I have many thoughts. No time to spend on opening rhetoric this week. Let’s dive in.
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: Two main plot lines drive this week’s episode. In the first, another Signal appears, this time above the Klingon planet Boreth. You remember Boreth, don’t you? The monastery planet where L’Rell and Voq/Tyler dumped their son to be raised by monks? It’s a secret-ish, not-well-known Klingon planet – but fortunately for the convenience of the season-long plot, Discovery is the only ship in the universe interested in these fantastical Signals, so no one else from any race will be showing up to check it out. Also, Boreth is magically the home of a Klingon stash of time crystals. How convenient for all involved!
L’Rell and Voq/Tyler don’t want to go to the planet, for the alleged safety of their son – “our son… his existence must be kept secret.” Well, Voq/Tyler was chatting with the kid to Burnham in the previous scene, and now L’Rell blurts it out in front of Pike… you just told two Starfleet officers about the boy in the span of 5 minutes, so you’re doing a pretty crappy job of keeping that secret. It’s all a matter of convenience to get Pike to go down to the planet, anyhow; apparently (as explained to Pike by L’Rell and Voq/Tyler’s son who’s now a time-warped wizened old monk because reasons) once you touch a time crystal you get a glimpse of your future, and if you take the crystal then your fate is sealed. Because that makes sense, right?
Like I said, it’s all a convenient excuse to get Pike down to the planet so we can see his future – a future we already know, but that the ‘Discovery’ creative team were apparently just dying to show us. That’s right, the Beep-Boop Iron Lung Machine makes its first in-series appearance. I have MUCH more to say on this, so let’s save it for the Observations section below.
Burnham gets her own story as well this week: she’s off to hunt down a Section 31 ship that has missed its scheduled check-in. With Pike away, Acting Captain Saru decides to send apparently-on-duty-but-not-ever-in-uniform Spock with her… because more convenient reasons. They find the ship, adrift for some reason after having ejected and killed all the crew. Well, all of the crew except one is dead – Kamran Gant, former officer from the USS Shenzhou, is alive after having conveniently had enough time to grab an EV suit and put it on, even though the entire rest of the fully-trained and competent Starfleet crew didn’t think of that or have time for it. That’s not suspicious at all, right?
Just kidding – Gant is really Control! Fooling absolutely zero viewers but definitely fooling Burnham and Spock, Control tricked the duo into isolating themselves so it could eliminate the one variable it can’t account for: Burnham. It’s got the perfect opportunity – multiple opportunities, in fact – to surprise Burnham and kill her to eliminate her, as is his stated goal… but instead, he talks about it with her and then fails to overpower her, letting Spock instead defeat him from the next room. How convenient!
Back on Discovery, Pike and Burnham reunite from their escapades – the ship is deep in Klingon territory, but Burnham and Spock are able to take a shuttle, track down a Section 31 ship back in Federation space, and get back to Discovery all insanely quickly and without Klingon intervention or Satrfleet questioning what they are doing. Oh, and Boreth was shown earlier in the episode to be so far away that Discovery had to spore-jump there. But it’s fine – why worry about minor details like logic now, am I right? Don’t roll your eyes at me, Emo Spock!
Anyhow – the decision is made to self-destruct Discovery, as thirty Section 31 ships are closing on their position – again, deep in Klingon space, good thing the noblest warrior race in the galaxy suddenly and conveniently seems to not give a damn that they are essentially being invaded by the military power they just went to war with last season. Pike calls to Enterprise to come and pick them up, as apparently, these are now the only two ships left in Starfleet.
P.S. After writing this recap, I went back and highlighted all the times I used the word “convenient” or a variation thereof. Seeing a pattern in the writing abilities and execution of the ‘Discovery’ creative team, hmm?
- Hey, there goes Discovery spore jumping again – so much for the grave danger it poses to Stamets & the entire damn mycelial network, eh?
- Hold on a minute, ‘Discovery’ creative team: you’re saying that Klingons, fiercest warriors and baddest bitches in all the galaxy, are scared of using time crystals? What a complete cop out – more convenience to make a square plot fit in a round TV hole.
- How about that head Timekeeper Klingon, Tenavik, with his fancy headpiece. Think anyone on the writing staff is a ‘Babylon 5’ fan?
- At this point, there has to be an actual, non-plot-related reason that Spock is just not putting on a ‘Discovery’ marching-band uniform, right? Do we think that this was perhaps a request/stipulation from the Nimoy family when the STD folks came to talk with them about bringing the character back?
- The red camouflage shuttle – Admiral Cornwell brought it to the Discovery a few episodes ago, it doesn’t “belong” to the ship – yet it now has Discovery registration numbers and markings… is this a discrepancy goof, or does the production team just not even care anymore?
- The bridge crew laughing in mess hall – “ah, we are good friends!” Has any scene this season felt more forced? Perhaps it’s because we still don’t know jack about these characters as actual people, but this just felt like a terrible scene to me.
- While I’m always up for a Reno appearance – where has she been through all this? And why does she seem to be giving orders to Stamets? Is she the Chief Engineer on this ship, or what’s going on? Don’t make me use that C word again!
- I literally laughed out loud when it was revealed that Tenavik was Voq/Tyler and L’Rell’s son, because timey-wimey reasons. This is the epitome of the indulgence of conveniences in this episode from the creative team.
- I was excited to see the Talos revisit earlier in this season… the “revisit” of Pike’s future here, however, not so much. Poor Anson Mount – such a great actor, such potential for this role, and the writing is throwing it all away. As much as I appreciate the trotting out of the Beep-Boop Iron Lung in an attempt to placate canon lovers like myself, the tech-heavy precedent the ‘Discovery’ creative team has, uh, created for this show makes Pike and his chair an instant buffoonery. You’re going to try and sit there with a straight face and tell us that the technology exists to give every Starfleet ship holodecks and holographic communications… to take a human female who was in a “serious accident” and give her head-to-toe cybernetic implants… to take a Klingon male and change him inside and out to become a completely different species… but when a man get some radiation burns, all we can do is slap him in an rolling iron lung with a yes-or-no button and call it a day?
- Also: everyone that comes to Boreth and touches a time crystal and chooses not to take it is altering their fate and creating an alternate timeline, then? That seems like a slippery slope for the Timekeeper squad.
- Stay with me on this one: Control controls everything on the Section 31 ship, but somehow not the bridge? And it leaves air and atmosphere on, for “some reason?” And it’s in control of “everything” on the ship but conveniently not the cameras & microphones that monitor all parts of starships so it could hear their plan as they talk out loud about it? None of this triggered any warning bells in the brains of two of the alleged smartest and most logical characters on the entire damn show. Not to mention the fact – AGAIN – that if Control identified Burnham as the primary threat/wild card, then it would have killed her, no question – the cold logic of a computer. The creative team is making Control out to be the stupidest AI in history – I certainly hope Control doesn’t become the Borg, otherwise the Disco writers may have to go back in insert Benny Goodman-style music into all the previous Borg appearances in other franchise shows and films.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: My brain hurts from watching this show!
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
Ethan Peck as Spock
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ features new episodes Thursday nights at 8:30 pm online via CBS All Access.