Air Date: 14.3.2019 About: The Discovery crew infiltrates Section 31’s headquarters and suspicions arise that the crew may have a traitor in their midst. Meanwhile, Burnham tries to help Spock, but her efforts don’t go as planned.
This was an incredible, heartbreaking episode. Not only do we get to learn more about Airiam, fall in love with the character and brutally have to say goodbye.
This series is feeling more and more like a game of chess each week, and this episode is no exception. We get the payoff from Airiam’s connection to the futuristic leech and a feeling that the Red Angel story line is coming to a head.
Airiam has always been a fringe character, and while I wish we’d had more contact with her throughout the show I’m quite happy with how this episode showed her character, relationships and background. Not seeing more of her doesn’t make me feel her loss any more than I do. In fact, it makes me feel it more.
It is her relationship with Tilly that ensured I spent the last 20 minutes or so watching the episode play out with tears in my eyes. God, Tilly is just adorable and her attempt to make Airiam fight the virus that sends her on a mission to Section 31 is bittersweet. Knowing as much as we know about Tilly means we get a deeper understanding of who Airiam is. This is such a subtle and clever show.
The secondary story lines bring Spock and Burnhams relationship into focus and we say hello to Admiral Cornwall who I’m hoping will stay on board for the remaining episodes of the series.
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
Air Date: 28.2.2019 About: Burnham goes to Vulcan in search of Spock, where she unearths surprising family secrets. In researching what is left of the Red Angel’s signal over Kaminar, Pike and Tyler end up in battle with time itself. Georgiou has a few tricks up her sleeve for Leland and Section 31.
The episode has gone back to having two very distinct plot lines, and it feels all the better for it.
Michael and Spock
Michael’s trip to Vulcan is much more rewarding than I was expecting it to be. Having watched the OS episode Journey to Babel earlier in the week, I was able to truly appreciate how well the casting was. Sonuqua Martin-Green’s performance in this episode is quite simply perfect; she is able to portray a human raised in a Vulcan environment with such emotive force that I was reduced to tears. Her relationship with Spock is something I want, and need, to see more of.
I’m a little unsure as to why Michael agreed to take Spock straight to Section 31. I’ve trusted her judgement since that first episode and it saddens me somewhat that Michael doubts herself. I’m also quite curious that it wasn’t the Black Ops that tried to recruit her.
I feel like we’ve been lacking hand to hand combat this series, so it was amazing to see Michael face off with Phillipa. It’s well choreographed and that final head smash made me gasp.
Michael’s episode ends with her discovering the numbers Spock is repeating are indeed pointing at a place. One I’m excited, yet equally nervous to visit. Done well, this is going to be an amazing following episode that may even answer questions left unanswered by the Original Series.
Pike, Ash and Disco Crew
I’ve always loved temporal disturbance plots and this episode is no exception. Mainly because it has all my favourite Discovery elements:
Tilly being her passionate geeky self
Saru being the authoritative, repressed mentor
Pike being the best god damn Captain I’ve experienced in Trek history. That twist of a smile when he responds to Tilly’s curse is just … well, it’s what I’d want in a leader
Stamets and his amazing brain
Pike butting heads with Ash
A resolution with progression
I still feel that unease when it comes to the Red Angel. It feels as if it’s something that is hiding plain sight and I’m going to kick myself when it comes to the reveal. I do get a sense that it is coming to a head, but all its doing is making me wish I could binge watch the rest of the series.
Another strong episode that adds to the ongoing story. It was lacking any feature of Henry and Wilson Cruz was sorely missed. I need an episode focused on him soon and I certainly need a scene with Henry and Ash! I’m nervous about how badly it will go and I just need it out the way.
Sorry for the delay. I’ve had a difficult week and a bit sleep-wise so it meant I had to watch the episode twice before writing my review. All should be back to running normally next week, but today you get a double dose of reviews.
I actually wasn’t sure about this episode when I first watched it and I can only think it was that I wasn’t in the right mind-set for such an emotional-wrought story line. Saru’s journey within this episode is quite incredible. We see his relationship with Michael strengthen once more; there’s a heartwarming scene in which he takes Michael to meet his sister. It’s charming and gives us such a depth to Saru’s character.
