Review: Saru Finds His Side Of Paradise In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Episode 8

Expect more Kelpiens in season 2

REVIEW: “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, Episode 8 – Debuted Sunday November 5th
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by John S. Scott

Star Trek: Discovery goes exploring, giving Doug Jones a chance to stretch his hooves and grow the character of Saru on a truly strange new world. “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” evokes a number of classic Star Trek episodes, which comes as no surprise from first-time TV screenwriter Kirsten Beyer, author of multiple Trek novels and “keeper of the canon” within the Discovery writer’s room. Together with director John S. Scott, she delivers the most emotional episode of the series so far. And true to the title (which translates as “If you want peace, prepare for war.”) this episode feels like preparation for next weekend’s mid-season finale and a big confrontation with the Klingons.

Discovery finally goes to a strange new world


Party time is over

After having some fun in the last episode with some actual disco and a visit from Harry Mudd, this week’s quickly sets a new tone by kicking things off in the middle of a frantic space battle with the USS Discovery jumping in to save the USS Gagarin. Jason Isaacs is in his element as Lorca barks orders to a crew that still seems unprepared for war as they struggle to find Klingon targets and protect the other ship. In the end, the Gagarin is destroyed and the Discovery spores out before it is next.

The shipboard scenes are mostly a sideline for this exploration-focused episode, but we do learn a bit more about what is going on with Lt. Stamets. We have moved past the groovy stage and are now starting to see there is some price to be paid for the tardigrade DNA injections as he appears to be losing touch with reality, or possibly time. Ever-nosy but helpful Tilly has swooped in to help monitor these changes. In a brief but surprisingly heart-breaking scene Anthony Rapp nails it as a man in a no-win situation. Just like with the reintroduction of the war, the message here is, the Stamets party is over too.

After another fun briefing where Lorca gets insubordinate with an admiral, the early scenes effectively set up the dilemma for the episode, and perhaps more. The tide seems to be turning against Starfleet, who are struggling to counter the invisible cloaking technology, now being widely deployed by Kol. As Lorca intones “There will be time to grieve. This is not that time,” we know the clock is ticking on this war. Even the secret weapon that is the USS Discovery isn’t enough, they need a game changer.

These Klingons are not fighting fair

Talk to the cloud

In this episode Team Game Changer is Saru, Burnham and Tyler who have been left on a planet called Pandora Pahvo to figure a way to turn a giant singing crystal thing into a giant cloaked ship detector. After some fun banter teaching us a bit more about Kelpians – they can run 80 kph and have super-senses – the team soon find out that this uninhabited world is not so uninhabited after all.

In a classic Star Trek moment we find out that not only is there intelligent life on this planet, it appears the whole planet is some kind of single sentience that manifests itself to the crew as a sort of swirling glowy cloud. Not only that, but Pahvo seems to be like its own little Federation as it seeks harmony with all the elements of the planet and hopes to reach out and make contact with the rest of the universe. And as a side-note, it was a delight to finally hear someone on this show say “Greetings, we are explorers from the Federation Starship Discovery.”

And this was not a planet with forehead-alien of the week. “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” introduces us to something that feels unique and was effective in driving both the plot and character stories for the season. It was an interesting and daring choice to not have the alien entity ever fully materialize into some kind of form or even ever overtly speak. Pahvo is truly a strange new world that was worthy to visit.

Say hi to the cloud everyone

Again with the Klingons

This is another episode where Klingons get some focus, possibly too much as they often drag things down with Discovery. We were promised that this over-arching war story would reveal more insight and empathy for the Klingon perspective. Yet, for the most part they are just joyless thugs yelling at each other. That being said, Mary Chieffo’s L’Rell is an exception as her nuanced portrayal of L’Rell continues to intrigue. This time we have this admitted weaver of lies show up on her old Sarcophagus ship, trying to weasel her way into Kol’s trust as a ruse to get her into a room with Admiral Cornwell, who was captured at the end of episode 6. 

L’Rell’s motivations remain a mystery. We certainly do believe her when she calls Kol a “petaQ” with no honor. But, are we buying L’Rell’s desire to defect with Cornwell? Does she possibly have other motivations to get on board the USS Discovery? These questions are deliciously left unresolved through some scenes with good dynamic with Jayne Brook, who continues to surprise as Admiral Corwell. Hopefully, even though we last see her seemingly lifeless body dragged around the ship, this isn’t the end of Corwell’s story on Discovery.

Just a little bit of primal scream therapy

Dances with Saru

Back on Pahvo, it isn’t clear how aware this sentient-planet-group-consciousness was of other life in the galaxy. Burnham hand-waves away any issues with the Prime Directive saying now that everyone has met, they might as well jump to First Contact protocol and try to convince this peaceful harmonious planet/being to become an an ally in a war it has nothing to do with. What could possibly go wrong?

After spending some quality alone time with Pahvo, Saru takes a different view. Doug Jones stretches his acting chops here as he is transformed into a suspiciously cheerful and confident Saru. We soon learn that Kelpians are crazy strong as he crushes the team’s communicators with a smile, offering  “Do not be alarmed. These are no longer necessary.” It turns out he is now one with Pahvo and they are all going to stay and be happy, peaceful, harmonious and free of fear.

But Burham has other plans as she returns to the mission to use the crystal tower, leaving Tyler behind to distract Saru who is tripping harder on harmony than Stamets on space shrooms. Saru gives chase to Burnham, showing his inner gazelle as he runs through the forest, with effective cuts between live action and effects making us believe the amazing speeds he can achieve. He also can deliver a mean donkey-kick.

The final confrontation between Burnham and Saru is gut-wrenching as he tells her that she keeps taking things away from him. We soon find out that Saru isn’t being possessed by the planet as it brings Tyler over to join the crowd. We later find out that Saru had been transformed through the planet’s harmony draining him of all fear, a constant for his prey species. It was the real (albeit “compromised”) Saru that turned on Michael and the mission, all to hold on to the peace of Pahvo, and to keep it out of the war.

The going native storyline has been seen before in Trek, such as with Spock in “This Side of Paradise.” But this episode didn’t feel like a copy and in fact dug even deeper revealing much about Saru. We believe and ache as he tells Michael “My whole life I have never known a moment without fear.” His reaction to fear-free bliss provided by Pahvo may be more evocative of how Data was tempted by the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact or how Odo was drawn to the Great Link throughout Deep Space Nine. And when a character is drawing favorable comparisons to Spock, Data and Odo, you know that Discovery is truly coming into its own. Doug Jones shines in this episode as he finds ways to express all the needed range of emotions through the layers of prosthetics. 

Still a few issues to work out between these two

Pahvo is for lovers

On top of everything else going on in this episode was some more romance with Burnham and Tyler. Martin-Green and Latif go through the motions as they further their romantic bond. Things certainly seem a bit rushed when Tyler suggests abandoning the mission and the war if it means keeping Burnham from returning to prison. Beyer then provides some fan service by using the Vulcan “needs of the many” aphorism to lead the the pair’s first kiss (at least in this timeline). 

Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones have shown excellent chemistry since the pilot, especially when they fall into their bickering sibling dynamic. This tension only increased as Saru is compromised by the planet. Poor Shazad Latif and his Lt. Tyler almost feel like a third wheel on this mission. Without the need to further the Tyler/Burnham romance arc for the season, the episode may have been stronger with just Burnham and Saru on Pahvo.

Guys, the whole planet is watching you

OK, who called the Klingons?

Things wrap up quickly back on board the Discovery. Turns out Planet Pahvo has decided that it’s time for the Klingons and the Federation to have a nice chat. So, instead of a Klingon detector, they turned Pahvo into a Klingon attractor… oops. We still don’t fully understand Pahvo. It is a classic super-powerful force, but we still don’t know what its intentions are on the spectrum of others like Organians, Metrons, the Borg and others.

At just over 41 minutes, the episode feels a bit short and in some ways like the first part of a two-part finale. It’s a good thing that CBS decided to move episode nine up as even though “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” was a strong outing, it would not have sufficed as the mid-season finale.

The middle portion of this first season of Star Trek: Discovery continues to deliver solid episodes. Maybe not as good as the last couple of outings, but “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” provided excellent character development, a welcome return to exploration, and dynamic action, all presented within a classic Star Trek framework. The anticipation it sets up for the fall finale next weekend is almost too much to bear without a sentient planet to take away the anxiety.

Lorca is not amused

Random thoughts and easter eggs

  • Second episode in a row with no intro/teaser.
  • USS Gagarin presumably named after first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
  • Tribble is back on Lorca’s desk.
  • Singing blue plants of Pahvo are reminiscent of those on Talos IV in “The Cage.”
  • Did the Pahvo cloud make anyone else think of Melllvar?

USS Gagarin


Star Trek: Discovery is available on CBS All Access on in the US and airs in Canada on the Space Channel. It is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada.

