While Discovery and it’s crew dash through the stars on their new mission, finding a new groove in the process, the Klingons had been left on the sidelines since L’Rell captured the throne to become Chancellor; Tyler in tow hoping to figure out who he really was.
Point of Light brings the Klingons back to the forefront as we catch up with L’Rell’s reign as chancellor to find that her fight to complete T’Kuvma’s unification of the Empire has been a rougher challenge than she had hoped…
Much like the first seasons Context is for Kings, we again see the third episode bring the pace down as we return to play catch up with the Klingons. Last we saw of L’Rell, she was encouraged to stop playing everyone from the shadows and step into the light, using her leverage (or to be more accurate, her finger on the trigger of a big ass bomb that’ll blow everyone up if they don’t do what she wants) to take control of the houses.
Control is not as easy as she’d hoped. Especially with Ash Tyler by her side as Torchbearer, who’s able to hold his own as he carries on Voq’s legacy, but who’s still very much out of place and a weak spot for the new Chancellor.
And what a fine mess L’Rell has got herself into, balancing the individual needs of the powerful houses as she brings them on board Backing her up is Ash Tyler, who’s taken on Voq’s role as Torchbearer and feeling a little out of place. On the surface L’Rell is retaining her control, but challengers from the House of Kor, Kol’s father Kol’Sha, are intent on disrupting the new order for their own needs.
The episode has a complex range of emotions for the Klingons, as both L’Rell and Tyler seem lost in their new lives. L’Rell is struggling to secure her authority against the opposition, even with support of her family, while Tyler feels he is nothing but a burden as he’s split between his human and Klingon halves. That indecision he feels is calmed when he discovers L’Rell had fallen pregnant while with Voq and has since been hiding her child in fear of it being used against her.
For Tyler this revelation is where he finds peace. He sees a child with the same affliction of albinism as Voq, another outsider, and in that moment commits himself to remaining on Qo’nos with L’Rell and their child. Until Kol-Sha kidnaps the baby, holding him at ransom until L’Rell hands over her title to him.
There’s a lot of familiarity in how the Klingons are presented here. Over the years, particularly through the Next Generation and DS9 era’s, we’ve seen the Klingon drama’s and theatrics, the depths they’d go to in order to win power. Depths that make their concept of honour laughable. This seemed like Discovery’s take on that hypocracy, with Kol’Sha doing the unthinkable just to steal power.
The big thing about the story though was showcasing their vulnerabilities. We see a L’Rell on the ropes, both in her political career and in her feelings for Voq, whom she still see’s in Tyler. For him, he finally admits to her that their sexual relationship after his transformation was far from consensual on his end and how hard he struggles with those feelings. Under their mission to unify the empire, and under the mask of strength they need to lead it, these are both people who are suffering in their own unique way. And that suffering is far from over.
Discovering New Lows
Despite the central core of the episode being focused on the Klingons, it’s not all about our favourite warrior race. Back on Discovery Tilly’s throwing herself into the Command Training Program. She even gets a new t-shirt for it (which you can of course buy now from the official Star Trek store!). But her training isn’t going as well as she’d like as May, the deceased friend who began appearing to her during the New Eden mission, is buggering it up in spectacular style.
At first it was just distracting her from basic training. But it all came to boiling point when May kept nagging Tilly to focus on their mission instead of the training, resulting in Tilly snapping on the bridge,, shouting at Captain Pike and storming off as she threw in the towel.
As Tilly’ going ever so slightly insane, Amanda Grayson pops over to Discovery to talk about how off the deep end Spock has went. Pike’s struggling to get any information as it seems whatevers going on is classified. And with no one talking, Amanda’s hoodwinked Spocks medical files and brought them to Michael to break into.
Skimming through Spock’s files, we see more of his obsession with the Red Angels, though the biggest revelation is a personal one; that Michael had done something to Spock to push him away, something that ruined their relationship seemingly forever.
Thankfully Burnham was a bit nicer to Tilly, as the two collided for the Ensign to confide in her friend about the ghost in her head; which Burnham quickly analyses and figures is real, connected to the incident with Dark Matter. So they skip sickbay and take a trip to Stamets who discovers May is a big lump of fungus stuck in her head; an alien life form he promptly extracts!
Everything about Discovery was almost filler; good performances all round, particularly between Sonequa Martin Green and Mia Krishner, but it all felt like steps between A and B, raising questions to be answered later rather than answering them; showing us two of the most prominent crewmembers under stress so they can fight a later day.
In The End….
Sometimes a series with an overall arch needs a bit of a cooldown. The mix of stories here brought the tone down to a slower pace with Discovery’s on board antics leaving enough to not overshadow the Klingon political power plays.
Those power plays of course led to a dramatic conclusion as Kol’Sha used the kidnapped baby to drag L’Rell into a fight. Outnumbered and outplayed, she was only saved at the last minute by an outside party with a vested interest in Klingon peace; Section 31’s latest agent, Phillipa Georgiou.
Honesty, it would have been cool to see L’Rell beat the odds here without any help. But it was nice to see her and Tyler fight with purpose and be forced to face their vulnerabilities; which was an obvious theme for them. The child was their weak spot, and in order to unite the empire, the Chancellor couldn’t afford to show any weakness. And thus, the baby – and Tyler – had to go. Their decapitated heads displayed to the council, Tyler taking the blame to protect the House of Kor’s reputation.
Klingon episodes aren’t or everyone. And thats ok. This one might not have played well with audience who weren’t so familiar or keen on them. But after being lost in the shuffle of the Red Angel adventure, it was nice to see where L’Rell was at, and that she didn’t just become Chancellor and rule with an iron fist. She had to fight for it, she had challenge and in order to unite the Klingons, she has to continue to make sacrifices.
One of the highlights though was getting a peek at life on Qo’nos diving into the complexities of the era. But both the Klingon drama and the shipboard shenanigans on Discovery did all feel like set up with each story setting the stage for each characters next step.
Though none of the set ups matched the return of Georgiou who’d helped L’Rell to orchestrate the death of Tyler and their child before sneaking out Qo’nos to take the child to safety while Tyler stayed with her on board her shiny new Section 31 stealth ship.
Where Are We Now?
Given a moment to take a breath from the Red Angel chase, we still get plenty to keep the big storylines ticking.
The Search for Spock continues with some teasing as we learn that Spock’s lost all of his marbles, is responsible for a few deaths and has done a runner from the psych ward. Aside from him losing his mind (though thankfully not his whole brain), we’ve also had abit more of a tease on his relationship with Burnham and we’re left wondering exactly what she did to make his logical outer shell loathe his foster sister so much.
By episodes end Tilly’s fixed up and ready to rollback onto the training program with a little help from her friends. But now we have a big alien blob that’s been sucked out of her and we still dont exactly know what ‘May’ wanted from her in the first place.
L’Rell has fake-killed Tyler and their baby to rid herself of any weak spots and used that fake misfortune to win the respect of the ruling houses. Dubbing herself as ‘Mother’ of the Empire, she’s now set up to bring about peace and a united front. But where exactly will that lead in the coming season? And of course, her not rally dead Torchbearer has ran off with Section 31. Has he been recruited? Or has Georgiou simply got herself an extra burden on her hands?
There’s still a long way to go as we expect the Red Angels to come back to the forefront fairly soon. But first we need to figure out a bit more about their intentions, finally find Spock and what Section 31’s presence in the season will hint to.
Star Trek Discovery is back on our screens courtesy of Netflix on Friday February 8th with An Obol to Charon and will be available to watch from 8am onwards.
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