Star Trek Discovery; Will You Take My Hand?

This is my recap of episode fifteen and the Season One Finale of Star Trek Discovery, Will You Take My Hand?

Season 2 is confirmed and on its way in 2019 so we have a lot to look forward to, so dust off your “Starfleet Guide to Averting Atrocities by Committing Genocide Policy Document” and let’s do this.

Episode Fifteen –Will You Take My Hand?

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

Damn it man! I’m a writer not an Orion Arm’s Dealer

The episode opens with the Klingons approaching earth and things looking bleak for the Federation. Evil Georgiou does nothing to play the role of Captain as she is horrible to the bridge crew and makes quips about eating Saru. Burnham is finding it hard to play along with the charade and she challenges her evil step-mommy in front of the whole crew. Burnham and Georgiou have a frank walk and talk and the emperor tells Burnham she has no follow through. Georgiou bristles with menace and Burnham plays along for now, but this definitely qualifies as the worst idea Starfleet has ever had.

Georgiou attempts to acquire information from L’Rell by beating it out of her. Michael puts a halt to it by suggesting they use Tyler as an alternative source of information. Georgiou calls Tyler a half-breed doubting his usefulness. Tyler is tying a knot as it reminds him of his human childhood. He agrees to help them, accessing his Voq memories to infiltrate Qo’nos. This starts a partial mending of Burnham and Tyler’s relationship. Georgiou decides to put Ty-Voq on the away team, partly because he is useful and partly because she knows it will upset Michael. She also takes Tilly along because she had so much fun with Captain Killy subjugating the Betazoids.  Tilly always brings a lightness and humanity to Discovery and she does the Terran salute, and Burnham tells her not to do that.

“‘You will know Fear because it speaks very fast and it speaks very loud…”

They dress as “low-life” and head to a sector of Qo’nos run by Orion pirates to try and find the location of a cave where they can release a mapping drone. They split up to gain the information they need and Tilly tells Burnham she recognises how difficult it must be having to work with Tyler again. The episode is good at being action packed but also finding the time to have these moments of character development, Tilly may have forgiven Ash but she also gets it from Burnham’s perspective and it’s nice to see this friendship develop. Georgiou’s method of obtaining information is to hire a couple of local sex-workers for some “me-time.” Meanwhile Tilly accidentally gets high and when she awakes from her drug haze she checks the drone and realises that it in actual fact it isn’t a drone and that Georgiou is planning on exploding a bomb that will ignite the dormant volcanoes on Klingon; obliterating most of the Klingon homeworld.

Burnham and Tyler play a Klingon gambling game and Ash reveals some things about Voq. Burnham tells him how her parents died and Tyler says that it is no wonder she hates Klingons and hates him. She remarks that if only things were that easy. She reflects on the fact that all species deserve to live their lives and although she found it hard to see Tyler get his Klingon-on she grows to accept that Ash is still there and that the course of action that Starfleet has set them on is not right.

Tilly calls Burnham to tell her what Georgiou is planning but she is discovered and the mischievous ex-empress knocks Tilly out. When she comes around she finds Tyler and Burnham and they attempt to stop her. Burnham calls Discovery revealing that shockingly Georgiou’s orders have come from Starfleet, she has not gone rogue. They contact Starfleet and give Admiral Cornwell a lecture in Federation principles, in doing so she convinces Cornwell to try something different, she tells her that we cannot commit genocide. Cornwell tells them “We don’t have the luxury of principals”, but Burnham insists that’s all we’ve got. The whole crew threaten mutiny and Cornwell agrees to their plan.

Burnham confronts Georgiou and challenges her to kill her and interestingly she cannot do it. She offers Georgiou her freedom and she then hands over the bomb’s detonator to L’Rell asking her to use it against the other Klingon houses, holding them to ransom and allowing her to take charge of the Klingon empire. She agrees and the Klingons abandon their attack on Earth to deal with the conflict that is now happening on their home world. Georgiou leaves and it is a fun thought to think that she will still be running around the universe, so hopefully we will see her again.

“I might as well be a dog on water-skis”

Tyler decides to go with L’Rell, to act as an emissary, a bridge between the humans and Klingons. He hopes he can help bring peace. I am not sure about this decision, after he has gone through so much to retain his humanity. Before he goes he reconciles with Burnham, she tells him that she can see him now, all of him.

Burnham and crew are awarded medals for bravery from Starfleet high command and given a standing ovation. The war is over. We then cut to Burnham having an emotional reunion with Amanda and then she speaks with Sarek who admits that he played an unfortunate part in almost making the wrong decision. The issue around Sarek isn’t really resolved for me in this episode, for him to be part of sanctioning genocide seems distinctly un-Sarek and his “well that was awkward, sorry.” half apology doesn’t fix my perception that there is something not quite right about him. This is no reflection on James Frain’s portrayal (I think it’s great) but more the lines he is being given and the things he is being shown to have done, don’t add up. As I mentioned before in some of the expanded universe novels Sarek is revealed to have a slightly shady past, so maybe this is something the writers are aware of and they are building this into the characters’ back story.

