Star Trek Discovery; The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

Welcome to my recap of episode four of Star Trek Discovery, The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry (wow that’s a long title).

I’ll be looking at each episode, pretty soon after it has aired. This is the first TV Trek since 2005, so dust off your Wesley Crusher dressing up costume and get ready to Boldly go once more.

Episode Three – The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

This blog contains spoilers so if you haven’t watched episode four yet – What are you? A green-blooded hobgoblin? This review will definitely contain spoilers for episode four, so this is your last chance! Ready, the review is below the photo, so let’s go.

Damn it man! I’m a writer not a Mycologist

The episode concerns the Klingons attacking the federations’ main source of Dilithium crystals and Discovery is ordered to intervene. We discover more about the spore-drive (still getting used to this as a concept) and get an epic look at how the synthesiser works, which is very cool. Burnham takes her place as an official member of the crew and is tasked by Lorca to weaponise the creature they salvaged from the Glenn, which turns out to be a giant Tardigrade, or water bear.

I absolutely loved the scenes with the water bear, named Ripper and for me this is classic Trek. Burnham believes this species is not hostile and befriends it. Ripper is cute and even gives Burnham a little kiss on the shoulder as they connect and she discovers Ripper’s use in operating the spore drive. Burnham looks horrified as Ripper is clearly distressed when put to work as the Discovery’s super computer and this gives us an insight into her compassionate side.

There is an interesting scene where an admiral gives orders to Lorca and he’s eating, a seemingly deliberate act that breaks protocol but seems a tad passive aggressive and petty. This tells us that Lorca is answerable to someone but is not afraid to flout the rules.

“That’s not fair I wanted to talk to my mushrooms.”

Stamets is put out that Ripper can communicate with his precious fungus and he offers light relief throughout, his sardonic wit reminding me of Scotty. We also get our first look in at the ship’s Doctor, my instagram pal Wilson Cruz. Overall this is a solid episode, it is the sort of quieter episode I hoped for but at times it did feel a little too slow.

Phasers set to “that was fricking awesome.”

When the Discovery jumps, its front saucer spins and it looks abosulutely stunning, the effects in the show are incredible. We get a shout-out for Zefram Cochrane and Elon Musk!? Creepy fact of the week is that the Klingons had Captain Georgiou for breakfast, this is a deliciously (pun intended) creepy detail.

Sadly we say goodbye to Commander Landry, we will miss your icy frown and lack of personality. I was shocked by this death but for me it lacked any emotional punch. Is this the first death of a major character in Star Trek since Tasha Yar or do we need to brace ourselves for a Game of Thrones style no one is safe from the Grim Reaper style show? And have we ever seen a dude’s threat ganglia on full display on TV before? I don’t normally display my ganglia until at least the fourth date.

The scene where Voq (the albino Klingon) returns to the bridge to find his followers cavorting at the feet of a new leader made me think of Exodus (the book of the bible where Moses finds his people worshipping a false idol), and I can’t help but wonder whether this was deliberate religious allegory because these Klingons are following a new messiah.

Beyond the Guardian of Forever

So the spore-drive allows the Discovery to transport anywhere. This seems way beyond the capability of anything we’ve ever seen in Trek before. It takes Q’s intervention to take the Enterprise far enough to first encounter the Borg. So what are your theories on this? Is it a piece of technology they trialled and it ended badly? Is it Section 31 dabbling in illegal tech and it’s all top secret so that’s why we’ve never heard of it?

What continuity hits and misses did you spot?

Burnham through the Looking Glass

“Curiousor and Curiousor thought Michael.”

We discover that Burnham is curious and shows a Vulcan like zeal for sticking to scientific principle. Captain Lorca appears more nuanced in this episode and I have to say I am a big fan of him standing on the bridge, he is very all action in his approach. He shows his tactical brilliance by getting the warbirds to crash into each other as he comes to the rescue of the colonists. But as my long suffering partner pointed out (long suffering because I insist she watches Star Trek with me, she should be thankful I haven’t fallen properly off the wagon and bought a Captain Picard onesie), Lorca doesn’t stick around to help the colonists in the clear-up job. This leaves me still convinced he is working to his own agenda and my Section 31 theory remains un-debunked.

A special mention to Glenn and Valerie at the Lower Decks podcast who very kindly gave this blog a shout out on their latest episode. Their show reviews each episode and it’s awesome, they have a lovely sense of humour, very insightful observations and a clear love for the show.

This is our first proper series episode and I think it suffers a little as a result because it is less action packed. The change of pace is jarring and there is too much exposition, with Lorca constantly growling ominous statements like “I study war.” It’s as if the writers have a massive hammer, let’s call it the “the hammer of foreshadowing” and they’re going to keep hitting us over the head with it until every last single one of us gets the fact that Lorca’s war leanings clash with his crew’s pursuit of exploration and science.

My last minor complaint of the episode is the Klingons. I’m not loving them at the moment and having all their scenes subtitled is wearing, mostly because they sound weird, and Voq really looks like the master from Buffy. So from now on we’ll refer to him as the Master Klingon.

I’ll leave you with my mad theory of the week, which is the overlong title of this episode is alluding to Kodos “the Executioner.” (not quite a butcher but a killer of people) from TOS episode The Conscience of the King. Kirk survived the massacre of Tarsus IV and the spore-drive is run on fungus which destroyed the food supplies on Tarsus. I can’t help feel that we will see Kodos at some point and Discovery will tie-in to events on Tarsus. It’s all about the mushrooms people.

Join me over at the Trek Talk forum if you want to discuss it further. Overall I thought it was great and I’m optimistic about next week.

Until then live long and prosper

John is a writer and clinically diagnosed Trekker. You can get the latest news about his published work at his website The World Outside the Window.