Episode four starts with the arrival of Number One, Pike’s first in command on the USS Enterprise. Number One has enough time, before Pike is called to His ready-room, to tell Pike that there are disturbing facts around Spock’s situation at the Psychiatric Facility. Number One gives Pike the data of Spock’s shuttle’s warp signature to allow the Discovery to chase after Spock.
Meanwhile in Engineering, Tilly and Stamets are discussing the quarantined May, or fungal parasite, when May makes contact with Tilly through the boundary of the quarantine room.
On arrival at his ready-room, Pike orders a course direction at full warp, of course, and then dismisses his waiting staff, including a flu-ridden Saru, when he arrives at his ready-room apart from Burnham. they discuss the ability to intercept Spock and Burnham isn’t too happy about it and then the Discovery grinds to a halt and Pike is called to the bridge. They find that they are being held by a mysterious living sphere that isn’t allowing them to leave and continue to chase after Spock. The sphere seems to be uploading a virus to the Discovery. In mid-discussion, Burnham starts to speak Klingon and the next few minutes are a linguistic nightmare that the cast must have had fun doing but must’ve spent ages learning and perfecting the languages they spoke. Burnham and Saru save the day by repairing the Universal Translator but to the cost of Saru falling more ill.
Back in Engineering, Jet Reno arrives to help fix the systems, although sceptical about the modern technology of the Spore Drive. Reno and Stamets grate on each other but mutually respect each other as the virus plays havoc on the systems and they try to stem a power surge and all three get hit by a lightening bolt, and during this the fungal parasite known as May escapes and latches on to Tilly’s arm.
Burnham and Saru head for Sick Bay and meet up with Pike. The Doctor tries to scan Saru to fins out what is wrong with Saru and Saru explains that he knows what is wrong and that he has entered Vahar’ai, a Kelpian terminal biological process. Feeling helpless, Burnham asks that there must be something that can be done but Saru is adamant that death is inevitable.
Tilly is put into the same quarantine that May was in and between Stamets, Reno, and Tilly and they discuss how to get May from Tilly’s arm.
Saru and Burnham devise a plan to stem the virus from the Sphere and get closer and bond their friendship during a discussion about Kelpian health and history. Saru requests that Burnham help him during his limited time before he dies. Burnham reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, Spock’s shuttle is nearing the limit of Discovery’s sensors prompting Burnham to go to Engineering to find out what’s going on and subsequently they realise that the Sphere might not be sending a virus but possibly trying to communicate to the Discovery. And Saru concludes that the Sphere is trying to download its life and intelligence to the Discovery because it’s preparing to die.
Back in Engineering, Stamets and Reno prepare to attempt to communicate with May through Tilly and they find that May’s species are being threatened by the Discovery when it jumps. Stamets apologies and May decides to engulf Tilly.
The Bridge Crew establish a solid transfer and before the Sphere destroys itself, the Discovery escapes with the help of the Sphere.
Stamets and Reno manage to rescue Tilly from May.
Saru realises it is his turn to die and requests Burnham’s help in his quarters. Burnham finds that Saru has preserved many plant life from his home world in his quarters. Saru requests that Burnham severs his Ganglia with a Kelpian life. Just as Burnham, reluctantly, goes to sever the ganglia, they fall off on their own accord and Saru improves. Saru, now in Sick Bay, no longer is governed by a driving sense of fear, he feels powerful and different than before.
The information from the Sphere is fully saved within Discovery’s computer. Pike likens it to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Burnham, with the help of the Sphere information, manages to locate Spock’s shuttle outside of their sensor-range. Pike grants Burnham the chance to not be included with Spock’s mission and Burnham decides to remain.
Concluding in Engineering, Stamets and Reno arrange to close the link between Tilly and May for good and Tilly briefly witnesses the human May whilst parasite May releases hallucinogenic spores at Stamets and Reno and before they know it, parasitic May consumes Tilly completely.
VERDICT: I rate this episode 9 out of 10 because there is compassion hand in hand with humour, and as ever the humour is generally subtle and dry and expertly delivered. This episode had oodles of both and the bond between the characters of Burnham and Saru, Tilly and Stamets has grown so much stronger in this episode alone. It has been a joy to watch and so perfectly written, directed, and acted. There is nothing about this episode that I didn’t enjoy or get emotionally lost in.