The award’s ceremony appears to take place in Paris, so I wondered whether this means the HQ for Starfleet is now there and if so, what happened to San Francisco? Stamets declares that Starfleet are looking for a non-human interface for the spore drive so for now they have to travel the old-fashioned way. Burnham’s record is expunged and she is re-instated, a just reward for all her efforts. Sarek reveals he is to travel with the Discovery back to Vulcan where they will pick up their new Captain. So is the new Captain a Vulcan? Or is the new Captain going to be prime Lorca? We will have to wait some time to find out and we also have to wait to find out why a very famous ship has hailed them asking for help.

Hailing Frequencies Open

Wow, what a journey this has been. Discovery has wrapped up in spectacular fashion but also unexpectedly it has ended with a fairly neat resolution. I know that some of those following this blog have voiced fears that Discovery was heading in a Lost type direction, with lots of plot threads and no resolutions. I think this episode allays those fears but leaves us with enough interesting threads to whet our appetites for another season. Some people, I guess, (again I haven’t read any other reviews or commentaries, so this is just my speculation) might say it was all too neatly resolved but my view on it is that we have spent the whole season building a story around these characters, with the Klingon conflict as the backdrop to everything, and around Burnham trying to achieve redemption. By modern film and TV standards that’s quite a long game to play, the writers have allowed 15 episodes about the Klingon war, that’s quite a bit of space for a story to breath. And we haven’t seen the last of the Klingons, we all know they will be back and presumably they are going to be pretty pissed off.

I am also guessing that some will say that Starfleet would never have sanctioned the destruction of an entire race but I am not sure that is true, we have seen plenty of Captains come into conflict with the top brass, and defying orders to maintain the Federation’s ideals. In Undiscovered Country we see a faction of Federation people conspire to prevent peace with the Klingons. From a writing critique point of view Cornwell was probably swayed a little too quickly by Burnham’s impassioned speech, but I liked it overall. Because what this plot line allowed was for Burnham’s story to come beautifully full circle. Her triumph at the end contrasting directly with her shame at the beginning. Her crew mates now standing with her instead of against her. The scene where she tells Cornwell about the Federation’s principles was a real “O Captain, my Captain” moment.

Did anyone spot Clint Howard (brother of Ron)? Who has now appeared in TOS, Enterprise, DS9 and Discovery. He played the creepy volcanic opium guy who got Tilly high. We found out that they do indeed have g-strings in space in a bar full of the sort of scum and villainy that Obi Wan would be proud of. The final twist at the end where Discovery meets the Enterprise was an exciting moment, as the first letters of its registration came up I was shouting at the screen, it’s the Enterprise, it’s gonna be the Enterprise, and bless my photon torpedoes it was, as it was announced that Captain Pike was hailing them. What a way to end the show, and the recreated Enterprise looked brilliant, after the meh-ness of Abrams Trek and how silly that Enterprise looked it was great to see the Enterprise in its original glory (albeit shinier because of the modern tech). The episode ends with the original music to play us out and I have to admit it is a delight, perhaps fan service, perhaps a little cheesy, but it made this Trekkie very happy indeed.

So my Disco comrades the end is here. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported and followed the blog, we have been a hardy but loyal group. Your feedback has meant so much (and has spurred me on) and the discussions in the forum have been thought provoking and useful in shaping the direction of the articles. With the first series of a new TV Star Trek having completed its run, how was it for you?

I have had an absolute blast and apart from some minor grumbles (still too violent etc.) and a wobble about 4 episodes in when I wasn’t really sure I was enjoying it, I have absolutely loved this show. It’s not exactly what I expected but it is more than I hoped for. It is a story about a diverse bunch of characters with challenging story lines, and I think the show by the end has also offered me a little bit of the hope I felt was missing in the earlier episodes. The great Lorca betrayal sorted most of the concerns out and new heroes took centre stage, Saru, Tilly, Burnham and Stamets easily stand up against some of the characters from previous series.  This show also looks and sounds great. What do you think Discovery will discover next? Who is the new Captain going to be? Will we meet Kirk and Spock (fingers crossed none of these storylines involves an aged Shatner cameo)? And what does the future hold for L’Rell and Ty-Voq. I am excited to find out and I hope that you will join me when Discovery returns some time next year.

If you want to delve deep into Discovery one more time for this series, join me in the Trek Talk forum where the chat boldly continues.

“Yes, that is who we are, and who we will always be.”

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. Live Long and Prosper.