Star Trek #1483: Through the Valley of Shadows

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Pike negotiates for a time crystal, while Burnham and Spock track down Control.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Captain Pike's journey.

WHY WE DON'T: Autoantonyms? They sure know how to party on Discovery. And no Tilly!

REVIEW: So if the Sphere Archive is STILL in Discovery's computer, what was the point of transferring it into the Red Angel suit? Now there are two copies (2.5 because the procedure allowed Control to grab a piece of it). I guess the only real option is to destroy the computer itself, and no way to do that except to explode the ship, which gets us to the episode's cliffhanger. Of course, I predict the explosion will interact with the time crystal in some way and create the situation from the Short Trek Calypso. We'll soon see if I'm right. But first, yeah, the time crystal...

Pike goes down to the Lord of the Rings planet - I mean Boreth - where the monks act as guardians of the time crystal secret. This is completely unlike what we saw of Boreth in Next Gen's Rightful Heir (unless they used some kind of time manipulation to imbue the clone of Kahless with the real thing's consciousness, who knows). Here, the show deals us a little unnecessary retcon: The Klingon homeworld is called Kronos because of the mythical time crystals associated with Kahless. Intriguing, perhaps, but that's not how language works. Qo'noS merely sounds like Kronos/Chronos, which would be why humans refer to it as such. A distracting detail from Voq and L'Rell's suddenly grown-up son Tenavik (a good name? sounds like there's a story there but I can't find it), but it doesn't negate the power of Pike's encounter with his own future. Touching the crystal shows us the accident that disfigured him and put him in a wheelchair, a shocking sequence of events that, if he chooses to take the crystal, he can no longer change. That puts Pike's fate in a new light, as a personal sacrifice he has to talk himself through, not merely an accident. One wonders if it also gave him time to think of a way out and leave instructions to Spock for what will become the plot of The Menagerie. Hm. Of course, as a Klingon-heavy episode, we must still contend with difficult to understand dialog - a lingering sin of Season 1's take on Klingon make-up - but then Tenavik spews a lot of mumbo-jumbo anyway.

The other half of the episode concerns Michael and Spock chasing after Leland's ship and some harrowing action for anyone who hates needles especially. It's a trap within a trap. Control not only jettisons everyone from the Section 31 ship (Leland is long gone), but takes over an old friend of Michael's from the Shenzhou, Specialist Kamran Gant. It seems that Control's nanites can take over anyone, and can now convincingly portray emotions and personalities. And it wants to add Michael to its collection! I agree, it's the best way to get its hands on the Archive (Michael has access and is most easily lured), but the show's a little confused about Control's motives. Spock thinks it's because Michael is a historical wild card that could defeat Control, which is why she was targeted. Suddenly Michael agrees, and it seems to be the accepted paradigm. While it makes narrative sense, the other explanation is too sound to be so easily dismissed. But you know, needles in the eye, nanite tentacle monsters, Burnham with two guns blazing... There's no lack of intensity in this episode.

As for the running subplots, I wonder how many people need to tell Hugh to take back Stamets before it takes. Don't get me wrong, Jet Reno's little trip to sickbay is a good example of this conversation, providing humor and some back story for her as well, but we've had it a number of times now. Jet also talks to Stamets of course, but in a more forgettable scene where we find out she and Linus have been playing autoantonyms for a while. This might be cute if it didn't stop the episode in its tracks. After each one, I paused to think of how the word was an autoantonym! Maybe that's just me. But my real problem with it is akin to the Chronos snafu: We know from a previous episode that Linus uses the universal translator, which means he doesn't normally speak English, which means his linguistic proficiency he displays is suspect.

LESSON: Control and English are the same. They will assimilate us all.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Some wonky thinking and redundant scenes, but Pike's decision is well worth the trip to Boreth.


De said...

The notion of time travel being "too powerful" a weapon for the Klingon Empire, per L'Rell, rings a bit hollow. My guess is that they couldn't control it. Otherwise, I thought this was a decent episode. Now I'm curious what happens to the time crystals as Klingon history marches forward.


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