Star Trek Discovery: Family Secrets

Title: Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6: “Lethe”
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: Streaming – CBS All Access
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
Writers: Joe Menosky and Ted Sullivan
Rating: TV-14
Release: October 22, 2017
Cast: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Issacs, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman
Feature image: Source



“In times of crisis, ignorance can be beneficial.” Sarek – Star Trek: Discovery

Sarek (James Frain) and an underling V’Latak (Luke Humphrey) are going on a diplomatic mission but Sarek won’t give him any details. Sarek: “In times of crisis, ignorance can be beneficial.” V’Latak is a ‘logic extremist’ who believes that humans are inferior and that the Vulcans should pull out of the Federation. V’Latak tells Sarek, “Your fascination with humans can no longer be tolerated.” He blows himself up as a rally call to other Vulcans. He damages the shuttle he and Sarek are in.

Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) are running through the Discovery’s corridors. Burnham is helping Tilly workout for the command training program. Tilly: “It is my experience that what I lack in athletic ability, I more than make up for in intelligence and personality…”  Burnham: “Everyone applying to the command training program will be smart. Personality doesn’t count.”  Tilly: “That’s just something people with no personality say.” They keep jogging and Burnham gives Tilly more advice, “See your path. Stay on it. Reach your destination. Cadet to Captain. Just like that.”

“Don’t apologize for excellence.” Captain Gabriel Lorca – Star Trek: Discovery

While Tilly and Burnham are working out, Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Issacs) and Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) are engaging in a hologram combat simulation training exercise. Lorca has 24 kills, Ash says he only has 22 kills and congratulates Lorca, but when Lorca checks the records, Ash actually has 36. Lorca: “Don’t apologize for excellence.” Since Ash is someone who understands war, and knows how to survive, Lorca makes him the new chief of security, even though he has only known him for a few days.

Tilly spots Ash eating alone in the dining hall and forces Burnham to go over to the table with her. Burnham is stiff and awkward as she introduces herself. Once they sit down, she can feel Sarek’s distress and passes out. She has a vision of when she was a teenager on Vulcan. Her adoptive mother Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner) is talking to Sarek. She is angry that with the high-test scores Michael had received, she was denied entry into the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. Sarek tells Amanda he thinks she will do better in Starfleet. He looks at present day Burnham and asks what she is doing in his mind and pushes her out. Burnham wakes up in sickbay. She explains her connection to Sarek and asks Captain Lorca to help her find him; Lorca agrees to help.

“Now that’s my kind of crazy.” Lt. Paul Stamets – Star Trek: Discovery

Lorca talks to a Vulcan admiral who tells him about the diplomatic mission and the bombing. He tells Lorca that Sarek is lost in a nebula. That’s all Lorca needs. Because of their spores, they can’t enter the nebula. They also can’t send probes into the nebula because it could take months to find him.  Burnham suggests using her. Burnham and Lorca go to engineering to talk to Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp). He seems happy and a little high from his experience from the previous episode. Burnham proposes using a neural enhancer to connect to Sarek’s katra. Stamets: “Now that’s my kind of crazy. You’re talking about building a synthetic mind meld augment. Groovy.” Stamets turns to Lorca: “I gotta say, this katra stuff is way cool. An uncharted superhighway connecting all of consciousness and life?”  Lorca: “We have exactly no time to discuss the metaphysical implications.” Burnham to [Stamets]: “I’m guessing from your reaction that modifying this neural enhancer is a viable method to achieve what I need.”
Stamets: “Sure. Hey, why not? So, we boost your neural impulses to reconnect with his katra, then pump those same signals into your noggin and… voila! Sarek-Vision.” Burnham will have to enter the nebula in a shuttle for the neural enhancer to work. Stamets: “Oh, you’d have to fly into that soup with nothing but hope and a prayer. Are you really that crazy? [pause for comedic affect] Good to know.” Burnham suggests Tilly accompany her on this mission, Lorca decides to have Ash go with them. He tells Ash to bring Burnham back in one piece or don’t come back at all.

Admiral Cornwell’s (Jayne Brook) cruiser arrives. She is on Lorca for running the ship like his own fiefdom and Stamets’ ‘eugenic manipulation’.  Lorca’s response, “Rules are for admirals and back offices. I’m out there trying to win a war.” Cornwell advises him not to make enemies who are on our side. Lorca whips out the booze and suggests, “We stop talking like Starfleet officers and start talking like friends.” They both relax and start reminiscing about their shared past. She tells him he is pushing his crew too hard and he hasn’t been the same since the Buran. To change the subject, he suggests some sexy time. With the booze and cool jazz music in the background, how could she refuse.