Keep up with all the Star TrekDiscovery news at TrekMovie.

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Great episode. I especially enjoyed the beginning action battle scenes to start off the episode. I did find it interesting that the USS Gagarin strikingly resembled the Enterprise NX-O1 and NX-326 USS Franklin.
Are these in the same starship class?

More of the same lineage not same class.

I find the editing really annoying. My brain is striggling the process the action and the scenes because of how quick the cuts are.


I agree, the editing/photography is obnoxious. Camera is constantly moving, tilting, CGI lens flare, fake dust in the lens, etc. Trying so hard to be realistic they’re just simulating a movie made by amateurs.

One of the many things that I like about Star Trek Continues and that I always appreciate is the classic style in which it is filmed, without that epileptic camera movement.

The space action is distorted. Some of the CGI I have seen in Discovery has been good. A lot of it in this latest episode seemed particularly poor this time. I may have to watch again though. The quick editing and stuff is really a ballache.

Slow down, please!

I actually thought this episodes CGI space battle was the best and clearest from the show so far. I felt all the ones till now have been too jerky and edited, this one felt better to me.

True. Suru running was damned awful. It almost took me out of the episode.

Yep, agreed. I don’t get the need for the ‘speedy cam,’ especially during the space shots. Budget, maybe?

DataMat, I honestly think these days filmmakers expect people to watch things multiple times to make sense of them.

Doesn’t make sense to me; when we tell a story it should be understandable the first time through. I do like food for thought and sometimes look back at things [“did he really say THAT?’] but a story, a song, or a movie should be audibly understandable and visually understandable. There are times when they want us to empathize with the characters and see the same kinds of confusing images, and I can get that to a degree.

My brain struggles to process some of the dialogue, because some scenes are nearly mumble-core in bad quality. I really don’t like having to crank up sound to hear voices when I can hear everything else fine.

And get off my lawn, you young sound engineers!

Yep both the opening starship battle and subsequent ‘away team’ exploration of the planet were handled really well. We even got some Star Fleet regulations stated! Definitely feeling more like Trek now. Very happy with this episode.

Personally I feel the Klingons are lacking in this series when considering what was teased, as mentioned in this article. Not getting much aside from bickering, with exception to L’Rell. It’s a toss up between her and Lorca for who is my favorite in the series. Her character is so good for the screen time she has had. Wish we had more though of the Klingons to digest.

These Klingons are simply boring. Their ship designs too – Yikes!!??

There is really only two Klingon leads and i find them both very interesting and well acted and very different from each other – Kol & L’rell.

The more L’rell appears on screen, the more interested I am in her storyline and plan. And I find Kol to be a badass.

Im thinking L’Rell might be successful in “defecting” to the Discovery where we’ll get more character moments with her and learn more of her perspective. Perhaps her plot with Voq ends the war by over-throwing Kol and bringing a united Klingon Empire based on honor.

TUP, that is a fascinating idea! I suspect it’s more like L’Rell will go to Disco to “activate” Tyler or otherwise savage any peace process [she was a T’Kuvma loyalist after all]. But we could be pleasantly surprised.

I agree with you on her and Lorca, although Burnham and Stamets are at the top with them IMO!

It occurred to me when she Kol had no honor. Its not like we’re seeing that over-all Klingon honor thing. And its always been more of a false mantra anyway but when she said that, it made me think perhaps she would instill a sense of honor to her people.

And maybe its Michael’s relationship with Ash (if he’s Voq) that influences him and L’Rell to “win” the war by over-throwing Kol and creating a better way forward for the Klingons but not exactly a peace with the Humans.

So a begrudging end of hostilities but still a desire to stand apart and be their own people.

If Michael’s relationship dopes influence this, its a way for her (as the “cause” of the war) to redeem herself not just in reality but in the eyes of Starfleet.

Agreed. L’rell is captivating.Those eyes of hers just speaks volumes.

This was not at all a bad episode, and in fact I find myself agreeing with most of what the reviewer liked about it. Its first fifteen minutes or so are taut, suspenseful, and genuinely wondrous all at once. But based on early raves about the script and the really excellent trailer, I was hoping for a great one. Maybe it’s Harry Mudd’s fault, as the exposition about the Klingons that was put aside for the last show had to be shoehorned into this one. Maybe the guy who put together that trailer, which implied a heartbreaking emotional journey for Saru that we really didn’t get, should be writing and producing Discovery himself. But while I wouldn’t call #8 DSC’s worst show, for me it was easily it’s most disappointing.

I agree. Making out on an away mission? Meh. Great start/battle then boring Saru. 3 stars.

That’s really not what I said.

That’s not what Michael was saying. But I suspect you know that.

Sorry, Michael. I think I hit the wrong “reply” button.

I wasn’t quoting you. I agree with what you said, but I can also have an opinion, right?

Yeah, we could have used an additional ten minutes of Saru’s journey. I would have liked to see him struggle with the choice and let us really understand the perpetual “pain” he suffered through his fear.

Perhaps a technique of showing us his perspective on the planet with the high pitched ringing (so we understood how it effected him) and more of the “fear” shots, leading up to the sudden elimination of both and a state of peace. I think we needed to feel that more.

Maybe more visceral reaction on Saru’s part to the ringing, but I think the state of peace definitely came across. Kudos to Doug Jones. He brings a lot of dignity to his character, and he acts very well thru all that makeup. I forget it’s makeup, which is great.

What I really liked about this episode was Saru. I wasn’t really cool with him before, but I feel I’ve gained a window into his character.

Dude needs regular vacations on this planet ;^)

Agreed. Doug Jones does a good job playing fearful and peaceful but I was wanting to experience more of his internal struggle. The rhythm was a little too fast for my taste.

Yeah like maybe everytime Saru sort of winced or mentioned the sound, they could play a quiet but high pitched noise that we, as viewers would find annoying. And then when they did that zoom in on Saru when he was communicating with the aliens, increase the volume, give us some annoying strobe visuals and then a sudden silence. Let us experience an uncomfortable sound ourselves.

My Random thoughts:
Lorca needs a new tactical officer on the bridge
Exex Producer on After Trek said next week will be “Balance of Terror” good
Engineering seems so void of activity. Tilly the only other person besides Staments?
We aren’t really seeing much below deck stuff as advertised, but that’s a good thing
Defection is so out of place. Must be a ploy. Me thinks she needs to get on DSC to activate Tyler into his true self ;-)

Yes, Engineering does seem rather de-populated from the first few episodes.

Favorite line from Lorca, “[officer name], could I trouble you to [take action]?” BWAHAHAhaha

I loved seeing tricksy L’Rell drawing Adm. Cornwell into her scheme! Chieffo and Brook were great together.

Jason Isaacs and Sonequa Martin-Green are the BOMB. I-I-I seeee fanfic

Well the set we’ve seen so far isn’t actually our classic “Engineering” I.e the room with the warp core. It’s “just” the room that houses the DASH drive interface.
Annoyingly the writers/editors seem to forget about that sometimes and have Lorca contacting Engineering and cutting to the DASH chamber.
It’s all down to the PoV of the show being Burnham. Culber isn’t the CMO either, we haven’t even met that guy (unless it was the guy in the timeloop episode examining he Gormagander).
Stamets isn’t the chief engineer either, he’s just the guy in charge of the DASH drive.

No, that’s Engineering.

His favorite tactical officer, Ash, was on the away mission! I guess the “Beta Shift” bridge crew isnt that good…lol

I agree about L’Rell. But I think there are multiple motivations. She doesnt really want to defect, but she does want to get away from Kol. She wants the Discovery. And I agree, its to reunite or activate Voq/Ash.

I wonder if they’d end the season with the Discovery destroyed. That would be something, considering the name of the series!

“Disco destroyed”

There are plenty of Enterprises…

True but I cant see them doing a Discovery-A so soon

I’ve wondered how long until there’s a USS Gagarin, I mean c’mon, all things considered. I even named one of my Star Trek Online ships USS Gagarin months ago. Nice to finally see.

Also, just binged the last season of DS9 this weekend after not having watched it for a while (thanks Netflix), and realized how much of a sibling Discovery feels to DS9. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. Season 2 will I’m sure feel different (the beauty of it really is that each season will feel different if they hold to their making).

It’s definitely the spiritual successor to DS9. Once some of the kinks are sorted the 2nd season should be even better

I agree with the DS9/Disco kinship … that could be why I, too, like the show so well.

I have been very pleased so far with this new series, its interesting and heartfelt characters, its good [if sometimes hole-y] plots, and the outstanding acting, costumes, sets, and most of the effects.

[If you’ve seen my comments over any period of time, you know I don’t really notice SFX unless they’re bad. I just take them as part of the “design of the world.”]

