With “Into the Forest I Go,” Discovery wraps up its first major arc of the series and gives us another one to ponder until the series head back to our screens in January.
Picking up where last week’s installment left off, the crew finds a way to not only break the Klingon’s cloaking technology but also to take out much of the Klingon leadership. The story also serves to bring much of the character arc of Michael Burnham full circle.
In addition to the parallels of the war starting and ending on the Klingon ship of the dead, we also got to Burnham use her logic to win over her captain. The first time it leads to her mutiny and those consequences. This time she’s able to use Vulcan logic to convince Lorca that she needs to go on the away mission since she’s the one who knows the layout of the Klingon vessel the best.
It does bring up an interesting question — why let Tyler go too? If the logical argument is that she knows the vessel, it also seems logical that Tyler might have some issues going back to a Klingon ship after being held prisoner and tortured for seven months. But, if we don’t get Tyler over there, we don’t get his flashbacks and we don’t get T’Rell onboard Discovery as a prisoner. It really felt like the writers had an endpoint in mind and this was the only path that could get them from point a to point b.
At least Tyler and Burnham get to rescue Cornwell, who apparently was only partly dead last week. Seriously, it’s a good thing the Klingons didn’t stab her with bantleth just to make sure she was really dead.
The parallels continue with Burnham battling a Klingon and possibly ending the war. Or at least turning the tide so Starfleet can win and get back to the mission of exploring the unknown and the final frontier. At least that’s what Lorca promises Stamets. But how much of that is Lorca having the heart of an explorer and how much of that was Lorca pushing Stamet’s buttons to get him to agree to the 133 spore drive jumps remains to be seen.
I have to admit I did find there to be some inconsistencies in how Starfleet interacts with Lorca and their expectations. So, Lorca is ordered back to a starbase (in front of the entire bridge crew, mind you) and he then decides to drag his feet, using only warp drive and not the spore drive. I guess this is the equivalent of taking the long way home from school when you’ve got a bad report card. You’re just postponing the inevitable. Or in Lorca’s case, finding another way to avoid being taken out of the big chair.
Given what we’ve seen about Lorca, I can’t help but think the early dropping of hints about being able to explore parallel universes and then the shot of his hands dancing across the keypad as they were ready to rev up the Spore drive one last time mean that Lorca didn’t necessarily mean he was using the easiest route home. Instead, he’s buying more time — even if that time may have a great cost to Stamet. Again, I think part of Stamet’s reaction in the final spore drive jump was about where Lorca sent them and not as much about him burning out. Perhaps Lorca drove him too hard, asked him to do too much. Or could there be something else waiting out here for them?
Those are questions we’ll have to wait until January to answer.
Once again, the show goes out of its way to earn its TV-MA rating. We got the first f-bomb dropped a few weeks ago and then this time around we get our first, explicit love-scene, complete with Klingon nudity. I’ve got to commend Mary Chieffo for that scene because I can only imagine how long it took to get full body painted and give us some Klingon nudity. I do find it interesting that she’s on board the ship now and teasing Tyler that he will have answers soon. The flashbacks to her torture of him seem to hint that there’s more in play here than just the torture she forced him to endure. I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to play some type of role in T’Rell bargaining to get back to the ship that she deserted V’Latak on a few episodes ago.
Meanwhile, it feels like the crew has finally gelled a bit. Maybe it’s that the crew all had one task — shutting down the Klingon cloak. But the moment when Lorca tells everyone he’s about to disobey a direct order was interesting. Part of me wondered if Saru wouldn’t somehow object to this. And you can’t help but wonder if this will help heal the rift between Burnham and Saru a bit. Saru has violated Starfleet orders here and he had a very good motivation to do so. Could he also begin to see that Burnham had good intentions in the mutiny against Georgiou, even if the results didn’t quite come out the way Burnham hoped or expected?
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, develops from this in the final six episodes of the year.
I also can’t help but think that Cornwell might try and assume command of the ship based on her reservations about Lorca. And that she may try to figure out how to get them back home again.
I also ask myself just how hurt Stamets is and can he help them all get home again. I have a feeling based on the preview, that’s too simple a way out for the crew.
So much to ponder until we pick the story back up in January….