Title: Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 8: “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: Streaming – CBS All Access
Director: John Scott
Writer: Kirsten Beyer
Rating: TV-MA
Release:November 5, 2017
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Issacs, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman
Feature image: Source

[Spoilers]

The U.S.S. Gagarin is under attack by six Klingon Birds of Prey. The Discovery joins in the battle. Both ships are having trouble firing on the Birds of Prey because they are using their cloaking device. The Klingons destroy the Gagarin. In engineering, Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) looks bad; he calls Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) Captain. On the bridge, Captain Gabriel Lorca is testy; two other Star Fleet ships were destroyed.

“And we particularly enjoy being discussed in the third person while present.”  Commander Saru – Star Trek: Discovery

There is an away team on the planet Pahvo. The team consists of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), and Commander Saru (Doug Jones). Their mission is to use a crystal structure on the planet that is a naturally occurring transmitter. They plan to modify its electromagnetic frequency and use the structure to detect Klingon vessels using the cloaking device. Saru is keeping a fast and steady pace ahead of Burnham and Ash. Burnham to Ash: “Kelpians pursued by apex predators have exceeded speeds of eighty kilometers per hour. They can also sense predators from a distance as much as ten kilometers.”  Saru: “And we particularly enjoy being discussed in the third person while present.”  Something like a mist figure appears, it wants the team to follow it, and more mist figures appear.

Aboard the Klingon ship of the dead, L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) comes on board to talk to General Kol (Kenneth Mitchell). She wants to join his crew, and she offers her services as an interrogator. Kol: “Do not mistake me for your fallen idol…T’Kuvma! He sought unity. I seek only Klingon supremacy under my rule.” They take L’Rell to Admiral Cornwell’s (Jayne Brook) cell. She walks in with torture equipment and she tells Cornwell to scream. L’Rell starts to scream and Cornwell follows her example. The guard outside the cell laughs and leaves. L’Rell tell Cornwell they can talk now. She asks Cornwell what the Federation does to their prisoners. Cornwell tells her they treat their prisoners well. L’Rell tells Cornwell she wants to defect; she doesn’t like the way Kol is running things. She’ll help Cornwell escape so that she can take her back to the Discovery. Cornwell asks L’Rell why she should trust her; L’Rell replies that she has no choice.

“Our futures look different. You go back to your lake house and I go back to prison. My sentence was life. This is just temporary.” Michael Burnham – Star Trek: Discovery

The mist figures lead the away team to a tent. Saru tells them that the team means them no harm. As a first contact specialist, he tries to communicate with them. He tells Burnham and Ash that he felt their intentions. Burnham: “Order One restricts us from revealing ourselves to sentient beings that aren’t warp-capable. We’re well beyond that. Now our duty is to follow First Contact protocol. And we can’t borrow or alter their property without them understanding our objective and agreeing to it.” While Saru is communicating with the Pahvo beings, Ash and Burnham talk. Ash talks about his plans after the war; he plans to go back to his lake house on Earth. Burnham: “Our futures look different. You go back to your lake house and I go back to prison. My sentence was life. This is just temporary.” They begin to kiss. [Keep it professional kids]

Back on the Discovery, Stamets and Tilly are in the dining hall. She asks him what is going on with him. He at first tries to pull rank on her, but Tilly persists to know what is happening to him. Stamets: “Something has been happening to me. One minute, I know where I am, who you are, what I’m doing and then… all of a sudden, what I know changes. It gets jumbled.” He tells her they can’t tell Culber, as the ship doctor he would have to report this to Star Fleet, Stamets doesn’t want to put him in this situation. Tilly promises to monitor him.

Saru joins Burnham and Ash and tells them the spirits he is talking to is the planet itself. They have wanted to talk to the rest of the universe. When he is by himself again, the constant noise of the planet is bothering him. He asks the mist to make it stop for a moment. The mist surrounds him, he expresses his thoughts about the mission, about the Federation wanting peace and using their transmitter, and he discusses his own fears. When he walks back into the tent, Saru is at peace. He asks for Ash and Burnham’s communicators after telling them that the Pahvons have agreed to their requests. He crushes the communicators and tells them they can join the Pahvons. Saru: “The Pahvons have found a way to exist in perfect balance, in absolute harmony, with their world. They have already achieved everything we say we seek through our exploratory and diplomatic efforts. The only answers we require for the advancement of all species is here and it’s ours for the taking.” He strokes both their faces as they look on in horror. Saru tells them he must tell their ‘hosts’ that they have accepted. Burnham is worried about Saru and about getting permission to use the transmitter. Ash just wants to complete their mission and takes over command.