Re: USS Gagarin, and they blew it up! At least it looked like a better ship than USS Grissom. Named for NASA astronaut Gus Grissom. Poor guy had one capsule sink after landing, killed in Apollo 1, then Star Trek gives him a wake little namesake destroyed by Klingons.


On a similar note I was hoping to see in TNG or their spin off shows or even the TNG features a USS James Kirk. I thought he Defiant in DS9 would have been a perfect USS Kirk.

Very true.. I like the USS Tiberius a little better… personal preference :)

I liked the action sequence with the Gagarin, great seeing more of Airiam, she teases intrigue. Loved the interaction between Lorca and the Vulcan Admiral.

Were did this magical planet come from or did I miss some exposition.

I’m sure that’s not the last we have seen of Admiral Corwell though and liking L’Rell but the klingon language and subtitles really take you out of the episode.

Lots to like in this episode but as with several episodes things feel rushed.

Yeah the length of the episodes is my main gripe with the show. This week’s episode was only 40 minutes. What’s the rush? You’re on a streaming platform. There’s no need to sprint through the episodes like this. I do get the feeling the show’s producers have a mandate from CBS to keep it under a certain length, either because of the ad-supported CBS AA tier or with a future look at distributing the show on cable/international tv at a later time.

i definitely agree and feel that this episode could have benefited from a few extra minutes.

I was going to include that in my mid season evaluation. The show lengths are a bit unexpected. 41 minutes make it fit right in with current commercial filled hours. One of the benefits of streaming is no need to shoehorn the episode into a set time limit. Yet CBS seems to be limiting it. Although most episodes have been about 45-48 minutes. I’m wondering how it is appearing on the Canadian Space Channel. Is it still the full time limit or are they editing it to fit an hour?

It fits the hour. This one had more commercials. If I recall, it “ended” at :52 minutes to the hour so I thought there might be another segment, but it was a long commercial break (which I FF’ed through) and came back for end credits.

I believe there have been episodes that ended just past the hour. My PVR auto-adds time if needed (the only time it didnt was the premiere which was delayed due to football so the guide wasnt accurate). They definitely would not edit the episode “down” to fit an hour. They’d over-run. Its not uncommon for shows to over-run.

That’s on them to re-edit the episodes later if that’s really an issue, and with the Netflix deal, I seriously doubt that’s a factor at all, certainly not one which should hamper the producers and editors at this stage. Someone really should ask why a streaming-only series is churning out such short episodes. None of the plotlines this week were deep by any definition of the word, and any one of them could have used another scene to flesh these characters out.

We were watching the CBSAA advertising tier and the ep was STILL short. We had to wait some 10 minutes for “After Trek.”

Pissy of CBSAA, I thought.

They probably have to air After Trek at its scheduled time regardless. But Im curious as to why the episode was so short. I assume just a director/editor decision feeling that was the episode. But we know there were deleted scenes…

Just curious if I was hearing things. When Saru rule was trying to sleep and he was listening to the sounds of the planet, did anyone else think it sounded an awful lot like the transporter SFX from The Cage or Where No Man Has Gone Before?

You weren’t hearing things. Or, we both were, as I was thinking exactly the same thing.

Glad it wasn’t just me. Also sounded like a TOS phaser SFX just as that sequence started.

Yep, not just you, I’m sure they did purposefully :-)

So, here”s a random comment…

Why does L’Rell have two different coloured eyes in her “torture” scene with Admiral C, but then they are both the same colour later on?

Just a nitpick I guess, but it was so obvious that it really stood out to me.

I had the same thought. I figured it was just the difference in how the scenes wet lit but since you saw it too maybe something else was happening. Maybe a plot point or production error.

She could be wearing colored contacts and during the filming of one scene it was bothering her eye?

True. Maybe Mary Chieffo suffered from a bad case of conjunctivitis during the shooting of one scene?

I sort of thought the same but when I looked closer, her eyes were still different, just lit different. I think.

I just posted this on another page, but is it possible that the debate about Ash/Voq is framing the issue wrong? What if Ash has always been human, but was undercover as a spy among the Klingons? That would explain why Voq always felt so out of place. It would also explain why Ash seems so human. There is definitely something going on here.

Also, I took Saru’s accusation in the episode that Ash was hiding something as having a double meaning.

We simply don’t know. It’s Star Trek, so there are a LOT of possibilities. He’s Schrödinger’s Klingon at the moment and I love it.

We have to assume that “Ash Tyler” is a real person, Lorca checked his personnel file and poked him for details.
A couple of options:

“Ash” Is Voq in disguise, then imprinted with Ash Tyler’s memories to work as a sleeper agent.
“Ash” is Ash, but Voq’s conciousness has been transferred into his body as a sleeper agent. Voq’s body is just an empty shell somewhere.
“Ash” is Ash and the whole Shazad Latif Iqbal thing is a ruse by the producers, it’s the same actor playing both roles in an attempt to make the audience (we are an obsessive bunch) question his motives and add another layer to all his (inter)actions.

I think Lorca’s Tribble will be a key point in figuring this out. It has been conspicuously absent for a number of episodes, but was back this week. It’s been a massive tease for us fans.
You’d have to have seen Trouble with Tribbles or Trials and Tribulations to know that they are Klingon detectors, AND that Klingons have the capability to pose as humans, something Discovery has not told us. If you JUST go by what you’ve seen on DSC itself, there’s actually little to no reason to suspect Tyler at all. Mudd was blamed for passing info to L’rell, Lorca did some digging about Tyler and appears satisfied, Klingons look like they do, and the Tribble is just a cooing ball of fur that sits on Lorca’s desk now and then.
The only problem I have with the whole thing is I wonder how it is going to hold up on repeat viewing.
Personally I think Lorca is actually the sleeper and Ash Tyler is a red herring. That triangular scar Cromwell noticed is very ominous. I can’t quite puzzle it all together quite yet, but L’rell is key in this. She was very keen on getting on to Discovery specifically this week and that is not a fluke. Her plan isn’t just for the Klingons to win, but for HER House to win and preferably Kol’s House to be destroyed in the process.

Some great analysis/speculation, Hauke! I too agree that, whatever else is going on, it will probably come down to who L’Rell really is and what her plan is. I hadn’t thought about the tribble angle–I thought it was just amusing and harmless fan service. But maybe you’re on to something there.

You wrote about the possibility that ““Ash” is Ash and the whole Shazad Latif Iqbal thing is a ruse by the producers, it’s the same actor playing both roles in an attempt to make the audience (we are an obsessive bunch) question his motives and add another layer to all his (inter)actions.” I was thinking about that idea yesterday too. And, honestly, this is the only scenario that would make me angry. I don’t like it when storytellers spend more time thinking about promotional strategies and extratextual misdirection than on actually telling a good story. I’m not accusing DISC’s writers of doing this (the scripts have all been solid so far), but I just really hope this doesn’t turn out to be the case. I don’t want to see any more cheap “Cumberbatch isn’t Khan”-type BS in Star Trek.

The only thing that makes me question other theories is that Ash lied to Lorca in prison when he said he’d been L’Rell’s “plaything” for 7 months when we knew she had been stuck on the Sarc ship that whole time.

I had the same thought.

I’ve kind of cooled off on the idea, upon reflection. Only because I can’t figure out what the point of having Ash go undercover briefly, only to then end up back with Starfleet, would have been. Unless he was a terrible spy and it was aborted to protect him. Maybe Cornwell’s the answer to this question.

I want to go back and rewatch all the early episodes, but I’ve been saving that for after the mid-season finale.

I enjoyed it a little more my second go round.
I think Anthony Rapp oversold (on AfterTrek) the episode last week when he described it.
I think having to have this episode work with what happened before and what’s to come hindered it.
I really like the battle scenes in the beginning.
The scenes with L’Rell were great

Am I the only one who can’t wait to see how the Constitution Class starships will look in the Disco-verse?

like how they looked in tos and tmp I guess

Id take TMP Enterprise as a starting off point, to be honest.

I very much expect them to modernize it something like this:

That’s Gabe Koerner’s design that IMHO should’ve been used for the JJ films. But maybe they’ll put it to use here, if they have the rights to do so…

I like it. Who is the ship designer for Discovery now?

John Eaves

Oh right. Yeah he’s been the long time designer.


Haha no

I liked that the whole planet was singing, but poor Saru was unable to cope with the sound, highlighting his alienness. And yes, I loved the callout to Talos IV and its blue plants :^)

I also thought the Pahvo beings were like the Organians, seeking harmony above all, and loved the “radio tower.”

For some reason, the “flirting” Tyler does with Burnham seems to fall flat: not that Martin-Green isn’t good, but I’m not convinced Latif is up to her acting level. [If he did indeed portray the albino Klingon, though, he has real chops in that role.]

