Star Trek: Discovery could have died a slow and miserable death. Thanks to Spock in The Undiscovered Country, we know that the Federation-Klingon War goes cold and lasts for 70 years. The central conflict in the entire first half of the first season depended entirely on the first bloody encounters of the war. The very definition of a cold war omits open conflict. If there is open conflict, it’s brief. The high intensity of the first eight episodes of Star Trek: Discovery is not sustainable with a cold war as the backdrop. If the writers of Discovery were to continue on their chosen path, how could the rest of the show match the power of “Chapter One?”
Episode 9: Into the Forest, I Go answers that question while spawning a dozen more. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)
1. Chandler’s Law: An Astromycologist With Tardigrade DNA Shows Up at the Door
Raymond Thornton Chandler was a novelist in the 1930’s. He’s well known for his hard-boiled detective fiction. And in 1950 he wrote The Simple Art of Murder, a book about the craft of writing detective fiction.
His most famous line is probably “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.” Chandler was talking about the need for constant action in the detective novel. This became known as Chandler’s Law.
The writer’s of Star Trek: Discovery almost took this advice literally.
In Into the Forest, the crew of the Discovery seems to win the war single-handedly. Equipped with the unprecedented technology of the “Spore Drive,” they scan the Klingon “Ship of the Dead,” steal its cloaking signature, and ultimately destroy T’Kuvma’s ship. It’s a moment in Trek history that deserves a standing ovation.
With the Klingons nearly defeated, the Federation calls the Discovery home. They offer Captain Lorca a medal which he graciously declines in favor of rewarding Stamets for his bravery in conducting 150 micro spore-drive jumps.
Lorca and Stamets stand in the docking bay, doors opened upon an incredible vista of Pahvo partially eclipsing its star in what seems to be a heartfelt ending. (If you’re a Mass Effect fan, this scene might remind you of the Illusive Man’s lair.) Stamets tells Lorca he wants to do “one last jump.” Lorca at first misunderstands Stamets and tells the man he can just rest up when they make it back to HQ.
But Stamets is done. He will be doing only one last jump. And as he says this, the audience begins to wonder why the writers would axe their most dynamic character half-way through season one. But the next scene answers that question. The writers are cruel and will not let Stamets rest. He kisses his lover, enters the spore-drive chamber and makes the last jump. Then it all goes to hell.
The writers pulled the Chandler card. The crew of the Discovery are suddenly lost in space (or the multiverse) and we have a whole new Star Trek show to watch.
2. One Question Down, Too Many To Answer
If you aren’t having flashbacks to J.J. Abram’s series Lost, you should be. It’s surprising Abrams isn’t actually helming the Discovery as it Boldy Goes who knows where. A dozen questions cropped up as we watched the first chapter of Discovery. And hopefully, we won’t find out they’re all actually dead in the end.
Where in the Universe is The Discovery?
Earlier in Episode 9, Lorca shows Stamets a representation of data he’s gathered about the mycelial network. It seems that the network connects not only spatial locations within the Star Trek universe but also leads to other universes. Lorca was trying to convince Stamets to do the 150 jumps necessary to scan the Ship of the Dead. But the writers were foreshadowing the final scene in Chapter One. The writers also had to include a cliff-hanger at the end of the episode, and we’ll just have to guess as to what universe Lorca and his crew have landed in.
Is Ash Tyler A Manchurian Candidate?
One of the weirdest scenes in Chapter One is Ash Tyler’s dream near the end of Episode 9. Earlier in the series, we learn he was tortured by L’Rell, his Klingon prison guard. When he sees her aboard the Ship of the Dead he experiences intense flashbacks of his torture. And just before the final jump, he dreams of a sexual encounter with his Klingon torturer.
In the battle on the Ship of the Dead, Lt. Tyler captures L’Rell and when he dreams of her, he runs to her cell and asks, “What have you done to me!”
Lt. Tyler has been nothing but loyal to the mission and his captain since his appearance on the show. But could L’Rell have turned him into a wild card? Will there be some trigger that turns him into a murderous monster?
I guess we’ll just have to wait until January to find out.
Why are Stamets eyes full of cataracts? What’s up with his weird personality shifts? Obviously, the Spore Drive tech gets lost, right? Will the Discovery every make it home? Will Lorca and Admiral Cornwell remain lovers?
We could ask more questions, but we would need to travel at warp 9 around the sun a few revolutions to have enough time.
Conclusion: What’s Next?
It’s clear Star Trek: Discovery is heading someplace new. Whatever happens to the crew of The Discovery, it’s going to be an epic ride. Keep reading TVOvermind for more interesting news about the Star Trek universe.