As we hit episode five, Star Trek: Discovery has begun to spread its wings a bit, giving us multiple storylines that fit perfectly with the title ‘Choose Your Pain’, delving into the physical and mental stress that some of these people are under and what they do to combat it.
Captain Lorca is front and center this week, showing off his ‘my way or the highway’ ideas about pretty much everything. From the simple discussion about doing things his way on his ship to the frightening admission about what happened on his last command while being held prisoner by the Klingons, it is clear this is a very driven man. It is also clear that somewhere down the road he might have to be put down like a rabid dog because while he is useful during wartime, I can’t imagine what he’d be like when things are calm and boring. This is assuming he lives that long.
Lorca’s abduction and capture by the Klingons was also a nice way to introduce us to Harry Mudd, played brilliantly by Rainn Wilson and Lt. Ash Taylor, who may or may not be what he seems. Wilson plays Mudd with some restraint, not going over the top but pushing the character enough so that he is not simply comic relief but someone to be taken seriously. I’m not as convinced about the character of Taylor but I’m willing to wait and see what they have planned for him.
Back on Discovery, Saru has now become acting Captain with Lorca gone and it doesn’t take long for he and Burnham to lock horns again. However, this time it is Burnham taking the moral stance, insisting that what they are doing to Ripper is slowly killing him, while Saru needs the creature to find the captain and pushes on using Ripper to power the spore drive. It is an interesting idea, and Saru does not come off looking so great, even if he catches himself by the end of the episode. Maybe this is evidence that he doesn’t have what it takes to be captain or is it just inexperience?We shall have to see how that unfolds.
Lt. Stamets was again excellent this week, showing some great backbone and determination in terms of how to save the creature yet follow orders as well. It certainly might not have been the best idea but it did work. There was also a nice scene of normalcy between him and Dr. Culber that almost felt domestic. However, at the end of the episode, while insisting he is fine, we are left with the creepy mirror image that says different and which also has many different implications going forward.
Ah yes, and let’s address the two ‘f-bombs’ that were dropped. Yes, folks, they actually swore on Star Trek and you know what? It was great. The way they executed the scene was both surprising and hilarious and felt very natural, thanks in no small part to the actors involved. It was a bold move that was really well done.
While that was a nice moment of levity, Star Trek: Discovery continues to walk down a dark path, both in characters and overall feel, and ‘Choose Your Pain’ was a relevant title to many this week. However, more than that, Discovery continues to be unpredictable in a great way and that makes me look forward to the next episode that much more.
Four out of five stars
- Rainn Wilson was perfect as Harry Mudd
- Lorca might be more wonderfully unstable than I thought
- Ending left a lot of possibilities hanging out there
- Not sold on why they need the new guy but time will tell I guess