Diving right in, let’s start with the Klingons. There’s actually quite a bit that develops on their side of things, especially for Voq, the T’Kuvma-appointed Torchbearer. He’s now running things in T’Kuvma’s stead and it looks like things aren’t going so well.
After the Battle of the Binary Stars with Starfleet and the beginning of the war, Voq and his newly’s acquired crew were left stranded (and also starving) with a less than fully-functioning ship. What do they need to fix it? Apparently dilithium, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away…on the remains of the Shenzhou. The problem with retrieving it, however, is that Voq is adamantly opposed to any sort of assimilation with the Federation, including the use of their technology.
His second in command, L’Rell, eventually convinces him that it’s the right thing to do but, while they are gone, Kol plies the starving Klingons with food and ultimately takes control of the ship.
L’Rell feigns a betrayal of her own, but it’s soon discovered that she did so only to save Voq’s life. At the end of the episode, we see them both aboard the derelict Shenzhou planning their escape and what comes next.
Meanwhile, Starfleet (clearly not starving due to the fact that Captain Lorca is enjoying one tasty looking meal!) is having troubles too. A major Federation dilithium mine is being attacked by Klingons on Corvan II. After Admiral Cornwell informed Captiain Lorca of the predicament, explains the U.S.S. Discovery is their only possible change of rescue, and asks about the readiness of the spore drive, he promises them aid.
Only, the spore drive isn’t actually functional yet.
Our first encounter with Burnham this episode shows her preparing a new Starfleet uniform. It’s rankless, but she still appears very proud of her new outfit. Tilly enters with a box intended for Burnham, who quickly realizes it’s a gift left to her by Captain Georgiou’s. The unopened inheritance pod is promptly slid under her bed and she heads to the bridge. Along the way, she has a very brief (and awkward) interaction with Saru in the elevator. He and his threat ganglia think Burnham is dangerous and it’s obvious he’s shaken by her continued presence on the ship.
The doors open to what turns out to be a mock battle simulation conducted by Captain Lorca.
Let’s just say, he’s not impressed. He leaves Saru to run it again…and again and again, while he gives Burnham her new assignment.
The unknown creature from episode 3 is back in play and, I’ll admit, much sooner than I anticipated. Burnham is tasked with figuring out how to weaponize it, at all costs. Landry is also assigned monster-detail, but the pair seem to be at odds from the very beginning.
Landry believes the thing is a blood-thirsty beast, while Burnham feels that: 1) There’s not enough data to know for sure, and 2) The data they do have available actually paints the so-called monster as docile and safe.
Unfortunately for Landry, her brashness and assumptions (as well as pure, unadulterated stupidity, in my opinion), result in her untimely death.
Burnham is shaken, but still convinced that the creature isn’t naturally a killer.
To prove this, she invites Saru into the lab to “apologize.” Her primary goal, however, is to see if Saru’s threat ganglia respond to the presence of the so named Tardigrade. While his ganglia sense no threat, he does figure out her game and is far from pleased.
Despite Lieutenant Stamets’ persistent warnings that the spore drive will not work properly, Captain Lorca give the jump command to Corvan II.
As the scientist predicted, it doesn’t work and the ship materializes inside the gravitational pull of star. They manage to escape unscathed (well, mostly…Lieutenant Stamets ends up with a nasty-ass broken nose) and the delithium miners are running out of time.
One good thing does come from the botched transport attempt. Burnham realizes that the Tardigrade is somehow connected to the spores. It takes some convincing, but she ultimately convinces Lieutenant Stamets to help with her research. They release the creature into the spore forest and, after some discussion, decide it’s the missing navigational piece that will make the spore drive functional.
And it works! The U.S.S. Discovery arrives just in time to save the remaining miners o Corvan II. It’s an impressive bit of warfare. The ship arrives directly over the settlement, lures the Klingon combatants in, and drops their missiles just before jumping away again. Nice work team; great job!
Only…the whole process takes quite a tole on our newfound best-bud, the Tardigrade. It’s easy to see Burnham’s concern and guilt over its suffering when the spores are activated.
For her, the victory is, quite obviously, bitter-sweet. She attempts to care for the creature by bringing him some spores, but the damage is done. I think her internal battle over the morality of hurting the Tardigrade and protecting the human race from Klingons will play a prominent role in future episodes.
This is further supported when Burnham finally finds in Captain Georgiou’s inheritance box. Inside is a beautiful and very, very, very old telescope. It’s Captain Georgiou’s kind and loving words, however, that hit close to home. “Take good care, but more importantly, take good care of those in your care.”
What do you think, folks? Any strong opinions regarding where the season (and show) is going? Please remember to share your thoughts! I’d love to hear them!