Warp Factor Trek

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In this penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the season-long hunt for the Progenitor technology closes in on its goal. But will it be the Breen or Discovery that manages to secure the power of life itself?

Log Entry

Reunited with T’Rina, Saru returns to Federation HQ and attends an emergency meeting with T’Rina, Vance and others. President Rillak briefs them on the current situation: now that Moll has killed Ruhn, Primarch Tahal’s fleet is heading to claim his ship, troops and the Progenitor technology, Tahal being the primarch who occupied Rayner’s homeworld.

Discovery is undergoing repairs. Cloaked, the vessel jumps to the final location… and finds itself being pulled into a black hole, one of two at the coordinates. Tilly finds a way to get the ship to a safe distance. Scans find a cylinder at the Lagrange point between the black holes. Moments after they notice it, Ruhn’s dreadnaught arrives and takes it into their shuttlebay.

A briefing is held to discuss how Discovery can retrieve the Progenitor technology

Aboard Discovery, a heist is planned. Michael has a secret code, given to her by the illusory Book on the Eternal Gallery and Archive – a cryptic phrase that Moll and the Breen don’t have. As Book points out, Discovery also has the advantage that the Breen and Moll think they’re dead. Adira can attach transpo-lock to the cylinder if they can get aboard the dreadnaught. Book will fly a shuttle through a gap in the vessel’s shield coverage, located at the exhaust port, to insert two teams disguised as Breen: Adira and Rhys to go to the bridge and shut down the shields, while Book and Burnham will go to the shuttlebay and attach the transpo-lock to the cylinder.

Moll uses the interclasped clues as a key to open the cylinder, discovering it’s a portal. Arisar and Moll send in a Breen soldier, who is pulled in and disappears. Moll takes L’ak’s body into a pattern-buffer chip.

Rys, Book, Burnham and Adira journey to the Breen dreadnaught

The Discovery personnel beam in as the shuttle incinerates, arriving near a couple of soldiers who demand answers. Knowing how strict Breen hierarchy is, Michael distracts the soldiers, she and Rhys ordering them away.

Messages from President Rillak keep being ignored by Primarch Tahal, so Saru volunteers to take a shuttle equipped with the new pathway drive to meet her.

Rillak, Saru and T’Rina conversing

Michael and Book chat en route to the Breen shuttlebay. Warding off another guard, Michael demonstrates her familiarity with a Breen festival. She then confides in Book about the truth she found in herself about their relationship (in “Labyrinths”).

On the bridge, Adira and Rys order a soldier away from his station.

Aboard Discovery, Rayner readies the crew for action. He won’t sit in the captain’s chair, despite the advice of Acting First Officer Tilly.

Discovery’s bridge being commanded by a standing Rayner

Michael and Book meanwhile go through a checkpoint, knocking out the guards to access the shuttlebay. There, they see another Breen scientist snatched by the portal in the cylinder. When a quarantine field is erected around the cylinder, Book flirts with a guard to distract him. Moll is notified of the missing shuttlebay guards and orders a total lockdown.

Before Saru leaves for his assignment, he and T’Rina have a discussion. They understand that they will always be faced with balancing their relationship with the logic required to choose duty.

A surprised Moll receives a hail from Discovery

Rayner hails Moll, saying Captain Burnham was killed. Warning Moll and Arisar that Primarch Tahal is coming, he offers Federation protection. Moll rejects the offer, instead finding Michael and Book. She removes the transpo-lock and faces off with Michael.

Knowing Rayner is listening, Burnham references events as a code for what she wants him to do. The ships exchange fire. Adira drops the Breen shields, causing an attack by guards, and both Rys and Adira fight them before being beamed home.

Realising what’s happening, Moll jumps through the portal. Michael follows. Discovery, firing, rams its way through the shuttlebay’s energy barrier. The cylinder is blown into space and disintegrates, leaving only the glowing portal that was in it.

The exposed portal, near one of the black holes

With Book safely back on Discovery, Tilly reports that sensors can find nothing inside the portal. Rayner tells the crew that failure is not an option and sits in the captain’s chair with a “Let’s do this.

Status Report

This is a good pacy episode, with plenty of action, some unexpected laughs (Book’s flirting with a Breen springs to mind – maybe the writer’s room has a Breen fetish!) and no wasted time. In fact, this is the shortest episode this season, directed by familiar and talented Trek director Jonathan Frakes. Frakes knows how to not waste shots or pad things out and, as a result, the fight scenes are crisp and well shot while the effects are fantastic. There’s even some actual science on show here. No, really; a Lagrange point really is a balance point between two astronomical bodies in the same orbit.

Saru expressing that he and T’Rina will have to balance their relationship with duty echoes what Michael has found. However, mirroring her and Book’s relationship with Saru and T’Rina’s has come a bit late. It passes by quickly enough, which is good because this is a snappy heist episode.

Saru actor Doug Jones with Jonathan Frakes

Frakes gets the best out of the regulars as well as Adira and Rys, who rarely gets to do much, strutting their stuff. He also plays well off the developments in Michael and Book’s relationship, from the previous episode, and makes sure both Sonequa Martin-Green and David Ajala get their chemistry going. It’s always nice to see Doug Jones as Saru back, so the only real downside is Moll trying to be a cut-price Harley Quinn. In the final season, we could have done with a stronger villain.

As well as action and wit, there are pop culture references. These come in the form of A New Hope’s hard-to-target exhaust port, an Apollo 13 “failure is not an option,” and so on.

Rating: 4/5

Overall, this is a fast, thrilling and witty episode, with an awesome cliffhanger. What’s not to love? Other than the worry of whether the finale will stick the landing.

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