I love Tilly [almost always do], but I think the writers should remain aware that she shouldn’t be addressing officers by their first names unless invited to do so [which is pret-ty rare in the military]. I like that Stamets resorted to his senior rank to shut down her questioning.

AT LAST we learn of the strengths of the Kelpiens! [Up until this episode, I had thought Saru belonged somewhere other than a Starfleet ship, like as a senior officer in a Science or Admin or SF Academy area. To assign him to front-line duty seems awfully cruel.]

His newly revealed strengths, and Saru’s bliss at being on Pahvo, helped me to like his character a lot more. I was not as convinced as Anthony by the visuals of him running [seemed a bit choppy to me] but overall, I think the episode was another in a series of REALLY GOOD portrayals of Starfleet at war.

I think Saru should get some shore leave on Pahvo in the future; it would help him cope with his undoubtedly high cortisol levels [if Kelpiens have an equivalent hormonal system], poor guy :^)

Kudos! to Doug Jones.

Also I really like the use of astronauts’ names for vessel names.

I apologize for the run-together paragraphs. I’ll use *two* “returns” in the future for long posts, folks.

No worries, always a pleasure to read your stuff. Wished I liked this one as much as you did, but of course I’ll give it another go during the hiatus.

@ Marja – The paragraphs only run-on in the unexpanded view, when a comment gets too large it is collapsed and there’s a “Read more >>” link added, when you click it, all your line breaks come back and you see the full comment.

There’s a lot to like in this one, I think. Immensely enjoyable. You can feel everyone’s really finding their feet now, both with the cast, the characters themselves and the production staff. A little bit more confidence each week.

Doug Jones and Mary Chieffo are working wonders under that make-up. Chieffo, in particular, is able to do all her acting through her eyes (even in the long shots…!), something not one of the other Klingon actors have been able to manage so far. She’s doing a remarkable job, considering the prosthetic limitations. Great stuff. Love her character, even if some of her motivations seem too convoluted. No doubt we’ll get some clarity next week.

I’m assuming the admiral is still alive and that L’Rell dumped her escape plans once she discovered her clan had all been killed by Kol.

Starting to think the Voq/Tyler thing is a red herring at this point – although no doubt that’s exactly what the writers would love me to think. His physical appearance I can live with if it’s been altered but he just seems way too familiar with human customs and culture. A Klingon dancing at a party? Also, surely Saru would have been made aware of any nefarious behaviour (even of a Manchurian candidate variety) after last night’s melding? I’m actually going to be disappointed if this goes as we’re all anticipating.

If I’ve nitpicks, they’re the same issues that have been apparent from the start, and to lesser or greater degrees in every episode so far: shorter seasons means compressed plotting and the feeling the characters are simply being pushed along – sometimes way too quickly and forcefully. Same problem I had with GoT last season. I like the story being told, just not always crazy about how the show itself is getting us there. In a perfect world, I’d actually have liked to have 18, maybe 20 episodes of this after all so that the show could relax and breathe a little. Vulcan logic extremists, Burnham’s discomfort trying to balance her Vulcan upbringing with her human nature, Lorca and the admiral’s relationship – all things I’d have liked to see fleshed out a little more.

Anyway, I loved this one overall. The show’s not perfect yet, but as a first season I couldn’t be happier. Good stuff ahead, methinks.

Definitely a middle of the road installment, but it was good character development for Saru– much needed. the Odo comparison is pretty apt, as they werent quite under alien influence, but neither were they truly acting of their own accord. The difference here being that saru did not appear to regret his actions.

All in all a very TOS vibe, even down to the slighlty over the top fist fight at the climax of the episode. Yet still we won’t hear the end of “it’s not Star Trek!”

I hope those naysayers, even if they still cling to that desperate straw with tears in their eyes and fists clenched to the heavens, will give it a rest.

While “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”, with its cohesive structure and liberal amounts of humour, left me with a smile and a lot of hope (both, from an in-universe perspective but also concerning my view on the show itself), “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” sadly delivered a lot of what I didn’t like about the show in the first place. Firstly, I’d like to point out that I still have no real general dislike for the show and I also have no “episode ranking” in my head since I’m ready to wait and see how each individual episode will fall into place and fit into the overarching plot. But now I think that I can put my finger on this more general concern of mine: The story structure here was pretty much plot stacked atop of plot. No room to breathe and no room for finesse. And it’s not the first time I felt that way. While compared to later series, the TOS-crew was sometimes rather quick to jump to conclusions, the DISCO-folk seem to be even quicker, with no room for debate or consideration whatsoever. I sorta doubt that’s generally the writers’ fault, since it rather seems to be a problem regarding the series “organisation”. Case in point: In this episode, as you might have observed, the Klingon- and DISCO-plots converge only at the very last second. Up to that point we had our battle-prologue (whatever happened to pre-title teasers?), a promising exploration-/strange-new-lifeform-plot (and boy was I happy to see the Burnham & Company finally getting some much-needed fresh air!) and an intriguing Klingon-plot (cause, you know, it’s all about intrigue… ha ha… ha…hawww…) which however just… didn’t really unfold, if you ask me. Simply because both plots stood in each other’s way. The Pahvans could’ve been an interesting new species and their interaction with Saru could’ve added a lot to the character… but in the end we pretty much just witness Saru getting really unfriendly and not much more. Why not spend one more minute on the more interesting plot-thread that was Saru trying to establish communication with the species? And how could Burnham be so sure that Saru was telling the truth about the Pahvans wanting to assist Starfleet, when only a few minutes before they apparently tried convincing our trio not to move on towards the “antenna”? That’s what I meant by “quick to jump to conclusions”.
The plot just moves on at a breakneck pace for no other reason than there being the B-plot (plus Stamets’ ordeal offering a hint of a C-plot) which takes up quite a bit of story-time even though, as far as I’m concerned, it might’ve deserved even more time since I’m really starting to like the character of L’Rell more and more (wasn’t it nice to finally hear a Klingon call someone a “petaQ without honour” again? – I really really miseed that – no joke). So the narration just breezes through plot point after plot point and only pulls a stop at – what did Kayla call it in the last podcast? MASH? BYLER? – anyway, the Burnham/Tyler-romance subplot, but only to show us that it might be a doomed romance (new nickname suggestion for the show: Star Trek: Doom and Gloom) even if fan theories turn out not to be true.
The resolution of the episode offers a nice twist… only it’s not a resolution but a cliffhanger; and here’s my old gripe again: If you’re going for such a highly serialised format, why not give the plot just a little “room to breathe”, i.e. let the audience draw their own conclusions, let the characters ponder the implications of their actions etc. etc.
PS: Yes, the name Melllvar did indeed come to my mind once the first Pahvan entity materialised

They could have added everything you’re talking about in the missing five minutes. “Boos” for short episode!

Absolutely! Five minutes might’ve done the trick.
I know that my comment is long maybe ranting in some places, but I perceive this as a broader issue. After all, a rushed pace does not only take away from a story’s possible subtleties, it’s also unfavourable to the show’s “basic tonality”.

I knew this episode was missing something, they should give us a complete episode dammit! 😁 I wish Saru was more likeable, he comes across as a real dbag most of the time now that I think of it. At the end was like watching a drug addict with is drugs being taken away, which made him capable or murder, lies and deciet.

That was exactly what they were going for though. It was the first time ever for Saru to feel truly safe, not questioning anybody’s motives, and be in harmony. He saw so much beauty in this place and such purity and innocence in the Pahvons, he was willing to protect them at great cost.
I don’t know if everybody will get this, and I see a lot of comments already questioning Saru’s capabilities, but it was a truly extraordinary experience for him.

And can I just add …

I hate the computer voice. It sounds like Alexa or Siri.

Yes, we viewers indeed felt ripped off at the short length of “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.”

After next week’s midseason finale, we’re not getting more DISCO until January 29th?? Way to kill momentum, CBSAA. Don’t be so dumb.

BSAA I mean CBSAA needs to improve streaming, for godsakes. LOADS of stops and slow re-load last week, and stops and stars this week.

Last of all, DISCO rocks! My Trek friends and I love it. It’s SO FUN to group-watch Trek!

And great pun on “This Side of Paradise” in your header, AP!

I thought the majority of the kinks from Lethe on CBSAA had been dealt with?

Sounds like it. As CBS stated, they had a 5% user issue and corrected it. One of the people here who routinely claims his All Access doesnt work is the same one who claimed he never used Netflix for the same reason. Its an ISP issue, not an All Access issue.

No issues with streaming quality here (Apple TV.)

@Thorny – none of the handful of people that complain will reply to you because it defeats their narrative that CBSAA sucks. If it worked fine for you then clearly its not an AA issue. Its a user (device, ISP) issue.

