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Review: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ep. 12 – Through the Valley of Shadows

The most enjoyable privilege in watching this current season of Star Trek: Discovery is to share the evolution of the characters and the actors that portray them, none so more as the main cast but also the supporting cast of each episode, all true greats or future greats.  One of the main cast, and I’ve heard that he’s going to be returning in Season 3 as they are filming it right now, is Anson Mount.  An actor who I had not heard of before watching the second series and had no idea of his stature as an actor, but this series has really catapulted him to my attention.  An actor who can put just the right amount of gravity, humanity, and humour to the Pike character, and in this episode, we see more depth of Captain Pike than in any of the previous episodes combined.  I’d like to point out at this moment that Anson Mount, away from Star Trek: Discovery, does a regular podcast called The Well with his long-term friend, Branan Edgens and I spent a day last week listening to numerous episodes of the podcast and it is really good food for the soul, check it out.

Episode 12 has a split story line centred around the common goal of defeating Control.  The episode starts with a fourth signal appearing near the Klingon world of Boreth.  This planet is void of any life apart from a Klingon monastery where the monks guard the Time Crystals, I’m sure there is a proper Star Trek scientific name for them but for now, they’re just Time Crystals.  Boreth is where Tyler and L’Rell sent their infant son to be raised away from the Klingon Empire never to be seen again.  Neither Tyler or L’Rell are comfortable with going to the surface and that’s where the courageous Pike states that he will go and retrieve a Time Crystal so that the Discovery can be a step ahead of Leland, who is only mentioned once or twice in the episode.  On arrival at Boreth, Pike is greeted by a couple of monks, one who it turns out is the son of Tyler and L’Rell and his name is Tenavik.  The adult Tenavik explains that time is influenced by the crystals on the planet, hence the fact he’s now an adult, and that if Pike wishes to take a crystal, then the future that it shows to him can not be altered.  Pike takes the risk and he witness the future where he is severely disabled in an accident, we don’t get to see when, but the uniforms have changed slightly.  Regardless, he chooses to take the crystal back to the Discovery and to, hopefully, save all sentient life over his own.

I said there was a split story and the other side is that Burnham and Spock take off in a shuttle, because Discovery contains the Sphere data and cannot allow that to fall into Control’s hands.  Together they intercept a Section 31 ship that was 10 minutes overdue reporting its location, which in the rigid time constraints of Section 31 stands out like a red rag to a bull.  The shuttle drops out of warp to find the entire crew drifting dead in space outside the ship with just one unconscious survivor who is revived, and Burnham recognises him as Kamran Gant, a previous crew member on the Shenzhou under the real Georgiou.  Once conscious and able to speak, Gant informs Burnham and Spock that Control took over and sent the crew into space, Gant managed to put on a spacesuit.  It was at this point that, to me, it was looking like Gant was reanimated via the nanbots that were inserted into Leland by Control, and I was hoping to be wrong.  Burnham and Spock are soon mad aware by Gant that he is under the control of Control and that Burnham is the fulcrum, the AI cannot control Burnham.  Gant and Burnham have a good old shoot out whilst Spock is trying his best to lock out Gant.  Burnham’s phaser creates a massive hole in Gant and all the nanobots flow out and head towards Burnham who is depending on Spock to find a solution for her survival and that he does it quickly.  Spock generates a magnetic field over the floor and freezes the nanobots and thus saves his big sister.

Back on Discovery, everyone reconvenes and then Section 31 ships start arriving and they want the Sphere data.  Weighing up all the alternatives, Burnham concludes that it will take a lot of power to activate the Time Crystal and then advises Pike that the only option to destroy the Sphere data is to destroy the Discovery itself.

VERDICT: I rate this episode 9 out of 10 because even though the storyline is obviously evolving at a fast pace, some of the acting isn’t.  I found that Tyler and L’Rell’s chemistry to be strained and forced, that could be down to the script and direction but some of the blame must fall on the actors but I still love them.  And then there is the other extreme where this episode was Anson Mount’s turn to radiate and deliver an acting masterclass for his colleagues.  And talking off acting, there was a splendid scene where Doc Culber is called to administer a plaster (band aid) to the finger of a rather domineering Jett Reno who proceeds to tell him he is wrong to walk away from Stamets and that they should pursue their future together.  It transpires that Jett lost her wife in the Klingon War and hopes that Stamets and Culber can find a solution.

Anyway, the episode is quite an amazing one from all perspectives and it saddens me to think that there are just two more episodes left this series.  So far, Discovery has been bigger, better, and more entertaining than its predecessors.

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