Overall, this episode is the strongest one yet. There was less Cadet Tilly than Ep.3. Again the ship is interesting and beautiful. The CG and special effects in general are great. I admire all of the work that has gone into the show’s visuals, trying to get small details right, making things look simply outstanding. I simply wish that the writers would give all of these other people working hard on the show their fair shot. They continue to write something which flies against the vast majority of Trek canon, and continues to present Trek as a JJ Abrams action flick rather than anything resembling the higher calling of Trek. So much of this episode didn’t even make sense that my rants on individual scenes are long and twisted. Killing off Rekha Sharma the way they did was bizarre and meaningless, given that they sacrificed a senior officer aboard a ship to learn that a creature was actually not violent except when the red-shirt shoots it? Anyway, for some reason I had a more positive overall impression of this episode than the first three. Maybe I’m becoming more tolerant of the fact that they have truly destroyed Star Trek. Let’s hope not.
Do you accept the EULA?
We get to see the replicator technology here at a microscopic scale, to which I will say “neat.” Burnham replicates a new uniform for herself, thankfully ending that contrived bit of prisoner nonsense in the last episode where a Starfleet prisoner would be transferred around with standard convicts who apparently all for no reason want to kill her. But enough of that really, because now we get to see Cadet Tilly again. Is her only purpose here to be as cloying as possible? Couldn’t this package have been delivered by some crewman who delivers mail and we could have been spared that whole wasted scene. Tilly says the first sensible thing she’s ever said which is “less words.” So instead of being clearly marked, the package asks her if Burnham accepts the last will and testament of Captain Phillipa Georgiou. Perhaps these types of containers should be properly marked so that you don’t get a shock like that? Anyway, for dramatic effect she shoves it away under her bed.
Burnham to the Bridge for Five Seconds
Saru was in the turbolift already when Burnham went in. He is upset that she is on the crew, and she inspires his threat ganglia to wiggle around.
When they get there, there is a combat situation. It ends in failure, despite having a fully staffed command crew, so for some reason they couldn’t take on two small destroyer sized Birds of Prey (maybe) with a Cruiser or Battleship size and strength vessel. Did these people never get any combat simulations before being promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant, or Commander? Anyway, Lorca seems convinced that the reason that they’re bad is that his ship is full of explorers, which he finds rather annoying. Strange, given that this is the purpose of Starfleet.
Lorca takes Burnham from the bridge to his (secret?) lab where he’s keeping the creature. He explains he wants Burnham to do scans and figure out what it’s made of because it’s essentially an unstoppable killing machine.
Wait, No One Fixed Their Ship?
We find out that T’Kuvma’s ship has been stuck in the binary star system since the battle, for six months, during which they have salvaged parts from nearby ships. The two main Klingons on the ship are discussing what to do next. The female proposes that they salvage from the USS Shenzhou. Voq disagrees because of some nonsense that Klingons would never even consider. A Klingon who has died in battle goes to glory in Stovokor, and the spoils of war consist of the property of your defeated enemies. Instead he seems not to want to board the vessel and take necessary components which would allow him to press the war, secure glory in battle, and overall be Klingon. Anyway, she convinces him that they need to get the dilithium processor from the USS Shenzhou.
A second and most bizarre point: No one has gone back to the site of the battle? Starfleet has ships out there! The Shenzhou probably could be salvaged and repaired. And the enemy Klingon vessel has been sitting there disabled for six months, and no Federation attack fleet has come in to make sure that they got them all? This makes absolutely no sense. Neither side would simply abandon all of their disabled ships out there! Ships are valuable to a war effort, and salvage for the purpose of refitting or even just decommissioning would be extremely important. Perhaps less for Starfleet, but more for the Klingons with the cloaking device, Starfleet, if they had any sense, would have swept in months ago with twenty ships, captured T’Kuvma’s vessel, now disabled in space and reverse engineered any technologies aboard! Nothing in this scene makes any sense at all.
Its not a Monster, its a Tardigrade
I know that there’s been recent research on tardigrades, and yes they can survive in the vacuum of space, some species can survive very high temperatures, and low temperatures, 30 years without water, etc. However, a space tardigrade that somehow out in the insanely large vacuum of space found the USS Glenn? This is a bunch of crap exploiting new results but with no sense of an explanation of why or how any of it makes any sense. (They offer explanations later, and I’ll get to them when they get there.)
