Star Trek Discovery: Ripper to the Rescue

Title: Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 4: “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: Streaming – CBS All Access
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Writers: Jesse Alexander and Aron Eli Coleite
Rating: TV-14
Release: October 8, 2017
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Issacs, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman
Feature image: Source




“Standing behind you, I am free to move. Able to be your enforcer, defender, campaigner.”  L’Rell – Star Trek: Discovery

Voq (Javid Iqbal) is trying to get T’Kuvma’s ship running again. T’Kuvma’s lieutenant and now Voq’s number one, L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) tells him they need to get a dilithium processor from the abandoned Shenzhou to fix their ship. Voq is against merging Federation material with a Klingon ship, because he is against assimilation. Voq convinces him to do it by reminding him of when they ate Georgiou (the bastards). Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) [the dick from the first episodes who put down the ‘outcasts’ on T’Kuvma’s ship] comes aboard to beg for forgiveness. It’s apparent he isn’t being sincere. He soon shows what he is there for, the ship cloaking technology.

Voq and L’Rell are aboard the Shenzhou retrieving the dilithium processor. They engage in conversation. Voq wonders why L’Rell who was T’Kuvma’s lieutenant didn’t want to be in charge. L’Rell: “I do not want the mantle of leadership. Standing behind you, I am free to move. Able to be your enforcer, defender, campaigner.” She talks about her upbringing, “When I was a child, [my mother] gave me a bat’leth and told me to cleave my own heart. To choose one house over the other. Instead, I built a bridge to serve both.” All of this talk of devotion seems to be turning Voq on. When they get back, they find out that Kol has taken over their ship by feeding their starving crew. L’Rell pretends to join him and hands him the dilithium processor. He orders her to kill Voq, she tells Kol she has a better idea, he should bury Voq in their enemy’s grave.  Voq is aboard the Shenzhou waiting to die. L’Rell transports on the ship. He grabs L’Rell for her portrayal. She explains she did it to save him. She is going to take him to her mother’s matriarch planet where he can learn how to win this war and spread T’Kuvma’s message. The price for this knowledge, he must sacrifice everything.


“I study war. This is where I hone my craft. I try to learn from the best.”  Captain Lorca – Star Trek: Discovery

Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) receives a new uniform. Her roommate, Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) picked up a chiming package for her. It is the last will and testament from Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). Burnham doesn’t want to open it. Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Issacs) calls her to the bridge. She runs into First Officer Saru (Doug Jones), he is surprised to see her, Lorca didn’t tell him she is a member of the crew.  Burnham: “You can tell your threat ganglia to relax. I’m only here to help.”  Saru: “My ganglia remain unconvinced.” When they get to the bridge, Lorca is running a Klingon attack simulation. The crew fails and Lorca isn’t pleased. He angrily explains to the crew that once the spore drive is in place, they’ll be in locations by themselves, they’ll have no backup, and the crew has to do better. Lorca takes Burnham to his lab. It is full of the universes dangerous weapons and predator skeletons. Lorca: “I study war. This is where I hone my craft. I try to learn from the best.” He has a project for her. He reveals the monster from the last episode. Lorca tells her that the creature’s claws could tear up a hull and its hide could withstand phaser blasts. He wants her to weaponize it.

“Lorca isn’t interested in what you are. He’s interested in what you can do. For him.”  Commander Landry – Star Trek: Discovery

Lorca assigns Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) to assist Burnham with her project. She is there to make sure Burnham doesn’t get too caught up in her curiosity. Burnham: “You judge the creature by its appearance and by one single incident from its past. Nothing in its biology suggests it would attack except in self-defense. Commander, this creature is an unknown alien. It can only be what it is, not what you want it to be.”  Landry: “It’s amazing how much I hate Vulcan proverbs.” Landry lays it out to Burnham, “Lorca isn’t interested in what you are. He’s interested in what you can do. For him.”

An Admiral interrupts Lorca’s dinner. A mining facility, Corvan 2 that mines 40% of the dilithium that is used in starships is under attack. The nearest Star Fleet ship is 84 hours away. Discovery is the only ship that can get there in time. She asks if the jump drive is ready Lorca assures her it is. Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) assures him it isn’t. They can jump but they aren’t sure where they’ll end up. Saru says Corvan 2 will fall to the Klingons in five hours. Stamets says that they took equipment from the Glenn, they had a supercomputer for navigation. Lorca asks him did he see one on board. Stamets: “Sir, being chased by a lethal monster in a deathtrap surrounded by Klingon bodies is distracting but, no, I would’ve noticed an extra supercomputer. That’s just me.” Stamets promises he will try to get them ready for the jump.

