Friday, May 24, 2019

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 1 Episode 8 (Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum)

When reviewing TV series, I have to decide if I’m going to do it by the season or by the episode.  Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation lent themselves to being reviewed by the episode, as each one had a distinct plot.  With Friday the 13th: The Series, I realized that I should have done it by the season, as the episodes weren’t really distinct enough.  I’m still on the fence about Star Trek: Discovery, though.  There is a continuing thread with the Klingon War, although there are a few episodes that deserve further exploration.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum has the crew exploring a planet that would seem to sing.  It has this giant towering transmitter that broadcasts out into space.  Commander Saru is sent down with Ash Tyler and Michael Burnham to see about using this transmitter to find cloaked Klingon vessels.  It’s not clear how this is supposed to work, especially considering that the spire is so tall.  Do they just need a key component or are they going to take the whole thing with them?  How do they know that it will even work?

Anyway, Saru seems sensitive to the ambient noise.  Shortly after making contact with what would seem to be an indigenous life form, Saru would seem to go sideways.  He crushes Burnham and Tyler’s communicators, leaving them unable to communicate with the ship.  Saru wants to stay on the planet and would apparently have Burnham and Tyler stay with him.  It’s not really clear how much the locals are influencing him, but Saru has to be stopped.  At the very least, the war effort could do with that transmitter.

Meanwhile, Admiral Cornwell is being interrogated by the Klingons.  L’Rell offers to interrogate her only to secretly offer the Admiral the chance to escape.  L’Rell is disillusioned with her new leader and would just as soon leave.  The last we see of it is L’Rell ostensibly killing Cornwell, but it could very easily be a ruse.  (Is the admiral really dead or is she knocked out?  I’m going to have to wait until I get the third disc to find out.)

The title translates as, “If You Want Peace, Prepare for War.”  I’m sort of in the middle about the episode, as it does seem to be progressing nicely.  My only problem is that I kind of like the episodic series.  You’d have some continuity, but you didn’t have to wait until the end of the season to see so many resolutions.  It’s almost like a soap opera in that we keep having to tune in next week to see what happens.

Saru is definitely making progress.  He started the series as someone who would seem to be afraid of his own shadow.  He’s now leading away missions and even commanding the ship for moderate periods of time.  His learning curve isn’t as awkward as I thought it would have been.  I do think there might be some potential for this character.

We also see Paul Stamets confide in Sylvia Tilly.  (This is predicated by Staments having some noticeable mood swings.)  For once, we get a reason why he doesn’t go elsewhere.  It’s not common knowledge that he modified his own genes.  His partner is a doctor and would be bound to report what happened or live in fear.  Keeping it a secret is a priority.  I’m a little curious to see where this will go.

Star Trek: Discovery is becoming a guilty pleasure for me.  I still have issues, but I can’t stop watching.  (Maybe train wreck is better term.  I’m not sure yet.)  I’m going to finish out the season and see what happens.

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