You know, when Captain Lorca and Lt. Stamets agreed that Stamets was good for one more jump, you sensed that the trip to Star Base 46 wasn’t going to go as smoothly as everyone hoped. Star Trek: Discovery’s finale, “Into The Forest I Go,” looked like it was going to end on a somber note of success and reflection, but delivered a last-minute swivel of the hips that should have us all talking until Star Trek: Discovery returns in January.
Needless to say, the Stamets-driven spore propulsion gambit left our lieutenant with plenty of residual damage — damage that left our crew of the Discovery in what looked like a Klingon scrapyard somewhere no on could identify. By the blade of Worf, that was good fun.
The first run of the new Star Trek series is complete and with it we saw the Klingon Ship of the Dead, and its master, Kol, destroyed in a fiery maelstrom, Admiral Cornwall rescued (she was alive after all), a beaten and bloody L’Rell taken aboard the Discovery as a prisoner, and found Ash Tyler to be suffering from some form of PTSD that involve torture and, apparently, coupling with L’Rell while a reluctant guest (Still working through the sight of L’Rell’s gray-ish breasts laid bare for perusal during coitus) on the prison barge.
Truly, a bountiful harvest of tidbits were revealed in the final episode of the fall finale. However, I want to take a few moments to reflect on the character I think progressed the most in the first installment of Star Trek: Discovery — Lt. Paul Stamets.
I have to admit that when first we met Lt. Stamets, I took an immediate dislike to his arrogant, condescending, tight-ass attitude towards his colleagues and the work he was engaged in. But that has changed, as has my opinion of the character (wonderfully developed through the work of Anthony Rapp) and his role in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. Time and character development have allowed Stamets to become one of the most important (and interesting) characters on the show.
As the war raged, and Discovery proved to be a tactical advantage for the Federation, Stamets’ transition to human Tardigrade proved pivotal to that advantage — and with it, his mental outlook took on a change. We learned more about the character, including his relationship with Dr. Hugh Culber, a relationship that entailed hiding the increasingly destructive effects of his spore drive aptitude, as well as a final declaration of love from one to the other.
When we first met Stamets, it would have been impossible to imagine that level of expression, but Stamets continued to grow, expand and explore the boundaries of who he was and how he did what he did. That’s a credit to the writers and Rapp. Well done, folks.
And his value to Disovery and the war effort was recognized accordingly. As Captain Lorca told him, “We’re gonna win this war on account of you, Mr. Stamets.”
As I said, I don’t think any character this season came as far as Stamets did. In the end, he was a character I enjoyed tremendously. “I’ve seen these stars through a lens no one else has access to. That has to be enough for me,” Stamets told Lorca in a combination of awe and fear, as he admitted he needed help from Federation doctors.
Will that come to fruition? Doesn’t look like that’s imminent. But we’ll see what happens in January.
Captain Lorca continues to be an intriguing character as a bit of a maverick. I enjoyed his little double-cross of the direct order to retreat back to Federation lines. He faked, he feinted and in the end chose to defend Pahvo and, eventually, find a way to crack the Klingon cloaking device. As we saw, the deception worked and put the Discovery in position to not only gather info on the cloaking device, but in the end garnered us both L’Rell and Admiral Cornwall. Talk about value added.
It also gave us a little redemption for Burnham, who got a chance to face off with Kol. You know there are few ways more effective to needle a Klingon than to call out his lack of honor. And while Kol certainly has demonstrated a considerable lack of that commodity, he was forced to call her bluff in front of his crew.
I mean, if you’re gonna be a despotic ruler hoping to lord it over a whole people, you’re gonna have an ego that can be dialed into a little bit. Burnham did and we got a nice little battle between Kol and Burnham. While there was no winner, per se, their encounter eventually led to the death of Kol and the Ship of the Dead. Burnham snagging Captain Georgiou’s insignia off Kol was a nice touch before beam-out.
It’s too bad in that I have enjoyed the Klingon leaders thus far. T’Kuvma was charismatic and forward-thinking, while Kol was much more ambitious and self-serving, but both were interesting in their own, Klingon way. And as I’ve noted several times, any Klingon action is action well-enjoyed.
They both shall be missed, so the question is….who is the next big thing in the Klingon realm? Is L’Rell the likely heir apparent? Her hold over Tyler and her cryptic remark to him at the end of the episode (“soon”), make me wonder what her game is and when we will see Voq again. Voq, gone but not forgotten, right?
L’Rell is another character I’ve enjoyed every time she’s on the screen. Mary Chieffo has done a marvelous job in giving L’Rell the right combination of aggression and malice, while also creating a vibe that she thinks on levels beyond the normal Klingon. She’s been an interesting character thus far. Mary Chieffo, you’ve done well with her.
While the episode was fairly straight-forward, there were a lot of nice tidbits within each arc to make you wonder what was coming next. The season finale put a fun button on the first season of Star Trek: Discovery and certainly left us wanting more and needing answers. That’s a good sign for a show like this. What we know is that the Discovery has been dumped somewhere while the whole of the Klingon fleet is now spoiling for a fight.
Stamets seems to have gone off to La-La Land after his 130-plus jump marathon and what his usefulness will be moving forward is very much a questions. Tyler’s S&M tryst with L’Rell has apparently left a very large impression on him — some of which was a result of the activity, the other seemingly brought about on purpose. I’m looking forward to finding out what that game is all about.
Yes, there’s been a ton of debate about Star Trek: Discovery — lots of analysis, examination and critiques. That’s certainly to be expected when a beloved franchise has a new child and I look forward to more of the same in the interim, and when it re-enters our world in January. But for my money, the first nine episodes simply whet my appetite for more. And I can’t think of a better compliment for a new show.
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