The plot involving the seemingly superior Ba’ul is incredibly reminiscent of stories you’ll have seen before; Antz, Bug’s Life and many others all cover this idea of a weak group being strong, if only they work together and accept they can be more. What I did enjoy with this retelling of the underdog is that it wasn’t always that way and the ethical situation Discovery find themselves in when faced with being a bystander to genocide.
The Ba’ul leader! Bloody hell, he was scary. The look is absolutely terrifying on its own, but then you add that voice that will cause nightmares for weeks to come. It’s hard to see that they were once the prey on the planet- gulp!
The episode resolves with a heartfelt goodbye between Saru and his sister. I’m hoping that the journey within this episode will ensure we gain a balance between his mild mannered and volatile self. I guess only time will tell.
My only issue with the episode is in regards to Hugh Culber. The first scene is okay and fits well within Saru’s story. However, this was not an episode that could fit in a secondary storyline, so the second scene which has such a beautiful story that explains how Hugh came to be a doctor feels a little out of place and clunky. What I felt it needed was either a resolution with an additional scene at the end or the second scene removed. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have noticed had the previous episodes been quite so high quality. It’s not that I don’t want to see Hugh either, its an incredible story and I’m itching to have an episode that focuses on both him and Stamets. However, these out of place scenes don’t do the character’s justice.
Its a well made episode, with only a few missteps. It was quite nice to have a break from the search for Spock and have an almost ‘bottle episode’ on a planet. I’m also strangely loving the clashing of Pike and Ash; long may it continue.
The episode opens up on Michael’s face and wow, this is the first of many examples within the episode that demonstrates that all the actors can convey so much without uttering a word. Both Michael and Stamets break my heart in that opening scene. I do find it interesting that over the next 20 minutes or so the crew are attempting to establish that Tilly is still alive. It was something I never questioned.
The episode really brings the dialogue to the forefront; most of my notes are simply quotes; from Michael’s log insisting ‘I want to have faith. In it’s absence, only duty remains.’ and Section 31 opperative downgrading of Pike’s concerns ‘there are always lives at stake, that’s what keeps us employed.’ Of course, the most important part of dialogue comes from Pike when he informs the crew of Stamets’ plan to rescue Tilly from the mycelial network. Pike’s speech about Starfleet being a promise is a recurring theme that spans the rest of the episode and ensures the two halves join together effortlessly.
The visuals in this episode are incredible; the drop of the apple seems strangely important but regardless it was a beautiful cut. Then there was the visuals when Discovery is acting as a doorstop to the network. I want that image on my wall. It’s these clean and effective visuals that make this stand out from the rest of the franchise.
Of course, it’s the actors that make this show the addictive watch that its become. This episode had a lot of people to play with and they all bring their A game. Not only that, but the episode doesn’t feel bloated or strained. There are very few shows who could manage such a big cast in one episode without loosing some of the quality. Obviously, there are some standout performances and amazing returns, but no one flounders. The one shame of the episode is that Reno disappears from last week’s episode and I really would have liked to see her help Stamets as it feels odd.
Then, just when I can’t think the episode can get any better I start to get a sneaky feeling the monster Tilly has been brought into the Network to kill is Hugh! Amazing Hugh, who was taken from the crew mid series last year in a shocking reveal and cover up. The added blow of Wilson Cruz bowing out was that Rapp lost the person he had the best chemistry with. Yes, it gave Rapp a wonderful gift of character development but I wasn’t ready to lose Hugh. I can’t quite work out if Hugh’s return was planned or fan wish fulfillment and that is exactly how it should be. Most importantly, I don’t care either way because it’s been so well written that I believe it. It also has me thinking; is it the real Hugh or is it a clone? Most importantly, will that have consequences? I can’t wait to find out. I can’t wait to see Rapp and Cruz working together and I’m very curious as to the backlash of Ash being back on board.
This episode felt very much like a game of chess; players are being moved and ready for what I suspect is going to be an action-fueled climax. We even got an appearance of Admiral Cornwell who orders Captain Pike and Section 31 leader Leland to play nice and work together to find Spock.
About: A new signal brings the Discovery to a distant planet, Terralysium, that is inhabited by the descendants of human survivors of World War III, which was fought on Earth 200 years earlier.
Picking up from last week’s reveal, Discovery follows a second inexplicable signal that Spock. Discovery does what Discovery does best and hops across the quadrants to discover a planet over 200 years away and the only way our crew got to it was through use of the spore drive. So, how are their humans on the planet whose lineage implies they’ve been settled on the planet before the development of warp drive on Earth?!
