Title: Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 5: “Choose Your Pain”
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: Streaming – CBS All Access
Director: Lee Rose
Writer: Kemp Powers
Release: October 15, 2017
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Issacs, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman
Feature image: Source
“My ship. My way.” Captain Gabriel Lorca – Star Trek: Discovery
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is looking at herself in a dream, in her dream she is Ripper screaming in pain. She talks to Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) about Ripper being in pain when they jump. Culber: “You discovered how to use the tardigrade for navigation. A victory that maybe isn’t a victory anymore.” He promises to run some more test on the tardigrade. Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) tells Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) to reign in the Discovery’s use of its spore drive. Star Fleet thinks that the Klingons are catching on to the ship’s technology. She also mentions Burnham. The Admiral doesn’t thinks it’s a good idea to have a convicted mutineer in his crew. “Why give everyone another reason to judge you?” she asks. He doesn’t agree with her, he will do what he wants on his ship. Lorca: “My ship. My way.” Burnham and Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) are having lunch. Tilly: “You’re stressed.” Burnham: “I barely have a job here. I’ve never been less busy.” Tilly: “Then that gives you the time and space to actually process what you’re going through emotionally.” Burnham: “I don’t like it.” Tilly: “Really? I love feeling feelings.” Burnham shares her concerns about Ripper. Lorca is on a shuttle and the Klingons capture him.
Cornwell sends acting captain Saru (Doug Jones) to find Lorca and rescue him. Burnham tells Saru that when they jump they are hurting Ripper. In his quarters, Saru talks to the ship’s computer. Saru: “There is an element aboard this ship that causes me to second guess myself. That cannot continue. I must remain clear-headed in pursuit of today’s mission.” Computer: “Alternative solution. Eliminate destructive element.” Saru: “Not an option”
“You guys, this is so fucking cool!” Cadet Sylvia Tilly – Star Trek: Discovery
Burnham is with Culber discussing talking to Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) about Ripper. Culber: “You should know Lieutenant Stamets rarely, if ever, listens to me.” Burnham: “I can handle him.” Culber: “Please. Show me how.” Burnham explains the Ripper situation to Stamets. Stamets: “You are the cause of this situation, Burnham. What are you doing with your mouth?” Burnham: “I am swallowing the urge to set the record straight.” Stamets: “Do you want to be right or fix this?” Tilly, Stamets, and Burnham are in the lab excitedly discussing if they can build an artificial Ripper to navigate the ship. Tilly: “You guys, this is so fucking cool!” [She starts to giggle] … I’m so sorry.” Stamets: “No, cadet, it is fucking cool.”
Burnham wants to do a work around gene transfer. She and Saru discuss this in private. Saru: “Eugenics experiments are forbidden.” Burnham knows that Saru is upset with her and tries to calm things down. Burnham: “Captain Saru, I understand that you are upset. You’re in command. It’s a time of crisis. And your culture trains you to be on a heightened lookout for enemies, but I assure you I am not one of them.” Saru: “How dare you treat me like one of your xenoanthropology subjects? You’re not an enemy Burnham you are a proven predator. And I know this not only because my instincts tell me that you are but because your actions show me that you are.” They have gotten information where Lorca is so Saru orders the spore drive back online and orders Burnham to her quarters. They make the jump with Ripper screaming in pain, the tardigrade passes out. Stamets and Culber report that the beast has lost fluid and is in a ball. Saru orders them to hydrate it. He doesn’t like being in this position, but they have to rescue the captain. He orders Stamets to get it ready for the next jump.
“I’ve learned how to choose wisely.” Harry Mudd – Star Trek: Discovery
Lorca is on a Klingon vessel. He is awakened by Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson). Lorca wonders why a civilian is a Klingon prisoner. He tells a story about running from his creditors because he bought a moon for the woman he loved. Mudd ran into Klingon territory and they captured him. Mudd: “The only crime I’m guilty of is loving too much.” The Klingon guards come in and say the title of the episode, “Choose your pain.” Mudd points to a beaten up Starfleet officer, Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif). The Klingons proceed to beat the crap out of him. Mudd explains to Lorca what is going on. Mudd: “They regularly give us the choice to choose our pain. We can accept the beating ourselves or pass it on to our cellmates. It’s our captors’ way of keeping us from bonding.” Lorca: “You seem conspicuously free from bruises.” Mudd: “I’ve learned how to choose wisely.”
