Star Trek: Discovery S01E09 “Into the Forest I Go” REVIEW

Star Trek: Discovery S01E09 “Into the Forest I Go” REVIEW

0 comments 📅19 August 2018, 18:00

Airing in the US on CBS All Access and in the UK on Netflix
Written by: Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt
Director: Chris Byrne

Spoilers on an intercept course…

So, we’ve finally arrived at the mid-way point: episode 9 and now we have to wait until Sunday, January 7, 2018 for more Star Trek: Discovery. Everyone – and we do mean everyone – had hoped for a pretty special, jaw-dropping cliffhanger to end the first half of the series on…so, did it deliver? Well, no. Not really. Sadly.

We pick up the story straight after last week’s series of events on planet Pandora Pahvo. The Klingon sarcophagus ship is en route after being sent a message from the giant, naturally occurring crystal transmitter. Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) disobeys a direct order from Starfleet to return to safe space and rendezvous with starbase 46. Instead he comes up with actually quite a good plan to buy the crew of the Discovery as much time as possible to come up with a plan. It takes three hours to get to starbase 46 at maximum warp, so he chooses that option rather than engaging the Displacement Activated Spore Hub (DASH) drive – citing some medical concerns with Stamets (Anthony Rapp) as the reason they don’t use it. As we already know, this isn’t very far from the truth anyway. Then Lorca can use the DASH drive to jump back in an instant. So, they have three hours to come up with a plan. That bit at least was plausible.

The plan of action they decide upon involves a lot of technobabble, something that this series has suffered from more than we’d have liked. So, waddaya know, the Klingon cloak seems to generate a massive gravitational field when it bends light and other electro-magnetic waves around the ship, essentially rendering it undetectable to Discovery’s sensors. But…the cloak has small imperfections, so what appears like background EM radiation, actually contains near-imperceptible shifts that correlate to the cloak’s gravitational field. If Discovery can determine the exact relationship between the two, they could develop an algorithm to expose any invisible ship’s position. Piece of cake.

But, if the imperfections are infinitesimal, how can Discovery detect them, you ask.

Sensors will need to be placed actually onboard the Klingon ship to relay data back to Discovery. Yup, that’s right, onboard. The Klingons consider Discovery a valuable target, so they’ll need to use it as bait to draw the flagship away from Pandora Pahvo. Their shields and weapons are offline when the cloak is engaged, so that would give the boarding party a window of opportunity. The only problem is that it will take days to collect all the data necessary.

To get around that little issue, a series of 133 “micro jumps” will need to be made with the spore drive and performed in rapid succession to provide a three dimensional snaphot of the cloaked Klingon ship’s position. The readings would be received from every necessary vector in under four minutes, thus giving Discovery the data to calculate the algorithm.


Unfortunately, poor Stamets is suffering somewhat from being plugged into the drive as much as he is. In fact, the medical examination that was intended to provide an excuse to Starfleet as to why Discovery was warping to starbase 46 has instead revealed a restructuring of the tracks within the white matter of Lt Stamets medial temporal lobe. Uh oh. Regardless, Lorca instructs to make those 133 micro jumps.

So, the stage is set. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) will form the boarding party and fingers crossed poor Stamets won’t fry his brain.

There is a nice moment between Stamets and Lorca when the captain shows the lieutenant that he has been collecting all the data from every one of their DASH drive jumps. A holographic display shows the scattered pockets of negative mass that could indicate alternative parallel universes connected to the mycelium network. Oh yes. And with more jumps, they could even find a pattern…perhaps even the coordinates to reach them. So, Lorca isn’t such a warmonger after all as even he’s excited at the prospect. “You showed me that this invention could take us to places we never dreamed we could reach. This is far beyond our preconceptions of time and space…” he says, conveniently setting up the end of the episode.

Burnham and Tyler prep for their hazardous mission as does Stamets, when Cadet “Bonehead” Tilly (Mary Wiseman) blurts out to Dr Colber (Wilson Cruz) “Oh, I’m glad you told him about the side effects…” Naturally, Colber is a little upset, but he contains it in quite a moving scene between himself and his partner as he readies Stamets for insertion into the spore chamer.

