Star Trek: Discovery S01E04 “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry” REVIEW

Star Trek: Discovery S01E04 “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry” REVIEW

0 comments 📅15 July 2018, 20:00

Airing in the US on CBS All Access and in the UK on Netflix
Written by: Jesse Alexander, Aron Eli Coleite & Kirsten Beyer
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Mmmmm. Mediocre.

Spoilers decloaking off the port bow Captain!

Episode 4, the lengthy titled “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry” starts very much as it means to go on – with some stunning special effects. It begins by panning rapidly over what looks the surface of a violent planet. It vaguely resembles the artificially created Krypton landscape from Superman Returns (2006). There’s clearly lots of static electrical activity, with huge bolts of lightning streaking between a vast, bleak landscape and an equally dark sky. After a few seconds we start to zoom out, further and further and whatever it is that we’re looking at, it’s not what we were expecting. Then suddenly everything comes into focus, we see a neatly folded Starfleet uniform and at the same time hear the voice of the USS Discovery’s computer, “Burnham, Michael. Temporary assignment to science division. USS Discovery. Rank: none. Uniform synthesis is complete.”

This special effects set piece is an effective and memorable way to start this episode – and what turns out to be quite an SFX-heavy episode. Sadly, it’s also arguably the most uneven one so far.

The still-annoying-and-not-yet-lovable Tilly likes Burnham’s new threads. “You look smart,” she tells Burnham. “It’s a lot less scary than your convict suit.” On the bridge, Lorca reprimands the crew after a failed attack simulation, reminding them that out on the frontier they only have one chance to get it right. Burnham’s skills are put to use by Captain Lorca, and he assigns her to “weaponize” the giant tardigrade he and Landry brought on board at the end of episode 3, who has lovingly been called Ripper.

Initially, Burnham doesn’t like the idea of keeping this dangerous creature on board. But, Lorca is clear, “that thing killed a dozen Klingons on the Glenn, and there’s not a scratch on it from their batleths. If we’re going to win this thing, if we’re going to have a chance of saving the Federation and everyone in it, we’re going to need the best weapons available.”

The Klingons now led by Voq (Javid Iqbal) have been stuck – for six months – and are now starving after their flagship was damaged during the Battle at the Binary Star. Voq refuses to use parts from the USS Szechuan Shenzhou, but he had no hesitation in eating the corpse of Captain Georgiou – “I saw your smile when you picked the meat from her smooth skull” he’s reminded. Somehow the Federation failed to salvage the important parts of the Shenzou and left it at the mercy of the Klingons. And during this time the Klingons have been unable to call for help nor encountered another Klingon, Federation or any other species’ ship trying to salvage the wrecks floating in space. Moreover, the Klingons’ ship has the only cloaking device currently available, so there is really enough reason to go and check them out – for both sides.

Meanwhile, aboard the Discovery, Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) releases the giant tardigrade thinking she can tame it with phaser fire. Uh-huh. So ends Ms Sharma’s involvement in the new Star Trek series. Honestly, this kind of thing makes the crew of the Prometheus look like a bunch of sensible, smart-thinking scientists. This episode is also the first time we get introduced to the ship’s doctor, Dr Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), a character that’s normally at the centre of any Trek series.

This is what you get when you stay in cheap hotels in New York City

It turns out that the apparent ‘mystery’ why the USS Glenn could jump longer distances with their Spore Drive is linked to the tardigrade. At about the same time, Captain Lorca receives a message from Starfleet Command telling him a dilithium mining colony, that delivers 40% of the fuel for the entire Starfleet, is under Klingon attack, so it’s imperative that the Discovery get there to save all the workers and their poor families. Why on God’s Gamma Hydra isn’t there at least half a dozen Starfleet ships guarding such a strategically vital installation? Anyhoo, if the Discovery doesn’t get there sharpish, they’re all gonna die.

We see poor Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) getting a wee bit stressed since he’s caught in the middle of a captain telling him to make the spore drive work…and the fact that it simply won’t work. “How do you want to be remembered? Alongside the Wright brothers, Elon Musk, Zefram Cochrane? Or as a failed fungus expert?” Lorca shouts at him. But they give it a shot and see if they can make the long jump to the mining colony. Now, this is where we see the very first time that the saucer section of the Discovery has been modeled on a fidget spinner…as Lt Daft Punk activates the “cavitation sequence”…

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Unfortunately, this attempt fails and the Discovery damn near does a very good impression of a Disaster Area stunt ship, barely avoiding plunging into a yellow dwarf star.

Meanwhile…a Klingon coup d’état is taking place as when Voq returns with the warp drive components needed to finish repairs, he finds his crew gorging on much-needed fresh food bought over by the treacherous Kol (Kenneth Mitchell), who they switched loyalty to. Poor Voq gets banished to the derelict Shenzhou wreckage…but his only loyal devotee L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) has stolen a raider craft and plans to take him to the home of the Mókai… apparently, she has a cunning plan.

Michaels works out that Ripper the tardigrade seems to be biologically connected to the way the spores work and by plugging in some tech salvaged from the Glenn they can access its mind when it’s in contact with the spores and…er, navigate around the galaxy. Yeah. [Takes huge draw from doobie] That one’s left at the traffic lights.

However, regardless of how absurd this all is – and how it’s all going to have to come to a crashing end (otherwise it undermines all of Trek lore) – the Discovery manages to jump again to the correct destination this time, destroy the Goa’uld Klingon death gliders and save the survivors of the shockingly badly defended Federation mining outpost.

Weekend on Rigel II

 We see that Michael’s intellect wins out over Lorca’s brawn
 Stamets is a lot less of a dick
Nice to see some good ol’ fashioned Klingon backstabbing

Imprisoned on Rura Penthe 

Lines like “These are some of the deadliest weapons in the galaxy” seem only to make the trailers more exciting
The actors look like they’re really struggling to speak with their ill-fitting Klingon teeth
A rotating saucer section is just plain silly


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