Lorca finds out from Ash that he was captured at the Battle of the Binary Stars. The Klingons haven’t killed him, because the female commander Dennas (Clare McConnell) likes keeping him around for her sexual pleasure. Mudd isn’t a fan of Starfleet and blames them for this war. Lorca: “Starfleet didn’t start this war.” Mudd: “Of course you did. The moment you decided to boldly go where no one had gone before. What did you think would happen when you bumped into someone who didn’t want you in their front yard?” He says that the little guy is tired of being caught in the crossfire. Dennas has Lorca brought to her. Dennas: “Another creature might have slunk back into the darkness but not you. You seek glory. Perhaps you realize glory must be earned through sacrifice… and pain.” She uses bright lights to torture Lorca. Back in the cell, Lorca figures out that Mudd has been transmitting info to the Klingons with a transmitter on his pet scorpion. Mudd has a story about Lorca’s last command. The Klingons boarded Lorca’s ship and he had the ship with his crew blasted into smithereens while he escaped. Lorca explains to Ash that he blew up his ship to save them from Klingon capture and the impending torture and executions.
“Getting out of here was always a two-man job; I just waited until I found the right man.” Lt. Ash Tyler – Star Trek: Discovery
The Klingons come back in and say, “Choose your pain.” Ash tells the Captain to pick him. It turns out to be a set up by Lorca and Ash to take out the guards. Ash [to Mudd]: “Getting out of here was always a two-man job; I just waited until I found the right man.” Mudd is ready to join them in their escape, but they leave him in the cell to fend for himself. He promises revenge on Lorca. In the hallway, Ash fights Dennas and Lorca shoots her in the face. Ash gives Dennas an extra beating for her trouble. The men steal a Klingon raider and are soon pursued by other raiders. The Discovery spots the raiders. Using his experience with predators, Sara realizes the other raiders are pursuing Lorca, he has Lorca, Ash beamed aboard, and they make their jump. They discover Stamets has injected the genes in himself to make the jump. He is unconscious but alive.
Sara and Burnham have another private discussion. He admits he was jealous of her because she was able to be by Georgiou’s side and she was able to learn how to be a captain. As a peace offering, she gives him the telescope Georgiou left to her. He gives her a gift, he tells her to save Ripper. She and Tilly set the tardigrade free. Burnham: “This creature has traveled to the far ends of the universe. My hope is that what makes it most happy is to be free.” It seems to work because Ripper grows back to its normal size and flies off. In their quarters, Stamets and Culber are brushing their teeth. Culber tells him not to risk his life again. Culber: “One tends to worry when they’re doomed to love a brilliant but reckless maniac.” Stamets tells Culber that he was able to see the system, and it was beautiful. As they leave their bathroom, Stamets’ reflection stays in the mirror.
* * *
The Klingons capture Captain Lorca to find out about the Discovery’s spore drive. He meets Harry Mudd, a character from the original Star Trek and a new character, Lt. Ash Tyler. We find out that Lorca killed his old crew to save them from the Klingons. It gives us an insight to why Lorca is so gung-ho in his approach to this war. He and Ash escape and make it back to Discovery. Was their escape a little too easy, it might have been? A big online theory is that Ash Tyler and Voq are one and the same. Commentators believe that the actor Javid Iqbal doesn’t exist, and that Shazad Latif actually plays both characters. I don’t have any inside information on this, but I’m at 85% in believing it. We know in the last episode that Voq went to a Klingon matriarch planet and he would have to sacrifice everything. Maybe the big sacrifice is being a human to spy on Star Fleet and maybe get their spore drive technology. It would be an interesting twist, if nearly not everyone guessed it. Nearly everyone guessed the big twist on “Westworld” about the man in black, so never overlook online commentator’s guesses. Ash could be a regular human, if so, sorry Ash about thinking you’re a Klingon spy.
Onboard the Discovery the debate begins on what to do with Ripper. It appears the crew is torturing a sentiment creature for the ship’s own use. This is contrary to Federation ethics, if I understand my Jean-Luc Picard. Burnham is against it, but Sara is willing to do it to save the captain. Stamets isn’t willing to do it either and injects himself with Ripper’s DNA to navigate the ship’s jump. It says something about Stamets that he is willing to risk his own life for another creature. I think Picard would appreciate that. Burnham and Sara still have their ongoing conflict, but they seem to be working them out. I don’t expect the two to start hanging out at Karaoke bars together, but it is a start to a better relationship.
The episode was strong, with both storylines being interesting. It was a good character study on Lorca, and it showed the crew’s dynamics better. I’m sorry to see Ripper go; it’s too bad he couldn’t become the crew’s mascot. The Klingons continue to suck, but at least Dennas spoke some English, so I knew what she was saying. With Stamets reflection is remaining in the mirror, it suggests we might enter the mirror universe. The fight scenes were good, but the fight scene between Ash and Dennas was brutal, it suggests the darker grittier series the producers on the show have promised. They also used the F word twice; you have to earn that TV-MA someway.