Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Gets Cool Under Pressure In “Erigah”


Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 7 – Debuted Thursday, May 9, 2024
Written by M. Raven Metzner
Directed by Jon Dudkowski

You can cut the tension with an Andorian Ushaan-tor in a taut episode full of political intrigue, heartbreak, and even a few laughs.

I’m back!

WARNING: Spoilers below!


“Never turn your back on a Breen”

The Disco rendezvous with the USS Locherer which has captured Moll and L’ak. Captain Burnham is briefed by her old friend Nhan who has the former couriers in custody and she also has Vellek’s original diary, which may have more hidden secrets. Book wants to help but the security officer only sees him as a “security risk,” for that whole betraying the Federation thing last season. L’ak is beamed to sickbay and he is still in bad shape from that knife wound Michael gave him two episodes ago. Dr. Culber is no expert but they figure an old Breen refrigeration unit in storage at Starfleet HQ could help. When they arrive Admiral Vance won’t let them in. For the first time since the Dominion War, the Breen have entered Federation space… and they want L’ak and Moll. Worried the baddies will find out about the whole Progenitor tech thing, Vance wants the Disco to skedaddle, but Burnham successfully argues they should make their stand here instead of letting the Breen cause havoc chasing them around the quadrant. The stakes couldn’t be higher… so I guess this isn’t a “filler episode.”

President T’Rina is in charge of negotiations (Rillak is away and so is Saru, sadly) and leads a crisis meeting at HQ. No one has talked to the Breen since before The Burn, but people are scared as they still remember their brutal Dominion War history. Rayner makes his view plain with “All the Breen are the same” (can he say that?) arguing they should prepare to fight. However, it’s curious why a Primarch would come all the way to Fed HQ, so it must be tied into the Breen’s civil war. While T’Rina, Burnham and Vance try to figure out how to buy time until more Starfleet ships arrive, Rayner’s anti-Breen tirade escalates to get him booted from the room. Burnham is tasked with getting info from L’ak to find out what they can use to negotiate, and to get her XO “in line.” As she wasn’t privy to all those flashbacks from two episodes ago, Michael needs to drag the whole royalty story out of L’ak while he is barely holding on in sickbay. Turns out he is next in line for the throne, “Scion of the Breen Imperium.” He wants nothing to do with it and asks the captain to spit in his uncle’s face when he shows up. That’s cold, even for a Breen.

I may not know anything about Breen philology, but I have my concerned caregiver face down.

“Wow, you really got around”

While everyone is running around thinking they are all about to die, Stamets remembers the season arc, talking Tilly out of leaving the ship so she can help find the last piece of the map with “the most important thing in the Federation right now,” specifically a piece of metal they found in the clue from last week. He is going to team up with Book to work on tracing the metallurgy while Tilly teams up with Adira on the inscription. The Academy teacher is impressed with how the young ensign is coming along as they sort out how the clue points to the original Betazed manuscript for “Labyrinths of the Mind,” location unknown, naturally. Zora points them to the one person on the ship with a background in antique books: Commander Reno. Really. Turns out the acerbic engineer “padded” her resume, but she used to be a smuggler for “a shady antiquarian archivist” amongst other colorful jobs. She does figure Dr. Derex would have wanted to protect the next clue so they should look into something called the “Eternal Gallery and Archive,” a space library that keeps on the move and uses little metal library cards… ding ding ding! SIDE PITCH: Sitcom of Reno’s time as a bartender on Alshain IV… Call it Jett’s Treks. Make it so, Alex.

The Breen Dreadnaught finally shows up, and it’s redonculous. It’s so big, you got to think Primarch Ruhn is overcompensating. T’Rina buys them four hours, but they need something to use to negotiate besides handing over the fugitives. L’ak is no help, telling the captain she will never understand the Breen, so he busies himself working on an escape plan with Moll. Michael looks to her xenophobic first officer for help as it turns out his home world was once occupied by the Breen. He opens up on the painful memories of a Primarch Tahal showing up at Kellerun to use it as a supply depot in a war, enslaving the people, destroying the environment… all the usual evil occupier stuff. They fought back, but he was his family’s sole survivor. His advice: you can’t negotiate with the Breen, his tragic backstory gives her an idea. Rhun beams in at HQ with a small army and rudely refuses T’Rina’s counteroffer of a bunch of dilithium, “The only payment for a blood bounty is blood”… this guy’s a barrel of laughs. T’Rina surprises him by not only showing she can understand Breen, but she has decided to hand the prisoners over to Primarch Tahal. Burnham and Rayner help sell the ruse with the Kellerun’s knowledge of the rival Primarch. And they know Rhun can’t afford to blast his way through the station to get to L’ak because he can’t risk killing the Scion. The Breen came to play checkers and T’Rina is playing 3-D Vulcan Chess.

