Starts With A Bang

Star Trek: Discovery’s ‘Choose Your Pain’ Finally Feels Like Star Trek; Season 1 Episode 5 (Synopsis)

The USS Discovery, NCC-1031, is perhaps a very thinly-veiled reference to Star Trek's 'Section 31,' and things could get a lot darker before anyone goes back to being an explorer. Image credit: Star Trek / CBS Press Kit.

“You are… six years old. You are weak and helpless! You cannot… hurt me!” -Captain Picard, a badass, while being tortured

Star Trek has always been a way for us to look at the best and worst aspects of humanity, often through our confrontations with alien races. Different aspects of our fears, our personalities, and our sense of ethics play out on the stage of futuristic science fiction. Our frailties are exposed, and the crew is challenged to rise to the occasion, and to demonstrate the best of humanity, often in the worst situations. For the first time in five chances, Star Trek: Discovery at last succeeds in the latest episode, ‘Choose Your Pain.’

Fans of the original series will fondly remember Harry Mudd, but this cowardly, treacherous version almost gets Lorca and Tyler killed. Image credit: Michael Gibson/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive.

The tardigrade responsible for the spore drive starts to degrade, but the crew refuses to let it die, despite it putting the Captain’s life and even their own lives at risk. The Captain is captured by the Klingons, but acts in the best interest of his captured cellmate, Lieutenant Ash Tyler (from the Shenzou!), putting his own life at greater risk. Saru, the first officer, confronts his leadership shortcomings, and is pleased to be humbled and learn a lesson. And perhaps most impressively, Burnham follows orders, even when she knows she’s right and her superiors are wrong.

When Saru speaks with Culber and Stamets, he’s initially convinced that the tardigrade must be used, even if it’s killed, to get the Discovery where it needs to be to rescue Lorca. Image credit: Jan Thijs/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive.

It’s not a massive payoff, but it’s a very big step in the right direction, and it gives me hope for the next installment of Star Trek: Discovery. Come get the review, and the science, of the latest episode today!