In case you weren’t already aware, we have arrived at the Star Trek: Discovery midseason finale! The episode airing this week will be the last we see until the series returns in January. Hopefully, we’re in for a great showing…especially because of last week’s episode, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” kind of lacked in the action department. Let’s take a quick look so we’re all up to speed.
First, here’s an update on the Klingon side of things. We already know that Admiral Cornwell is being held prisoner on Kol’s ship and, apparently, she’s remained quite tight-lipped with important Starfleet information. Enter L’Rell, our human-handsy Klingon interrogator, who apparently wants in on Kol’s ship cloaking technology, for which she pledges her loyalty and offers her services. Kol agrees to provider her ship with the cloaking technology if she’s able to pry valuable information out of Admiral Cornwell.
L’Rell’s intentions aren’t so straightforward, however. Once alone with the admiral, she admits that she wants to defect and begins planning an escape – something Admiral Cornwell’s agrees to surprisingly quickly, in my opinion. Things go as planned until the retreating pair are spotted by Kol. In order to hide her betrayal, L’Rell kills (or pretends to kill…it’s a little unclear) the admiral. She provides a pretty piss-poor explanation and then says she will dispose of the body. In the process of doing so, she finds the bodies of several Klingon comrades Kol has apparently killed.
Deeply distraught and thoroughly angry, L’Rell interacts with Kol. She offers up some very generic intelligence she “discovered” before Admiral Cornwell’s untimely demise. While he certainly isn’t happy with the situation, it seems for a moment that Kol intends to bring her into his fold as an official interrogator. This, however, isn’t actually the case. In fact, he’s onto her deceit and takes her prisoner instead.
Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Discovery responds t a call for aid from a fellow Federation ship under attack by several Klingon vessels. Captain Lorca and his crew try desperately to save the other ship, but ultimately fails. Stamets’ ability to handle the spore drive is also failing. The most recent jump leaves him disoriented and he’s quite mean with Cadet Tilly after mistakenly calling her “Captain.”
A quick conversation between Captain Lorca and Admiral Terral tells us that a total of three Starfleet ships were destroyed and that the U.S.S. Discovery’s current mission is absolutely imperative.
So what’s our favorite crew up to? Not much. Unfortunately, the mission includes only Burnham, Tyler, an Saru. They are on a small, seemingly uninhabited planet called Pahvo.
Their goal? Find a way to use a naturally occurring crystal structure to detect cloaked Klingon vessels. As they make their way to the crystal, they encounter a new lifeform on the planet. This changes the parameters of their mission, as they must now get permission from this sentient being before utilizing the structure.
This proves to be an arduous task, as first a basic vocabulary must be established before true conversation can begin. Saru takes this task on and seems positive about the outcome, but is also struggling with sensitivity to the planet’s “singing.” While he works, Tyler and Burnham have another intimate moment. It’s a tad marred, however, when Burnham reminds him that her sentence was for life and, once the war is over, she will be sent back to prison.
Saru, overcome by the planet’s noise, eventually asks the Pahvans for assistance. They give it easily, but their help has an unfortunate side affect…it drives Saru a little bonkers. The next morning he’s overly excited and tells Burnham and Tyler that the Pahvans have agreed to help. The plan requires their communicators, which the two hand over eagerly, only to stand helplessly by as Saru smashes them with his hands. The solution, as it turns out, is that the three of them abandon their mission and remain in perfect peace and harmony with the Pahvans instead.
Obviously, this doesn’t really jive as a viable option for Burnham and Tyler. They conspire together (although Tyler ultimately pulls rank) and decide Burnham needs to proceed to the crystal, complete their task, and contact the U.S.S. Discovery. Tyler tries to distract Saru, but the ruse is quickly discovered and Burnham doesn’t quite manage to get the job done. She and Saru fight briefly before the Pahvans appear (along with Tyler), interrupting the confrontation. Despite Saru’s frantic begging that they stay out of the Federation’s problems, the Pahvans reestablish communication with Starfleet and the three are beamed back aboard.
So, what was the reason for Saru’s lapse into insanity? Well, it wasn’t really a lapse. As he explains to Burnham, his species is born afraid and they remain that way for their entire lives. The Pahvans provided Saru with his first true taste of freedom from that fear and he couldn’t resist the urge to maintain it. He sought to protect the Pahvans’ peaceful way of life.
And protect, apparently, they will have to do. As is their nature, the Pahvans seek to harmonize all things – including the Klingons and Starfleet. To meet this end, they send a message to Kol’s ship. As they arrive, Burnham explains that the U.S.S. Destiny is the only defense the planet has and that they must protect the Pahvans.
While this week’s episode wasn’t extremely eventful, it does set up nicely for immediate action at the beginning of the midseason finale. What were your thoughts on “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum?” I’d love to know your predictions moving into the newest episode this week!
I was surprised that the Admiral died before Discovery could rescue her, yet another way this Star Trek is a colder universe than the one we’re used to. But it does look like they are setting up for a Klingon civil war, or at least a Shakespearean betrayal, which will be fun.