You are going to need a bigger boat.

“This isn’t how our story ends”

T’Rina makes her diplomatic checkmate move, suggesting they keep the prisoners. With no Primarch getting the Scion, the Breen Civil War will stay status quo. Rhun reluctantly agrees… warning they better keep L’ak alive. Um, well, in sickbay, L’ak starts the escape plan by injecting himself with a whole day’s worth of drugs as a distraction. Culber rushes in to save him and Moll makes her move, fighting off the guard and Nhan, escaping into the ship. Meanwhile, Book is in Paul’s lab and he really wants to join the search but Stamets talks him into staying to use his glowy forehead empath powers on the little piece of metal… and it works. The Kwejian picks up images of a huge plasma storm and something about “eternal,” before he can’t wait any longer to go find Moll. After the big win at HQ Burnham beams into sickbay to find things falling apart, with L’ak fading fast. Her only option, get a Breen medic. The Primarch shows up with a doctor and “If my nephew dies, the Federation will pay.” Like, does this guy practice villain talk in front of the mirror?

Book helps Nhan track down Moll, who has taken a hostage and is working her way to the shuttlebay. He convinces her to stay, telling her she may want to return to sickbay before it’s too late. She arrives just in time to have final words with the love of her life and it’s actually really sad. The Primarch blames Starfleet and prepares for battle as four more Starfleet ships show up. His new plan: a war to avenge L’ak would unite the Breen behind him. Now Moll drops the bombshell, she and L’ak were married so she is part of the bargain. She also reveals the Federation is hiding info on powerful tech that she knows how to get, so Rhun demands they hand her over or shooting starts, sparking another HQ debate. Book is incensed they are considering it even though Moll wants to go, figuring the Breen can help find the Progenitor tech to resurrect L’ak, a possibility mentioned in Vellek’s diary. T’Rina makes the call and beams the former courier to the Dreadnaught and it warps away. Vance points out they are now in a race with the Breen, but thanks to Stamets the research teams put the pieces together to sort out their next stop: The Archive… in the Badlands! With the next episode’s destination set to another canon connection, Michael and Rayner play us out with a nice quiet bonding moment before she orders black alert… and fade to black.

I’m just a Breen country doctor.


A dish best served cold

This excellent tension-filled episode keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a lot going on in “Erigah” but good pacing weaves the drama, action, character exploration, worldbuilding and even humor together into a tight, entertaining package. Returning to a focus on the season’s big story, the episode evoked the high-stakes drama of some of the more martial Trek episodes, especially from the Dominion War arc of Deep Space Nine, which got plenty of nods throughout. The full ensemble of stars and guest stars elevated the material with a few standouts, especially Tara Rosling as the effective president T’Rina, Eve Harlow as the anguished Moll, and Tig Notaro as the always hilarious Jett Reno. Instead of taking the lead in every situation, Sonequa Martin-Green’s Captain Burnham was the glue holding it all together, with an assist from Anthony Rapp’s Stamets, the guy keeping his eye on the big Progenitor prize. The political maneuvering and debates in “Erigah” are some of the best of a franchise tradition as the episode asked big moral questions, but didn’t force a single point of view, leaving the viewer to ponder their own path… again, very Star Trek.

The plot-heavy episode finely wove several character stories into it, mostly seamlessly. From little beats like Tilly mentoring and encouraging Adira, to Michael pivotally getting Rayner to reveal his vulnerabilities. Callum Keith Rennie was superb and it was a nice touch drawing a parallel from Rayner’s shoot first idea to the callback to Michael’s series premiere mutiny. Throughout there were emotional stakes equal to the political, without taking unnecessary character sidebar distractions. A good example of this was Book’s ongoing redemption, with the smart return of Rachael Ancheril’s Nhan providing the perfect foil to his arc since last season. L’ak’s death was poignant and emotional and even though he and Moll began the season as the main antagonists, the work done in this and previous episodes earned its way to making us care… something no other Discovery season has pulled off. On the other side of the tonal coin, not enough can be said of the Adira/Tilly/Reno story that laid the foundation to set up the next episode with a surprising amount of humor, yet it also nailed the stakes in between the snappy dialog. Besides the delicious backstory, Reno is always great for little moments of meta-commentary, like her “truncheons, jackboots, where’s the nuance?” take on the Breen.

