One of the biggest complaints about Discovery has been how it is too militaristic, too dark and how the human beings are not the enlightened species they will become in the original series in only ten short years later. However, Michael Burnham and Lt. Paul Stamets take big steps towards that humanity this week, causing some colliding of egos and creating some grudging respect, at least for the moment.
Captain Lorca wastes no time in taking Burnham to his weapon cache where the creature from the Glenn is now contained. His orders for Burnham are clear: find a way to make this creature, now nicknamed Ripper, into a weapon he can use. At the same time, Lorca is desperate to get the new ‘spore’ drive operational so he can be utilized the new technology to make a big dent in the war. However, that timetable is pushed up as a mining colony, and a very important one at that is overrun by the Klingons and needs help. Cue the tensions between Lorca and…well, everyone.
Lorca and Lt. Stamets go toe to toe about getting the new drive going and it was great to see Stamets give as good as he got. Stamets also has a great moment with Burnham when you can see on his face that he is beginning to think she is more than just a traitor as one of her theories about the creature turns out to be true. It will be a work in progress but the grudging respect going on between Stamets, Lorca and Burnham are small steps forward in developing a more complete and interesting character.
Burnham soon discovers that ‘Ripper’ is much more than it seems. Commander Landry is sent to keep Burnham on schedule and not buying into her argument, sets a sequence of events in motion that have deadly results. Pushing forward with her original theory, Burnham soon discovers that the creature has an interesting relationship with the spores themselves, which ends up changing everything.
Meanwhile, things aren’t all sunshine and lollipops within the Klingon Empire. Starvation and power issues have led to a coup, led by Kol, which leaves Voq exiled and a shift in power in the command structure. It was interesting to watch the different factions turn on one another, shifting loyalties and inner turmoil with the Klingons, not unlike what will probably happen within Starfleet, and arguably happening already.
There were a lot of good things that came out of this episode, most importantly being Burnham questioning the ‘humanity’ of what they were doing. War is an ugly business and tough calls have to be made but Discovery will lose its charm quickly if it doesn’t show some sort of moral backbone and this was a great start. There is no doubt that Lorca and Burnham will not see eye to eye on many things going forward, and this week did nothing to help her make peace with Saru, but there baby steps this week that took her in the right direction.
While I admire what the writers are trying to do with the Klingons, there is still no real sense of that impending doom you get when you are at war with someone else. Sure, they are impressive warriors and fighters but with their leadership fractured, there is no one leader to really make them feel intimidating or downright scary. Maybe this is the point and really, we are only at episode four, but I feel they need a kick in their collective butts to become that incredibly intimidating force we all know they will become.
The show still looks great and besides the incredibly dumb maneuver pulled by Landry, the crew of Discovery made big strides this week in coming together as a force to be reckoned with. However, with Lorca in command who the hell knows where this crew is destined to end up.
Four out of five stars
- Great strides made in relationships on the ship
- Burnham and Stamets will give Lorca all he can handle
- Lorca is quickly becoming a one of a kind captain
- There is no way this 'spore' drive is going to last
- The Klingons need to get their act together and get intimidating again