Title: The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Writers: based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, created by Bryan Fuller, and Alex Kurtzman written by Jesse Alexander and Aron Eli Coleite
Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Jason Isaacs, Mary Wiseman, James Frain, Chris Obi, Kenneth Mitchell
Duration: 1 hr
Network: CBS and CBS all access
The episode begins with a mock battle taking place on the bridge’s enormous display screen showing off the show’s excellent visuals to great advantage. At first, it seems as if the combat might be real but when one of the Klingon ships crashes into the Discovery, the battle comes to screeching halt, and Lorca rips the crew a new one. Once again the mysterious crew member is on the bridge that may be a cyborg or even a robot. I sure wish this series would tell us about her, and soon.
The fortunes of war are in the spotlight as this week’s episode develops on two fronts. The preparations, the choices, and decisions made by both the Klingons and the Federation, represented by the Discovery and her crew are at the forefront of the episode.
Both sides are eager to exploit any advantage they can, and each uses an approach that is in keeping with their nature. The warring parties both seem to still be in shock to some degree and recovering from recent events and developments even though we are informed six months have passed since the war began.
On a more personal note, it looks as if it may be time for the healing processs for Burnham to begin when she receives a surprising delivery.
(*warning spoilers follow*)
Tensions and the stakes as well are high when Discovery gets a mission to save a colony Corvan 2, that supplies nearly half of the Federation’s dilithium, is threatened by an impending Klingon attack. Relationships are brought into sharp relief aboard the Discovery and to some degree with the Klingons as well. For example, Saru is not happy when he discovers Burnham is still aboard Discovery and is even almost hostile towards her when they meet in a lift. Also, the relationship between Lorca and Stamets is less than cordial when Stamets progress is found wanting by the ship’s commander. Stamets childishly threatens to take all his toys and go home and Lorca, in turn, updates him a with a reality check to remind him everything he is and does belong to the Federation.
It turns out Stamets research is crucial because its goal is to develop a means of instantaneous travel for the ship over enormous distances. It’s a way of traveling reminiscent of the blink drive in Dark Matter, and it all depends on the spores. Without question, the development of this technology would give the Federation an enormous advantage over the Klingons, wh we know will develop the cloaking device. The only problem is navigation over long distances is not reliable, and in one attempt to reach the colony, Discovery nearly ends up burnt to a crisp when it reappears inside the corona of a star.
Burnham settling into her new surroundings is assigned to the science division and given the task of learning more about the gigantic insect-like creature that she and the away team encountered before that nearly killed them. Her assignment is to find out what its made of that makes it so tough and to try to find a way to weaponize it somehow. Burnham discovers the creature, now nicknamed “Ripper” by Landry is an unusually large version of the usually microscopic and nearly indestructible Tardigrades (also known as water bears or space bears). She notices the creature is affected when the ship utilizes the spore drive (for lack of a better name) and concludes there’s a possible connection between the two.
Right about then Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) who has been assigned to keep Burnham on mission arrives and loses her patience (along with her mind). Landry decides to do something reckless and opens the enclosure that the creature is penned up in with disastrous results. As Burnham had begun to suspect the beast only attacks out of self-defense and when Landry shoots it, it goes nuts and makes mincemeat out of Landry, who dies from her rash impetuousness after Ripper is safely back in its pen.
Burnham enlists her roommate to bring her a container of spores and Ripper loves it, and it seems to have a calming effect on the savage creature. She shares her findings with Stamets, and they transport Ripper into the spore arboretum where it makes itself right at home. It seems to be in communication with the spores and just like that the solution for the navigation part of the spore drive problem ends by integrating Ripper into the system. Discovery carries out her mission saving the colony without a hitch and in daring fashion in a brief battle with some Klingon raiders. The only drawback is it seems the solution may be causing Ripper discomfort and damage.
On the Klingon side of things, Kol is eager to live up to his newly acquired social status as the torchbearer for T’Kuvma’s message but supplies are running low, and so is morale. He receives help and counsel from T’Kuvma’s former female associate, but it’s not clear what her agenda is in all this, only that she has no desire to be in charge but prefers to work more covertly. Kol is at least smart enough to recognize she is more astute than him. They visit the Shenzhou for some technology they need to get their ship fully operational. Its the only ship with the cloaking device and while they are away his crew gets bought off with food from underneath him by the captain of another ship that feined friendship earlier but who now orders his aide to kill him. She suggests abandoning and stranding him alone on the Shenzhou instead which they do, and she arrives shortly after and explains it was to save his life. She seems faithful and sincere in wanting to help him but why is still not clear. There was also a statement that implied a very grisly fate for Captain Georgiou a the hands of the Klingons.
Another great episode and the series is showing no signs of slowing down, with so many revelations and significant developments so soon I have to wonder what sorts of surprising and unusual directions and new wrinkles the series has in store for us further down the line. It’s got to be pretty extraordinary and remarkable.