Stop pointing that at me, I’m trying to help!

Ice in the veins

The world-building in this episode was rich and rewarding, as the season pivots to the Breen and Primarch Rhun as the real big bads. He may be mustache-twirly, but it works in this case. The Breen Civil War plot allowed us to learn more about them through learning more about Rayner and the Kelleruns, effectively layering plot and character stories. Although, it may not make sense that T’Rina – who amazingly could understand Breen – was not already briefed on all of that. But it does appear that Kelleruns are still not part of the Federation, so perhaps her files didn’t have that key intel. Together, like they were in the 24th century, the Breen are still a mysterious and very credible threat… with the gigantic ship driving that point home. However, this episode did raise the question of how the power of empires outside the Federation should be limited in the post-Burn era without their own supplies of dilithium. Speaking of interesting backstories, Reno’s resume was full of little bits, even how she used to work at a bar on Alshain IV, the butterfly people planet from the season 4 opener. Does her 23rd-century cocktail named “Seven of Limes” make sense? No? Was it funny? Yes.

One curiosity is how DS9 established Breen do not have blood (reconfirmed to TrekMovie by Disco writer Carolos Cisco), but an Erigah is a “blood bounty,” which can only be “paid with blood,” because L’ak is part of the royal “bloodline.” One can only hope something is being lost in translation. Also, it isn’t entirely clear why L’ak never reverted to his gelatinous state when unconscious and even after death. Blood and jelly nitpicks aside, fans of Deep Space Nine should have been doing the Pointing Rick Dalton meme all episode long. There were several references to the Dominion War and the Breen attack on Earth resulting in the destruction of San Francisco, which seems to ring through Federation history like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Little canon callback moments like “Never turn your back on a Breen” are woven in seamlessly to serve the plot and characters, not just fans. And deeper cuts such as references to Thoron Fields and Duraniam Shadows may go unnoticed by most, but surely bring a little delight to hard-core Niners. They even cued the next episode’s setting in the Badlands, with an impressive peek at what it looks like in the 32nd century. It’s so welcome how Discovery has rediscovered it is part of the rich history of Star Trek.

Which one of you made that crack about Jello?

Final thoughts

A fantastic episode tied up and built upon plot and character threads that have been building all season long, and even some from past seasons and the franchise as a whole. The excitement level is really ramped up now for this best season of the series, with only three episodes left until it is all over.

Tilly and Adira after drinking a few Seven of Limes.


  • For the fourth episode in a row, Doug Jones is not credited and does not appear, although T’Rina did mention some intel Saru provided that helped the plot… In case you missed it, Jones recently explained his absence and confirmed his return.
  • L’ak overdosed on Tricordrazine, a potent stimulant used during the TNG era, derived from Cordrazine, introduced in the classic TOS episode “City on the Edge of Forever.”
  • T’Rina mentions considering using a tribble infestation as a ruse to buy time with the Breen, as Discovery needs a nod to tribbles every episode or two.
  • When the Breen show up the Discovery is set to “Code One Alpha Zero,” which was used to signify a ship in distress, first seen in TNG’s “Relics.”
  • Moll sarcastically mentioned Book should try to sell her “a goat farm on Bopak III,” referencing a Gamma Quadrant planet from the DS9 episode “Hippocratic Oath.”
  • Apparently, Betazoids can imbue an object with information telepathically.
  • Nhan’s eyes weren’t bright blue in this episode, it was established back in season 3 that when outside their native atmosphere Barzan’s eyes change to bright blue.
  • Could the “shady antiquarian archivist” Reno used to work for be Pelia?

Do either of you know what the hell this thing is?

More to come

Every Friday, the All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe and discusses the latest episode. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

The fifth and final season of Discovery debuted with two episodes on Thursday, April 4 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the UK, Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Austria. Discovery will also premiere on April 4 on Paramount+ in Canada and will be broadcast on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada. The rest of the 10-episode final season will be available to stream weekly on Thursdays. Season 5 debuts on SkyShowtime in select European countries on April 5.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at

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I really enjoyed this episode and i am always up for watching some good
diplomacy scenes.
That Breen dreadnought was awesome looking i hope someone ends up releasing a model of it.

I did find Book a bit annoying in this episode as it has been pointed out he has spent very little time with Moll and with L’ak ‘dead’ i don’t think Book is going to be able to get through to her.

Since she wants to try and use the Progenitor Tech to try and bring L’ak back enough though it’s obvious that if primarch Ruhn gets his hands on the Tech he won’t need Moll or want to bring L’ak back.
Then again grief for one can make one blind and it’s obvious it’s blinding Moll and Book for their own reasons.