Have to disagree with you there. I’m enjoying the series IN SPITE of continual issues with the ALL ACCESS application. I’ve tried installing it on multiple devices, tablets, smartphones and even streaming from a web browser but, in every case, there are issues with playback. I’ve started waiting a day or two after the premiere, in the hopes that there would be less web traffic to create issues but I have yet to see a single episode play all the way through without stopping to buffer (or freezing video while the audio continues, which is only slightly better). A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start counting glitches and gave up after I passed 100. “Lethe” was almost unwatchable, though I gather there was some other issue going on that week.

I’ve noticed it with other shows on All Access as well. Very disappointing. If I didn’t like the show as much as I do, I would have cancelled my subscription by now.

By contrast, Netflix and Hulu do not display any of these issues. Just finished watching the first 7 Seasons of Shameless, only one glitch throughout. Seems like the issue is the CBS All Access app. :-(

Oh Im sure there are occasional issues. Even the Granddaddy Netflix has occasional issues. But too many people have NO issues for this to be an All Access issue per se. Have you contacted CBS? Perhaps there is minor issue impacting your area?

Well the show has a lot of postproduction and they only wrapped shooting on the last episode less than two months ago. I’m sure they actually need the time to finish the rest of the episodes. With holidays starting it makes sense. They already moved one episode up (otherwise this WOULD have been the mid-season break) so we will see soon what the setup for the break will be.

It might be convenient to have the break to allow for post production but I’d suspect its entirely a marketing gimmick to avoid the Holidays. Lots of shows do this.

And in keeping with shows like The Walking Dead, it creates a popular climax for the “mid season finale”, “Mid season premiere”, and finally the real finale. So you’re trying to juice the numbers a little bit by using those thing for hype purposes.

I feel like I read somewhere that Majel Barrett put her voice through the rigors of being archived for future use – every possible language sound recorded so that we could always have her along for the ride as the computer. Am I imagining that?

I agree Marja. The break is idiotic especially I. The world of streaming shows where even putting stuff up weekly is rare. The reason CBS is doing this is obvious. They are counting on people not canceling for two months while waiting for the next 6 episodes. Many will be too lazy to cancel and start up again. Worse case scenario for CBS is they get two more months of subscriptions from a percentage of their customers. It sucks for fans of the show but CBS makes a few more bucks this way.

Kirok – you keep pushing this argument (and you’ve been doing it when you posted here previously). Why do you think CBS is full of idiots? Do you think you know better than them about Television scheduling?

First of all, it is not “rare” to air weekly shows. In fact, CBSAA airs their shows weekly all the time. Its the norm for them. Other streaming services do it too, including Netflix.

When traditional cable channels take mid season breaks are they idiots too? Are they relying on people not cancelling their cable subscription? You cant apply your Anti-CBS tinted logic here.

You’re not a fan so it doesnt matter if it sucks, does it?

Shows take mid season breaks. It happens. You dont understand why, but that doesnt make CBS idiots (especially when you then imply it will make more money for CBS…so are they idiots or are they making more money??) lol

TUP, First of all, it is not “rare” to air weekly shows. In fact, CBSAA airs their shows weekly all the time. Its the norm for them. Other streaming services do it too, including Netflix.

Maybe Netflix in Canada. But Netflix US drops all episodes of a show, be it a Netflix Original or other show, at one time, on one day.

I’m not crazy about the way CBSAA is doing this, but [shrug] it’s still new Trek coming on a pretty regular basis. This mid-season break business, I don’t care for, but I know it’s been the model for most cable networks in the last few years.

We don’t have to love a service to watch it, and I think, as Trek fans, since we kvetch about the scripts, viewers are perfectly entitled to kvetch about the service they are using, if it sucks.


“Maybe Netflix in Canada. But Netflix US drops all episodes of a show, be it a Netflix Original or other show, at one time, on one day.”

It’s the same with Netflix Canada. All Netflix original shows like ‘Stranger Things’, ‘The OA’, the Marvel shows, ‘House of Cards’ … etc are released as you said at one time, on one day.

OP either has no idea what he’s talking about or is intentionally conflating between Netflix shows where the company is part of the actual production & other shows with “Netflix Original” tag on where Netflix have exclusive streaming rights but had nothing to do with the production.

Currently there are two CW shows ‘Dynasty’ & ‘Riverdale’ that Netflix have exclusive streaming rights in Canada, labeled as “Netflix Original” and the episodes are being released on weekly basis.

Streaming shows are released at once and without any break. CBS is just treating ‘Discovery’ as another network show, with mid-season break and network running time.


Just to clarify something you said, Dynasty and Riverdale are shown on a weekly basis in the US, barring the breaks one normally sees in over the air network productions that are virtually absent on cable shows and entirely absent on streaming services (except CBSAA). If Netflix has exclusive Canadian rights then it makes sense that they stream them when they are aired in the US rather than the traditional streaming way of all episodes available at once. For reasons that I would think are obvious to all but perhaps one person here. Regardless of what some who think they know everything might claim, CBS is indeed treating the show like it is a shorter version of a standard CBS over the air production. And not like every other streaming show. This ought to be obvious to all who have ever subscribed to a streaming service. That seems to be the way they just choose to do things. Maybe they do it with The Good Fight as well. I don’t know. I’ve never looked for it as it holds no interest for me. But the fact remains, CBS is handling the streaming of their original content differently than how every other streaming service handles theirs.

@Kirok – yes, it IS obvious, so why did you complain about them doing something different that other streaming services? HAHAHA

I made the point that many streaming services air weekly shows too, including Netflix which is absolutely true. So you can be snarky all you want to, but all you did was confirm I was correct.

If you want to compare knowledge, lets do it…lets debate. But whenever I ask you a tough question, you run. You just pop in with your irrational complaints that are usually completely wrong and dont want to engage in a real discussion or acknowledge you might be wrong.

So yes, thank you for agreeing with me! ;-)

@Marja – Ahmed helpfully corrected himself in his silly post below (always awesome with the guy tries to insult me but makes himself look bad in the process).

Netflix certainly has a trend of dropping episodes all at once. But of course, they DO air weekly shows as Ahmed states and as I mentioned. I never said ALL Netflix shows air weekly, just that “some streamuing services do it too, including Netflix”.

Where Kirok usually goes off the rails is that he compares all streaming services to Netflix. He’s done this when discussing subscriber numbers and assuming All Access needs to compete with Netflx’ 100 million subs. Which is no true.

Of course he’s also said in the past that he doesnt use Netflix streaming because it never works for him and only uses discs.

Where people really need to stop and think is when they post how weird, crazy, bad, aweful something is as if CBS is some evil empite set on aggravating people personally.

Its is NOT unusual for series to skip the holidays. It is NOT unusual for series to have mid-season finales. They do this because its good marketing. In the old days, they’d simply start airing re-runs for several weeks. Now they make it a big deal, increases viewership for the “fake” finale, increases viership for the “fake” premiere (the second premiere) and builds to the climax.

It makes sense. Do I wish they’d air all 15 at once? Sure. But then I can complain and say why doesnt evil CBS just create 1000 episodes and release them all at once? Its irrational. CBS is not the bad guy. This is not unusual.

As as Kirok states, they might get a few extra weeks of sub dollars…which is good for CBS and ultimately good for Star Trek fans too.

How are you watching the show? If some people report zero issues, it would seem to indicate less an issue with CBSAA and more an issue with the device you’re using?

In that way, I had a minor but odd issue with Netflix. When accessing through the app on my TV, it would say unable to load. But using my XboxOne at the same time, it would work. I have to chalk it up to my TV having an issue receiving the signal.

In the US I’ve had issues with Netflix because of interface with Microsoft Silverlight. More recently I’ve had to delete all current History off my internet feed before watching.

@Marja – and would you come here everyday for a year and say how Netflix sucks and needs to get their act together and that streaming as a technology doesnt work? No, you’ve correctly identified that its not Netflix, it’s Silverlight. There is a poster here that hasnt made that connection yet.

If we will ever see Cornwell again, I will suspect it to be L’Rell pulling an Ash Tyler.

Its amazing how Klingons with no direct experiences of human interaction or culture can just automatically act human like they were raised like one.

In other words, I hope not. ;)

Indeed, unless the Klingon Mind-Sifter can completely imbue a “new user” with body language, cultural knowledge and personality. Sounds like Trek nonsense science to me … hee!

Hmmm…thats not a terrible theory. Except it would go against what they did with Voq by having the same actor portray him.

This episode had a classic Trek feel to it with a mix of DS9. Great character development happening in this show.
Loving Lorca. What a fantasic character. He’s becoming my favorite on the show along with Tilly.
Nice to see that just because the Discovery shows up doesn’t mean the battle is won.
I agree that the show seemed short and needed something to give it a little more oomph to end. I’m glad this wasn’t the mid-season finale. Can’t wait to see nect week’s episode.
I really don’t think Admiral Corwell is dead. I have a feeling she was knocked out.

