And here was are, eight episodes into Star Trek: Discovery and the Trek fandom continues to dissect and examine the show at a healthy rate. It’s good fun and a healthy sign for this new offering as we look at the newest episode, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” a Latin adage that translates to “if you want peace, prepare for war.” An ominous title, to be sure, and one that seems to set the stage for what comes next.
But first things first — I’m not sure I”m really enjoying this Ash Tyler-Michael Burnham burgeoning relationship. And I’m not sold on the Voq-as-Tyler theory that’s spreading around mainly because I don’t see a Klingon, no matter how transformed physically, capable of the kind of flirty rhetoric Tyler was tossing at Burnham in this episode. Come on, man. Using the mountains gambit on her? Unreal.
I mean, come on, Saru is out being enlightened and Tyler’s tossing around Lake Shasta, trout fishing, the whole outdoors vibe leading to a kiss. I don’t know, Tyler seems a little too slick and corny for a Klingon transformer. He strikes me as a wanna-be lothario who finds Burnham intriguing and, perhaps, worth getting to know intimately. Regardless, I’m struggling to accept this relationship on any level. Come on, Michael, don’t give in. Stay in your cold, hard shell, wrapped in the cloak of guilt and responsibility that seems to fit you so nicely. Or not. Your call, lady (Well, the writers’ call, I suppose).
But this Tyler dude. There’s something a little off-kilter about this guy. Looking forward to the big reveal on him. I admit I’ll be a tad disappointed if this is just a love interest storyline. I need more.
As noted previously, I’m always appreciative of any episode that gives us more than a taste of the Klingons. In this episode we get a nice helping, with L’Rell offering fealty to Kol as part of an elaborate plan to exact revenge for losing her love, Voq (Or is he lost?). Tasked with torturing the captured Admiral Cornwell for information, we see the betrayal of Kol begin with a plan to defect to the Federation. But as you’d expect, things don’t go well. The plan falls apart and Kol, wise to L’Rell’s intentions, takes the required action. First and foremost, it was a bit of shock to see Cornwell killed so quickly once the plan went south. RIP Cornwell (Or is she truly dead? Looked like it, but…).
Then, what fate awaits our lovelorn L’Rell, who seemed to have formed her plan based on the “I’ll find a way,” stratagem. Mmm, that didn’t work out so well. Again, there’s a lot of talk about the Klingons and debate about having to read subtitles when they speak, something I don’t find cumbersome. I appreciate the language is being used to augment the plot points, so I”m just fine with it.
And let’s face it, in terms of appearance, the Klingons have undergone more change than any species in the Star Trek realm over the various series and movies. I look at the change in appearance as the artistic license of the creators and a bit of a running joke throughout the arc of all the iterations. Remember, in the Star Trek realm, it’s just fine to suspend your disbelief. Again, it doesn’t bother me a bit. I enjoy me some Klingons and look forward to a showdown soon. Cut the Klingons a little slack.
One thing I find fascinating is learning about the origin of the Klingon cloaking technology and how it spread throughout the empire as time went on. Turns out the war with the Federation prompted its rapid expansion and use within the Klingon fleet. I have always wondered about the beginnings of a tactical advantage that the Federation will have to contend with in the future – and that we see play out in other Trek works.
And isn’t it interesting the different vision T’Kuvma had for the Klingons as opposed to the present power, Kol. T’Kuvma sought to unite the houses for the betterment of Klingons everywhere – more of a holy crusade to cure a sickly people, whereas Kol is purely an opportunist who seeks to unite the Klingons not for the greater good, but for his own glory and under his leadership. Kol seems to be the embodiment of the Klingon chancellors we experienced throughout the many Star Trek offerings — lacking honor, greedy, self-absorbed, opportunistic and lacking the ideals that supposedly are the core of the Klingon world.
Makes you wonder what would have happened if T’Kuvma had survived and been the centerpiece of the Klingon renaissance. Kol appears to be on his way to being the first in a long line of despotic Klingon rulers. Again, interesting we are potentially getting a peak into the Klingon world we’re so used to by now, and how it developed.
My only issue with the Klingons so far is that they have been relegated to a menacing, shadowy species by-and-large. A boogeyman type of role on the periphery of the story. I’m hoping we’ll get to see more of what makes the Klingons be Klingons in the fall finale. I need battle, glorious battle, my friends.
The mission to Pahvo was an interesting one and offered up a theme that the Trek universe has dealt with on multiple occasions — peace and harmony. Saru, after a lifetime of fear, finally finds a place and species where “total harmony’ exists and he bathes in it — to the detriment of the mission, as it turns out. But in true Star Trek style, the potential for peace and co-existence is threatened by strife and conflict.
It’s a timely subject to broach in Star Trek: Discovery and one that Gene Roddenberry certainly would have agreed applauded. A world built and perfected on peace and harmony is to be corrupted by the interests of those they befriend. What will become of Pahvo once the Klingons and Federation lock horns (it seems likely, doesn’t it) outside their world (or perhaps on it). It’s a reminder that no matter the desire for peace and harmony, the ability to keep it is tenuous at best and often at the mercy of those that reside outside it. Saru’s arc offered a little look into his soul and what it must be like to live in his skin day-to-day. Given that, his total commitment to the Pahvo environment makes complete sense – event as it endangered the group’s mission.
In the end, Saru, Michael and Tyler, who were the away party to Pahvo, overcome the issues and find themselves back aboard the Discovery as they realize that the Pahvans have sent an invite to the Klingons to join them there. There will be no “hugging it out” or singing “Kumbaya” next to the campfires, it would seem. The Pahvan’s naivete could prove costly to their peaceful way of life. We will see for sure in the fall finale, “Into The Forest I Go.”
Episode 8 seemed to be the setup for a climactic finish to Star Trek: Discovery’s first season. Looking forward to seeing how Burnham, Lorca and the gang finish things off in the fall finale.
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