Thursday’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery “Through the Valley of Shadows” had some major moments for Pike and the crew of the USS Discovery. Cast and crew for the show have been talking about the episode and sharing some behind-the-scenes photos and images, so we have gathered up all the highlights.
How Discovery is informing Pike’s future and his past
As a guest on The Ready Room, Anson Mount described how he feels the events of “Through the Valley of Shadows” impact the character of Pike:
Having a good handle on canon myself, I was very appreciative how the writers handled it. It was very smart, primarily because it turns Pike’s third act – which we already know about and has been established – it makes it more of a triumph, than a tragedy. By making it an active choice on his part, I learned a lot about the character when I read that… The one thing I know about Pike is he probably had good parents and he definitely had good mentors. He is emotionally intelligent enough, and idealistic enough, to defiantly know that when you say you are going to do something, you do that thing. You live up to your word. And to be presented with a situation where he can escape a horrible fate if he turns his back on the ideals he has pledged to uphold, it is not really a choice because when you don’t live up to your word, what are you? If you can gain the world but lose yourself in so doing, you are nothing.
Seeing Vina again in “If Memory Serves” adds depth to Pike as a character:
We get to see them reminded of what it was they had and had to give up and it warms the heart that that longing remains. And so the reunion – and the gestalt of our storytelling about Star Trek canon – is the warmer as well.
The actor also discussed how being on his own five-year mission during the Klingon War has informed the character:
Absolutely [Pike feels guilt and regret for missing out on the Klingon War]. We touch on that in several points in the season. That is definitely an emotional arc that Pike has to get over that. It is the reason he puts himself in harm’s way so many times, he has survivor’s guilt… And I like how the writers handled the explanation for why the Enterprise was held outside the war and how that other shoe dropped with Admiral Cornwell. It was a great moment and there is always this question of why does the captain have to go on the away missions and this really answered that question in a way I’ve never seen before.
Making Pike his own, with a little help from Chris Pine and William Shatner
During the interview, it was apparent how much of a fan Anson Mount is of Star Trek and what a big deal it was for him as an actor to land the role of Pike. He described what it meant for him to be offered the role:
It’s this incredible legacy character that we have all known about and cared about and of all the characters we would consider have major stakes in the ground of canon for Star Trek, I think we know the least about Pike. So, it was such an honor to get asked to come on board to help flesh that out. And I just like the character, and that is not always the case. I think he is a good leader. I like the way the writers found that his specific leadership style is unlike any other captain that we have seen, as it should be.
He also talked about how much he is enjoying playing Pike:
I really dig it, because it is second-act Pike. We know first-act Pike and we know third-act Pike, but we didn’t know a lot about second-act Pike. I felt a lot of freedom in that, to come in and make this version of this period of Pike my own.
When asked if he has brought some other influences to the role, Mount revealed his love of Kirks:
You know what I loved about Chris Pine’s performance in the J.J. Abrams’ movies, if you watched the end of the first movie in which he plays Kirk there is this scene where he walks across the bridge and sits in the captain’s chair. And he absolutely nailed the way that Shatner would do that. And I just decided that I was going to try and do this the way he sits in the chair like Shatner, I was going to try to do that better, even though I am not playing Kirk. I just thought: why not, let’s give it a shot.
You can watch the full Ready Room for more from Mount about shooting “Through the Valley of Shadows” and life on the set of Star Trek: Discovery.
Kurtzman talks “Through the Valley of Shadows”
CBS has also released another “Moments of Discovery” video about this week’s episode, with the focus being Pike and his vision of the future. Showrunner and executive producer Alex Kurtzman talked about how Discovery gave them the chance to show this story and add a new dimension to it:
I think that everybody knows what happened to Pike and everybody knows there was some kind training exercise accident that resulted in his disfigurement and that’s all we really know. And I think that the opportunity of this show is to explore that same story, but present it in a new way.
Writers talk Boreth and why Worf didn’t know about time crystals
Pike’s quest and vision all took place on the Klingon planet of Boreth, which was first established in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Rightful Heir,” which had Worf visiting the monastery honoring Kahless on the planet. In an interview with SyFy, “Through the Valley of Shadows” co-writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt talked about using Boreth for their episode:
Boreth has always been carefully established as a sacred place for the Klingons — and that’s not something we wanted to muck up. Instead, we wanted to EXPAND on existing canon and the functionality of Boreth by introducing a hidden sect of monks who have dedicated their lives to guarding the time crystals. We loved the notion that this otherwise fierce warrior race has learned not to mess with something as dangerous and volatile as time…Worf would not have been granted access to the part of Boreth’s monastery that housed the crystals [because] that’s not why Worf was there.
Behind the scenes on “Through the Valley of Shadows”
Cast and crew have been sharing insights and images from this week’s episode on social media.
Mary Chieffo gave a shout-out to episode writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt with a behind-the-scenes shot of the three of them on set.
Chancellor L’Rell is very proud of these badass, intelligent women writer/producers. Congrats @gryphonmetal & @extspace on creating another powerful and beautiful episode. Qapla’!!! 🖤❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/fjS0TpHWj4
— Mary Chieffo (@marythechief) April 5, 2019
Kim also shared a fun shot of Chieffo taking a break, protecting her fancy new dress (and full torso prosthetics).
— Bo Yeon Kim (@extspace) April 6, 2019
And Lippoldt posted a great shot of Anson Mount rehearsing the scene when he confronts his future self in the chair.
Pike faces his future.
Anson Mount rehearses the moment with director @dougaa (and a double in the chair). Updated chair design by @nevillepage and our incredible props team led by @Mario_Moreira72. #StarTrekDiscovery #CaptainPike #StarTrek pic.twitter.com/TRjev49Hzy
— Erika Lippoldt (@gryphonmetal) April 5, 2019
Actor Ken Mitchell was very excited to return to Discovery to play his third Klingon character, and joked he is now growing ridges.
It was a welcomed challenge & an absolute delight to help bring #Tenavik to life. A wonderful collaboration with the Discovery family. “Time stands still for those that protect the crystals…” 🙋🏼♂️ #StarTrekDiscovery #StarTrek pic.twitter.com/dYQVUZHq2q
— Kenneth Mitchell (@MrKenMitchell) April 5, 2019
— Kenneth Mitchell (@MrKenMitchell) April 5, 2019
Anson Mount also took to Twitter to express his thanks to fans for all their support during the season.
Thanks to everyone for the tremendous compliments on episode 12, as well as for your support in general. It’s been a hell of a ride. @startrekcbs @StarTrekNetflix @StarTrek @CBSTVStudios @CBSAllAccess pic.twitter.com/cHPksG8Xeu
— Anson Mount (@ansonmount) April 5, 2019
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.