I hope she’s alive too.

Another weak episode in a series that has been full of mediocre episodes.

While we were told last week by Burnham that the Federation is winning the war thanks to Discovery, here we are told that they are losing the war!

The Klingon scenes were more of the same, posturing and speeches about loyalty. Kol ordering his men to take L’Rell away for allowing the admiral to escape was confusing since last thing we saw was the admiral being dragged to the room full of dead Klingons.

The scenes on the living planet were predictable & just boring. Burnham & Tyler romance seemed rushed.

It’s astonishing that CBS originally planned to end the first part of season one with such a mediocre episode.

I believe that it is safe to assume that a certain amount of time passes between each episode; that these events were a few weeks after the events of “Magic to make…” and not a day or two after. Tides of war ebb and surge unpredictably, as any student of history can attest.

So it would not be surprising at all that the disposition of the Klingon war would shift as technology changes. Discovery initially shifted the course of the war in favor of the Federation, but is only a single ship. As Kol disseminates cloaking technology to more and more Klingon ships, the tide shifts in the other direction. At some point, we can assume the Federation will find a way to negate the Klingon cloak and the tide will shift again.

We’ve certainly seen the flow of war time and time again in real wars here on Earth… no reason to believe the same would not happen in the future.


Kol has the cloaking tech since EP 4 ‘The Butcher’s Knife…’ that was in-universe couple months ago. At the end of EP 6 ‘Lethe’ we saw Kol promising to give the cloaking tech to a loyal house. He was already using it on his ships as well as giving it to other Klingon Houses in exchange for their loyalties.

The Klingons were already using the cloaking tech when in EP 7 Burnham said this in her personal log:

“This ship has quickly become the most important weapon in the Federation’s arsenal in our war against the Klingons. And because of her, the tide has turned. Because of us, we are winning.”

And then in EP 8, they say that the Federation is losing the war!

It’s lousy writing when they say in one episode that the Federation is winning, and then in the very next episode the Federation is in fact losing the war.

Indeed, the issue I have with the Discovery spore drive is that they can teleport anywhere and attack. That alone should have ended the war. Teleport to Klingon home world or their moon and turn it into a parking lot, game over.

Do you think the Klingons left their world unprotected? Why dont the Klingons just sent an armada to earth and destroy it.

This episode actually showed us clearly the limitations of ONE ship. It popped in, got its ass kicked and popped out.

Again, these silly criticisms are all answered right there in the episode.

Its lousy viewing to assume there are no ebbs and flows to war given the passage of time. Its all right there in the show. Try watching the episodes instead of reading recaps and being irrationally critical.


“Discovery initially shifted the course of the war in favor of the Federation, but is only a single ship.”

That’s another issue in the show. In EP 5 ‘Choose your pain’ the admiral said that their classified facility in Iowa was building units according to schematics of ‘Discovery’s propulsion system that was sent over by Stamets; and that “Every ship, every starbase, every colony” in the Federation is on the hunt for the tardigrades.What happened to all that? Why they still have just one ship with the spore-drive?

And giving Discovery’s major role in this rarely seen massive war, I don’t see how Lorca and Stamets were able to deceive Starfleet about Stamets’ role in the spore drive.

“Another weak post in a series that has been full of mediocre posts.” haha

We get it Ahmed, they could produce an episode you LOVE and you’d still say it sucked. We discussed this before that the people who irrationally crapped on the show before ever seeing a minute of it would lose all credibility when offering their “reviews” later. You fall into that category.

Its not even a strong effort on your part. Time passes between episodes. The Discovery helped tilt the war in Starfleet’s favour. Now the expanding cloak technology is tilting it back to the Klingons. Difficult to comprehend for some.

You failing to understand what was happening when so many others did is not a weakness in the story.

They were winning the war, thanks to the spore drive, but now the cloaking tech is appearing on more and more Klingon ships, the balance of power has shifted. Doh!

@TRK — not to mention the Klingon ships take far longer to reach their destinations than Disc. And it’s a big Galaxy. More cloaked ships, more surprises on all fronts of this war.

Discovery appears to be the only other ship with a spore drive, since it’s sister ship was destroyed, though we know it’s a specific class. Who knows if Starfleet was expending resources to build more of that class, prior to Discovery achieving success, whether they know Discovery’s secrets or not.

I want to like this show. Honestly. I’m not trying to find things I don’t like. But at least for me, they feel like they are being shoved in my face.
For example, Saru, of sound mind, actually decided he wanted to sabotage the mission. It was an extremely important mission, one that could be pivotal for the war. But he chose to put his personal happiness above the lives and well-being of his crewmates and other Starfleet, indeed Federation, peoples. Unlike Spock in “This Side of Paradise,” his mind was not being controlled by a foreign substance. In Star Trek of past, the characters were willing to put their lives on the line for others, over and over again. In this episode by contrast, the characters were willing to put the lives of others on the line for their own happiness. I do not find this inspiring. I mean, if the main characters are willing to sacrifice their mission, why should the viewers care about it?
If I understood it correctly, the same theme was expressed by Burnham and Tyler when they reversed the “Needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the One.” quotes. They were actually discussing aborting this mission, and the war effort, for Burnham’s well-being. They used the same words as in Wrath of Khan but flipped the words, promoting self interest over helping others. Although the words were flipped in Star Trek III, the point of the movie was that everyone was able to sacrifice their careers for Spock- willing to sacrifice their own self interest to help another.
I don’t understand why no one seems to see that STD has reversed the values of Trek. For the purpose of this post, I will stick with only this theme in this episode. But to me it is part of the larger pattern of the loss of the values that made Star Trek inspiring; made Star Tre the show that was different that had something to say.

I can understand your point but I appreciated the realism of what they were saying. Sacrificing one’s life for any reason is bound to be complex. While I think it’s true they would die for the Federation I also think it’s true that they would question what they are doing on a regular basis. Having said that though I don’t know that what Tyler talked about was something he could actually follow through with. I took as more of a statement about how some people fight for noble causes and some fight for the person standing next to them. It was also a commentary on the gray area that is present in the idea of the needs of the many vs the needs of a few. For example, just because “the many have needs” doesn’t mean those means are right.

You have an interesting take on it and you have a good point. That was one reason why I didn’t like TFF because the crew (some of them at least) turned against Kirk because Sybok took away their pain, or something dumb like that. It was not true to the characters. That reminded me of what happened on DISC last night. Saru being willing to give up the mission and actually sabotaging the communication and fighting the other crew members? How can he be trusted now? Also the talk with Burnham and Tyler that you mentioned? Sounds like a bunch of self centered folks. Is it reflection of the times in which we live?

In TFF (and in this episode), the “taking away their pain”, I take as more than simply taking away actual pain. Its a mind-screw, a manipulation. Sybok used it as an entry point into a person’s mind to manipulate them like a cult leader.

I think Saru had physical and mental issues as a result of what the planet was doing to him. So its not just “hey, Ill take away your depression” and then suddenly they turn their backs.

Bones and Spock were able to resist Sybok because they knew what he was doing and even then, it was difficult. Saru, too, needed to be “snapped” out of it to come back to normal.

I dont see it as a choice.

Plus Saru did actually explain this in the episode. Having never experienced a moment without fear it, then suddenly to not be afraid any more, changed the makeup of his personality. The fear seems to define him and his race, without it, he becomes someone else.

I didn’t feel that this episode was emotional at all. In fact I couldn’t wait for it to end. It did have some good scenes: Burnham/ tyler, Tilly and Staments in the mess hall, Lorca telling the replacement tactical officer to hit something/anything on the enemy ship, and the Burnham/Saru interaction at the end. One of the problems could have been the main story for me. The Pahvians weren’t all that interesting for me because they felt too much like the Organians. I had hoped for a more interesting take on the situation. I am ok with repeated themes. I almost expect it given how long Star Trek has been on the air. Unfortunately this episode didn’t add anything new to the idea of the Federation and the Klignons apparently always needing a third party to bring them together otherwise peace isn’t possible. I also felt like the Saru scenes, for the most part, were not very compelling either. I have never been the biggest Saru fan so maybe that colors my judgement. I did however like at the end when he talked to Burnham about not knowing fear for the first time. That was a nice moment for a character that often feels like he was created as a foil for her. The Klignons scenes as usual didn’t click for me. I was also pretty sure they killed Cornwell in the episode and yet some think she might still be alive. One would hope so because we barely had a chance to get to know her before they might have done her in.

Can’t say I disagree with your take on this episode. Pretty clear why they decided against making this the mid season break. I wonder if they realized this one wasn’t as good but the cast tried to hype it especially Doug Jones’ performance as a way to reduce the sting a little bit. I wasn’t necessarily anxious for this one to end but Mudd was a really hard act to follow for me.

