TV REVIEW Star Trek Discovery: Series 2 Ep8: If Memory Serves

Air Date: 7.3.2019
About: Spock and Burnham head to Talos IV, where the process of healing Spock forces the siblings to confront their troubled past. Stamets desperately tries to reconnect with an increasingly disconnected Hugh, while Tyler struggles to shed the crew’s suspicions of him due to his past as Voq.


When the early description of this episode and first images were released for If Memory Serves, I knew this was going to be the episode I was waiting for. I’ve literally been like a kid at Christmas all week. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such anticipation for a TV show.
Little did I know, there was much more to the episode that I didn’t even know I needed.

It all starts with a heartfelt and surprising ‘previously on…’. This isn’t one you’re going to want to skip over this week; creators have edited footage from the Star Trek Original Series pilot The Cage in order to give new audiences a condensed story. It’s charming and tasteful while staying true to the show.

It’s a truly amazing episode and everyone is giving their all. There are two things that make this episode a potential contender come next years awards season.

Michael and Spock

  • Fans get some answers to why the Federation have stopped people from visiting the system; something they’ve been waiting a long time for. Its a great way to open the scene and give Michael, and the audience, further information.
  • Getting onto the planet itself is rather problematic. It leads to a fight between Michael and the catatonic Spock. Its wonderful on so many levels. It adds a touch of humour to a tense storyline, but more importantly; it adds a level of realism to the relationship and, by extension, the show. I just love that intimacy between the siblings that breaks the boundary of being Starfleet.
  • Talos itself is stunning. Yes, its a clear upgrade from The Cage but the set designers have stayed true to the original concepts. Just wait for Michael discovering the plants that emitting a beautiful sound.
  • There’s a familiar face guest starring as the famous Vina; the woman who graced the credits in most of the Original Series run.
  • As part of the story, audiences will get plenty of answers to questions that have remained unanswered. It’s a traumatic process for both Michael and Spock. Both ? and ? are amazing in their roles. Again, my favourite interaction being a point when Spock has regained control of his mind and there’s a verbal sparing between the siblings. The conflict, regret and love between the two characters is clear to see, and its not from a script that this is gained; its the chemistry and interaction between the two actors.

Hugh, Paul and Ash

  • This was the character and relationship exploration I’ve been waiting for. I loved the relationship of Paul and Hugh last series; it was understated and representative (hopefully) of a natural progression of a gay relationship. The show didn’t make it a thing and I found that incredibly beautiful. Then obviously we had to face the loss of
  • When I heard about Hugh’s return, my mind was all a buzz with what the fallout could be. Never, did I think it would be quite so good. I’d imagine it’s an actors dream to be given such a story line to sink their teeth into.
  • Wilson Cruz is heartbreakingly powerful in all of the scenes in this episode. While it’s clear that Hugh is still processing the trauma he has been through and there’s such a lost and stranded tone to Cruz’ performance. I can only begin to imagine what a strain on a person’s sense of self this situation could cause, but Cruz helps make it a little easier.
  • I have been very vocal of Anthony Rapp’s performance since the very first episode here. Over the time, we’ve seen the range and scope of his acting and it did not disappoint. However, the scene in which he brings dinner home to Hugh is just something else. The pain in which Paul asks ‘Why are you angry with me?’ was so raw, that I wanted to reach in and give him a hug. It’s an understandable situation that I’ve seen in real life; When my dad thought he was losing my mum to COPD, there was a change. He took her the cinema, he helped around the house more and, at my insistence, he did not smoke in the same room as her. Paul is so grateful to have Hugh back that he’s trying not to take his second chance for granted. I was moved by Rapp’s performance and how real it felt.
  • I was shocked by the character reveal of Ash Tyler in series 1. Shazad Laitif is an incredible addition to the cast and having him back within the crew was always going to provide some brilliant plot points. In this episode not only we get the knowledgeable security crew member, but we see his vulnerability from his relationship with Michael but also from the actions he can’t take back as Voq.
  • The moment I was waiting for actually took me by surprise for so many reasons. I knew there would come a time in which Ash and Hugh would be in the same room and I imagined so many ways in which it could go. This wasn’t it. I was not expecting this powerful display of anger from Hugh or the resulting fight. However, there was another unexpected response that shocked me completely. At the climax of the fight, Hugh and Ash admitted to each other that neither knows who they are any more. I have so many predictions about this turn of events but for now, all I want to say is that it was one of my favourite scenes in the whole episode because it took me by surprise and was buzzing with energy and potential chemistry.

Final Thoughts, Questions and Predictions

I know, deep down, its a better episode than New Eden but I can’t quite move the second episode of series 2 from my favourite top spot. That said, this has everything you would want from a Star Trek episode. I’ve actually already watched it three times, simply because I enjoyed it so much.

One question that was raised for me was with the reveal that the Red Angel and Spock changed Michael’s fate. I hope the remainder of the series looks into answering the question that the episode raised for me: will there be a consequence for saving Michael’s life?

There’s two ways I feel Hugh’s journey could go. It’s been made clear that there’s a fracture in his and Paul’s relationship, which leaves it open for some romancing on either part.
But the much more interesting relationship development is that of Ash and Hugh. They are both men who have gone through a change at the result of something traumatic and as unconventional as it would be, they really could help each other recover. How that progresses, I’m not sure. Obviously there is the fundamental friendship that could develop from shared trauma, but I don’t think it’s beyond the show to develop a romantic relationship between them. As much as I feel like a Paul/Hugh traitor, I’d be open to them exploring this.


I cannot wait to see what the show has for us next.
Until next week
Love Han x

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