Welcome, one and all, to my continuing ‘Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery’ series. Today’s episode, ‘Through the Valley of Shadows’, split the focus over Control and the Time Crystals, with a brief detour into Stamets and Hugh’s relationship. Let’s talk a little about what that meant for everyone.
- Michael spent the episode believing that she had no fated role to play in the coming conflict, and was angry about what happened to her mother. Or enraged, ash she put it herself. For her, the episode involved a trip with Spock to investigate a Section 31 ship that had missed its check-in. This resulted in the siblings finding only one survivor – Michael’s old crewmate Gant – and attempting to reboot the ship’s systems in order to find out what was happening. Gant was dead though, and his body infected with nanotech like Leland’s. Control stated that neither mother nor daughter could stop it, and that it was going to rebuild Michael like it had Gant, and use her to get the Sphere data. In the end, Spock was able to help Michael defeat Gant and the nanotech, and he pointed out to her that this was a clear sign that she was a threat, as they wanted her specifically. This arc played out well. We all knew by now that Michael was going to be a ‘chosen one’ in the story and she’s now accepting that a little more. Spock has been instrumental in her growth in that regard.
- Jett Reno played a big role in the ongoing relationship issues. Initially, she’s quite heartless towards Stamets’ upset, but takes it upon herself to visit Hugh. She had a hangnail, which she described as being one of two things impeding her work, and confirmed that the other is, “An idiot. He came back from the dead and his name rhymes with poo.” Hugh spots her wedding ring and she explains that her wife died in the Klingon War and that she was a lot like Stamets. She tells Hugh, “People like us always find people like them”, and tells him that he has a second chance and it may not last forever. Don’t screw it up. This whole scene was excellent. It’s always great to see Jett, as her straight forward nature – which I think may in part be caused by her lack of interaction prior to rescue – is a blast. This will hopefully push Hugh back towards Stamets now.
- The brunt of the episode was dedicated to Pike, Tyler and L’Rell. In terms of the latter two, they did have a reconciliation of sorts. The ship has arrived at Boreth, where their son was sent to be kept safe. They argue a little, but in the end, L’Rell says that she man she loved, Voq, is no more, and that she understands that Tyler is in love with Michael. She trusts him to do anything to keep their son safe though. When Pike returns to the ship, he gives them an insignia that their son, now named Tenavik, said helped him on his journey. This was a touching moment, and I’m happy to see the pair’s arc reach a decent conclusion.
- But wait, wasn’t Tenavik just a infant a few months ago? Yes, he was. As he demonstrated to Pike via the quick growth of a tree, time flows differently for those that protect the time crystals. The now adult monk tested Pike, telling him that the experience of taking a crystal was his and his alone. When Pike touched it, he saw a vision of his own fate – a horrific injury that leaves him pained and in a wheelchair. Tenavik tells him that he can walk away from that future but that if he takes a crystal, his fate is sealed. Pike, being the man he is, chooses to take the crystal in order to try to save all sentient life. For this, Tenavik honours him. Really, a lot of this was just to reiterate who Pike is a person, and that’s fine. I like him as a character. As a side too, I loved how much the Klingon planet of Boreth looked like something out of a fantasy game.
- In the end, the Discovery finds itself facing down the entire Section 31 fleet, now assumedly under the control of Control. Michael says they have no time, are outgunned, and can’t delete the Sphere data. She suggests that destroying the ship is the only way forward. Pike sees the logic in this and kickstarts the evacuation and destruction process to end the episode on a cliffhanger.
I enjoyed this. It felt like we’re building towards a big, action-packed conclusion to the series, which I’m guessing will span most of the last two episodes. Both the cliffhanger and the way various relationship arcs have been ended or pushed towards a conclusion seems to indicate that to me. Whatever happens though, it’s been a wild ride.
So, those were my thoughts, but what about yourselves? Are you watching Star Trek Discovery? How are you finding this second season? What did you make of this episode? How do you think the series will end? Let me know in the comments below.