Star Trek Discovery S1 EP 8 & 9: ‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ & ‘Into the Forest I Go’ Review
Star Trek Discovery Chapter One finished this past Sunday -for those who have CBS All Access- and the final episodes were an interesting ride, as they combined tension, adventure, romance and consequences.
In the eighth episode of the season, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum –which translated from Latin to English means “If you want peace, prepare for war”- we are presented with three visions: The one from the Discovery, from the landing party and from the Klingons.
The Discovery is facing trouble, as Stamets’ side effects -from putting in him Ripper’s DNA- continue to get worse, confused on where he is or who he is. Tilly tries to calm him down, and reassure him that whatever happens, they’ll figure it out.
In the meantime, the landing party -which includes Saru, Michael and Ash- are down on a planet called Pahvon so they can discover how the Klingons are hiding their ships and eradicate that advantage over them.
(On a side note, is important to clarify that I do not recall the “invisibility device” being mentioned before this episode, so it’s presence and importance seem a little out of the blue).
On the other hand, on the Klingons ship, L’Rell -the second in command for Voq- asked to be part of Vol’s crew in the war. To prove her loyalty, he sends her to take information from Almirante Cornwell, by any means necessary.
The fact that we jump between these three perspectives makes the episode a little odd, as none of the plots engages completely and one does not really feel the weight of everything that’s going on, the fact that we’re leading up to the fall finale.
The episode has interesting bits such as landing party with its Avatar-esque environment and creatures -apparently made of spores- in complete harmony with it, as well as the Klingon part -we see Cornwell and L’Rell forming an unlikely alliance- but as it is not sure what it wants to be (a landing party adventure, build up for the “climax” of the war or an interesting way of presenting subplots) it makes difficult to really become invested in what’s going on.
But is the finale where things really pick up and you realise just how dark this show can be.
Before I start the review for the second episode of the “fall finale” I want to warn you: This episode deals heavily with mentions and (non-graphic per se) images of rape and the PTSD resulting of it. It can be triggering, as we are not warned about this before the episode starts.
Having said that, let’s continue with the review.
The Discovery might have started as a scientific vessel, one in the top of research and exploration, but after months, they are no longer persons of science, but soldiers who have lost too much and have seen too much.
While the Discovery is trying to find an algorithm to let Starfleet calculate the location of hidden Klingon vessels, Michael and Tyler are sent to the Klingon Vesell known as the Ship of the Dead to sneak two sensors for the Discovery that will help them with the algorithm and win the war.
However, in their way to the bridge, they’re sidetracked when Micheal realises that Cornwell is in the ship and as the heroes they are, both Tyler and Burnham decide to rescue everyone on the ship -“no one gets left behind”-.
Once with Cornwell, we realise that L’Rell is there as well, and we are presented with the first image of the episode that can be hard to watch, as L’Rell is the one who tortured Tyler for seven months while he was being held prisoner on the Klingon ship.
Tyler breaks down in terror at the sight of L’Rell and becomes incapable of helping to carry out the mission, leaving Michael on her own to save the day -as she does in a badass way-.
Meanwhile, on the Discovery, Lorca asks Stamets to make 133 jumps consecutively, in order to speed the data recollected by the sensors in the ship -the ones Michael is plating- and figure out the algorithm faster.
At first, Stamets seems unsure, as he keeps having side effects from the jumps, but when Lorca shows him the mysteries his jumps unveil, he accepts, as he’s not only a scientist but an explorer as well.
The one who is not okay with any of this is Dr Culber -CMO of the ship and Stamet’s husband- who discovers that the love of his life is affecting his health -more exactly his white matter on the brain- by making this jumps.
In the end, they are all successful in their respective missions and the Klingons are defeated. The Discovery even destroys the Ship of the Dead with Kol and his crew, after Burnham, Tyler, L’Rell and Cornwell are brought back to the Discovery.
However, not everything is fun and joy, as once in the Discovery Michael confronts Tyler and ask what really happened to him in those months as a prisoner of the Klingons. In the middle of tears, Ash confesses to Burnham that not only was he tortured by L’Rell, but because she had taken “a liken to him”, she had raped him as well.
The scene continues with Tyler explaining that he encouraged her “obsession” otherwise he wouldn’t have survived. Michael understands him and lets him know he’s not alone, cementing their relationship in a tender kiss.
The episode ends with an incredible cliffhanger, with the Discovery in unknown territory, L’Rell telling Ash “everything will soon make sense” and Stamets in the floor with his eyes completely white saying “the possibilities are endless”, after jumping one last time with the spore drive.
No one knows where the Discovery is -maybe the Mirror Universe (?)- but one thing is sure, nothing is ever going to be the same for the ship.
We’ll just have to wait until January 3 to know what’s next for our heroes.