After the style in which the opening 3 episodes were presented, you’d be forgiven for thinking that episode 4 would take its foot off the pedal ever so lightly in order to focus more so on the characters within it. How wrong you would actually be. Again we are treated to an array of spectacular cinematography, gorgeous visual effects, and performances that may you question whether or not we should actually be rooting for these unsavoury figures.
The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry admittedly takes a very slight step back in terms of overall action. Instead, it focuses on the tension and trepidation felt by the crew under Captain Lorca’s bombastic boot. His obsession with defeating the Klingons provokes countless simulations to prepare his officers for the inevitable battles they will surely face. So much so, that his decision to bring aboard the aptly named “Ripper” from the ill-fated USS Glen leads to Burnham and Commander Landry staring at the creature in a less than advantageous situation.The bulk of this episode is that the Dilithium Mines of Corvan 2 are under heavy attack from Klingon Warbirds, desperately seeking their own method of fuelling their engines. However, the only ship capable of saving them, say it with me, the USS Discovery. The problem with this is that Chief Engineer Stamets has yet to master the ability to navigate the Spore drive introduced in the episode prior. If only there was a convenient creature on board that could help…
In between all of this, we learn that the Klingon vessel that perpetuated the hostility between themselves and the federation has been stuck in the same place since their confrontation with the Shenzhou 6 months ago. The leader, Kol, has begun to feel the pressures of the task laid before him and must decide whether or not the technology aboard their adversaries ship is worth salvaging. After an awkward interaction with a female counterpart, the decision to retrieve the items is made while his crew instantly revolt. Desolate and dejected, Kor is abandoned on the Shenzhou where he is told the only way to survive would be to sacrifice everything he is.
Back at the Discovery, and after the finally unnecessary demise of Commander Landry, Burnham discovers that the ripper, in fact, operates perfectly within the Spore eco-system. Its physiology allows the crew to access its mind and navigate seamlessly across the known (and unknown) galaxy.
After a laboured dismissal of the Klingon threat, Cadet Tilly and Burnham discuss opening the Last Will and Testament left to her by former Captain Georgiou. After a playful back and forth, Burnham does so, finding an old Telescope that had been part of the deceased Captain’s family for generations.
Episode 4 is not the finished article, it is but a bar in the verse of a much greater melody. However what it does is successfully continue the trend of moral insecurity, cultural appreciation and the sense that something much greater is coming in the not too distant future.