SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM
If you want peace, prepare for war. The title for Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 8 is Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. The translation, above, has Latin roots. This episode is rooted in harmony and its opposite. The visual and special effects were superb on the planet and in space. The series is asking more questions with very little answers. Episode 8 sets viewers up for the mid season finale. Viewers should be pleased.
MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, WRITERS, DIRECTORS
- Michael Burnham
- Lt. Paul Stamets
- Captain Gabriel Lorca
- Cadet Sylvia Tilly
- Ash Tyler
- Joann Owosekun
- Director: John Scott
- Writers:Kirsten Beyer and Staff writer: Sean Cochran
- Airdate: 11/5/17
The U.S.S. Discovery answers an emergency hail from the U.S.S. Gargarin who is being attacked by 6 to 8 Klingon vessels. The ship is blown out of the stars and Discovery almost with it. She has to retreat using her spore drive.
Referring to Tilly as captain, Stamets is back to his grumpy ways. Although, later he will not be able to explain them.
On the sarcophagus ship, Klingon Kol exploits his stolen cloaking device to gain support with the other Klingon houses.
Lorca forwards Saru, Burnham and Tyler on a mission to the planet Pavho which has mysterious capabilities. A tall crystal structure is erected that reaches into the sky on the planet. Starfleet’s aim is to use the electromagnetic signal found in the planet into a sonar makeshift so as to alert them of the cloaked Klingon ships. On Pavho, Saru is having trouble with the constant noise the planet discharges. The away team discerns they are not alone, but the planet is inhabited by sentient beings.
L’Rell promises fealty to Kol, but to prove her worth she must interrogate Admiral Cornwell for beneficial intelligence.
Burnham and Tyler discuss their futures, but focus on their present sealing it with a kiss.
Encountering a hut in the woods, the sentient being fails to make contact because the universal translator cannot interpret. The sentient being adopts Saru as the linguist. It intertwines Saru to do so.
Stamets admits the unfavorable side effects of the spore drive are taking their toll on him. He is disoriented and reality shifts for him. Asking for medical help with put Doctor Culber, his partner between Scylla and Charybdis.
L’Rell’s interrogation is actually a request for defection to the Federation side. They plan an escape and Admiral Cornwell will help L’Rell in her alliance with the Federation.
During their discussion, Saru learns that the Pavhoans are one with the planet. They are failing to make contact with any other life forms in space by employing the tall crystal radio. Saru is still having problems with the noise on the planet. He steps outside and the Pavhoans engage with Saru again. He lies down on the ground reliving the past.
The next morning, Saru is not acting like himself at all and informs his team they will stay on the planet forever in perfect bliss. He therefore destroys their communicators. Burnham and Tyler now have a problem.
While escaping the Klingon sarcophagus with Cornwell, L’Rell’s plan is foiled by the Klingons. She fails to save herself by “killing” Admiral Cornwell and disposing of her body.
Saru is distracted by Tyler while Burnham at the crystal relay connects her devices to it.
L’Rell learns most of her comrades dead in a room where she dragged Admiral Cornwell’s body.
Saru arrives at the crystal relay and destroys Burnham’s equipment so that she cannot contact Discovery. A confrontation between the two ensues. She fires upon him after with ther phaser and convinces him that peace can be found with the end of the war. Tyler shows up and Burnham requests from the Pavhoan for aid against the Klingons. Saru believes the Klingons will destroy the Pavhoans and their peaceful planet. The relay is energized sending out its signal. The away team is beamed aboard. Saru apologizes for his actions against Burnham.
On the sarcophagus ship, Kol denounces L’Rell as a traitor and accuses her of treason. L’Rell is escorted off the bridge while the Klingons are being hailed by the Pavhoans. The sarcophagus ship is invited to Pavho.
Klingon ship arrives at Pavho. There the battle begins with the USS Discovery and the sarcophagus ship.
THEMES AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
Fear. One of the major changes was Saru’s disposition. On Pavho, without the element of fear, Saru becomes violently aggressive. Perhaps, more like the predator species in his dynamic. He demonstrates what happens if he lives without fear to me. He, like we all, need fear otherwise we become unstable. His logical, anchored mannerisms hinge on fear. His strength on Pavho when fighting Burnham indicates that there is something more to his species than prey. If predator is the flip side of Saru, the coin is fear. Remember, Lorca and Burnham are not too fearful at all. They arc toward aggression especially in their decision-making and actions.
Harmony vs. Discord. The vibration originating from the planet Pavho, its effect on Saru and the surroundings in general imply harmony. The battle with the Klingons in space for the USS Discovery suggests discord.
Communication. The relay on Pavho sent communications out to other life forms. Saru became the new communication mechanism when the universal translator did not work in deciphering the Pavhoans’ messages. And Saru destroyed Burnham and Tyler’s communicators.
Light followed by a Sound. Remember in the first episode “The Vulcan Hello,” there was the Klingon beacon that radiated a light then a sound happened after that. Then Captain Georghiou asked for silence and Lt. Commander Saru explained the sound. After that the Klingons arrived, a fleet of them. This is no different. Planet Pavho flagged the Klingons to this remote location. Another historic battle could develop.
Sonequa Martin-Green confessed Michael Burnham’s first name was derived from Michael, the archangel. Captain Lorca’s forename is Gabriel as in the messenger angel. Where is the other one?
Planet Pavho is a symbol of harmony. It could also be an Eden and what humans and other life forms were before discord and strife. It may also symbolize paradise’s abrupt end. The color scheme seem to hint at this peace and tranquility. In the Bible, Eden is a paradise on Earth, but what surrounds this paradise? The planet Pavho reminds me of this. Perhaps a paradise, but violence with the Klingons and the Federation surrounds this place.
The visual and special effects were stunning. I appreciated the use of color schemes on the planet Pavho. The director, John Scott, should give himself a big pat on the back for this one. He had to negotiate the battle scene with the Klingon setting and the Planet Pavho. I would have liked to have seen Burnham and Tyler’s relationship as an Adam and Eve connection. They were in the right place for it. To me, Saru’s behavior may not be that far removed from him. We only know the prey species of his kind not the predator one. The predator species may enlighten us to Saru and his behaviors, fear versus aggression. We’ll see.
Star Trek: Discovery’s Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum was another good episode. It had a lot of twists and the series can still take a lot of turns in that it still doesn’t answer as many questions as it asks. That makes for a great story. The directing was specifically memorable. The Discovery series in filling out more with plot about the Klingons and Burnham’s relationship with crew members. Discovery is turning out to be an exceptional Star Trek series.