Airing in the US on CBS All Access Sundays at 8:30 pm ET and at 12pm on Mondays in the UK on Netflix
Written by: Lisa Randolph
Director: David Solomon
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Kicking straight after the events of last week…even down to Saru (Doug Jones) meeting Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) on the transporter room on the USS Discovery – yes, we actually see them repainting the name on the ship’s hull – and Georgiou remarking how on yesterday she was dining on Kelpian. Saru doesn’t take to kindly to the fact that Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) lied to him about there not being any Kelpian in the Mirror Universe, but he’s matured nicely into the role of the Discovery’s captain and so he moves along without dwelling.
Saru is getting some nice scenes actually and quite rightly so. He gets Burnham up to speed on Tylervoq and he hopes that perhaps a familiar face will encourage Tylervoq to heal. However, Burnham has been…er, burned and she ain’t going to forgive Tylervoq easily or quickly. Saru puts one of those probation wrist monitors on him so his access to Discovery is limited, but he’s not a prisoner as such.
The Discovery rendezvous with another Federation vessel and we see Admiral “Deadmeat” Cornwell (Jayne Brook) for the first time since episode 9. Sarek (James Frain) is among those from Cornwell’s ship that beams over as everyone points their guns at each on the bridge before some Sarek provides confirmation of who everyone actually is by way of a (very brief) mind meld.
The first thing we see after the opening intro – incidentally, this episode was written by Lisa Randolph, who also wrote episode 11, The Wolf Inside, one of only two episodes we’ve given five stars to – the first thing we see is Cornwell disintegrate Lorca’s bowl of fortune cookies, which is kinda nice. Doesn’t set off any alarms though. She’s pretty pissed about the fact that he generally lied to her and you know, was generally from an alternate universe…happens to the best of us, honey.
It seems Cornwell saw the Discovery destroyed…and according to Saru, that was the actual Mirror Universe ISS Discovery, because it switched places with the Original Universe USS Discovery when they traveled to the alternate reality. This particular piece of Trek physics is new…and seems a little odd. Yes, OK, it happened with Captain James T Kirk, but that was a transporter malfunction, this is different.
“From what you’ve told me about the Terran Empire, no Starfleet officer could survive that universe alone, so my Gabriel is dead,” Cornwell says, instantly denying any fan theory from forming about the whereabouts of OU Lorca.
It seems that the Klingons have been decimating the Federation. However, there’s no real logical strategy to these attacks, the Klingons are fighting amongst themselves as much as they are Starfleet and it’s open season on the United Federation of Planets, with each Klingon house competing for the spoils.
“We are fodder for their futile savagery,” Sarek says.
Cornwell and Sarek are also introduced to Emperor Georgiou and they have a ponder about how best to handle that particular pickle. Meanwhile Tylervoq (Shazad Latif) bumps into Stamets (Anthony Rapp) in the corridor, inevitable really. The Klingon/human hybrid bumbles some sort of emotional apology and the master of all that is mycelial just gives him a cold shoulder for his efforts.
Evidently Tylervoq was on his way to the canteen…and the normal buzz of everyday banter suddenly drops as he enters and collects his food from a machine that makes a very contemporary microwave oven-sounding “ping”.
He shuffles over to an empty table and avoids eye contact with everyone as the sound of many whispering voices replaces the atmospheric audio of congenial conversation. Tilly (Mary Wiseman) naturally takes pity and picks up her dinner tray and goes to sit with him. Soon after, the other chairs around his table are filled and then everyone just goes over to pat him on the back and give us all a Starfleet lump-in-our-throat moment. If only high school canteens were this forgiving, Americans wouldn’t have to spend half as much on therapy later in life.
There’s a lot of conversational catch-up in this episode…setting up an action-packed cliffhanger for next week’s final episode of season one.
Anyhoo, the Discovery is set to drop our of warp at Starbase 1, which according to Cornwell is the last safe haven of the crumbling Federation. At which point Saru’s threat ganglia finally seem to start working. Perhaps there’s budget with the VFX allocated to this and some episode directors prefer to spend it on something else entirely.
Unfortunately, the old neighbourhood ain’t what it used to be, or at least quite how Cornwell left it. In fact, it’s been utterly decimated. Instead the Klingon crest of House of D’Ghor has been emblazoned on the side…80,000 personal and at least three starships…all gone.
Struggling now to get a grip on things, Cornwell goes to see L’Rell in the brig. “How does this war end??” The Admiral asks.
“It doesn’t,” comes the reply. “Klingons have tasted human blood. Conquer us, or we will never relent.”
And that’s all she wrote. And that’s pretty much all Cornwell needs to hear. The
sexual tension between Burnham and Georgiou continues as the Emperor expertly probes the Specialist about her life here in the Original Universe and in return she offers advice on how to defeat the Klingon Empire.
“The Klingons are like cancer cells, constantly diving. To root them out you must destroy the tumor at its source. How much do you know about Qo’noS..?” Georgiou asks.
The set up for the season finale begins to take shape…and then the most insane idea ever is voiced. The USS Discovery is going to DASH drive into a vast cave system that’s under the surface of Qo’noS – to avoid detection – and perform a reconnaissance of the surface, including vital strategic targets, to allow a massive bombing mission to take place.
But…Stamets has no spores left. So they travel to a lifeless moon in some nearby system and launch a series of terraforming-like probes with the last few spores he had left in containment on the USS Discovery. This allows him to access the mycelial network once again and the mind-numbingly stupid idea of DASHing to a cave under the surface of the Klingon homeworld will no doubt be next week.
Burnham is being piled with personal issues at the moment with, like the Oedipus complex she has with Georgiou and trying to save the Emperor ’cause she couldn’t save the Captain, plus the whole Tylervoq thing; you know, he lied, he’s a Klingon, Klingon’s killed Georgiou blahblahblah…so she finally confronts Typervoq and in short, tells him that she’s let him go and he sobs like a baby, unable to take any responsibility.
And that’s about it. Or least the bits worth talking about. However, the trailer for next week’s episode clearly shows that the gang actually go down to the surface of Qo’noS…which could be really interesting. So, one more episode…and then it’s probably a wait until September again.
Section 31 ✓
• Some nice scenes for Saru, but he might have been too forgiving with Tylervoq
• Finally Saru’s threat ganglia work, otherwise they might just as well be enjoyed with a nice Chardonnay
Section 8 ✗
• Popularity amongst peers in the Discovery canteen is nothing like any normal canteen
• Given the “danger involved” before Spock’s first mind meld in the TOS (S01, Ep15) it’s thrown about now willynilly
• The guy holding the camera might have benefitted from a steadier hand
• Stamets might be a whizz with his spores, but pretty sure his astrophysics is way off
• Pity we didn’t get to see the ship that Cornwell arrived on
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