Monday 16 October 2017

Review: Discovery #4 - The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

The rather grandly named The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry leaves me once again curious about a lot of things to come in Discovery, but most of all, am I meant to like these characters or not? I say that not because I dislike any of them or the story being told, but because this series seems quite determined to make every character super ambiguous about whether they are are a nice person and how they are playing others (with the possible exception of so-far always excessively pleasant Cadet Tilly). Continue below for my thoughts on this and other aspects of the fourth episode.

Curious characters

So the stand-out character of the episode for me was L'Rell. I'm glad we've picked up the Klingon side of the story again now, and I'm curious how the two sides of the conflict are going to be shown as the series progresses. L'Rell is delightfully nuanced, seemingly playing everyone around her; she has Voq wrapped around her finger, and while she and Voq were played by Kol, she was quick to take as much control of the situation as she could. Is the possible romance in the offing between Voq and she genuine, or is the flirtation all part of her control? Was she equally as in control of T'Kuvma I wonder? And more curious, what the heck does she have in mind for Voq among the House of Mókai, which she described as "the watcher clan, the deceivers,the weavers of lies". Curious stuff!

My second character of note was Stamets', who grows on me more with every scene. I just love his genuine awe and dedication to his science, exemplified by his  "I always wanted to converse with my mushrooms" moment. His nasal injury was entertaining and endearing while also exposing that other rather arsey side to his character (and I liked the realism of him just whacking his face rather than the Trek-trope of being being thrown right over an exploding consoles).

Talking of arses... What a disappointment Landry turned out to be! She had such an edge in the previous episode, and turned out just to be an idiot here in her weird suicide moment.

Which leads me to "Ripper" (god I hope that name doesn't stick). So far played as an animal, I feel certain there's more going on here, and so too does Burnham it seems. I'm most curious though about the practicalities of this creature; it's much valued super-claws surely mean it could dig it's way out of that little pen if so inclined? And it seems to have been implied that it can travel the galaxy wide mycelium network at will to eat spores - A rather remarkable ability to say the least, and one it could presumably use at any time to run away? That would certainly help undo the Discovery's miraculous instant-anywhere drive ready for it not to exist in Star Trek's future. And even if that's not quite the way out, surely it being enslaved to power the drive cannot be sustained in the Federation. I'm sure there's much moral quandary ahead with this being.

Perhaps most ambiguous of all though is Burnham. Her moments with Ripper, Tilly, Stamets, and most of all with the holographic Georgiou, all made her seem a compassionate thoughtful person. But then the way she used Saru, without remorse or apology for taking advantage of him, made her seem a simply awful person. She clearly isn't, because of how she treats others, and her previous relationship with Saru, while competitive, with still mostly positive, so once more I find myself curious how his relationship is going to be played out, especially in the context of the nature-v-nurture/human-v-Vulcan setup of the series. In this episode it at least gave that great line about her fitting in with Captain Lorca - A character whose motivations I remain very unsure of.

Further thoughts
  • That opening shot of the quantum level detail of the replicator was cool and inventive!
  • So was the very idea of a holographic mirror!
  • The series is really beautiful sometimes, that shot of the Discovery over the star; amazing!
  • And so too is the Klingon spacesuit! Anyone else reminded rather strongly of Stargate's Goa'uld in the way it retracts? And for that matter the new Klingon Bird of Prey design is rather Death Glider like. 
  • Is the spore drive basically Hitchhiker's Guide's Infinite Improbability Drive??


After this episode I remain in a similar state as I was after episode three; there are a lot of mysteries in this series that I want answers too. I suppose now though we know the characters ever more, which makes their motivations and backgrounds increasingly the focus of my curiosity.

Star Trek: Discovery will continue weekly, and it will be distributed almost everywhere in the world on Netflix, except for the US where is will be available on CBS All Access, and Canada where it will be on Bell Media channels and services. To keep track of all the latest details from the new show, visit my Star Trek: Discovery guide page.

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