The Discovery jumps back to the orbit of Pandora Pahvo and Burnham and Tyler transport undetected over to the Klingon Ship of the Dead. Of course, we all know that L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) is on there, as is Admiral “Deadmeat” Cornwell (Jayne Brook)…and let’s face facts, we’ve all been salivating at the prospect of confirmation of the relationship between the Voq and Tyler.

With their lifesigns masked as Klingon, Burnham and Tyler move about the sarcophagus ship with relative ease, actually displaying some sensible tactical maneuvering, which is nice. They reach the point at which they must place the first sensor and make their way to the second. Along the way, Burnham detects a human lifesign, that of Cornwell and insists they make an attempt to rescue whoever it is. At this point…they enter that small room that we saw last week where the dead and almost-dead get dumped and Tyler comes face to face with L’Rell for the first time since his escape and incidentally when he shot her in the face. “It’s you…” L’Rell purrs.

A multitude of split-second images flash across the screen, showing scene of Tyler’s torture…and we can absolutely guarantee that hardcore fans will be going through these painstakingly, one by one, looking for additional evidence to support that Voq/Tyler relationship. And there are some pretty gruesome ones, as you’ll see. There are shots of Tyler evidently being physically tortured (or surgically altered?) with surgical instruments placed on a table, lots of screams and plenty of thick, clotted red blood around the place. Not sure if Voq would’ve opted to be conscious though if he really was being surgically altered to become Tyler.

Tyler goes into shock, and who wouldn’t, as Burnham stuns L’Rell with her phaser. The immobilized Cornwell, who appears to have lost the use of her legs, tries to calm him down and bring him out of shock. “I’ve dealt with PTSD before,” she says.

Burnham stealthily creeps out so she can place the last sensor…on the bridge. She cunningly places her communicator in a position where it can translate the Klingon being said on the bridge into english so she can better understand the situation she’s in.

Meanwhile, the Klingon ship has engaged its cloak and so the Discovery’s micro-jumping has started. As the number of jumps slowly increases…31, 32, 33, poor Stamets shows signs of…well, he’s in a pretty bad way.

Having placed the sensor, Burnham has been hiding out of sight on the bridge, but when reports come in of possible sabotage and Kol suspects a ruse, he orders that the ship go to warp drive and leave the area. Burnham can’t let this happen, so she gives away her position, stands up and challenges Kol (he was the one who killed Captain Georgiou) telling him that she was the one who killed T’kumva, way back in the pilot episode.

A hand to hand battle begins as Burnham effectively stalls for time. Stamets completes the 133 and final jump so the Discovery can detect the Klingon ship and open fire. Cornwell and Tyler and transported back to Discovery as L’Rell jumps on Tyler, Gillian Taylor style, thus being saved and also being transported back to Discovery. Burnham can’t defeat Kol, but she doesn’t need to. She manages to strike him in the leg with her mek’leth, grab Georgiou’s Starfleet insignia that Kol’s been using to pick his teeth (nice) with and leap off the balcony section of the Klingon bridge as she’s transported to safety. The Discovery intensifies its fire and the Klingon sarcophagus ship is utterly destroyed, Kol and all.

And breathe.

Lorca meets with Stamets and gives him sincere thanks, saying that he’s giving the medal Starfleet plans to award him to Stamets, since without him, none of this would’ve been possible. In a genuinely nice and believable exchange between the two, Lorca says they’re going to warp to starbase 46 since it was unnecessary to use the DASH drive and put poor Stamets under any more stress. In return Stamets says he doesn’t mind doing it one more time…but that’s it: it’s one more time and then no more. Ever.

