“INTO THE FOREST I GO”
The mid-season finale to Star Trek: Discovery is Season 1 Episode 9 “Into The Forest I Go.” The title is a quote by philosopher John Muir and the episode leaves us asking questions still. However, the quote is: Into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul. Insanity and salvation have been recurring themes in this series. But the show leaves a lot unanswered. Questions like “Where are they?” and “What will happen to Lt. Stamets and the spore drive?” We witness a couple of firsts in Star Trek with this episode including the relationship between Stamets and Culber progresses. Discovery has been renewed for a second season and this first season has been extended into next year. We will have to see what happens.
MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, DIRECTOR AND WRITERS
Lt. Commander Saru
Lt. Ash Tyler
Cadet Sylvia Tilly
Lt. Paul Stamets
Captain Gabriel Lorca
Dr. Hugh Culber
Director: Chris Byrne
Writers: Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippolt
Cinematography: Glen Keenan
“Into The Forest I Go” begins where “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” ends.
The Klingons are approaching the planet Pavho and Captain Lorca is commanded by Vulcan Admiral Terrel to leave the friendly Pavho and set coordinates to Starbase 46 behind Federation lines. There the greatest scientific minds will meet to devise a way to break the invisibility screens that cloak the Klingon battle ships. Lorca’s new mission is to have the scientists of the Discovery join the conference for a solution. Angered, Lorca suggests defending Pavho and stay to confront the Klingon sarcophagus ship. However, the admiral makes the directive clear to jump to Starbase 46. Saru pleads with the captain not to leave the planet unguarded, however Captain Lorca heads the ship to Starbase 46 at warp 5. At that speed, the Discovery will reach Starbase 46 in 3 hours. Lorca admits to the crew on the bridge that he has no intentions of obeying the direct bidding, but he must have a good reason. Until then, he allots the crew that amount of time to find a solution to the Klingon cloaking problem.
Time is essential and Lorca has to have a good reason for Discovery’s delay. The captain talks with Lt. Stamets, the ship’s navigator on the bridge, he orders Stamets to the Medical Bay for a full examination. The lieutenant is hesitant, but obeys his captain’s wishes.
Burnham unriddles how to detect the Klingon ship while cloaked. She observes that the Klingon ship produces a large gravitational field that bends light making it disguised. The crew would have to place sensors on the Klingon ship to collect details and transmit back to Discovery creating an algorithm allowing the ship to be detected by Federation vessels. How to get the away team on board the Klingon ship? Use the spore drive to ambush the Klingon ship. Once the ship cloaks, the away teams beams over before the shields on the ship go up.
The results of the full examination on Stamets proves that negative effects of the spore drive. Stamets has brain damage due to the jumps. But Lorca needs 133 jumps to complete the mission to detect the Klingons cloaking device. Reluctantly, Stamets agrees.
Lorca, with Stamets’ agreeable to his wishes, tells Tyler to prepare his boarding party. Tyler suggests Burnham to assist him in the away mission. No one has been on that ship besides her except for Captain Georghiou. The sensor locations are strategically important to the mission. Lorca orders Burnham not to go to the Ship of the Dead. She will stay on the Discovery and give the location to place the sensors on the Klingon ship to someone else. After Burnham makes her very logical argument, Lorca concedes. Burnham is part of the away team and Discovery jumps back to Pavho before reaching Starbase 46.
The ship battles the Klingon Ship of the Dead while Tyler and Burnham beam aboard it. They set the first device, but Burnham picks up human life signs. Tyler wants her to ignore it, but she will leave no human behind on this ship. In the brig, Admiral Cornwell sits paralyzed from the waist down. And in the same cell is L’Rell, Tyler’s the Klingon torturer. When Tyler sees L’Rell, he is benumbed by a post-traumatic stress disorder spell. Flashbacks of his time with L’Rell torturing him in the Klingon prison ship vividly replays in his mind. He is incapacitated.
Burnham goes it alone to the bridge and plants the sensor. Meanwhile, Stamets is having a fit of his own in Engineering chamber. He cannot continue these micro jumps. They are straining his brain. Discovery has made only 33 jumps. On the Sarcophagus ship, Burnham hears Kol’s voice clearly through her communicator and the universal translator in it. He admits he wants to cloak the ship to escape the Discovery. Something is amiss to him, but Burnham buys time and challenges Kol to combat to delay the Klingon ship from disappearing therefore the mission can be a success. Kol throws a few punches at Burnham and he ribs her very well by mocking Georgiou with the captain’s own name badge in his possession. Goading him into combat over his honor, Burnham discloses she killed T’Kuvma on the very bridge they stand on. Kol grants her the challenge and he forgets all about the Discovery and their predicament.
