“You judge the creature by its appearance, and one single incident from its past. Nothing in its biology suggests it would attack, except in self-defense. Commander, this creature is an unknown alien. It can only be what it is, not what you want it to be.”
I keep forgetting about the Klingons. They keep popping up in episodes, almost as an afterthought. The show is invested in Michael Burnham more than any other character, and we spend an inordinate amount of time pondering the cosmos with her that any time we are taken away from the central Burnham-locus, it’s distracting. After T’Kuvma’s death at the hands of Burnham and Georgiou, the Klingon Empire has splintered and there is no confidence in T’Kuvma’s successor, the conspicuously light-skinned (and comparatively small) Voq, or his own personal “torchbearer,” L’Rell.
The empire is dying; the logical result of dependence on the conquest of other worlds for resources. L’Rell suggests they raid the broken shell of the Shenzhou for dilithium crystals. I don’t understand why Starfleet did not order the destruction of the ship. Voq’s main rival, Kol, challenges him. L’Rell turns on Voq and accepts Kol’s leadership, offering their dilithium and what remains of their food (some of which is apparently Captain Georgiou’s remains – it’s made from people!). At L’Rell’s suggestion, Voq is to be exiled, rather than executed, to live out the remainder of his life on the Shenzhou, but she does have a plan.
On Discovery, Burnham studies the horrible creature Security Chief Landry has named, “Ripper.” Burnham compares it to a tardigrade, an extinct microscopic animal capable of existing in extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures with a complex, fragmented DNA structure. Landry insists on sedating the creature in order for Burnham to study it more closely. Burnham advises against it, because she reasons when the creature is threatened, it becomes dangerous.
You would think a tactical expert such as a Security Chief would understand this, but Landry is an idiot. We ran into the same problems with Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She’s all about a blustery show of strength, and less about problem-solving. She turns off the force-field and aims her gun at “Ripper.” Landry is killed almost instantly. Idiot. Burnham feeds the creature some of the spores they’ve collected for mycelium “displacement-activated-yadda-yadda-yadda.” “Ripper” likes the food and, I guess, they strike up a relationship. Burnham figures out the creature was used on the Glenn, in place of the mycelium spores, to navigate.
Next thing we know, we’re testing “Ripper’s” capabilities as a warp theory specialist. Throughout the episode, Lorca has been busting Stamets’ chops, and really the only thing Stamets does well is complain**. Why are we populating this show with incredibly annoying, unlikeable characters? At this point, the only character I like is Lorca, which is telling considering what happens. There is a ticking clock involved. An Earth colony is being attacked by Klingon ships. I swear the guy sending the distress signal is Pam’s old boyfriend from The Office.
With “Ripper’s” abilities, Discovery is able to arrive at the colony and vanquish the Klingons. Burnham observes that the creature is in pain as it executes these warp jumps, and it doesn’t take long for her to anthropomorphize “Ripper.” She feels this creature’s pain in her ovaries. This is what it sounds like when lambs cry! I don’t get it. Wasn’t it her wonderful, brilliant idea to use the creature? PETA must’ve taken a pass at the script as it made its way through the 20-odd producers who work on Discovery. What do these people do? The Chekhov’s gun of this episode is the last will and testament of Captain Philippa Georgiou. She leaves Michael her telescope. Aww!
* The award for “most pretentious episode title.”
** I found it interesting that Lorca, in his “pep talk” to Stamets, cites Elon Musk along with the Wright Brothers and Zefram Cochrane as motivation for Stamets to pursue his work with diligence and resolve. Contrary to the popular opinion going around about Musk, I see him as more of a con-man than an innovator. He’s just a con-man with good publicity.
Twice a week, Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!