Tyler has a heart to heart with Burnham and basically says he had to do things that he’s not particularly proud off in order to stay alive while he was prisoner on the Klingon warship. We know that L’Rell seemed to develop the opposite of Stockholm Syndrome while Tyler was captive and now we see a little more of that as Tyler’s nightmares show us split-second snippets of some serious interspecies intercourse. Oh yes, ♫ Tyler and L’Rell, sitting in a tree, f-u-c-k-i-n-g ♫  And we can absolutely guarantee that hardcore fans will also be going through these painstakingly, one by one as well.

It’s safe to say that the relationship between Tyler and Voq is that Tyler is Voq. We haven’t seen or heard from him since episode 4 and when Tyler goes to see L’Rell in the Discovery brig, he collapses to his knees, pleading, “What did you do to me..??” L’Rell looks down at him and lovingly replies, “Do not worry. I will not let them hurt you.” Voq and L’Rell were quite possibly lovers as she was the only one who believed in him and orchestrated Voq’s escape to the USS Shenzhou wreckage when Kol began his coup d’état onboard the sarcophagus ship.

We’ve called “bullshit” on this theory in the past, admitting that there is a connection…just not the one that Voq actually is Tyler, simply because it stretches the limits of believability to breaking point, even in Star Trek. However, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s almost certain now that Voq is indeed Tyler.

And what should be a routine spore drive jump to starbase 46…isn’t. Stamets loses control – probably losing his mind at the same time – and the jump goes horribly wrong.

Or so it would seem. Blink and you’d miss it. Before he gives the command to jump, Lorca activates a panel on his command chair. He touches the screen where there’s an icon with “Encrypted” on it. Then he touches another that says “Navigation Control” enters a code and hits “Lorca Override” before looking sullen and uttering, “Let’s go home”.

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The USS Discovery and her crew are thrown into unknown space. Into in fact, what looks like a debris field, full of space craft wreckage. It even looks a little like Wolf 359, but then the leftovers of any massive space battle probably look much the same.

“I am unable to confirm our position,” blurts Saru (Doug Jones). “Sensors are going haywire. Captain, I’m afraid…I don’t know where we are.”

And we had an inkling something like this was coming, since CBS issued a press release about the next episode in January, “While in unfamiliar territory, the USS Discovery crew is forced to get creative in their next efforts to survive opposing and unprecedented forces and return home.”

It also further fuels another fan theory that Lorca is originally from the Mirror Universe. The fact that there was something not quite right about the display as each jump has the relative coordinates it jumped to, mark 355, mark 696 and so on and the 133rd jump – before the “Lorca Override” had “Unknown” written next to it, is all very confusing. Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s nothing at all. Could be either given the sometimes slow progress of this series.

Where are they, who knows. Are they even in the same universe? Jonathan Frakes directs the next one, episode 10…so that could be interesting. Don’t forget he also let that mirror universe remark out in September when he was speaking at Creation Entertainment’s “Continuing Voyage Tour” in Chicago with his other TNG chums on stage. Frakes not only said that he thought the show’s pilot is “amazing” but that the show would do a Mirror Universe episode.

The second half of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery will return on Sunday, January 7, 2018. The first episode – of what’s being called “chapter two” – “Despite Yourself” will be available on this date at 8:30 pm Eastern Time in the US and at 12pm on Monday, January 8th in the UK on Netflix. It’s only 55 days to wait.

Temba, his arms wide ✓

 Three possible plot twists have been further fuelled: firstly, the whole of Discovery is set in an alternative universe
 Secondly, Stamets does indeed become the Traveler, as some fans have already postulated
Three, Captain Lorca is originally from the Mirror Universe
The scenes with Stamets and Colber were sensitive and well written
The dialogue between Stamets and Lorca was also nice

Shaka, when the walls fell ✗

Too much reliance on technobabble when forming the Discovery’s strategy
Distinct lack of anything unexpected for the season finale
A “one day from retirement” saxophone riff might as well have played before the jump goes wrong
Lorca suddenly caring about Pahvo is disingenuous, given his disregard for other life forms (tardigrade etc)
Come to think of it, where was the life form from Pahvo this week?

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