Ash Tyler reclaims his composure from his bout with PTSD by Cornwell’s therapy session with him in the brig. Then he aids the admiral by grappling with the guards. After Discovery finishes its micro jumps, it beams aboard Tyler, Admiral Cornwell and a scrapping Burnham who rips her captain’s insignia off Kol’s armor just in time to beam out. L’Rell invites herself along with Tyler and the admiral.
Once the boarding party is back, Lorca locks onto the Klingon ship of the dead and orders it destroyed with photon torpedoes. He medicates his light-sensitive eyes so he can relish the moment with the explosion from the ship.
Later, Tyler and Burnham discuss his condition and their relationship advances. Stamets decides to jump the ship one last time to get Discovery home, but this final jump pushes him to seizure and he regresses to a stupor with his eyes turning grayish blue. Discovery finds itself in a very distant place, not knowing where they are and there is a Klingon wreckage all around them.
THEME AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
Fear. In “Into The Forest I Go,” this is prevalent from the beginning to the end. Chiefly, Ash Tyler’s fear spawned by the site of L’Rell. He becomes petrified and we finally watch his emotional collapse unfold as he relives the past torture.
Paralysis. In the brig of the Klingon ship of the Dead, Admiral Cornwell suffered paralysis from the waist down. Ash Tyler’s paralysis was emotionally driven due to Post traumatic stress disorder. While Cornwell’s paralysis was physical both Ash Tyler and Cornwell’s paralysis were at the hands of the same torturer-L’Rell, the Klingon torturer. She shared the same cell with them at this point which is another discussion in and of itself, but I digress…
Tyler and Cornwell uses their strengths, his combat skills and her psychology background to conquer their captors while they nursed each others weaknesses, the emotional wounds of Tyler and Cornwell’s physical incapabilities to beat their situations.
The universal communicator was employed to symbolize communication. When Burnham put down the communicator, it symbolized something else. She also laid down the phaser with it. This symbolizes war and peace.
It also typifies the cold war. The communicator and phaser set down by Michael Burnham betokens the state of affairs between two countries when they are neither at war (a phaser) nor at peace (a communicator). They are not talking, they are not warring. This mirrors the relationship with the Soviet Union and the US—-between the US and North Korea–the armistice that followed that war. This may be where the series is headed with the Klingons and the Federation and its timeline with Spock and Kirk. Once there was a war, then the two parties agree to unsteady agreement of peace.
The Battles. Two battles are staged for Kol: the one outside the ship with the Discovery and the one inside the ship with Burnham. Neither battle with his foes is meant to be a death match, but to keep him preoccupied. The outside battle with the Discovery is a war with the outside world, the Federation and the other Klingon houses. But the battle with Burnham epitomizes a war within himself. Kol’s deepest desire is to demonstrate he deserves the title he has earned.
Two Minds. Tyler and Stamets are both going through sensory overload in the brain. With Stamets it is one of knowledge, too much. With Tyler, it is an emotional overload filled with flashbacks of torture. These represent a far deeper problem for both. Their job titles clue us in as Stamets is a Scientist and Tyler is Chief Security officer. Both these officers slip into a kind of traumatic trance.
Kol vs Burnham. I enjoyed the fight scene and all that it had to offer. The acknowledgment of Captain Georghiou, her demise and her redemption by recovering her captain’s badge, all pertinent to Burnham during this sequence is how and what fuels the overall arc of the series and all found in
this one scene. But let’s examine why Burnham acted this way in the first place. The Klingons were going to cloak into space and lose the Discovery. Discovery was not finished with its jumps yet. Burnham had to check Kol’s decision quickly. One way to do this is with a showdown, make him prove his worth in front of his comrades. I enjoyed how violence was not Burnham’s intent only when she perceived no other way out of the situation to stall the Klingons from cloaking and the Discovery losing the ship, her and her comrades did she engage the Klingons. This time she did not kill anyone and no one in this scene was killed by her. Burnham’s self-sacrifice was rewarding and recovering Captain Georghiou’s badge satisfying. She managed to , save the boarding party, rescue Admiral Cornwell , save the mission and L’Rell who wants immunity from the Klingon empire.
We also spotted Burnham is a sure shot with the phaser. She keeps proving that. Not so good with the hand-to-hand combat, she and Kirk are much alike.
I prized the universal translator coming into play on the Klingon ship. We heard the Kol speak English for the first time. It was worth the wait. Great build to it throughout the entire season.
The first half of the season leaves us on a cliffhanger about where the crew of the Discovery is. The ship materializes near a wreckage in space. Lorca made a confusing decision with his coordinates to the next destination and to override the helms coordinates. Lt. Stamets could not maintain the jump completely with the spore drive. He is suffering from brain damage. All of which makes for a very interesting climax.
That’s it for this half of the season for the series Star Trek: Discovery. The highs and lows of losing comrades and finding new ones has made Discovery worthwhile in the first part of the season. The settings and special effects were also gainful for the series. Star Trek: Discovery’s season begins its second part in January. Hopefully many of the questions we have will be answered in this next part. We will have to wait and see.