Star Trek #1657: Erigah

CAPTAIN'S LOG: The Breen want Moll & L'ak, toot suite!

WHY WE LIKE IT: Good fight footage.

Nobody takes their shot.

REVIEW: Oh boy. Plot mechanics trump common sense in this one. Even during the previous episode, I was questioning Burnham's contention that getting Moll and L'ak back before they sold what info they had on the Progenitors' tech was HER mission, even as it seemed incredibly imprudent to have the two criminals in proximity to Discovery, well ahead of them in the clue department. But only Discovery can have hero moments, so here we go. Another ship finds them, in a broken down shuttle and L'ak on the verge of death, and Disco has to go get them and bring them to Starfleet Command themselves, putting all their apples in one Breen-vulnerable basket. And it only goes downhill from there. I feel sorry for Nhan who' only brought back so she can fail at security, hard.

Consider: They have Moll and L'ak in a security field in sickbay, and the only time the guards forget to put it back up after Culber goes in is during the duo's escape attempt. Oh, great fight, with the camera shuddering with the hits and going into odd positions, but why did this happen at all? Consider: The Breen show up, beam into HQ, have WEAPONS with them, and even when everything goes to seed, they don't take a single shot. Lots of threats, and we're told they don't negotiate, take no prisoners and think genocide ain't no big thing. However, when L'ak - their Imperial scion - dies, and they're right there in the room, they beam away so they can fight this fight ship-to-ship instead. They could have had Burnham, the Admiral and President T'Rina right then and there and thrown the Federation into chaos. Consider: Moll brokers a deal to go with the Breen as L'ak's wife (she hopes to Progenitor him back to life) and starts to spill the beans about Starfleet's secret quest and Burnham just STANDS THERE and says NOTHING. Moll is the new price for leaving the Feds alone and they consider it a better deal than the alternative, and Booker is all, like, THIS IS WRONG, and I'm, like, that's what she wants so why are you acting like the good guys are selling your sister out? Just manufactured angst. Consider also: In the clue investigation subplot, Tilly and Adira need an antiquarian to discuss old manuscripts. Somehow, Jett Reno used to trade in antique books and has all the info. Happy to see Tig Notaro get one last deadpan comedy scene, but that's REALLY convenient. Then consider: The clue is a library card for the Eternal Gallery and Archive, and Booker has an empathic sense that it's near a plasma storm, which turns out to be the Badlands from DS9. Except, this plays like it's supposed to be an imprint left by a Betazoid scientist who surely couldn't know where the Archive - which moves every 50 years - would be when the card was found. Or are they saying the card is telepathically linked to wherever the Archive is at the moment? In which case, we're in magic territory here. Not that it makes much sense to have an all-important, neutral Archive that NO ONE CAN FIND. How do you put anything in their vaults, or consult them if that's so?

It's a big mess of things that HAVE TO HAPPEN to ramp up the action and suspense in the last few episodes, but logic and character had to take a holiday. There are still some saving graces, mind. It's nice to see T'Rina is action, showing off that she knows the Breen language, and bluffing(?) her way through negotiations. The Breen are darkly comic in how they don't tolerate other cultures or what they think, but also quite political, trying to get the scion (and therefore a claim to the throne) under the guise of a blood bounty. The revelation that Rayner's homeworld was occupied by Breen in his lifetime, explaining his flying off the handle when the Feds try to make peace, and ultimately giving them what they need to force L'ak's uncle into a more attentive stance. And generally, what we get about the Breen - the Primarchs, the civil war, the way they treat outposts, etc. - is strong.

LESSON: Negotiating is for losers.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Because you're following a larger arc, it might rise to full Medium, but on the merits? Too much of it is contrived and Starfleet has an especially bad showing.