This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery picks up right where we left off last time with the Pahvian civilization in jeopardy as the Klingon Ship of the Dead approaches. That means the Discovery is also in danger and Starfleet’s Vulcan Admiral Terral orders the ship back to the safety of a Federation starbase, an order to which Captain Lorca objects. How can they leave the defenseless Pahvians to be annihilated by the Klingons who will certainly want to destroy the crystal structure that lured them there in the first place, especially if there is no Federation starship in the vicinity as well?
The Admiral insists and Lorca seems to comply but instead of using the spore drive and Lt. Stamets to make the jump, he decides to use warp speed which will put them at the base in three hours. Of course, he’ll need a ruse to explain why he didn’t initiate the spore drive so he orders Stamets to get a complete physical so Doctor Culber can create a “data trail” should anyone question the use of warp speed. But that’s probably not such a good idea because, as Stamets told Tilly last week, anything Culber finds will have to be reported to Starfleet, which would result in Stamets being taken away for his genetic tampering, and if he lies about Stamets, his career would be over. And when Lorca goes to get the results, the look of concern on Culber’s face says a lot … but not enough for Lorca to refrain from asking Stamets for a huge favor.
In order to save the Pahvians, they need to determine how they can detect the Klingons’ cloaked ships. Which is why Lorca chose to travel by warp speed. He wanted to give Saru, Burnham and Tyler ample time to come up with some way to defeat the Klingons. What they find is that the cloaking technology creates electronic aberrations, but they’re so small as to be virtually undetectable to the ship’s sensors. They need to find a way to read the signals and create an algorithm that will help them detect where a cloaked ship is. Except if they can even pull that off, it would take days to parse the information, a luxury they don’t have.
But there is a way to make all this work: place sensors on the Klingon vessel — which requires an away team to beam onto the ship — and make 133 micro-jumps to keep the Klingons off balance and bend time long enough for Saru and the ship’s computers to analyze the data that is collected every time the Klingon ship cloaks and uncloaks. Simple enough. No, not really. 133 jumps is beyond anything Stamets have put himself through in one sitting, and knowing the side effects he’s been experiencing (and hiding from Lorca and Culber), he may not be able to handle the job. But Lorca uses Stamets’ love of science and exploration against him, telling him he could have stayed on earth but chose this grand adventure, showing him a map of all the jumps made so far, showing that there are potential multiverses out there, and Stamets was all in. I wonder though if this was a real thing Lorca showed Stamets or something he whipped up as a way to coerce Stamets into agreeing to make those 133 jumps.
And while Lorca was just fine with sending the former prisoner of the Klingons over to a Klingon ship, he wasn’t about to allow Burnham to accompany Tyler. But she had an ace up her sleeve — she knew one of the sensors would have to be placed on the bridge of the ship and … she’s been there already. It’s where she killed T’Kuvmah (and where Captain Georgiou died). Lorca has no choice but to let her go, and the two beam over wearing some kind of convenient gizmos that mask their human life signs as Klingon (yeah, but it doesn’t make them appear as Klingons so it’s still quite a risky mission).
Once on board the ship, Lorca orders Stamets to initiate the spore jumps while Culber monitors his condition. Burnham sets the first sensor (and is there no mute button on those things?) and on the way to the bridge detects another human signature. Of course it’s Admiral Cornwell, still alive in the room with all the dead Klingons. Oh, and L’Rell is in there too and when Tyler sees her he has a PTSD episode that forces Burnham to go to the bridge, conveniently, alone.
On the bridge, she gets the second sensor activated and the Discovery has the signal, and their constant jumping has the desired effect — Kol has the ship cloaked, sending the data to the Discovery. Kol considers going to warp to leave this place forcing Burnham to reveal herself. From the time she entered the bridge, the Klingons switched to speaking in English (yay!) thanks to her handy universal translator, a device Kol sees as an attempt to rob the Klingons of their identity. He attempts to intimidate Burnham by showing her a Starfleet insignia badge with which he picks his teeth. Wouldn’t you know it’s Captain Georgiou’s badge, so Burnham turns the tables and reveals that she is the human who killed T’Kuvmah.
