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Star Trek Discovery: Erigah

“Do not equate a desire for understanding with a lack of nerve.”

When is an Erigah not an Erigah? This week the hunt for the Progenitors’s tech takes a backseat to political drama with the Breen.

Ask and ye shall receive. I wanted to know more about Breen culture, and more specifically Ruhn and L'ak's relationship. I got that in spades. Now I’m curious to know how (or if) this subplot ties into the search for the Progenitors’ tech in any other way than as a looming threat. Given the events of this episode, the threat of the Federation’s destruction at the Breen’s hands looms far closer than previously surmised. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

We’ve learned that Primarch Ruhn has no intention of killing L'ak and not because he raised him or out of the goodness of his heart. It’s L'ak, and not dear Uncle Ruhn, who has the legitimate claim to the Imperial throne. Not too shabby for a former shuttle bay worker.

I find L'ak so confounding. In some ways he seems one note. He’d rather die than be without Moll. His interest in the Progenitors’ tech only extends as far as it does because Moll thinks it’s the antidote to the Erigah. I suspect L'ak isn’t convinced. But then there are tidbits that hint at unexplored depths.

First, he claims that there are fates worse than death when faced with the possibility of falling back into his uncle’s clutches. Is it because he’ll be separated from Moll? Or that Ruhn will harm Moll? The reason I ask is that however evil he thinks Ruhn is, L'ak couldn’t bring himself to kill Ruhn when he had the chance. Then there’s L'ak's comment about the faulty logic in assuming that the Breen’s motivations are similar to humans’. Or his claim that his and Moll’s relationship works because of their differences, not in spite of them.

We’ve yet to see anything to back up L'ak's assertions. The Federation members may not be subject to the kind of jockeying for power that the Breen are undergoing but it is something they understand. As is the idea of a complementary relationship as opposed to a relationship between like-minded individuals (T’Rina and Saru spring to mind). So far, both Ruhn and L'ak's actions seem completely in line with what humans might do. It’s my hope L'ak's comments are the setup for events to come and not filler.

That’s assuming his death isn’t permanent. Truth be told, I’d thought L'ak was going to be shot during Moll’s escape (all those stray phaser blasts). And that those injuries would endanger the Federation’s negotiations with the Breen. I was right about the implications, even if I was wrong about the cause. But I never suspected he’d die.

On the flip side of the negotiations, Rayner’s worldview makes so much more sense now. It is way more personal than simply being a wartime captain during the Burn. If I was the sole surviving member of my family from a conquered planet, I might have a shoot first mentality as well. At the very least, I would certainly have massive trust issues when it came to the Breen.

Yet, as the only person with direct knowledge of the Breen, you’d think that the others would be more willing to entertain his perspective. Unfortunately for him, he’s rung the alarm bells for war one too many times. And even if he hadn’t, it’s obvious he’s emotionally compromised at the moment.

I found it interesting that it was Michael and not Admiral Vance that recognized that Rayner wasn’t just being his warmongering self. His objections to negotiating with the Breen were visceral. Weren't Vance and Rayner supposed to be close?

Regardless, it’s Michael that realizes Rayner might be able to provide the information that the Federation needs to negotiate with the Breen. And once Rayner looked at the situation more objectively, he provides it. Better yet, he corroborates Michael’s bluff with facts about Primarch Ruhn’s rival for the throne.

All of this is pushed aside when L’ak is injured. Did L’ak mean to kill himself? Given his health, he knew he wasn’t going anywhere, and he’d already admitted he’d rather be dead than separated from Moll. Maybe an unconscious choice? If so, did he have any idea of the ramifications of his death? Or did he just want to ensure Moll’s safety? If the latter, it would seem he failed.

Lak’s death leads Moll to use their marriage to walk into the lion’s den. Presumably under the supposition that she has a better chance of using the Progenitors’ tech to resurrect L’ak. It’s a sound theory given that a living L’ak is in Ruhn’s best interest. How she thinks they’ll be able to escape after L'ak's resurrection is less clear.

Meanwhile, the search for the next clue to the Progenitors’ tech continues. I get that the Dreadnought’s arrival is the more immediate threat. But Stamets is not wrong when he claims that the search for the Progenitors’ tech is the Federations’ highest priority. I just didn’t expect him to be the one to make that argument.

It’s true Tilly’s cadets might be scared but they are adults and they are not alone. I never thought she’d have to be convinced that the search for the tech was more pressing. Though I imagine this is one of those slightly out of character moments that writers insert when they need/want to remind us of an ongoing subplot. Again, I wonder where this is going considering we’ve never seen any of the students Tilly is so concerned about and therefore have little vested interest.

Book's interest in helping Stamets is completely self-serving. He needs a distraction from the thing he wants to be doing but can’t – trying to help Moll. The moment the opportunity to do so arose, he abandoned Stamets. Luckily, Stamets the information he needed from him first.

Once again, Book and Michael’s goals are not aligned. This is what broke their relationship in the first place. Has Book learned to put aside his personal goals in favor of the larger agenda? If so, this may be his first step back to Michael.

All the pieces appear to be on the board. The Federation has Dr. Vellick’s Diary (you know that’s going to be important) and the next clue. However, the Breen are now aware of Progenitors’ Tech’s existence. And Moll is supremely motivated in finding a way to get to it first. Let the games begin.

4 out of 5 Eternal Gallaries and Archives

Parting Thoughts:

Commander Nhan is the latest former crew member to make a return appearance in Discovery’s final season. I’d love for Georgiou to find her way back to the Discovery but that’s probably too much to hope for.

Are the Breen the new Romulans? That Dreadnought was just as intimidating as it was meant to be.

President T’Rina but no Saru. :(

Tilly brought a mighty small bag with her for an unspecified length of stay aboard the Discovery.

Is anyone surprised to learn that not all of Reno’s exploits were strictly legal?

An interstellar library? I’d wager good money that Billie’s ears pricked up when she heard that. I know mine did. Even better, we’ll soon get to see it in all its glory. What I wouldn’t give to be able to wander through it.


Book: “Hands off the jacket.”

Michael: “He’s a good man and I do trust him.”
Nhan: “I know what he means to you. That’s why I went easy on him.”

Rayner: “All Breen are the same. The word diplomacy is not in their vocabulary."
T’Rina: "Then we’ll teach it to them."

Michael: “The most powerful weapon in diplomacy is information. We need more.”

Stamets: "The Mitchell is out there and their orders are to stand by in case... Well, in case they receive an encrypted message from us.”
Tilly: “You mean in case we can’t complete the mission because we’re all dead?”

Michael: “What was your plan?”
Moll: “I’ve always been partial to winging it.”

L’ak: “Some things are worse than death.”
Michael: “What’s worse than death?”
Moll: “This conversation, for starters.”

Reno: “I used to move hard to find folios for a shady antiquarian archivist. Try saying that five times fast.”

Adira: “Wow, you really used to get around. Uh, not... I’m sor... Not like that.
Reno: “Oh yeah, like that.”

Michael: “Extradition orders?”
T’Rina: It seemed preferable to a tribble infestation.”

L’ak: “It’s a mistake to assume Breen think like humans do. We’re nothing like you. Not even close.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, the supernatural, and anything with a cape.


  1. Yes, I absolutely reacted to the mention of an interstellar library. Just hoping that the librarian doesn't have glasses and her hair in a bun. :)

  2. Oh, and is the antiquarian archivist Reno mentioned by any chance someone played on SNW by Carol Kane? :)

  3. I never thought of that, but it sounds like the kind of trouble Pelia would get up to.


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