Star Trek: Discovery Review by John Keegan

Star Trek: Discovery 1.04: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Star Trek: Discovery 1.04: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Written By:
Jesse Alexander and Aron Eli Coleite
Directed By:
Olatunde Osunsanmi

Now that the preliminaries are effectively over, the series turns towards the more serialized aspects of its storytelling.  There’s little question at this point that the thrust of the story is how Michael Burnham’s presence on Discovery is meant to be a counter to the more militaristic and fixated Captain Lorca.  The question is how that will play out; will the Discovery need to be removed from the board when all is said and done, or will Burnham manage to turn the Federation towards a more balanced view?



The writers have to establish that Lorca is the personification of everything that a wartime Starfleet might engender, and as a result, he seems to be one step away from Ahab territory.  Everything is justified by the need to find a way to defeat the Klingons, even ignoring what are some pretty big signs that not everything is as simple as it appears.  Burnham has to be right, of course, because if she’s wrong, there’s not much basis for the science vs. military conflict for the soul of Starfleet, is there?


There is also the death of a prominent crew member, Commander Landry, who is definitely aligned with Lorca and looked to be a lot more meaningful to the overall story.  Perhaps that’s the point of killing her off so quickly, but the downside is that it doesn’t quite register, since we barely got to know her.  It smacks a bit of shock value, and perhaps a means to an end for showing how cold Lorca can be.



The fact that “Ripper” is ultimately the solution to the spore drive issue also comes across as very convenient.  It might have worked better if the struggle to get the drive working lasted more than an episode.  Like Landry’s demise, it felt like some plot points were being rushed to ensure that the Discovery could start running around the galaxy and really get the story going with some sense of the stakes.  But aren’t the stakes already high?


I’m also worried that the “spore drive”, however experimental, is going to become a problem for the overall plot.  Not unlike some of the super-technology in the Kelvin Timeline films, the tactical advantage of the “spore drive” is not simply moving faster.  As seen in this episode, Discovery can inflict a lot of damage, and one has to wonder how the Klingons could counter a starship that could conceivably just appear right over Qo’nos or wherever the current council is and wipe the place out completely.  Experimental or not, someone like Lorca wouldn’t wait to try that sort of tactic!



Speaking of the Klingons, a large portion of this episode is devoted to their subplots, and as with the opening two episodes, the scenes are entirely in Klingon.  They also move at a snail’s pace as a result, because the cast has one heck of a time delivering those lines with those prosthetics.  It just adds to the oddity of the episode’s pacing.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Some genuine moral questions are raised along the way
The Bad:
  • The pacing is all over the place, which makes some plot points feel rushed and unearned

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Star Trek: Discovery by - 10/10/2017 1:26 PM107 views

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