Kobayashi Marie continues its discussion of the first season of Star Trek Discovery with Episode 9 – Into the Forest I Go
First of all, I inexplicably hate the title of this episode. It just sounds like a children’s rhyme, and that is a long way from what’s about to happen. In fact, this is a really strong episode. A lot happens, a lot that is significant for the rest of the series, and a lot that is very dramatic. Enough with the silly titles guys, if you please.
So Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) receives orders from Admiral Terrall (Conrad Coates) to retreat as the Klingons approach, and after a ‘heated debate’ about how Discovery is ultimately responsible for the mess they’re now in, Lorca agrees – or does he? Nope, of course he has no intention of following orders! However, that means that Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is forced to divulge everything to Dr Culber (Wilson Cruz), which certainly puts the cat among the proverbial pigeons.
Discovery needs to find out how the Klingon’s cloaking mechanism works, and There Is A Plan. Which involves Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Tyler (Shazad Latif) going on board the Klingon ship and planting sensors. What are you, nuts?! There’s more. Stamets has to use the spore drive to jump 133 times. The handful of jumps he’s made have already messed with his brain, so who knows what state he will be in when he’s through with this.
Lorca is determined that Burnham shouldn’t be part of the boarding party. But why? She’s a convicted criminal and therefore disposable should the mission fail. Anyway, as if bugging a Klingon ship wasn’t daft enough, deciding they have to rescue the human life sign they have stumbled upon at the same time is not going to help.
But surprise! The human is Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) who still isn’t dead – you have to admire her resilience. But wait, what have we here? Tyler and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) meet up again and he does not cope well at all.
One thing I regret about the demise of the Klingon Ship of the Dead is that this interior was so beautiful. Gorgeous curved decoration, ridiculously intricate for the purpose it served, it was more reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral than a spaceship. And now it’s gone. There’s a nice little touch of Captain Lorca putting in the eye drops to ensure that he can watch the disintegration of the vessel in all its glory – very mean and very Lorca.
And as if all that weren’t enough for one episode, then Ash Tyler finds the facade dropping and eventually feels able to disclose details of some of the Klingon torture he suffered as he tried to survive while being held captive. We see flashbacks to some of that torture, yes, but it’s the psychological which is most powerful. It’s rare to hear a male talking about being sexually abused, let alone his guilt about complicity, and thanks to Shazad Latif, the scene was both moving and intense. And oh Sonequa that one tear that fell from your left eye was just perfect.
In broadcast terms, this episode marked the hiatus point for the first season, and so Saru announcing in bewilderment that he has no idea where they are after everything they’ve just been through? Genius.
Kobayashi Marie will be back on Friday with an all new column continuing its on-going journey to (for now) recap Season 1 of Star Trek Discovery