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After the Prime Suggestion cringe-fest that was “Whistlespeak”, Moll and L’ak are back, as are the Breen and their backstory.

Log Entry

Rendezvousing with the USS Locherer, Discovery’s crew are reunited with Nhan, who has been sent to oversee the transfer of prisoners Moll and L’ak. On an isolated biobed, L’ak is about to receive further medical treatment, as nothing has worked to heal his wound from “Mirrors”. Nhan has him and Moll beamed to Discovery.

Discovery arrives at Federation HQ

The ship jumps to Federation HQ, which has received a threatening message from the Breen, demanding the prisoners’ return. Preparing for the Breen to arrive, Burnham and Rayner speak with Admiral Vance and Ni’Var President T’Rina. T’Rina explains that the Breen emperor has died and that there are now several primarchs.

Meanwhile, Tilly is ready to return to her duties at Starfleet Academy. Stamets elicits her help in analysing a metal card with Betazoid text on it – the clue picked up in “Whistlespeak”.

Tilly agrees to help Stamets

Culber has L’ak’s biobed surrounded by a refrigeration field which is slowing his decline. Michael realises that one of the primarchs needs L’ak’s presence to cement himself as emperor.

Tilly soon finds that the recently discovered clue refers to a handwritten text by a Betazoid member of the ancient team which hid the Progenitor technology. Although there is no copy of the text in the Federation database, Tilly and Adira discover that Jett Reno might know something about the metal card. Reno is busy fixing things but is willing to help.

Discovery and Federation HQ are approached by a Breen dreadnought

Primarch Ruhn’s giant dreadnaught arrives, demanding the immediate return of the fugitives. Accompanied by Vance and Burnham, T’Rina does her best to negotiate, buying them an hour. In private, Rayner tells Michael about growing up on a planet occupied by another Breen primarch.

Reno recognises the metal card as a library card for the Eternal Gallery and Archive, an open archive that keeps moving position.

Moll conspires with L’ak

L’ak secretly suggests an escape plan to Moll. While T’Rina bluffs Primarch Ruhn that the Federation have decided to make a deal with the primarch who ruled Rayner’s planet, L’ak – distracting Culber by overdosing – allows Moll to break loose. However, L’ak has misjudged the dosage. To aid him, Burnham requests a Breen medic from Primarch Ruhn.

When Stamets sees if Book’s empathic abilities work on the card – which has a neurological element to it – Book has a vision of a massive plasma storm.

Moll is cornered by Book and Nhan

Persuaded to surrender by Book, Moll is recaptured. With her at his bedside, L’ak dies, cheating Ruhn of his prize. Ruhn takes this as an act of war.

Moll reveals to Ruhn that the Federation are hiding a great power from him. She promises to get it for Ruhn if he takes her with him, so Ruhn insists that the Federation surrenders her.

With Moll in custody, President T’Rina holds a briefing

Nhan posits that the Progenitor technology may not only create life but also restore it. Knowing the Breen will be able to track Discovery’s next move, the Federation turns Moll over to the Breen but Book criticises this decision. Discovery sets off to visit the Archive, which is currently situated in the Badlands.

Status Report

The episode’s title is reminiscent of the old caveman B-movie Eegah. Thankfully, the episode is a lot better than that, with the title being the Breen word for the blood bounty that’s out on L’ak and Moll, motivating the Breen to hunt them down.

Learning more about the Breen background and culture is good and follows on nicely from “Mirrors” as well as expanding it. Where that episode told us L’ak was some kind of royal heir to the Breen primarch, this time we go further, learning that there are multiple primarchs and that L’ak is the last descendant of the unifying emperor.

Filming Moll aim a weapon

It’s also interesting to see Moll think on her feet, albeit veering towards overacting. What makes her interesting here is her total devotion to L’ak, even after his death. That’s something Michael and we can rely on.

Speaking of Breen background, Callum Keith Rennie gets to show a wider acting range as Rayner than he’s been allowed earlier in the season. He does not disappoint, as he fills in the background to his homeworld and its occupation by the Breen. It makes Rayner both more useful and explains some of his opinions and attitudes, especially where the Breen are concerned.

Filming one of Nhan’s scenes from this episode

It’s nice to see Nhan again, though she feels a little more like La’an in Strange New Worlds in this one, in a way that is difficult to put your finger on but may have to do with her antagonism against Michael. Likewise, Rayner’s Breen-occupied background shares a feel reminiscent of La’an’s origins on a Gorn-colonised planet. Another welcome return is Jett Reno – her Seven of Limes sounds like a cocktail worth investigating – who is always a scene-stealer, though here her part in having had many dodgy jobs feels more like it was parachuted in from Pelia in Strange New Worlds. It’ll be interesting to hear any commentaries on the episode when the discs come out, because these elements – provided by Rayner, Nhan and Reno – feel as if they were taken from unused SNW script pages to make up some runtime for an episode that’s running short. Not that this makes for a bad episode, thankfully.

Another element worth mentioning is the music, the Breen getting a proper theme with a militaristic sound – something they didn’t have even in Deep Space Nine. The music is handled really well here and hopefully will be on Discovery’s Season 5 soundtrack.

Rating: 4/5

Overall, this is a good, dramatic episode. It’s well played, nicely directed, with a slightly odd slant to some of the dialogue and with good musical turnout. If there’s any actual disappointment here, it’s that Saru is away on some other mission and so he doesn’t join T’Rina for her appearance. But this is certainly better than “Whistlespeak” by a long way.

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