One of the key parts of this episode could retcon all of the franchise and put to rest fan frustration that has existed since the first series. The concept that Kirk on the Original Series was exploring ‘new life and new civilisations’, yet in almost every episode came across humans who got there before Enterprise. It’s a retcon I can get on board with; especially if it stops my father grumbling about this exact thing every time he watches Trek.
It is Pike’s response that wins me over.
“Someone wanna tell me how they got here?”
He implores right before we cut to the credits and my inner,
and outer, geek dances. I love the idea that they are clearly discovering a new
planet, as so they should, but there are humans already there and everyone is
as confused as fuck; and unafraid to show it.
Pike is our every man. For the love of Spock, I hope he’s not a bad guy. I wasn’t sure about Pike in the series 2 opener. I’m more familiar with the Bruce Greenwood incarnation and I was feeling the loss. No longer. Having watched The Original Series double episode, The Menagerie last week along with New Eden, I can safely say Anson Mount is a welcome addition to the bridge of Discovery. Not only does Mount seem to blend both Greenwood and Jeffrey Hunter’s portrayals; he brings something of his own to the role.
It’s through Pike we get the main theme of Science versus Religion. I have a feeling this wouldn’t suit all audiences but I, being someone who has spent the last 9 years teaching RE, adored the exploration of this theme and the fact that Pike’s character clearly has more history when it comes to this. I admire the creative team’s development of a new religion that blends all of the sixth main world faiths. It logically and emotionally feels organic when you consider that there was an amalgamation of people who were moved to the planet. This is seen best in the redacted and edited scripture.
In fact the exploration of the church was my favourite
scene. Not only was it able to give us an idea of what the colony was going to
be like, it provided a teaching moment. Michael goes to read the scripture and
Pike informs her just to look at the windows before explaining that the stained
glass was there for that purpose.
“It was how they would teach the Gospels to those who couldn’t read.”
I was a passive viewer of Star Trek until I was 11 years old. I’d become a fan of Deep Space Nine, 3 years earlier, but it wasn’t until an episode of The Next Generation helped me in a Science lesson that I embraced the whole franchise. Worf was injured and spent most of the episode in sick bay where the doctor explained about the spine and its relationship with the brain. The next day, our Science lesson looked at the spine and I received a number of credits for correctly answering a question. One I would not have been able to answer without the episode. Any time an episode has a teaching moment, I inwardly smile and wonder if there’s some teen out there who’ll benefit from that nugget of information.
This plot strand brings with it one other major debate that
is seen time and time again; the prime directive and the ethical standing it
brings. This clearly isn’t a normal situation and is one that should be
discussed. It’s a problem that when you break it down is something any viewer can
relate to; an absolute rule to fit situational ethical problems. Or, square
peg, round hole. I love that no one finds the directive easy to follow but more
so, I love that it’s the Vulcan raised Michael that finds it hardest to follow.
On the ship, it’s a Tilly focused episode. There isn’t a
character I don’t like on this show, but I bloody love Tilly. She’s The Doctor;
it will forever be head canon for me and a dream casting that Mary Wiseman will
be given the keys to the Tardis someday. Her caffeinated problem solving brings
the two plots together and ensures the episode is neatly wrapped up; for now.
The plot develops not only Tilly’s character but reinforces some amazing relationships that are strengthening this show. Last week we saw her sadness of Stamet’s announcement that he was transferring. Her ‘I don’t want you to go.’ Was heart breaking and its clearly the motivation for her actions that see her in the med bay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see Rapp on my screen full stop, but his chemistry with Wiseman is delightful, charming and something I would never have expected this time last season. Tilly has broken down Stamet’s hard and frosty exterior and I can’t wait to see them become firm friends.
Viewers also get some wonderful interactions between Tilly and Saru. Saru is a mentor for Tilly; she respects him and wants to learn from him. However, there’s that parental undertone that I can’t help but smile at. Tilly doesn’t want to disappoint Saru, and Saru just wants her to be safe. While there’s not much to the interaction, I think it’s forming a foundation for the rest of the series. I’d love for the show to last long enough to see her take command.
Not only is this my favourite episode of Discovery, I think this might be my favourite Trek episode of all time. The story is fascinating, the special effects, sets and costumes are nothing short of beautiful. Not only that, I’m invested in the characters and I cannot wait for the next episodes.