Yet Another Stametz Argument
Lorca finds out that Corvan 2 is under attack and has exactly 6 hours of shield generator left before they fall to the Klingons. Apparently Corvan 2 produces 40% of the Federation’s dilithium and yet no Federation ships were assigned to protect this absolutely vital point in their supply line. Why? Who knows, because Lorca lies to his superior about being ready to make the jump using the drive. The drive just destroyed the sister ship Glenn, and yet he says that a jump is totally possible and he’s ready to execute it. What human being would do that? Operate an experimental technology that seems to have malfunctioned for a reason they cannot even vaguely explain and killed everyone on the other ship and damaged the ship beyond repair. So the next ship will simply take their technology, without even half the understanding that the USS Glenn probably had from repeated testing, and execute a long distance jump into combat.
So, here we go to Stametz, and here is the first scene where I kind of like him. He explains the tech that they recovered from the Glenn. They don’t understand it, and it seems to require a “supercomputer” to operate. The Captain behaves like a caveman, giving orders and not seeming to even vaguely understand the complexity of the science required. This is one thing that I hate about the new movies of Trek, and I’ve hated about many new shows and movies. They simply underestimate the time required to do research, and to understand and solve problems. Stametz’s behavior makes a lot of sense, telling the Captain that they do not understand the problem well enough and are not capable of doing what he wants. The Captain seems to be insulted that Stametz is trying to point out reality.
I do like the idea that jumping in this way is probabilistic in terms of the path taken. This is in my opinion a good use of current quantum theory in Trek. On the other hand, we have the mention of a Hawking Radiation “firewall.” What the hell is that? Hawking Radiation is the process where a black hole can radiate particles because of pairs of virtual particles forming near the event horizon. Ok, ok, so it’s just technobabble, but they should try harder.
Back to the Klingons
Oh lord. Kol comes back and claims that he’s going to help out. No he’s not. Make Kronos Great Again.
Jump Status: Sporetacular
They engage in a test of their spore based jump drive. Clearly not ready, they jump. A star appears, and they’re falling in. Given the vastness of space, if gravitational fields cause an attractive effect even in the jump, one would have to be extremely careful, and they got hugely lucky that they exited the jump right outside of the star, rather than 40,000 km underneath its surface. They pull out of its gravitational well and go to warp.
The Sickbay Ultimatum
In sickbay, Stametz has a massively broken and disfigured nose. A medical officer is fixing it as he moves around, a standard Starfleet problem, keeping patients from wiggling around while their hugely serious injuries are being fixed.
Captain Lorca comes in and the two “catty” officers bat at each other. The Captain understandably doesn’t care and wonders why the ship didn’t go where he wanted. Stametz had an opportunity here, and takes it to say “I warned you, Captain, time is an essential component of science.” Very good, and he’s right. The Captain is rather insane, their ship isn’t ready for the jump (even though they will magically figure it all out in the next few minutes), but really there is no reason to know that. Stametz threatens to leave, Lorca says that he’s selfish.
Rippy the Gator
So Ripper the Tardigrade is about to be set free. Why you ask? You saw it in the previews and wondered “well why would they do that?” Now we get to find out. Commander Landry, a Starfleet officer, and presumably a completely insane person gets fed up that science has taken longer than 2 hours or so to understand some mega-space tardigrade and to reverse engineer all of its properties. My god, how could Burnham still be working after 2 hours of science?
So, she grabs a phaser rifle and gets ready to cut off a claw of the thing. She sedates it with a sedative presumably geared towards humans or mammals. Why would such a chemical work on a space tardigrade? No idea, but it doesn’t! Burnham thinks its a bad idea, but clearly releasing the thing that killed a dozen Klingon warriors in armor is a great idea. Not only releasing it, but setting it free in a confined space, with two squishy humans to kill. Commander Landry of course shoots at it, and it becomes enraged and jumps on her and rips about 80 gashes into her.
Burnham traps the creature back into the force field pen, and transports Landry to sickbay. The doctors pronounce her dead. So, the second or third officer in rank, a Commander in Starfleet is killed doing something that is beyond completely insane, and then the whole crew seems to not really care. Even the Captain seems relatively unfazed by all of it. This set of scenes makes no sense, and worse, they killed Rekha Sharma by making her character an absolute idiot for no reason, like she was some red-shirt from an Original Series episode. This is really inexcusable in so many ways.
