The Klingons ate Captain Georgiou.
Sorry, I had to lead with that. The Klingons were starving so they ate Philippa Georgiou. But they don’t want to take a dilithium processor from her ship to make their ship go, which would then presumably allow them to go find food so they don’t have to eat people. Because they are proud and don’t want Starfleet cooties. To be fair, the Discovery is crawling with cooties. Billions of teeny tiny glowing ones and one giant angry one — and when you put them together, they allow the ship to jump around the galaxy in the blink of an eye. Yes, that is the real plot.
Burnham is assigned to figure out how to use the monster captured last week as a weapon against the Klingons. As a scientist, she wants to use science, but science is too slow for Commander Landry who chooses instead to poke it with her phaser over Michael’s protest. Landry is then mauled to death so: Monster +1, Lorca & Landry -1, Michael -.
In a clear parallel, Stamets also wants to (continue to) use science to figure out the spore drive, but Lorca is impatient because a dilithium mine is under attack and the Discovery is the only ship with a chance at reaching it, but only if the spore drive works. When it doesn’t work the first time (and they are almost pulled into a sun!), he basically orders Stamets to have a breakthrough and then broadcasts the mining colony’s distress signal shipwide to drive home the severity of the issue and/or shame Stamets into working harder. Lorca has no chill. When not in actual battle, he runs battle simulations with the crew. He spares barely a glance for Landry despite the fact I’m pretty sure they were sleeping together (and Jason Isaacs agrees with me), and as with Stamets, uses her death to “inspire” Michael to make it count.
But Michael and Stamets do get a breakthrough, realize their now destroyed sister ship was using the monster (named Ripper by Landry before her death) to direct the spores to where they want to go, and are able to set it up on Discovery. This allows Lorca to pop into the sky over the mining colony and dispatch all the Klingons with hugely impressive maneuvering and a light show that dazzles the residents. Interestingly, they don’t speak to the colonists, or at least not in our view, and we don’t even witness a report to Starfleet Command, though I presume that definitely happened. To me this indicates Lorca really is interested in victory and rescue more than acclaim. Still a single-minded jerk, though.
Meanwhile, back with the Klingons, Voq loses control of the House of T’Kuvma and is exiled by Kol, the rival who took over. It’s interesting we are getting a wholly separate story from the Klingon side of the war but it is a little hard to follow and I hope it is eventually more integrated into the Starfleet side.
Finally, Michael’s personal subplot is receiving a telescope willed to her by the late Captain Georgiou, along with a message of pride. The message was definitely recorded prior to the events that lead to her death, but I think by the time they boarded the Klingon ship their relationship was in repair, and I hope Michael realizes that, too.
Live Long and Prosper:
This episode has one of my favorite archetypal stories: the knight tames the dragon instead of killing it. But with the twist that by taming Ripper, Michael figured out how to exploit it, and Lorca has no qualms about doing so, that was his plan all along. But Michael is distraught. And so am I. The Discovery’s magical rescue of the colony was exciting and yay, they saved children…but at what cost? They’ve enslaved a creature they can’t even communicate with.
Michael was described as ‘curious’ no less than three times in this episode.
Beam Me Up:
Why are the “good” underdog Klingons light/white and the “bad” oppressor Klingons dark/black? That is a …questionable choice.
Michael and Georgiou: Philippa specifically calls her “like my own daughter” which is even more explicit than foster dad Sarek handing Michael off to her.
Michael and Saru and Lorca: No, not as a threesome. But in this episode the dynamics between these three (and the doomed Landry) were all mixed up together. In the previous episode, Saru seemed content with Lorca as a commander, but here he confesses/complains that Lorca doesn’t consult with him often, and when Michael uses him to prove her hypothesis, he tells her she and Lorca deserve each other. Michael does not like Lorca’s methods this week anymore than she did last week but might possibly agree as she did just pull a Lorca with Saru. Lorca holds all his cards close to the chest so we don’t know yet what or who he really cares about.
Michael and Sylvia: Ugh, I love Tilly so much. Michael actually really desperately needs a friend and Tilly is a GREAT one, so as much as I ship this, I don’t actually want them to hook up right now.
Stamets and Culber: They were on screen! There was no obvious nod to them being in a relationship, but that’s to be expected when they are on duty, and the Captain is yelling at Stamets (poor Stamets).
Voq and L’Rell: Not only is this clearly a canon-official romance, it is actually adorable? And sweet? Part of me wonders if L’Rell is playing Voq as much as she did Kol — she has a convenient alternative plan for him at the ready — but maybe I’m just primed to look for conspiracies in television these days. They seem to be two misfits finding and supporting each other (though more her supporting him so far) and it’s CUTE.
A Good Day to Die
Commander Landry died ignoring Michael’s advice, maybe people should start listening to Michael Burnham.