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Review: Star Trek Discovery Takes a Deep Breath in “The War Without, The War Within”

by on February 6, 2018
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The first thirteen episodes of this season, the show’s first season, have been pretty much the ‘full speed ahead, take no prisoners’ kind of approach. Slick effects, great action, death everywhere, Discovery has had little time to develop its characters the way we are used to seeing in Star Trek television shows. While I understand this, it was nevertheless nice to see the show take a step back, take a deep breath and take a look around before plunging back into the abyss of danger, death and destruction.

After shooting ahead nine months upon returning to their own universe, Discovery has little time to absorb the shock of the situation. Admiral Cornwell and Sarek beam over and explain just how dire things really are, so many dead, and the Klingons marching on not in a unified way but in a determined and deadly competition to see which house can kill the most humans and claim complete power. This leads to some great moments by Cornwell, especially when she confronts L’Rell about the Klingon objectives and gets and answer that set many things in motion.

There are a lot of emotional tug of wars going on this week and almost all of them were important. Sarek and Michael talk about love, which was a bit weird in itself, and as usual the Vulcan got the last word in. Stamets and Ash run into each other in the hall and the look on Stamets face…it was uncomfortable, awkward and felt very real. Stamets tells Tilly if their plan to create a new colony of spores works by terraforming a moon, she can name the moon. Can you imagine the possibilities?

The big moments though belonged to Michael and Georgiu, some things never change, and Michael and Ash. Georgiu has her own agenda, of that there can be no doubt, yet Michael still wants to believe bringing her to her universe is a good thing. While this is a purely emotional response for obvious reasons, it’s still pretty dumb in the big picture sense, although I think when push comes to shove fighting the Klingons she might come in handy. That being said, the scenes between the two are very one sided in terms of emotion, with Michael still carrying around the guilt and regret of what she did. Georgiu is all about control and power and whatever attachment she might have to Michael won’t stop her from trying to achieve her goals, whatever they may be.

It was inevitable that Ash and Michael would have a one on one conversation and it didn’t disappoint. Tyler needs her, loves her, wants her, feels he cannot survive without her but Michael is not buying it. As she put it, reclaiming your life after a betrayal is punishing, relentless and solitary work. She wants to let him go, as in her mind it’s the right thing to do, but I don’t think it will be that easy. As for Tyler, I have no clue what will become of him now. He is a different man but one with no real future in Starfleet, no real options at the moment. It was a great scene that Discovery needs more of as it moves on to season two.

There is now a plan in place in terms of how to deal with the Klingons, and I kind of like it in its ingenuity and gall, but what Sarek and Cornwall decided to do in terms of who was to lead the mission was bizarre and honestly, really dumb. There is no way this won’t end up backfiring somehow, somewhere down the road and while I agree this war has led to desperate times, this is one decision that is a head scratcher.

Still, in the end I enjoyed the episode, loved the character development and emotional scenes. With only one episode left I can’t imagine what will happen but with Discovery you know it won’t be dull.

 

 

Four stars out of five

Positives

- Great emotional moments

- Some solid character building

- Interesting plan of attack concerning the Klingons

Negatives

- The decision at the end is a disaster waiting to happen

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90%

 
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91%

 
Writing
90%

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90%

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Bottom Line
 

A solid episode that allowed everyone to take a deep breath and take stock of the emotional wreckage that is their lives. This has been a violent season, full of death and despair, so it was about time the show had an episode where the characters let it all sink in.

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