Yes I agree about the Mudd bit. It’s my favorite episode so far but I didn’t expect to keep laughing from here on out so I knew it was going back to a “darker tone.” I am fine with that. I was even looking forward to an away missions and meeting a new life form but it just didn’t work overall for me.

I am thinking this episode would be 100% better if it included the second half of the episode. I am hoping next week is spectacular. Hopefully after season 1 no more Klingons and we get to see refreshing newer exploration and ethical issues and social commentary episodes with twilight zone sci fi stuff. So Klingons can F off and lets watch some nice character driven exploration episodes full of wonder and mystery!

A lot of the reviews for this one seem kinda ‘meh’, which I don’t get. I loved it. In fact, it might be my favorite episode so far. The story was very very Trek and the visuals were terrific. That crystal antenna and blue planet were super cool. I also love the insight it gave into Saru.

I felt like this one had everything…a cool space battle, a strange new world, a first contact, great character moments and some Klingon stuff that wasn’t overdone…just enough to remind us of what’s happening in the war. Seems like everyone complained about the war aspect of DSC, but so far, the war has just been the backdrop. There’s lots of other stuff going on and I’m loving how they’re influenced by the war arc without really being totally about that.

LLAP Discovery!

Yes the story was very Trek which is why I liked it but it was meh in terms of its execution, boring/vague Klingon scenes and all over the place writing.

Like you I liked the strange new world aspect, finally having an away team, the cool action opening, etc, but it faltered IMO with Saru’s bizarre actions throughout the episode, killing Cromwell so quickly (unless she’s not dead but it was so vague) and the boring Klingon stuff.

I don’t care for the war stuff either. If it was on the level of Dominion/DS9 I would love it a lot more but so far its just been kind of blah.

I think it was the least interesting episode so far but has the most interesting Klingon scenes so far.

My gripe with this episode was precisely that it had what it takes to make a classic Star Trek episode, but that just fell flat since so maby plot points were crammed into 41 minutes. The seeds of a really neat episode were sown in the first few minutes, but it just had no time to grow.

You can add to the easter egg section the sound effect of the original series transporter beamout used has the sound of the Pahvo mind when it communicates with Saru. Also back is the TOS phaser stun sound as the Discovery phaser stun sound… nice continuity!

Random thoughts…
1- Does this mean Tyler’s not a Klingon? Otherwise Saru would have sensed him through the magic rock… Right?
2- Is Tilly a Captain in the mirror universe?
3- Great VFX for the battle, new planet and new species. Horrible for running Saru.

Saru has hooves. Needed the clippety-clop sound effects. He also runs like a biped sprinter, although his legs are designed differently. On the plus side, we got a really good look at his hands in the sunlight this week. Wow! That is some nice work. Doug Jones must spend 12 hours in the make-up chair.

So I have several opinions on this episode. First, its main plot was very Star Trek TOS. Second, is it just me, or does this show use cheap Visual effects in its battle scenes. I mean I compare them with the mid 90’s trek shows and in those shows the explosions seem grander and in the battles you could see more. Here it seems to be difficult to follow what is going on in the battle scenes. Third, it was obvious this episode was written by a first time writer, it didn’t seem to be very specific in what it wanted to say in the episode. There was just too much plot thrown in. Maybe it would have been better if the script were more tighter, perhaps leaving out several B and C plots to other episodes. Usually Trek works best if the scripts are tight and the main and secondary plots are easily followed, but in this episode they were going everywhere. They wanted to do too much things with too little time, either they had to increase the runtime of the episode or get rid of the several secondary plots. Anyway, these were my observations of the episode. My final rating for the episode is 6/10.

Here it seems to be difficult to follow what is going on in the battle scenes.

I thought the ship battle scenes were easy to follow. Yes the scenes are darker than previous trek shots but they are closer to reality this way. Space is Dark unless you are near a obvious light source.

While I am really enjoying following the series, I share your opinion about the visual effects. In my opinion, Discovery has the weakest visual effects of a Star Trek series, if you take into account of when each show was produced. Plus the show’s colorist really needs to expand beyond the red/blue color palette that dominates the space scenes and the scenes in the Pahvo hut. It is really is getting old and I really don’t think it looks very good.

Um that’s Melvarrr with three r’s

That would be three lll’s my bad.

Worst episode so far, complete nonsense. Ungifted writers, bad CGI.

Kirsten Beyer is a great writer. Read her Voyager novels.


Well, writing novels is not the same as writing for TV. George R. R. Martin found out the hard way when he started working for TV in the 1980s, you can read about his experience in ‘Dreamsongs, volume II’.

This episode showed that Kirsten Beyer is not a good screenwriter.

That wasnt AdAstra’s point. Thomas incorrectly labelled Kristen an ungifted writer and noted bad CGI. Neither of those things were true.

At the end of the episode the Pahvans invite the Klingons to meet with the Federation at their planet to end the war.

Possible next episode: The Pahvans use their magic powers in an attempt to end the war. The Pahvans believe that to bring about peace between warring parties is to combine Klingon and Human DNA to create a new species. Hence, the TOS Klingons are created. Hah!

…and these TOS Klingons will be able to speak English… so no more subtitles.

I don’t know if I should laugh…

That would actually be pretty close to the plot of the TNG episode ‘The Chase’, in which Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and humans are revealed to have common origins.

I found this episode to be one of the weaker ones so far. Some very good scenes, but with so many story line jumps it felt disjointed at times.

You couldn’t handle the episode having an A and B story, like pretty much every other episode of Star Trek the past 50 years?

Lets count the stories. War Scene A, Planet Story B, Stamets-Tilly C, Kol-L’Rell D, and Corwell-L’Rell E.

Didn’t say I couldn’t handle it. I’m fine with multiple story lines if there’s good editing and better context. This particular episode just didn’t seem to be as well produced and edited as most of the others. Just my opinion.

…47 years…leave TOS out of this. They had one story and focused on telling it well.

I really liked the episode and have been happy with the series so far. One minor thing that annoyed me though was the use of ‘The needs of the many’. I’ve heard that in so many fan productions, that whenever I hear it now it makes me groan. It was delivered far better than in any fan production, and didn’t feel as much like ‘wink wink’ fan service, but I could have done without it. lol

Doug Jones and Jayne Brook gave really strong performances, but in the case of “Saru” — they’re hitting the “one of the main characters gets taken over by non corporeal aliens” season six last ditch, trope-ish thing awful early for a “new” Star Trek. The Klingons remain a fun idea reinvented; it is just so atrociously executed. And the Discovery’s bridge? Don’t cut to any more wide shots; it looks like a sitcom parody of the starship Enterprise, dominated by a weird open space-ness and no sense of the tactile controls that Mr. Abrams nailed in the new (and far better, more interesting) movies. And the “spore drive”? Why, for God’s sake? I’m assuming that element of the series will end in an (onscreen) disaster; it ‘s capabilities make it seem more apropos for TNG than ten years before Kirk takes command of Enterprise. I’ll watch next week’s mid-season cliff-hanger and return for the rest of its first season but it’s turned for me into pretty much a waste of time with one wrong creative decision after another (and I was looking forward to it openly and with some optimistic excitement.).

Great news everyone! I only had one video glitch this episode! Perhaps CBS has indeed worked on their issues?

So we are nearing the end of the front 9. Not much to say about the episode except that it was another “meh” episode. Did not care for the writers pulling out the “needs of the many” line. It seems like every time they pull out something like that, ie, some sort of fan boy reference to TOS, it just becomes a distraction to the episode at hand. Quite honestly, if they are going to link to TOS I’d rather see some of the original aliens like Andorians and Tellarites rather than a tribble on Lorca’s desk. The good parts of the episode were the elements that moved along the Klingon war season long story arc. The Klingon chick who wanted to defect did indeed raise an eyebrow. So points to them for that. And they did find a way to get the Klingons to them for what looks to be a confrontation in a Star Trekky kind of way with those harmonic aliens. The filler stuff really did feel like filler and it wan’t even all that interesting. At 41 minutes it was the shortest of the episodes and yet it felt just as long as the rest. So I think it obvious the writers struggled with a way to pad out the episode just to get it to the ending they wanted.

Anyway, I’m certain there will be a nifty cliffhanger next week. Hope it’s a good one.

Kirok, I’m glad you brought up the line about the ‘needs of the many,’ forgot about that. Not necessary, and that’s coming from a guy who was brought up on TWOK. Again, just an attempt by the writers to ‘try’ to tie this to TOS, and now I suppose we’re all supposed to buy that Burnham said it first, not Spock. So thanks for placing that iconic line ‘before’ it was made famous in TWOK. Not working at all for me. As to the rest of the episode, some good, some bad, some confusing. Pandora/Pahvo and Dances With Saru – very funny lines in the review. So now the Federation is losing the war? I thought, based on Burnham’s log, we were winning last week. Saru turns on the landing party and there’s no consequences? Hopeful next week leaves me wanting more, but cancelling CBSAA on Monday regardless. No need to re-watch any of this, for me.

