The following are a few notes I took while watching Star Trek Discovery Season 1 Episode 14. Warning: mild spoilers may be included, though I’ve tried to stay away from including anything too glaring. Either way, consider yourself warned.
In Star Trek Discovery Season 1 Episode 14, the penultimate installment of the season, the action keeps moving. Burnham and the U.S.S. Discovery crew are faced with the harsh reality of the war during their absence. In order to move forward, Starfleet must use unconventional tactics and sources to take their next action against the Klingons.
As we know from last week, the Discovery made it back to the Prime Universe in one piece. The only wrinkle was that they overshot the return, arriving nine months after their departure. That’s nine months of unremitting war against the Klingons, and it hasn’t been going well for the Federation. Not surprisingly, that sets the stage for the crew to have to strategize about their next move in the war, while also dealing with a lot of personal situations.
Star Trek Discovery Season 1 Episode 14 somehow managed to keep up the tension, while simultaneously slowing down the narrative in a way that was quite refreshing. This week was sort of a breather between breakneck action episodes, and it gave us a chance to see some great performances by the actors. I really thought it was a great episode. Possibly one of the best yet.
It was also really nice seeing them get back to their Star Trek roots with a plan deeply dependent on science. That’s something this franchise has always been known for, so it helped make Star Trek Discovery seem at home. They spent a decent amount of time and their effects budget on the scenes involving the terraforming effort. This was a great move, in my opinion. A lot of the show’s criticisms have revolved around its war-like storyline. Some have argued it hasn’t felt like what’s expected when they think of Star Trek. For that reason, to me, this felt like something of a course correction. The crew experienced a great triumph, but rather than destroying something it was all about creating something new. I thought that was a really nice touch.
I’m also still digging how they‘re handling the whole Ash Tyler/Voq thing. It’s a much more deep and complicated characterization than what it might have been. I mean, the idea of a Manchurian Candidate-style infiltrator is interesting in and of itself. The writers are going way beyond what it might have been, though, and ultimately I think that’s a great move. Instead of simply a spy, we now have a character who will struggle with his own identity as well as other people’s perceptions of him. This should allow for a great deal more character development. Lieutenant Tyler must now seek redemption in some way or another, accounting for what he did as Voq as well as dealing with that other person’s memories, etc. I just think that’s a really deep and rich well of storytelling potential. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea for that storyline.
I also thought it was touching that Tilly be the one to sit with him in the Mess. That’s a very believable characterization, because she definitely comes off as the someone familiar with being socially ostracized. It makes sense then that she would be the one who would take that first step to try to make him feel included. She is, without a doubt, the heart and soul of the crew. The only thing I wasn’t sure about with that scene was how quickly the others followed suit, but it should be interesting to see how things go moving forward. Honestly, I was hoping for him to have a little bit more of a struggle, but there’s still a lot of time for additional story down the line. Also, it’s pretty obvious Lieutenant Stametz isn’t going to be so quick to think of him as a friend.
And, yet again, a big surprise twist to end Star Trek Discovery Season 1 Episode 14. I’m not going to detail it here, because it would be a pretty big spoiler for anyone who hasn’t watched yet. I will say, though, that I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to work out. One thing Star Trek Discovery seems to be getting pretty good at is doing the unexpected, which is pretty refreshing. Needless to say, the fallout will be decided in the season finale next week, and I’ll definitely be watching.