“My failure is his last thought.” Michael Burnham – Star Trek: Discovery

On the shuttle, Burnham is ready to use the neural enhancer to connect with Sarek. Tilly will monitor her. Burnham: “No matter what the sensors say, leave me in.” She goes back to her past and hears Amanda tell teenage her that not to forget that she is human. Sarek sees the adult Burnham and they begin to fight. The monitor shows Burnham in distress, so Ash orders Tilly to wake her up. “I was supposed to be his proof that humans and Vulcans could coexist as equals,” she tells Tilly. “My failure is his last thought. He doesn’t believe in me but I’m supposed to be the one who saves him.” Ash hears this and disagrees, he has been near death, and he knows he wasn’t thinking about other’s failures, but he was thinking of the people he loved. Ash: “What does he wish he’d done differently.” Burnham goes back under and asks Sarek what he is hiding. Sarek: “I never lost faith in you. The failure on this day was mine and mine alone.” She sees what actually happened that day. A Vulcan Expeditionary Group leader forced Sarek to pick which of his children would be admitted to the group. Sarek picked Spock and let Michael think she failed him. This awakens Sarek on the shuttle and he is able to notify Burnham where he is.

Post-coital, Cornwell touches a scar on Lorca’s back. He places a phaser at her neck. Cornwell is shaken up and tells Lorca she can’t leave Star Fleet’s most valuable weapon in the hands of a broken man. They get word that Sarek has been rescued. In sickbay Burnham tries to have a conversation with Sarek about what she now knows. He tries to evade the conversation. She assures her father that they will discuss this at a later date. Admiral Cornwell is going in Sarek’s place to talk to the Klingons on Cancri IV. She tells Lorca when she gets back she will force him to step down. Lorca tells Burnham that he is giving her a post on the bridge as a science specialist. Burnham: “I’m grateful to serve under a captain like you.”

“It’s just being human.” Lt. Ash Tyler – Star Trek: Discovery

Burnham and Ash meet up again in the dining hall. Burnham: “All my life, the conflict inside me has been between logic and emotion. But now, it’s my emotions that are hiding. I think about him and I want to cry but I have to smile. And I feel angry but I want to love. And I’m hurt but there’s hope. What is this?” Ash: “It’s just being human.” A more relaxed Burnham reintroduces herself to Ash and they shake hands.

Admiral Cornwell arrives at Cancri IV to meet with the Klingons. The party she is with is killed. A hologram of General Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) appears. He compliments the Klingons there for their trap. They will be rewarded with cloak technology. He had wanted to capture Sarek, but getting a Star Fleet Admiral is even better. First Officer Saru (Doug Jones) informs Lorca that Cornwell has been captured. He expects his brash captain to order a rescue, but Lorca plays it cool and says they’ll do nothing but follow Star Fleet orders. He goes back in his quarters with a phaser hiding in his pants.

Michael Burnham learns a family secret, and Admiral Cornwell learns a secret too; Lorca is batshit insane. Sarek goes on a secret mission to meet with the Klingons in the Cancri system. He has a reputation for dealing with races that don’t follow a ‘logic-based ideology’. His reputation for this makes him a target of the logic extremist. One of them blows himself up to rally other Vulcans to their cause. Even though he is hurt in the explosion, his connection with his daughter kicks in. While in his mind she sees a scene from her teenager years. She finds out the truth about her not being accepted in the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. It wasn’t that she failed to get in, but that Sarek choice Spock over her to get the spot. The Vulcan Expeditionary Group’s actions prove they are a bunch of assholes. Sarek doesn’t come off great either since he let Burnham believe she failed and disappointed him. Thanksgiving dinner at the Sarek household should be interesting.

Burnham bonds with Lt. Tyler while on the mission. He helps her get to the truth about why Sarek is trying to keep Burnham out of his mind. She is initially awkward with Ash, as she is with everyone, but especially with him, probably because she thinks he might blame her for starting the war that led to his capture; also because like Tilly, she thinks he is cute. Even in outer space in the future, life is like high school. Speaking of Tilly, Burnham is helping her new friend train for the command training program. I like seeing the two of them together, Tilly brings out the more human side of Burnham. I like the DISCO shirts they were wearing. I guess the DISCO is short for Discovery, or they really dig the Bee Gees in this century.

I had wondered previously if Lorca was evil, now I’m more on the side of crazy. In the last episode, we learned about his previous command on the Buran. He seems to be suffering from a severe case of PTSD from the incident, and somehow Star Fleet cleared him to take command of their secret weapon. Star Fleet also let him remain in command even after being captured and tortured by the Klingons. At least you’d think they would have put him on leave for a few weeks and let Sara remain in command. This doesn’t speak highly of Star Fleet command. Cornwell is an example of this. After sleeping with a subordinate, she finds out he is unstable. Instead of immediately making a report, she tells him she is going to get him removed after taking a diplomatic mission. I’m sure she could have called someone before she left for the mission, or made an official log about it. Somehow, Lorca is still in command, and I’m sure nothing bad will happen.

It was a good episode, both main storylines were interesting, and the past few episodes are beginning to give us an idea where they are heading. I’m beginning to like the crew a little more, Stamets was very groovy this episode. It might be the spores making him act this way, but it’s an improvement on how he was when we first met him. There were nice character beats between Burnham and Sarek.

Grade: B+






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