Or to tie in a phrase that might have a Vulcan connection. It didnt come across remotely pandering. Reminder of Michael’s Vulcan upbringing.

You’re a ‘glass half-full guy with this show, TUP. I appreciate that.

Maybe…lol Im honest though. I savaged STID, deservedly so. Not a Trek apologist.

The line didnt bother me whatsoever. It was because Michael is Vulcan. Perhaps its a favorite phrase of Sarek and would be where Spock heard it too.

My concerns remain things like how the space battles are shot and how the episodes sometimes seem too short (like this one).

Totally with you on the space battle shots, TUP. Not at all satisfying or ‘epic.’

Its weird too because it makes sense to treat the Starships more like large navel vessels and the small Birds of Prey like fighter jets so you get that dichotomy between the two.

They “film” everything so fast paced and all over the place.

Did you talk to your service provider? What device are you using. I’ve seen people say they have zero issues. So I’d suspect CBSAA isnt purposely making it glitch for you (and others). Its probably your device (or internet) and not CBSAA or else it would glitch for everyone.

But good for you…

A couple of minor things. I enjoyed the “donkey kick” as it seemed to make sense given Saru’s horse-like feet. And anyone who has been kicked by a horse knows it hurts. I liked that Michael kept “selling” the pain and didnt just fall down, get up and was fine.

Jones does great work at emoting through his make up.

The idea that we’d feel sympathy for the Klingons or see their perspective, maybe its still to come, though L’Rell and Voq. Perhaps its their intention to defeat Kol and instill a united Klingon species based on honor.

I enjoy the series so far. I’m anxious to see a little bit more of the war and the effects it has on the crew, starfleet, even at home, earth. We only hear about it and it’s starting to bug me.

One other nitpick, Im not completly on board with the space shot SFX. Everything is always do god damn blurry. You cant make out the details of the ships. Klingon ships are plain ugly in my opinion. I kinda like the new make up and look of the Klingon, very alien but the ships don’t look and feel klingon at all. I beleive that the special effects so far are average at best. The shot of Burnham seeing Saru run on top of the cliff looked awful.

Hope the mid season finale comes out with a bang cause I am still waiting to be blown away.

The fx themselves are mostly fine though and personally, I like the look of some of the Klingon spacecraft designs, but the big problem is the battle sequences are very poorly planned out and directed. I’d love the camera to linger on some of these shots so we can clearly see what’s going on, just once.

I am beginning to have doubts that Tyler is Voq. He ended the episode in sickbay. They should easily be able to detect any anomalies with his physiology. McCoy only needed a tricorder to see that Darvin was a Klingon.

He’s either got some super advanced masking technology or he’s a human embedded with Voq’s memories. I agree though, the little nods they give to make us thing he’s Voq might be a crafty misdirection. Which would be pretty impressive.

The fall finale is next week…why don’t I care about any of these characters yet?? I just have to face the fact that, despite some very pretty wrapping paper, what’s inside just isn’t that good. Supposedly months into this horrible Klingon war, yet I don’t feel like they are at war at all. The lead Burnham’s search to find her identity leaves me cold as does her relationship with Sarek and her new romance. The long distance mind melds are visually ridiculous, as is the cartoonish flip flop of our ship, as it magically pops in and out, anywhere it pleases. The Klingons are still fighting to speak through badly fitted prosthetics and the whole power struggle of the Klingon houses isn’t engaging in the least. We have a finale next week and I’m still not sure what the show it about.

I wonder why they feel limited to 40 minutes to tell a story when it will probably never air in syndication after the evening news. If it’s destined to air on streaming services like netflix, amazon and CBS All Access, why hold yourself to an all but obsolete network standard? It’s your sandbox, CBS, clock it in at 55 minutes, like the original. or 90 minutes if you want. I don’t understand the self imposed restrictions. Regardless, it needs to get better. They had plenty of time to weave and craft an amazing ride, so far it’s been mediocre at best. Still like the Captain and Saru, that’s about it.

Klingons have no issue speaking through their make up. Not sure why it sounds great to me but not to you…?

I’ve remarked on this thing several times myself. A whole extra layer of “skin” around the mouth, jaw, throat, including an extra layer of lips, and false teeth, means the actors can’t articulate their words very well. It sounds a lot like they have a mouthful of sticky mashed potatoes. That they can speak at all gets a bow of appreciation from me. Thank god there are subtitles. I hope they adjust the makeup to allow for more expression by the actors — although Chieffo is getting through very well.

Whats more likely, that they cant articulate due to make up or its the pronunciations of Klingon? If Mary can articulate well when speaking English (which she can) and both her and Kol are speaking Klingon fine (they are the most experienced at it on the show), then I’d say the make up isnt an issue.

This is one of those things where people didnt like the subtitles, didnt like the make up, put 2 & 2 together and got 5 and are running with it. I just dont see it..or hear it.

It’s not unlike someone with poorly fitted dentures. They slur their speech slightly. Still intelligible, but slightly off. You always know when Grandpa gets some new choppers. Trek is no stranger to this, think of the spit sprayed by the Duras sisters when wearing their alien “teeth”…or some Ferengi guest star.
Being Klingon they also deliver broken dialog like a Comanche chief from the old westerns. This allows for very little inflection, or a unique rhythmic cadence by the actors, in turn, showing the audience very little emotion, as it all sounds the same. The heavy handed makeup is a clear hindrance in this area as well. Yeah, they’re pretty much a big old mess…these Klingons are, for me, are about as engaging as dishwater. Hard to relate or identify to cookie cutter aliens that all look and sound alike. So sad that this is where we are, 8 hours into a 15 hour arc about a Klingon War.

The Klingons sound awkward to me too. And I agree about the war. The weight of it doesn’t quite land. Maybe DISCO could take a page from DS9, where they would stop to acknowledge the losses as more than numbers. I could be remembering this wrong, but I think it was Dax in ‘In the Pale Moonlight’ who remarked about knowing someone on a ship lost to the Dominion. We didn’t know the person or the ship, but we could see how it affected the character we did know. Little stuff like that can go a long way.

Overall I think the main problem with DISCO is its lack of a unique hook for a Star Trek series. We’ve seen a prequel series before. We’ve seen a war series before. We’ve seen a main character struggle with human and Vulcan philosophies before. Despite the upgrades in special effects, makeup, and cinematography, plus Star Trek playing catch-up by finally including a gay couple, there’s not much ‘new’ there. Hopefully it can find a better angle in season 2.

@Cobalt – I dont disagree. On DS9 because they were a space station on the frontier they saw losses moreso than the ship would. But they could easily have crew members suffer personal losses (friends, relatives, spouses) on other ships.

They seem to go in the opposite direction where the intent is to portray the heaviness of the war by specifically saying “we dont have time to grieve” so while WE see losses, we dont feel it as a creative decisions. Im not sure thats the best decision though.

Of course, it weighs on us more as we get to know the characters. In that way, if the plan was also to kill of the Security Chief, might it have meant more to make it more meaningful by saving it for later?

Then they could have had Ash “under” Landry and play off each other (Landry being loyal to Lorca and maybe jealous of his attention being paid to Ash) and there would be a dichotomy between Landry and Michael as two women he works with.

Landry dies, we feel it more. Ash naturally takes her place.

But hey, Im not the writer…

Is the weapon to defeat the Klingons the Constitution Class???

I think by this time the USS Enterprise will have been in service for about three years, if we go by Spock’s timeline [13 years as Science Officer under Pike before Kirk took command].

I believe the Enterprise was in service for 11 years prior to Discovery. It was launched in 2245. Dont forget Captain April was Captain before Pike.


And, I don’t believe Enterprise was the first Constitution-class ship, either.

It would stand to reason that it was the USS Constitution, no?

I agree with others that they need to slow down the exterior ship shots. It’s way too fleeting and you can’t get an appreciation for the structures of the ships. There’s a scene in Star Trek Nemesis after the Enterprise collides with the Scimitar where the camera just hangs in space and you see the two ships just slowly drifting for several seconds surrounded by debris. Shots like that would be good in Discovery.

I have to say, I loved the last two episodes. They do feel very Star Trek to me. I’m glad I’ve been giving DSC time to develop. I find that while I wasn’t initially on board, I’m enjoying it quite a lot the last couple weeks. Looking forward to the mid-season finale.

Really great episode. How tall is Suru ? Anyone knows ? And those are some killer platform shoes he be wearing. The only thing that could have been better FX wise was Suru running. It looked so fake. It’s like they didn’t even try. 6 million and episode ? Come on CBS….you can do better.