That Breen dreadnought was awesome looking i hope someone ends up releasing a model of it.

This was my exact thought the moment that ship appeared. They’re knocking these Breen ship designs out of the park imo.

Back to something more interesting this week, and the show is better off because of it. . I’m now buying into Mol and L’ak. Action Adventure is working for this season, and I really liked this week’s episode. It’ll be interesting to see where they go and I think we haven’t seen the last of a certain character. Raynor is easily my favorite character this season. The only thing I’m a little worried, is they’re going to blow the mystery they’re building up to. That it won’t be something compelling.. it’ll just be a disaster thwarted. I hope we get something cool relative to the mystery.. just don’t want to get my hopes up.

Well, for sure L’ak and Moll are not typical bad guys. The tension built as the episode unfolded, intensified by several surprises (at least to me) along the way. This was great Trek of a very high quality.

The episode wasn’t that bad like the first ones, but the plot is so stupid sometimes, every problem is artificially created from nonsense through lazy writing just to move the story along.

Can someone explain to me how the Breen (or anyone besides the Federation) is a major power given “The Burn” and the scarcity of dilithium?

The Emerald Chain was running out of dilithium to pillage and steal in season 3. That’s the reason Osyraa was even contemplating a union of the Emerald Chain and Federation. And the Federation presumably controls the only major source of dilithium left in the galaxy (i.e., the planet where they found the source of “The Burn” with the Kelpian child).

So how exactly are the Breen building supercarriers and being villains when they should be affected by the same scarcity of dilithium the Emerald Chain was facing? The previous episode even acknowledged the Breen were dependent on couriers for dilithium, since that’s how Moll and L’ak met.

Is it established that Breen ships are dilithium dependent?

In the episode the Federation offers them a lot of dilithium in exchange for the erigah to be lifted so they must have some dependence.

So, at least from articles I’ve seen on other sites, the Breen are being established as having used these city ships even during the DS9 era. We’ve also seen that they appear even more conquest driven than the Chain based on Rayner’s comments and history about what happened to his people, so they probably just took what they needed from others. We also saw in the episode that showed how our ‘big bads’ met that the Breen seemed to get regular dilithium shipments from couriers.

Another interesting aside is that prior Breen vessels have had some degree of biological basis, so their ships may grow like a living organism.

Thanks, William. I had wondered whether The Burn had simply made dilithium exceedingly rare and so super valuable, a rare commodity that all kinds of criminal activity multiplied, even if the Breen didn’t use it for a matter-antimatter propulsion system.

Which raises a question about the Romulans whom we know in the Picard era used an artificial singularity for propulsion. Did The Burn put them in a very advantageous situation compared to other spacefaring species? Or had they abandoned that tech before their reunification with Vulcan so that Nivar was also devastated by The Burn?

Probably overthinking this stuff.

Personally I’ve always thought that dilithium played a part in Romulan Warp Drive as well. The dilithium mines on Remus were very important to them. Some have said the Romulans probably traded their dilithium, but then why would the Praetor in Nemesis have been so worried a out the Reman output being low and needing to import dilithium from a colony world? When they were discussing other propulsion systems that were theorized before the Burn Ni’var was testing a new design, but we don’t know if it incorporated a singularity.

Ni’var appears to have been impacted by the Burn just like the rest of the galaxy. I recall from an episode an aside comment by Admiral Vance that Ni’var only had 75 starships and they were described as small. That seems a little low for a government that covered a large territory.

I do wish they would give a little information on the Pathway Drive, but I doubt that it’ll be explained this season.

Thanks. That all makes sense.

This episode had some great stuff in it, but for the second week in a row we have someone pointing a phaser at someone and trying to convince them to surrender. It doesn’t work and there’s a big shootout. You have a stun setting! Use it the instant you enter a room, dropping everyone there if necessary, bad guys, good guys, whoever. Then sort them out later.

Well, the finale can’t get here fast enough. Once again Discovery gets itself sidetracked with momentum killing random subplots. It’s as if the hunt for the clues leading to the Progenitor tech has taken a back seat to less important stuff. The sense of urgency in finding the Progenitor tech now feels like it isn’t even urgent at all.

Hopefully next week will be back on track.

well, every mid-season since season 2 felt like this – a lenghty and sidetracked mixture of redundant dialogue and unnecessarily prolonged confrontations.

once again: no saru. dispapponting. only the scenes with reno were funny and had the right timing.

Another entertaining episode. Also it seemed like they were experimenting with some very dynamic camera movement during some of the action sequences.

