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Following “Erigah”, Moll and the Breen are still in hot pursuit of the Progenitor technology. Meanwhile, Michael and the crew of Discovery visit the Eternal Gallery and Archive to find the final piece of the puzzle.

Log Entry

Aboard Primarch Ruhn’s dreadnaught, all the Breen repeatedly bang their staves on the floor in memory of L’ak, whose body is on a bier. Moll is there too and announces that the Progenitor technology can resurrect him, which Ruhn needs to happen for proper legitimacy.

The USS Discovery encounters a massive plasma storm: the Badlands

Meanwhile, Discovery jumps to the perimeter of the Badlands but the storm is impenetrable to sensor scans. The ship uses the metal library card to contact Archivist Hy’Rell of the Archive. She sends guidance even as Discovery flies through the treacherous storm. Fortunately, the ship manages to reach the Archive, which turns out to be a large space station. The storm prevents Discovery from cloaking.

Mentioning an artifact from Kwejian, Hy’Rell asks that Book visit the Archive with Burnham. Once they arrive aboard the station, Hy’Rell takes Michael to the Labyrinths of the Mind manuscript and Book to another viewing room. When Michael flips through the book, she finds a metal bookmark, which glows with light upon being touched. Meanwhile, Hy’Rell shows Book a wooden casket from Kweijan to see if he can identify it.

Book is shown the Kwejian casket by Hy’Rell

The pair find Burnham unconscious. She wakes in an empty Archive to be greeted by an illusion of Book dressed in archivist’s robes. He explains that her consciousness is now in an illusory mindscape. Michael realises that it’s the test for the final clue. In reality, the unconscious Burnham is examined by Rayner and Culber, the latter determining that Michael is connected to a nucleonic beam. Figuring that the test must be about history, Burnham plans to go through every volume in the Dominion War section of the illusory Archive.

Meanwhile, Hy’Rell warns Rayner that the Breen have arrived, news that Rayner forwards to Discovery. Hy’Rell refuses Primarch Ruhn access to the Archive, which also contains many historical Breen artifacts. Ruhn doesn’t care about that even though Breen usually venerate their history, which Moll points out to his lieutenant, Arisar.

Arisar and Moll

Ruhn’s ship approaches Discovery and the Archive, causing Discovery – under Rhys’ command – to hide in the Badlands. The Breen spacecraft then attacks the Archive, using shield-tunnelling technology to penetrate the station’s shields and transport troops aboard.

Stamets, Reno and Adira work out how to interrupt the tunnelling, while Rayner and Book fight off the already-invading Breen. These disruptions reveal Discovery’s presence to Ruhn’s ship, where Moll tells Arisar that Ruhn doesn’t care about his troops. In the conflict, Book has been shot.

The mindscape AI in the form of Book talks with Burnham

As Michael’s time runs down, she confides in the virtual Book, realising that she ended their relationship because she was afraid she’d failed him. It turns out that Michael has passed the test. The Book avatar explains it was a psychological test to determine if she is trustworthy. He instructs her how to acquire the final clue.

Michael awakens. With the real Book as well as Culber and Rayner, she hurriedly recovers the clue. They beam out together.

Discovery hails Ruhn, who promises to destroy the Archive if she doesn’t immediately hand over the clues. Michael offers the clues in return for the Breen sparing the Archive. Arisar doubts Burnham’s proposal but Ruhn agrees to it.

The coordinates of the Progenitor technology, displayed on Discovery’s bridge

Activated by Burnham, the clues identify the location of the Progenitor tech. Michael has the coordinates copied and has Discovery readied to jump and vent plasma. The clues are beamed to Ruhn and Moll, who confirms they are real. Despite Moll objecting, Ruhn attacks Discovery, which appears to explode – in fact, it has vented plasma while jumping away.

Ruhn decides to destroy the Archive and imprison Moll, betraying Breen rituals. Arisar has had enough, pulling a gun on Ruhn, which gives Moll a chance to kick him down, take his staff weapon and kill him with it. This sparks a standoff until Moll announces they will restore L’ak and “long will he reign.” All the Breen aboard echo this chant…

Moll leading the Breen chant

Status Report

Though the switcheroo joining Moll and Arisar in an alliance is a bit quick, this is a good mix of elements bringing together strands of this season’s story.

Obviously Michael and Book’s relationship issues had to be wrapped up. This is the main emotional and character focus of the episode, in which she realises where she went wrong and that she just wants to fix it. David Ajala gives us a much more interesting performance as the virtual Book than the real one and is a joy to watch, despite the odd costume.

David Ajala in costume as the Book AI

The chase for the final artifact that will show the location of the Progenitor technology is the other obvious part of the story. This too works well.

Primarch Ruhn is still a rather one-note villain, but the Breen as a whole come off better than they did back in Deep Space Nine. The way they’re handled in terms of direction is very good, while they really have been given an awesome soundscape, both in effects and in music. The militaristic thudding of their ritual percussion with their staves is memorable, giving them a rather unique martial feel.

Director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour with Ruhn actor Tony Nappo

All the regulars are on top form, especially David Ajala and Callum Keith Rennie, who has rapidly become a favourite and believable first officer. It’s a shame that Rayner has only joined in the final season, as it would have been nice to see a couple of seasons with him, so that by now he would feel even more like a longtime role than Rennie has already managed to achieve. It’s always nice to see Tig Notaro as Reno, though sadly her continuing theme of having had comedic and useful oddjobs all through her past is kind of annoying, because the longer it goes, the less she feels like Reno and the more she feels like SNW’s Pelia.

Rating: 4/5

Overall, this is a good late-season episode that gives us answers and twists. The Archive is lovely, partly filmed in a university library in Toronto. It’s good to see Michael exhibit cleverness. The direction is good and the music is ominous. It really feels like we’re rushing headlong to an exciting finale.

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