Skipping the Klingon scene for the next Tardigrade scene, now Saru is down in the lab with Burnham, lured here cryptically for help. She starts to apologize for her poor treatment of him from the Shenzhou. But the real reason is that she wants to gauge how he reacts to the creature in the pen. His threat ganglia don’t activate so she concludes that it is not a predator. Wow. How could she figure that? Maybe his threat ganglia aren’t activated because he feels safe with the force field? Or maybe, they’re just completely incompatible species, and his threat response shouldn’t be used to judge anything for any reason with such an alien creature? Any doesn’t it really just measure his own emotional state rather than any innate quality about the creature itself? So in the current moment with the forcefield, he doesn’t feel threatened, so the creature really poses no threat. It ends up she’s right but she had no reason to conclude this logically, and many many reasons to conclude the contrary.
Now Tilly comes in and she’s not terribly annoying for once. She brings Burnham spores to test on the creature. So she opens the forcefield again and on the same day when it shredded their security chief. Of course she’s right but logically and scientifically she had no reason to believe it, and far less reason to risk her life and the life of a Cadet just to test the theory. If you think that’s bad reasoning, get ready for a lot more!
She figures out that the Tardigrade is actually a supercomputer that solves their navigation problem. She explains all of it, including why they found the thing on the lower decks. The lower decks having many functions, and not knowing exactly where, they simply agree, oh yes it must be exactly one of the things without any actual evidence. So the Super-Tardigrade can “converse” with the mushrooms (spores)! What? I have spelled out my significant objections to this whole spore nonsense, given that it makes no sense. Spores from a mushroom exist all over the universe? How? Why? What? How can spores escape a planet’s gravity? How can those spores get around the galaxy so easily? Why wouldn’t we find these mushrooms on every planet? Wormholes, some kind of quantum entanglement, anything would have been a better technobabble explanation than this. My hatred for this spore idea is significant, perhaps even infinite.
The Battle over Corvan 2
They figure out that they have to hook the Tardigrade into one device, and then they get access to the whole galaxy essentially. Wait, isn’t that exactly what the USS Glenn did? And isn’t that exactly how they got inverted? Does anyone even vaguely know what happened to them and how to fix it?
So they jump to Corvan 2 and take out 2 birds of prey immediately. They then sit there and let a number of others close in on them as they sit and don’t fire. Finally they jump out and leave torpedoes behind, which then explode and destroy the rest of the vessels. But how did he know they wouldn’t evade, or there wouldn’t be survivor Klingons? They leave the mining base damaged, undefended, and with hundreds dead and wounded. They never send medical teams down, never offer supplies, never help to get the mines back running, they simply leave.
The Second Mutiny
Now it’s the Klingon’s turn to mutiny. They haven’t been fed, and their leader wouldn’t do the necessary things to fix their ship and leave the battlefield. So a Klingon leader finally comes back and overthrows Voq and his second in command by feeding the other Klingons. This seems very un-Klingon to change allegiances like that, so just like the Starfleet mutiny which was out of character for Starfleet, this seemed way out of character for Klingons who pride loyalty to their Houses and honor above all. So they strand Voq on the Shenzhou and as they warp out, his second comes to him and tells him that she has a plan for him to become more powerful than you can ever imagine. But he has to sacrifice everything. Ok, so that was cryptic. But we’ll wait until we know anything to deal with that.
Georgiou gives Burnham the telescope that was in her ready room on the Shenzhou. With her dead, who thought to retrieve it but not the mount that it was attached to (still left on the ship). She recorded a positive message for her former first officer. Overall a good scene.
I’m curious what is going on. They have android crew members? Or some kind of humanoid shaped robots. What is exactly going on here? Data was the first android to serve in Star Trek. And no one seems to notice them or really be bothered that there are androids on their ship. If this show were placed after TNG-VOY-DS9, then it would make sense that people could start building more androids, but they are before the Original Series, so how can they have androids which seem to have emotions maybe, fully artificially intelligent, before Data? It doesn’t even seem like anyone watched enough Trek to understand why this is a problem for making sense of canon?