On a different note: Some people have noted in previous review threads that there has been less comment activity and speculated that interest in Discovery must have plummeted. However, the show has actually made it into the Nielsen streaming Top 10 (Nielsen just released the numbers for the week of April 8-14 and DSC is on #10). So the reduced comments do not necessarily indicate reduced viewership.

Another strong outing for Discovery this season. They are really knocking it out of the park. The writing, the acting and the story is top-notch. Martin-Green is really fantastic in her role as Captain now. You can see how her character really evolved through the series. Callum is a fantastic add to the series, it’s just too bad it is the final season. Hopefully, he will be going over to the Academy series – would love to see him shine there as well. Another episode that feel really Star Trek. Love the throwbacks to DS9 in there. Anxious to see what happens in the badlands next week!

Do we know why Owo and Detmer have disappeared? Were the actors too busy filming something else or what? We got a quick “taking the ISS Enterprise back to HQ” and that was it.

So, I know I have to watch this episode again because it feels a lot like “But to Connect” – the episode last season where the Federation voted on how to react to the 10-CC. Last year I was bored, but on rewatch before this season, I thought it was kind of brilliant. Is this really the same? But… I am annoyed.

In this episode, Vance and the team agree to Michael’s suggestion: keep Discovery where it is. As a result, almost everything that can go wrong goes dangerously wrong. What’s wrong with following orders? Michael does not need to be there to confront the Breen. And since when do the Breen have tech to follow Discovery which can hop everywhere? Isn’t this one of the tenants of the show? And if that is the case, wouldn’t it be exciting to see that the Breen can follow Discovery? And that Stamets still has purpose, and Book can help?

And I do feel like Rayner was dealt dirty here. He has the experience with the Breen, which I am sure informed his entire career. There is no way Vance didn’t know about it in a way that could have been overtly useful to their entire plan. The entire episode for him does not need to devolve into a teachable moment from Michael, or anyone. He has a teachable moment for them, and he probably has had a way of using it his entire life. Maybe he’s not xenophobic, maybe he’s a very smart tactician, and still, probably, a great captain.

This is the risible thing they did to Book last season, which fakes a naiveté. Rayner can’t be that unaware. It’s also how they are treating Gray. So, even when this show is finally delivering a plot, and episodes that are exciting, they are also abusing the trauma the characters experience — for the sake of fitting into juvenile plot points.

Yes, I’m a little bit grouchy. I enjoyed every other episode this season, almost wholeheartedly, but this one – not so much. Maybe that will change when I see it again.

The fed????

Why was SMG pronouncing sentences weird this week? Or more than usual anyway. So smug and terribly acted.

I’d have enjoyed DSC rather than enduring it if it wasn’t for her and one or two others.

The handle checks out.

Ha-ha… you beat me to it.

Another episode that once again seems to exist in a recognizable Star Trek universe. I’m not sure what changed this season, but I wish it happened sooner! Bravo and thank you! The episode was strong thanks mostly to some great character moments and performances (especially T’rina and Moll), although I found the Breen succession story less compelling because it’s all expository. If the writing in this season is what Kurtzman means by “Authentic Star Trek”, then I get it.

Great episode!

Discovery found the right formula mix in the 5th inning. Especially with fleshing out the Breen and putting their participation in the Dominion War in to a new context (especially why the Changling leader loved the Breen so much and why the Romulans didn’t like the Breen at all… the Breen come off as lethal/ruthless). Paramount we know money is tight, but how about one more season with a similar tempo to this one.

“sounds like something out of a holodeck adventure for the littles”

Sure does Jett

Not bad.

Enjoyed the exploration of the Breen. That was done with some real thought. The diplomatic brinkmanship worked.

Would be nice if Rayner’s utility stretched to teaching the crew some things rather than being lectured all the time, but at least he was able to use his knowledge to help with the bluff.

Reno was entertaining as always. The only humor on the show that consistently works is what is channeled through her.

Zora hasn’t really panned out as being more than a normal Star Trek computer as of late beyond a glimpse at her despair in Episode 4. She did nothing anyone who was good at Starfleet Google couldn’t have done this week.

Fight scene was not great. Chaotic and so much overuse of the same dizzying camera tricks.

Still not invested in Moll and Lak, especially the glowering Moll. The moral dilemma of giving her up to the Breen had no weight. She instigated it, she hasn’t shown many sympathetic qualities beyond loving Lak in a trite flashback episode. Book conveniently has a connection to her that’s not particularly moving. Whoopee.

Stakes have been raised nicely , here’s hoping the endgame pans out.