Star Trek: Discovery Recap: A Peaceful Planet Invites War In Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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“If you want peace, prepare for war.” It’s good advice for the crew of the Discovery, who don’t have much of a choice at the end of this penultimate episode and leading in to next week’s semi-finale. Their scouting party to the planet Pahvo has tricked them into a confrontation they haven’t fully agreed to, in the midst of a war where both tensions and the body count are high.

While the Discovery struggles to hold its own in a firefight against a half dozen Klingon attackers (watching a fellow Federation ship go down in the process), Burnham, Tyler and Saru take their mission to the surface of Pahvo to see if they can use the planet’s natural resources as a radar warning system that will alert them to the presence of cloaked Klingon ships. There, the party is surprised to meet the Pahvans, intelligent, sentient denizens of a planet that was initially thought to be uninhabited.

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Above all, the Pahvans value harmony, and they quickly convert Saru to the cause. He decides to abort the mission (and quit the war completely) to live, for the first time in his life, unafraid amongst these peaceful, fairy dust entities. Burnham and Tyler aren’t so easily swayed, and their efforts to contact the Discovery sends Saru into a rage (seems it’s been brewing for awhile). He attacks Burnham and immediately feels ashamed for behaving badly in front of his peace-loving new pals. The trio is beamed back to their ship, bruised egos and all, to see whether or not their efforts on Pahvo paid off. More on that later.

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This week’s episode also caught us up with what Kol and his minions have been plotting: the torture of their Starfleet Admiral prisoner for insider information about the Federation’s war plans. When L’Rell offers her interrogation services to Kol, he agrees to let her see what she can get out of the prisoner. Instead, she tries to defect to the Federation side. The Admiral doesn’t trust her, but loses when she attacks L’Rell and winds up killed in the scuffle.

Kol then completely psyches his fellow Klingon out by bringing her into the fold as their new head interrogator and then immediately imprisoning her for the treason he knew she was committing all along. Ouch.

That’s not the only fake out that takes place this episode though, it seems the Pahvans have plans of their own when it comes to their involvement in the war. Burnham’s sonar instalment, meant to warn the Discovery about approaching cloaked Klingon ships has been rejigged to broadcast an invitation to the Klingons, asking them to meet up at Pahvo for a little chat. Apparently, no one on Pahvo has ever met a Klingon. They’re not big on chats.

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4 questions we have about this week’s episode

1. Is the Admiral really dead? Did anyone else think that fight between her and L’Rell was staged for Kol’s benefit? Either way, it didn’t work.

2. Stamets calls Tilly ‘Captain Tilly’—is he having premonitions? Can he see flashes of the future or is this a Mirror Universe thing?

3. His time on Pahvo was Saru’s only experience of living without fear. By completing her mission, Burnham took that away from him. Will he resent her for it? Like, more than he already does?

4. Lt. Tyler keeps proving himself to be a valuable asset to the Discovery crew—so why do we still not trust him?