The crew prepares for the jump to Corvan 2, but instead of landing near it, the Discovery lands near a star. Burnham is with the creature that Landry named Ripper, and it makes the creature go nuts. Stamets face slams into a panel during the jump. He is taken to sickbay. Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) treats him. Stamets jokes about losing his frontal lobe since “it only contains memory and emotional expression”. Culber tells him they’ll keep it since he might need it. Lorca wants them to try again to get to Corvan 2. Stamets is against it, science needs time. Lorca reminds him that Discovery is a warship, not a science ship. Stamets tells him he didn’t sign up for this. Lorca tells him if he isn’t aboard, he can leave. Lorca: “How do you want to be remembered in history?” “Alongside the Wright brothers, Elon Musk, Zefram Cochrane? Or as a failed fungus expert?” As Stamets walks out of sickbay, Lorca has the last message from Corvan 2 played over the ship’s loudspeaker. Children are screaming and people are pleading for help. The crew is moved. Landry is moved to take Ripper from behind the containment field so that they can cut off its claw to study it. Burnham advises against this. Ripper freaks out and rips Landry up. Burnham is able to get Ripper back behind the containment field with the spores. She has Landry beamed into sickbay. She is dead, Lorca tell Burnham to make sure Landry’s death wasn’t in vain.

“That hardly seems fair. I always wanted to converse with my mushrooms.”  Lt. Stamets – Star Trek: Discovery

Burnham has Tilly bring some more spores. Ripper calms down with them. Burnham goes to Stamets with a theory. Ripper was on board the Glenn in the cargo bay for the mushrooms stored there. Ripper was there for the spores on the mushrooms. The creature communicates with the spores. Stamets: “That hardly seems fair. I always wanted to converse with my mushrooms.” What if the supercomputer on the Glenn was Ripper? They might be able to use the Tardigrade to navigate. They attach Ripper to the machine they retrieved from the Glenn. Ripper is distressed when they make the jump, but it has a symbiotic relationship with the spores, it can navigate the mycological branches. The ship jumps to Corvan 2, they destroy two Klingon Birds of Prey that are in front of them. Lorca gets the other Birds of Prey to converge on Discovery. When the Klingons get there, the ship jumps and leaves some torpedoes in their place. The Birds of Prey blow up. Everyone on the Discovery is happy except for Burnham who looks concerned about Ripper.

“Take good care but, more importantly, take good care of those in your care.”  Captain Georgiou – Star Trek: Discovery

Burnham goes to feed Ripper but it’s not feeling well. It can barely eat the spores and it moans. Back in her room Captain Georgiou’s last will and testament is chiming. Tilly advices her to open it. Burnham finally opens it and watches Georgiou’s message to her. Georgiou has assumed that Burnham has her own command now. Georgiou: “Take good care but, more importantly, take good care of those in your care.” She wants her to explore space and herself. Georgiou is proud of her and thinks of her as a daughter. She leaves Burnham a family heirloom, her telescope.


Michael Burnham is haunted by her memory of her former captain. She feels guilty about her mutiny and not keeping her alive. She won’t open Georgiou’s last will and testament, even though it is chiming. Georgiou leaves her a sweet message, which must make Burnham feel even guiltier, but I hope it gives her the strength to keep exploring. She has a new pet, not Tilly, but the giant Tardigrade, Ripper. Ripper allows Burnham to show her humanity. She sees herself in the beast, both are being judged by ‘one single incident from their past’. Ripper, ripping Klingons [and Landry apart], and Burnham, mutiny against her captain. Lorca is exploiting this animal, and that isn’t very Federation of him. Picard would make a moving speech about this. I wonder where her objection to Ripper’s treatment will lead her.

Is Lorca evil? I’m still not sure. A lot of what he does is justifiable because they are at war. The question is, will he completely blow past the Federation’s principles to wage war. What will his reaction be when Burnham tells him how Ripper suffers from the jumps? I don’t see him wrestling with his conscience about it.

I don’t have a lot to say about the Klingon storyline. It didn’t interest me. I still don’t like the way they look, and hearing them speak nothing but Klingon doesn’t get me involved with their characters. It would help if they spoke English, that’s how we got to know the Klingons in the other series and grow to like them. Maybe it is more ‘authentic’ to have them only speak their language, but it isn’t entertaining.

The show looks great, the Discovery’s saucer spinning was cool, and the shot of them near the star looked great. I’m enjoying the Discovery’s crew so far, and can’t wait when they start doing stories on the individual crew member. I am interested in their stories. It looks like they are going to start with Lorca next week.





Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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