Star Trek: Discovery Review by John Keegan

Star Trek: Discovery 1.09: Into the Forest I Go

Star Trek: Discovery 1.09: Into the Forest I Go

Written By:
Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt
Directed By:
Chris Byrne

If it wasn’t made very clear by the promos and such that this was only a mid-season finale, one might have been tempted to consider it the culmination of the entire season arc.  For one thing, this is a huge turning point in the war against the Klingons, and it brings some other subplots to a nice boil.  On the other hand, those of us who may have been looking for more depth to the character exploration would appear to be getting our wish in the second half of the season.

 


 

This series is still trying to find its pacing, often rushing through ideas when a bit of meditation would be worth the time.  And despite all of the action in this episode, it spends a good amount of time digging into the characters with major internal conflicts.  Tyler, in particular, shows a seriously problematic level of PTSD that shows how the mixture of torture and intimacy has scrambled his brain.  It should be interesting to see if his relationship to Michael will turn out to be part of a future solution.  As loathe as I am to have a story “solve” a mental illness through something as semi-magical as Vulcan discipline or mind melds, the fact remains that Michael suffers with some PTSD of her own.

 

Speaking of Michael, her journey comes full circle as she faces off against Kol, the current contender for leader of the Klingon Empire.  Kol taunts her with the memory of her former captain, and the audience is reminded several times over that Michael is more or less responsible for the initiation of the war herself.  And so doing what it takes to ensure the off-book mission to turn the tide is successful, at great personal risk, is a nice way to steer her character to a personal point of closure.

 


 

Both highlight something about Captain Lorca that the writers have been very consistent with from the start: this guy has major issues and could end up being as notorious as the several other Starfleet commanders who went off the rails and abused their power.  If anything, it’s fascinating to have an actor as solid as Jason Issacs playing that sort of rogue command figure, because he makes an arguable madman seem reasonable at times.  He completely overlooks the issue of sending Tyler back onto a Klingon ship, doesn’t see how Michael’s past would drive her to succeed, and is willing to sacrifice Stamets as a means to an end.

 

And if there is one glaring example of overwriting in this episode, it’s Stamets.  If someone didn’t find it beyond obvious that Stamets was going to have a major problem with his final jump, then I have to wonder if they are paying attention at all or simply more dense than a neutron star.  They beat that foreshadowing into everyone’s skull so effectively that it made the characters who didn’t see it coming seem rather foolish and incompetent as a result.

 


 

But the end result is that Discovery takes what appears to be a left turn away from the war with the Klingons (which can more or less attend to itself now) into hopefully uncharted territory.  Not only will that give the crew time to implode, particularly Tyler, but it will also give the writers plenty of time to demonstrate why the spore drive is a horrifically bad idea.  This mid-season finale makes it feel like the first half of the season was prelude to the real story, and that heightens my interest in the series as a whole, to say the least.

 




Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • Brings the first half of the season to a fever pitch and apparent close with solid storytelling
The Bad:
  • The foreshadowing with Stamets was overdone to the point of absurdity

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 - 11/13/2017 8:13 AM33 views

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