Star Trek: Discovery 2×12, Season 2, Episode 12, “Through the Valley of Shadows,” Aired April 4, 2019.
How do you effectively combat an AI with murderous impulses? It’s Stamets that asks the most important question this week and if the crew came up with a viable solution, things would be so much easier. As it is, this episode’s happenings once again spell big time trouble for our battle-tested crew and forces Captain Pike to make one (or two) life-altering choices.
The captain and the time crystal mission
The drama begins with another mysterious signal appearing in the sky above the Klingon planet Boreth. Sounds familiar? It should, as Boreth is the place where Tyler/Voq and L’Rell left their son to be raised in a monarchy. The monks there guard a mine of time crystals, which is very convenient considering that having one of those would really help the Discovery out a great deal.
Determined not to leave without a time crystal no matter the cost, Pike visits Boreth. Here he encounters a monk named Tenavik who turns out to be Voq and L’Rell’s son. Pike’s understandably confused, but Tenavik explains that “time flows differently for those who protect the crystals; the past the present the future are equal in their presence.” After some discussion, Tenavik finally agrees to guide Pike to the time crystals. Upon touching one, Pike sees what horrors the future holds for him – and we realize that this future might be more imminent than we would have hoped.
Tenavik warns him that if he decides to take the time crystal with him, he will seal his fate. Pike doesn’t change his mind and, in the spirit of the often quoted Star Trek claim “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, accepts the great personal costs.
Michael and Spock: Another encounter with Control
While Captain Pike is dealing with time crystal business, Michael Burnham wants to investigate a Section 31 ship which hasn’t checked in on time. Commander Saru – who has been fear- and reckless ever since his threat ganglia fell off – gives her the go-ahead. An annoying overprotective brother (come on Michael, he only means well!), Spock stubbornly refuses to let her go alone and so the siblings take a short shuttle trip together to the location of the ship.
Upon arrival, they find the entire crew has been ejected into space. However, one crew member appears to have survived the ordeal, and while this should have been suspicious from the start, it becomes even more fishy when the survivor turns out to be none other than Kamran Gant, the tactical officer Michael knows from her days on board the Shenzhou.
In an effort to discover clues about Control, the three of them beam on board the Section 31 ship. Then, despite the fact that the AI has vastly improved its ability to copy human emotions, Michael suddenly has an inkling that Control has once again caught up with them. In true murderous AI fashion, Control tries to infiltrate her (oh, such a close call with that scary infiltration needle barely a millimeter away from her eye!), but Michael and Spock fight tooth and nail and manage to escape. Fantastic, but equally nerve-wracking fight scene!
When you run out of options, it’s time for tough choices
Barely back on board, the captain, Spock and Michael don’t have time to catch their breath, as they realize that the Discovery is suddenly surrounded by the whole Section 31 fleet. Thus, Captain Pike must once again make a difficult decision. It seems the only way of stopping Control from getting its hand on the sphere’s data is by blowing up the Discovery. Big sigh! Star Trek Fans, however, won’t be surprised by this drastic decision – blowing up ships has always been a popular solution to all kinds of problems.
- Yay: Jett Reno back! Kudos to her for visiting sick bay under the pretense of a minor injury to talk to Culber! Having realized that Stamets is still suffering and pining for his husband, she reveals to Culber that she lost her wife in the Klingon War and asks him not to waste second chances. Needless to say, we are completely with her. So get your sh*t together Culber – it’s time to get your husband back!
- Equally happy to see Amanda again – albeit briefly. And we miss Sarek – it would be great to see some family interaction here now that the lost son has been found and restored.
- Where`s Tilly? A pity that she seems to become a side note.
- Spock and Michael make a fantastic team!
- Fun fact: The Vulcan nerve pinch only works on someone who has actual nerves. Who would have guessed?!
- It’s truly a pity that Pike’s destiny has long been determined by the writers of TOS. He is such a fantastic character – and without doubt, one of the best captains out there in the Star Trek universe!
- Food for thought: Do the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few?
How did you like “Through the Valley of Shadows”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!
Star Trek: Discovery airs Thursdays at CBS All Access
Featured Image: Russ Martin/CBS