“What is a Kelpien without fear? I’m losing the very thing that defines me.” Commander Saru
The episodes beginning narration comes from Commander Saru (Doug Jones) talking about his home planet Kaminar. He emphasizes that we all come from somewhere. The crew is busy working on the info they received from the sphere [An Obol for Charon]. Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) is in sickbay trying to adjust to being back aboard Discovery with Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and the rest of his crewmates. Saru is also in sickbay talking to Dr. Tracy Pollard (Raven Dauda) who is examining him after he survived vahar’ai. Saru tells Dr. Pollard he doesn’t have any fear now. Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) from Section 31 discuss the Red Angel. The bridge reports a new signal over Kaminar.
Saru reports that the Ba’ul [the predator race on Kaminar] have superior technology over his species the Kelpiens. It is how the Ba’ul control the Kelpiens. The Kelpiens haven’t seen a Ba’ul in ages. The Ba’ul have kept themselves arms length from Star Fleet. Captain Pike hails the Ba’ul. The Ba’ul scan the Discovery’s weapon systems. The Red Angel signal disappears. Saru wants to go on the away mission with Burnham on Kaminar. Captain Pike doesn’t think that’s a good idea. The usually meek Saru acts very aggressively towards the Captain. Michael mediates the situation and tells Pike that Saru will be useful for the mission.
Hugh is with Stamets in sickbay. Dr. Pollard tells them that Culber is normal but also brand new. His new nervous system will need to adjust. [It is the last we’ll see of this storyline.]
Michael and Saru beam onto the planet. There are giant pylons throughout Kaminar that the Ba’ul use to watch over the Kelpiens. Michael remarks that if the Ba’ul weren’t oppressing the Kelpiens, Kaminar would be a paradise. Saru’s dad was a priest; they helped keep order. Michael and Saru spot a priest, the priest turns out to be Saru’s sister, Siranna (Hannah Spear). She is shocked to see Saru, she and everyone else thought he was dead because he questioned things about the planet and the way they lived. They feared retribution from the Ba’ul. Saru explains that he had joined Star Fleet and been traveling. The other galaxies full of people and space travel amaze Siranna; she invites them to tea. Saru asks about their father, she informs him that their father is dead. They ask her if she knows anything about the Red Angel. Siranna becomes upset with Saru; she thinks that is the only reason he came home [which is actually true]. After she calms down, she tells them she has seen it. The house starts shaking, the Ba’ul know that they are on the planet. Saru and Michael beam off the planet.
The Ba’ul contact the ship, they know that Star Fleet has a Kelpien aboard. Pike asks an angry Saru not to speak, but Saru ignores his request and argues with the Ba’ul about what they’ve done to his people. The Ba’ul want Saru, but Captain Pike refuses. The Ba’ul send 10 ships towards Discovery. Pike orders Saru off the bridge. The Ba’ul tells Pike they will destroy the village if they don’t hand the Kelpien over. Saru decides to beam himself down to the planet before anyone can stop him. Once he’s done that, the Ba’ul ships power down their weapons and take off with Saru. The crew doesn’t know where the Ba’ul have taken him.
Burnham, Silvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), and Airiam (Sara Mitich) are looking through the sphere’s archive hoping it will help them find Saru. The Ba’ul have Saru chained against a wall. Something comes out of a pool; I think it’s the Ba’ul or something that represents them. It tells Saru that he doesn’t know who you are. The Ba’ul beam Siranna aboard the structure they are holding Saru. The sphere’s archive shows that two thousand years ago, the Kelpiens were the planet’s predators and the Ba’ul were the prey. Back on the Ba’ul prison, Siranna is terrified of the Ba’ul, Saru isn’t. He is able to destroy the probes the Ba’ul are using and uses one of them to contact Discovery. The Discovery crew comes up with a solution, they will make all of the Kelpiens go through vahar’ai as Saru did. Pike is afraid that if the Kelpiens become aggressive again, they could cause the extinction of the Ba’ul. Michael assures him that the Ba’ul technological advantage will keep that from happening now. Saru says that the Kelpiens will show the Ba’ul that they can control their rage. Siranna agrees and says Discovery should do it.
The vahar’ai is causing Siranna to be in pain. The Ba’ul structure that Saru and Siranna are in rises from the lake. The Ba’ul activate the giant pylons throughout the planet to wipe out the Kelpiens. There are too many pylons for Discovery to take out. With all hope lost, the Red Angel appears and sends out an electrical burst that shuts the pylons down. Ash tells them that Section 31 fears the Red Angel’s power. The Red Angel has more advanced technology than Star Fleet, they thinks it’s probably from the future.
Siranna is aboard Discovery, it amazes her. She is happy to know that Saru didn’t leave their planet out of fear, but because of hope, and he has returned hope back to Kaminar. Saru invites her to stay aboard and travel with them, but Siranna refuses, she needs to stay home and help their people adjust to the new reality. The siblings say goodbye. After Siranna leaves, Saru talks to his other ‘sister’ Michael. He tells her that she would do whatever’s needed to help her brother Spock. Seeing Saru and Siranna together makes Michael realize she needs to go home.
Both Saru and Hugh Culber are adjusting to their new situations. Saru is living without fear, while Hugh has to adjust to having a new body and living among people again. The Red Angel signal is over Saru’s home planet, Kaminar. Saru and Michael go on an away mission to Saru’s old village. They run into his sister Siranna. Everyone in the village thought Saru was dead; they thought he was punished for questioning how the Ba’ul ran things. The Ba’ul know that they are on the planet so Saru and Michael beam back aboard Discovery. The Ba’ul know they have a Kelpien aboard and want Captain Pike to hand him over. The new more assertive Saru argues with the Ba’ul. They threaten to destroy his village. Without Pike’s permission, he beams down to the planet and the Ba’ul capture him. Michael, Tilly and Airiam go through the Sphere’s archives and discover that two thousand years ago the Kelpiens were the planet’s predator race, while the Ba’ul was the prey. Because they had more advanced technology, the Ba’ul were able to reverse it. They’ve used their advanced technology and the vahar’ai to control the Kelpiens, fearing that if the Kelpiens lost their fear, they would commit genocide on them. Once Discovery causes the Kelpien populace to go through vahar’ai, the Ba’ul decide to commit genocide on the Kelpiens. The Red Angel reappears and stops them. Ash informs Pike and Burnham that Section 31 fears the Red Angel’s advanced technology, they believe they come from the future.
This was another good episode, which highlighted Doug Jones. He is doing a good job showing the new Saru. Before surviving the vahar’ai, Saru was passive and fearful, now he’s assertive, even aggressive. Though Saru acts differently, Doug Jones shows he is the same character we’ve grown to love. It is nice seeing Saru and Michael getting along and working well together. Just seeing the whole crew work well together, and care about each other is fantastic. That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about Star Trek, that it shows how people from different backgrounds can work together, and grow to become a family. Guest star Hannah Spear did a great job portraying Saru’s sister Siranna. I wouldn’t have minded her traveling with the crew.