. She is suspicious. The Ba’ul finally notice that there is a Federation ship hanging around, and that Saru is back, and get pissy. Saru beams over to the Ba’ul ship because reasons. The Ba’ul don’t like that he has evolved and they chain him up. Saru hulks out and breaks free, and rescues his sister in the process. Saru Macgyvers together a communicator ridiculously quickly, and after contacting Discovery, finds a techno-babble way to start the evolutionary process for all Kelpiens, which forces them and the Ba’ul to have to work together to co-exist. Oh, and Saru sees the Red Angel and stuff, who appears at the very end of the story to help save the Kelpiens.
- SO. MUCH. DRAMATIC. STARING. Seriously, I think that at least a third of the screen time of this episode was devoted to characters looking intently at things. Stamets and Culber in sickbay looking intently at each other and confusing reports about Culber’s DNA. Siranna? Starting intently at her brother and the new alien that has arrived – mostly forgivable, given the circumstances, but annoying nonetheless when being coupled with all the rest of the episode’s staring. Bridge crew? Spending about 95% of their screen time looking intently at things – still not many lines of dialogue or actual character development, mind you, but lots of staring.
- Is no one going to address the fact that Tyler, the man who literally murdered Culber last season by snapping his neck, is now back on the same ship as Culber and they run the very large risk of running into each other at some point? You’ve got a sleeper Klingon agent who has now re-defected to Starfleet, and a doctor who has been killed unceremoniously by said sleeper agent before being resurrected by plants – surely this will be an odd reunion.
- For as highly as I spoke of the character of Pike in last episode’s Observations, this episode took the character down a few rungs. I still love what Anson Mount is bringing to the role, but Pike essentially threw General Order 1 out the window this episode and walked back on his word several times, including adamantly stating that Saru was not to go to the planet’s surface, and then letting him do so anyway after a few brief “aw, c’mon” type of lines from Burnham.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: So the Red Angel appears to be some sort of techno-savvy time traveler now? I’ve given up trying to come up with fun theories about what the true nature of this character might be, mostly because I don’t find the speculation fun anymore. The show still presents very well from a visual standpoint, and I maintain my opinion that this would actually be an intriguing storyline if it were not attempting to be wedged into a relatively small space in existing Star Trek canon.
The preview for next week showed us our first actual footage of Spock – could the 6-episode tease finally come to and end next week? Gentlefolk, place your bets now!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru
Anson Mount as Captain Pike
Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Cadet Tilly
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Culber
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ features new episodes Thursday nights at 8:00 pm online via CBS All Access.