Kol actually thanks her for that because T’Kuvmah’s death allowed him to gain the power he has now within the Klingon houses, and he’ll use Burnham’s capture to help sway any remaining T’Kuvmah acolytes. Burnham, however, challenges Kol to hand-to-hand combat and he accepts. Meanwhile, the Discovery has the data it needs to locate the cloaked ship and has stopped jumping. Tyler and Cornwell are discovered by Klingons sent to investigate some sabotage at the burial room, thinking it was something L’Rell had done, but Tyler was still having his episode with quick visual flashes showing what looked like some horrific torture at the hands of L’Rell. But was it torture or … an operation?
Cornwell, whose legs are paralyzed, manages to shoot one of the Klingons and Tyler snaps out of it long enough to take out the other. The Discovery has locked on to him and Burnham and discovers Cornwell is also there. Just as Tyler and Cornwell are beamed out, L’Rell grabs Tyler and is captured in his transporter signal, beaming back to the Discovery with them. Burnham knows she’s about to be transported as well and manages to snag Georgiou’s badge from Kol before leaving.
With everyone safely aboard Discovery, Lorca orders them to fire on the cloaked Klingon ship, destroying it and saving the Pahvians from destruction. But this has resulted in an armada of Klingon ships heading to the location so the Discovery needs to leave. Lorca says they will go by warp speed, but Stamets says it’s too dangerous so he’ll do one more jump … which will be his last, and then he’ll allow Starfleet’s doctors to try to figure out what’s wrong with him. Tyler and Burnham connect, with Tyler telling him about his torture at the hands of L’Rell, but as they sleep, he has horrific dreams of the sexual encounters the two had while he was L’Rell’s prisoner and plaything (and we got some Klingon nipples in the process). He wakes with a start and leaves the room.
Stamets prepares for his final jump, giving Culber a big kiss and promising he’ll go see a production of La Boheme with him once the doctors are done with him. (Side note: that had to be a nice little wink to Anthony Rapp’s most prominent job prior to this as he starred in the original Broadway cast of Rent which was based on La Boheme.) But as Stamets initiates the jump, he screams in pain and the windows of the chamber begin to cover over with ice. The ship seems to become two for a moment during the jump process, and the shaking awakens Burnham. When the shaking stops, the Discovery appears to be in the middle of the wreckage of Klingon ship, but Saru has no idea where in space they are.
Stamets staggers out of the chamber and babbles something about “infinite permutations” while his eyes have glazed over. Tyler has made his way to the brig where L’Rell is being held and he falls to his knees when he sees her again. She tells him, “I’ll never let them hurt you,” and that something will happen “soon.” Them? Soon? Is she hinting that he is a sleeper agent who will soon be activated? As the episode ends on these cliffhangers, we still don’t know for sure if Tyler is actually a Klingon or what happened to Stamets and the Discovery. Also, Lorca is notified that his unorthodox actions — i.e. defying direct orders — have yielded some positive results and he’s going to get an award. Which he promptly offered to Stamets since he’s the one who did all the heavy lifting. With Cornwell back to Starfleet and recovering after an operation that will apparently restore the use of her legs, we have to wonder if Starfleet was perhaps luring Lorca back to reprimand instead of reward him. And is it possible that the show we’ve been watching hasn’t been taking place in the Prime Star Trek universe that we thought (which would explain some discrepancies between this and TOS) and the ship is now there (we’ve seen a mirror image of Stamets and there were definitely two Discoveries during the failed jump … but we’ll have to wait until January we get some answers.
Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream exclusively on CBS All Access. New episodes will resume January 7, available each Sunday at 8:30 PM ET.
What did you think of the fall finale? What happened to the Discovery? Is Tyler a Klingon? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.