Star Trek: Discovery: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 1, Episode 9: Sloppy Showdowns

Then there’s the conversation between Lorca and Stamets near the end of the episode in which Lorca approvingly says, “You’ve opened the door to a whole new era of exploration.” There has been no indication that Lorca has any interest in this. (A side note: Anthony Rapp plays his fourth version of Stamets here. Previously, we’ve seen Grumpy, High, Exuberant and now, Rational Stamets.)

Jason Isaacs was a compelling choice to play Lorca — and he’s done the best he can with the material he’s been given. The show, at some point, is going to have to make a decision as to who Lorca is.

The rest of the episode had its problems too. Let’s pause and quickly discuss Burnham and Tyler’s mission to place sensors on the Klingon ship. The Klingons have to decloak to fire on Discovery, so their shields are down for a split-second, allowing Burnham and Tyler to beam over. Why do they have to transport over to place the sensors? Why not just beam the sensors over directly after activating them on Discovery? And to make the Klingons seem even more incompetent, somehow the Klingons don’t detect that two humans have beamed on their ship.

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It was always unclear how Kol was able to amass so much support for a war that he himself seemingly had no interest in early on. And yet, after his ship is destroyed, Lorca is told by his superiors, “The war is not won yet.” Why? The Klingon’s best ship and their leader was just killed. T’Kuvma was killed. Kol didn’t seem like he had much of a second-in-command. Who will be our next underdeveloped villain?

What worked

1. The universal translator

The writers found a nifty way around having the Klingons speak their native tongue. It solved a problem the show had created by making subtitles a prominent guest star of any episode featuring Klingons. This marked the rare occurrence in which I was interested in what Kol had to say. Of course, he was killed off shortly after, but hey.

2. The battle

Impressive work here by the director Chris Byrne. In many “Star Trek” episodes, battle scenes somehow manage to make the Starfleet ships look weak. This happened all the time in “The Next Generation.” And in “Generations,” the first big screen foray of Captain Picard and his crew, the Enterprise-D’s shields go down almost immediately thanks to an old Klingon Bird of Prey. In “Nemesis,” the Enterprise-E is barely a match for the Scimitar. Here, we were shown the title ship’s true prowess.

What didn’t work

1. The Cloak foil

Continuity within the “Star Trek” universe has been broken repeatedly over the past several decades. As I’ve written previously, some TV series have been more blatant than others when it comes to this. (Why do the Borg appear on “Enterprise”?) That the Discovery crew was able to figure out a way to circumvent a cloaking device, when Picard and the Enterprise were unable to do so centuries later, didn’t make any sense to me.

2. L’Rell

As with Lorca, the show doesn’t seem to know what to do with L’Rell. It is unclear to me why Kol didn’t kill her as soon as he thought he was being deceived. He exiles her to a room with a bunch of dead Klingon corpses, so it’s not like Kol has any qualms about that stuff. And after teeing up L’Rell’s apparent willingness to desert last week, it seems odd that we wouldn’t have seen some conversation between Cornwell and Lorca. But then again, Tyler still might be a spy — more on this in a second.

Is Tyler a spy?

That second is now. Tyler seems to put all the spy talk to rest. He is frozen by the sight of L’Rell and seems to experience serious post-traumatic stress. Or does he? Are those flashbacks of torture or changing his physical appearance?

He also seems to have flashbacks of L’Rell sexually assaulting him. Or was it actually consensual and this is our old friend Voq? And there’s that weird scene in the brig. I’m not sure of what the endgame here is for L’Rell. I’m also not convinced I care given how little we know about any and all Klingons in this show.

Did you catch that?!

The callbacks have lessened in recent weeks, but I will say that the next episode looks like it will be a “Voyager”- type story arc, where the ship finds itself far from home.

That’s it for us until the show returns in January. Thanks for following along so far.

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