‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Recap: There’s No Escape In ‘The War Without, The War Within’

The War Without, the War Within

Returning 2020

Saru’s threat ganglia got a serious workout in this season’s penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery. As the ship’s post-Lorca era Captain, Saru had to give up his seat on the bridge not once but twice as the chaos wrought by the competing Klingon houses brought the Federation to its knees and command (what’s left of it anyway) decided that they were willing to do whatever it took to win the war. Even if that meant putting their fate into the hands of an outsider.

With the Klingons moving ever closer to Earth, the newly returned Discovery is the Federation’s only hope—but first they need to make sure that they’re dealing with the Prime Universe crew, rather than the Terran version. Admiral Cornwell, Sarek, and a small army of Federation soldiers board Discovery to perform a quick mind meld with Saru just to double check. Terran’s Discovery was destroyed in a Klingon attack when Prime Universe Discovery first crossed over, but one can never be too safe.

The War Without, the War Within

The identity of the crew isn’t the only thing Sarek learns from bumping brains with Saru—he also finds out about what his adopted daughter, Burnham, has gone through after accidentally falling in love with a Klingon in disguise. He takes the news better than she’s handling it, though. Burnham can’t even bring herself to visit Tyler (fair enough—he did try to kill her) and when she finally does, she can’t fully forgive him or believe that the person she was in love with ever existed (or could again). And so Burnham does what you do when you’re overwhelmed by heartbreak: she throws herself into her work.

The War Without, the War Within

And there’s a lot of work to do. Discovering that the Klingons have decimated Star Base One (and its 80,000 inhabitants), Burnham consults Emperor Georgiou while Admiral Cornwell seeks advice from their Klingon captive, L’Rell. They come to the same conclusion: the Federation has to hit the Klingons hard and at home. But the planned attack on Kronos is hampered by one major factor—no one knows anything about it. No Federation ship has visited the Klingon home planet for a century so no maps exist, and since no maps exist it’s hard to know where and how to attack. Burnham comes up with an ingenious plan but it’s incredibly risky—so why not up the risk factor by handing control of the ship over to a Terran warlord?

True, the Admiral has proven she’s not really up to the task (Saru had to step in when she nearly got the Discovery blown out of the space after her shock over Star Base One bested her) but Terran Georgiou as Captain? That seems… extreme. Poor Saru. He’s been relieved of his duties in favour of someone who considers his people dinner.

The War Without, the War Within

5 questions we have about this week’s episode

1. Will the Federation’s gamble to put the Discovery (and the fate of like, everything else) in the hands of a Terran pay off? What did this Georgiou defeat her universe’s Klingon faction?

2. What’s the secret element to the Federation’s plan to attack the Klingons—the one that Burnham couldn’t handle hearing (but Sarek definitely knows about)?

3. What will Emperor Georgiou do with her freedom if she gets it? Is the Federation just setting the stage for its NEXT war?

4. Tyler seems like he’s fully Tyler now but he’s also the receptacle for all of those terrible memories of what Voq went through. What’s that going to do to him? And how does he feel about L’rell now if he can remember Voq’s love for her?

5. Admiral Cornwell has sworn the crew of the Discovery to secrecy about the Terran Universe… how long is that going to last?