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Star Trek Discovery: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

"My ganglia remain unconvinced."

This was probably the weakest episode so far, suffering from a very by the numbers crisis of the week plot and way too many boring scenes with Voq and L'Rell, the dullest Klingons to ever exist.

Every time they popped up on screen I resisted the urge to hit fast forward in the misguided hope that maybe something interesting would happen. It is bad enough that all these scenes are performed in Klingon (made up languages are nice in theory, but cumbersome in practice) and the redesign is not actor friendly in any way (Voq is capable of only one expression and that is of someone struggling with a particularly tricky maths question involving trains leaving stations), but did the writers really have to neglect giving any of them something that even remotely resembles a personality? The sooner they wrap up this Klingon War arc the better, because it is just not grabbing my attention at all. Besides, the far more interesting conflict is the one currently happening on Discovery, the one for the soul of Starfleet itself, fought between the soldier Gabriel Lorca and the explorer Michael Burnham.

On a ship full of battle hardened soldiers and scientists so preoccupied with whether they could, they don't stop to think if they should, Michael, the Fletcher Christian of the 23rd century, is the only one who seems to be the very model of a modern Starfleet officer. She has information vegetable, animal, and mineral, knows the Klingon Emperors, and can quote the fights historical, from Andoria to Cheron, in order categorical. She's very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, and understands equations, both the simple and quad– I'm sorry, I seem to have slipped into Gilbert and Sullivan. Forgive me, it won't happen again.

As I was saying, Michael is displaying all the virtues of a true Starfleet officer. Unlike Lorca and Commander Cylon, she refused to see the creature from the Glenn as a monster. To her it was not some killing machine to be dissected and turned into a weapon. It was a brand new life form that they should be trying to understand and communicate with. It might not be the Lorca way, but that is the Starfleet way. The tragedy is, though, that by approaching this problem like a true Starfleet officer, with compassion and curiosity, Michael gives Lorca exactly what he wants: a weapon he can use against the Klingons.

After the previous episode I was wondering how they were going to explain how this new propulsion system doesn't replace warp drive as the most common means of interstellar travel. This episode provided the answer. Without the creature to act as navigator the new drive is pretty much useless. And with only one in their custody Discovery is the only ship with this capability. So if something happens to the creature, and the law of drama dictates that something is definitely going to happen to the creature, that technology will be lost, thrown on the scrap heap along with all the other bits of discarded Federation tech like Excelsior's transwarp drive or that cloaking device that lets you phase through stuff. Boy, that really would've come in handy during the Dominion War.

Notes and Quotes

— Apologies for the lateness of this review. I've been having internet problems all week.

— The Discovery's saucer section spins. Nifty, but how is Lorca supposed to fight a war when half his crew is dizzy?

— Commander Cylon's death was so stupid and pointless it out Tasha Yar'd Tasha Yar's.

— We got to meet Discovery's chief medical officer, Hugh Culber, but there's still no sign of Shazad Latif's character.

— It is difficult to spot on the regular uniforms, but the rank pips are now located on the Starfleet insignia. You can see this more clearly on Culber's medical uniform:

— 'The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry' is the longest Trek episode title since 'For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.'

— Lorca seems to really hate chairs. He has none in his ready room and never once plonks his arse in the captain's chair.

— Okay, so who was the extremely thoughtful crew member that remembered to grab the captain's precious telescope before abandoning the Shenzhou?

Michael: "The phaser will only piss him off."
Stamets: "Think of it as a placebo for my skepticism."

Michael: "You judge the creature by its appearance, and one single incident from its past. Nothing in its biology suggests it would attack, except in self-defense. Commander, this creature is an unknown alien. It can only be what it is, not what you want it to be."

Two and a half out of four maths questions involving trains.
Mark Greig is doing a brand new dance now More Mark Greig


  1. Nice review, Mark.

    Totally agree about the dull and tedious Klingons - over designed and ill conceived. Having them speak only in Klingon probably seemed like a good idea at the script stage but only serves to add to the sense of disinterest and disconnectedness with the characters.

    Otherwise I'm enjoying the show far more than I expected to. :-)

  2. I liked the creature plot and the way Michael related to the creature. It was very 'Devil in the Dark' of her. So sad to lose Rekha Sharma so quickly, though. What were they thinking? A cylon is a perfect head of security.

    This was the first time I liked Tilly. Until now, she's just seemed annoying.

    Loved your review, Mark.

  3. There are no colored uniforms this time, but so far 2 episodes in, 2 redshirts dead. Let's hope it continues.

    The klingon language is not fun to listen to, the less klingon scenes the better. I could also do without the mention that they ate Captain Georgiou.

  4. Patryk, if it helps any, I like the next three episodes a lot.


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