‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Episode 4 Recap/Review

This weeks episode ‘The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry’ bounced back and forth quite a bit between the goings on with the crew of the Discovery and the surviving Klingon followers of D’Kuvma, for sanity’s sake I will talk about them each individually starting off with the Klingons as there is a bit less to get through.

We pick up with Voq (Javid Iqbal) the albino Klingon, D’Kuvma’s torchbearer, and seemingly now the leader of his house. Through conversation (subtitles) with a female Klingon named L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) we learn a whole bunch of things, they are stranded at the location of ‘Battle at the Binary Stars’, they have been there for the entire six months Burnham was in prison, they have run out of supplies and are starving, they ate the corpse of Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), the damage done to their ship during the battle has been repaired, and they need a dilithium processing unit for their ship to be fully operational again.

L’Rell convinces Voq to travel to the remains of the Shenzhou to obtain their processing unit as he has up until this point refused. Just before the two depart for the Shenzhou Kol arrives, he apologizes to Voq for disrespecting him prior to the battle that brought about the war, but its rather obvious to everyone (except Voq) that he has some ulterior motives after mentioning their cloaking technology.

When returning from the Shenzhou Voq finds his crew have aligned themselves with Kol after he essentially bribed them with food. Voq is then abandoned and left to die in the remains of the Shenzhou, but is rescued by L’Rell who comes back for him. While it isn’t clear it seems that Kol wants to end the war to split the Klingon Empire back into their separate houses

While I really like the design of the Klingons, appreciate the prosthetic makeup, and respect the actors learning the language its an awful lot of work for some fairly mundane scenes. There is so much exposition, repeated or unnecessary information, and what feels like over dramatization for the Klingons who outside of starting the war in the first episode haven’t really done anything else. I get that show is trying to make sure the characters don’t come off as crazy evil villains, but in the process they are making them pretty stupid and worse, boring.

Now over to the Federation side of the isle, the episodes opening digital effects shot of moving through storming and shifting landscape that pulled back to unveil it was a super closeup of Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) uniform synthesis was a pretty cool albeit it unnecessary way of reminding us what her position is on the ship. We know, science vessel, science officer, science uniform, no badge, shes not Starfleet anymore, science science science. As Michael finishes getting ready Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) brings a shipment case for her to their shared quarters, rather oddly its the last will and testament of Captain Georgiou (because Burnham needs a reminder to be miserable), understandably this surprises them both and sours the mood, Michael stores it under her bunk for another time.

While navigating the ship and still being given looks as if she ran over their dog Burnham runs into Saru (Doug Jones) who is less than pleased of her presence of the ship, and still thinks shes dangerous. On the bridge Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) has the crew running battle simulations against Klingon Birds-of-Prey to which they are losing, all in preparation for when their displacement activated spore hub drive is up and running.

Lorca gives Burnham a new assignment and shows his hand sooner than I expected, revealing that he transported the creature from the Glenn into a containment prison on-board the Discovery to be studied, used, and/or weaponized if possible. Scanning the creature reveals it most likely forages for vegetation, and is a passive docile creature, however in judging a book by its cover Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) names it Ripper as she believes its both what it looks like and what it does.

Admiral Cornwell informs Lorca of a distress signal from Corvan II a dilithium mining colony which produces 40% of the Federations dilithium. The colony is under attack, has been cut off from its protective blockade, and the closest ship 84 hours away, the perfect excuse to test the Discovery’s new spore drive. Science Officer Stamets however is both hesitant and reluctant to engage a long distance jump with the drive as it uses probability to map its destination, and the longer the jump the more possible outcomes. Stamets believes a supercomputer (that they dont have) is required for the drives navigational system to operate optimally, additionally another part is thought to be missing from an odd piece of technology that interacts with the spore drive.

A long range test jump causes the creature to have a violent reaction in its cell, while the Discovery lands in the gravity well of a star which they narrowly escape from. Stamets unhappy with the accelerated testing of the drive which Lorca is pushing for threatens to leave the Discovery with his work, the Captain broadcasts the cry’s for help in the Corvan II distress signals across the ship to manipulate him into compliance. At the same time in an attempt to motivate Burnham to weaponize it, Landry threatens, provokes, and fires at Ripper, who ends up killing her.

In an attempt to prove the creature is not naturally aggressive or a predator Burnham requests Saru’s presence to see if his threat response is triggered, which it isn’t. After some detective work Michael summarizes that Ripper was initially chasing the mushrooms which generate the spores used in the drives and is actually the supercomputer, navigator, and missing piece needed for the spore drive to function.

With Ripper in place the spore drive works perfectly, transporting Discovery right into the attack on Corvan II, and Captain Lorca finally gets a moment to show off some of his military tactics while defending the colony and defeating the Klingons. Sadly the drive seems to be harming Ripper with each jump, could this be why the technology has never been mentioned in past Star Trek series and possibly has a finite amount of uses?

Word begins to spread of the good Michael has been doing, and she decides to open the case containing the will of her former Captain, it contains a holographic farewell message along with her most beloved possession, a telescope.

Overall a rather okay episode, the Klingon scenes really slowed it down, hopefully they have a good plan for those characters because they dont seem to be doing much, but I enjoyed most of the Discovery moments. I liked the two match ups for the episode of Lorca vs Stamets and Burnham vs Landry and their back and forth with military vs science, with the sour-faced Security Officer out the way hopefully we can get a replacement who isn’t just miserable. Honestly I would expect Starfleet to be a bit more punctual with distributing a Captains will, taking over six months is unacceptable, the poor woman got eaten by Klingons!

Stream the next episode on CBS All Access Sunday October 15th in the US, and on Netflix Monday October 16th in Australia. For now, here is the trailer for next weeks episode here:

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