“If it means I can make them suffer like they made me suffer, then yes.” Lt. Ash Tyler – Star Trek: Discovery

Saru comes back to the the tent with grub. Ash tells Saru that he and Burnham had a fight and she is walking it off. He and Saru discuss how the Pahvons helped him and they could help Ash. Tyler: “You don’t just forget something like [seven months of torture.] You can’t.”  Saru: “What’s the other option? Allowing it to transform you into something worse than those who did this?”
Tyler: “If it means I can make them suffer like they made me suffer, then yes.” Saru realizes that Ash is trying to distract him so that Burnham can get to the transmitter. After knocking out Ash, he goes after her. He quickly covers a lot of ground. Burnham is at the transmitter trying to set it up so they can contact Discovery. She can see Saru heading her way. When he arrives they begin to fight, but he is much stronger than she is. She shoots him with her phaser. Burnham: “Is this what harmony and balance look like? Where is the peace you say you found here?”  Saru: “You have taken it from me. You won’t stop taking!”  Burnham: “I would give anything for a second, a millisecond, of peace but until the war is over, none of us can have it.”

Ash appears with the Pahvons, Saru apologizes to them for what Star Fleet is doing. Burnham asks for their help. The Federation wants to use their transmitter to stop this war. They respond by connecting her to Discovery in a beautiful scene. Saru begs not to go back. The ship beams them back aboard. In sickbay, Saru apologizes to Burnham for his actions. He explains what happened, “We are born afraid, we Kelpians. It’s how we survive. As such, my whole life, I have never known a moment without fear. The freedom of it. Not one moment. Until Pahvo.”

“Show her how House Kor treats liars.” General Kol – Star Trek: Discovery

L’Rell and Cornwell begin their escape but they are caught. To cover it up, they begin to fight and it appears that L’Rell has killed Cornwell. She tells Cornwell, “At least you won’t die in a cage.”  L’Rell drags Cornwell’s body in a room and finds the bodies of her men. She vows vengeance on Kol. L’Rell tells Kol she will serve House Kor. He isn’t buying it. He tells one of his men, “Show her how House Kor treats liars.” His ship receives a message to go to Pahvo.

The transmitter from Pahvo is sending out a signal to both the Klingons and Federation. The Pahvons want the conflict between the two sides to end. A Klingon vessel appears. The Klingons think that Pahvo is on the Federation’s side, so they will destroy them. Burnham tells Lorca they are the only line of protection for Pahvo, so they have to stay and fight.

The Discovery sends an away team to Pahvo to use a natural transmitter to detect the cloaked Klingon ships. Saru turns on the team when the Pahvons take away his fear. Saru is much stronger than the humans are, and can be very frightening in his ‘peaceful’ state. Burnham is able to convince the Pahvons to help them, but not quite the way she intended. The Pahvons wanting peace contact the Klingons to come to the planet. I guess they hope to help the two warring parties find a peaceful solution. They don’t know the Klingons, because the Klingons are going to destroy the transmitter and them. Burnham tells Lorca that they will have to stay there to defend the peaceful Pahvons.

L’Rell is aboard Kol’s ship, pledging her allegiance to him. It appears she is there to see Admiral Cornwell so that she can defect to the Federation. I doubt that is true either. I believe she wants to get aboard the Discovery for nefarious reasons. She is an enemy of Kol, and Kol is quite aware of it, she doesn’t fool him with her newfound ‘loyalty’ to him.  It appears she kills Admiral Cornwell to cover her plans. None of it works since he plans to show her what the House of Kor does to liars.

Stamets is showing the effects of the jumps but he wants to keep it a secret from Culber. He says he doesn’t want to tell him to keep him out of a difficult situation. I think he doesn’t want to tell him because he’s afraid he’ll make him stop.

A good episode, but not as good as the last few episodes have been. It appears this episode is the beginning of a two-parter. It more or less sets up what I hope is the exciting conclusion to the first part of this season. I still don’t care about the Klingons, and unless Worf shows up, I doubt he will. When they speak their Klingon language, I get bored. It is more interesting when you know what they are saying. The actors are forced to put more emphasize in speaking the Klingon than in acting. When L’Rell spoke to Cornwell in English, the scene was interesting. Pahvo looked pretty, and the Pahvons were interesting in a truly alien way. I enjoyed Saru in this episode, and Doug Jones did a great job showing how being not afraid could be so powerful to him. I look forward to the mid-season finale.

Grade: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

A fan, enthusiast, and appreciator of sci-fi, comic books, and fantasy film and TV. kbeartv61@nayahscifi.com
Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

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