THE BUTCHER’S KNIFE CARES NOT FOR THE LAMB’S CRY
Reviewing Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 2: The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry, we acknowledge Burnham’s perpetual remorse in Captain Georgiou’s death and her scientific genius as she solves propulsion problems and learns more about the creature from the USS Glenn.
- Michael Burnham (unranked)
- Commander Saru
- Captain Gabriel Lorca
- Lt. Paul Stamets
- Cadet Sylvia Tilly
- Dr. Hugh Culber
- Engineer Rance
- Captain Phillipa Georgiou
- Commander Landry
- Keyla Detmer
- Joann Owosekun
- Betarian Girl
- Milton Richter
- Admiral Cornwell
- Discovery Computer
- Director Olatunde Osunsanmi
- Writers: Jesse Alexander, Aaron Eli Coleite
- Cinematography Colin Hoult
- Aired October 8, 2017
Burnham synthesizes her new Starfleet uniform without rank in her quarters. Using a holographic mirror, she samples her look in the mirror of her new outfit. Cadet Tilly arrives with a last will and testament package from Captain Phillipia Georgiou. Feeling the emotions rise in her cool-
headed nature, Burnham shoves the gift underneath her bed. She meets Commander Saru in the turbo lift who is not too pleased Michael is still on board the USS Discovery.
They access the bridge during a Klingon battle simulation to a none too pleased Captain Lorca. Lorca observes a crew that is not ready for battle with the Klingons.
Captain Lorca receives a message from Admiral Cornwell that mining colony Corvan 2 is under attack by the Klingons. Discovery is the only ship that can commute the long distance to rescue the colonists because of its guarded spore propulsion system. Corvan 2 will be destroyed within a day if Starfleet does not respond with force. Corvan 2 mines almost half of the Federation’s much-needed dilithium crystals. The Federation cannot sustain space travel without it.
Lorca’s propulsion system, the displacement activated spore updrive, is new and is not adjusted for the journey yet, but he tells Cornwell, Discovery is ready. So Lorca has to prepare Discovery’s spore propulsion system for the trip in time to rescue the colonists from the Klingons. During its first effort, Discovery almost lands O-type star far from Corvan 2’s mining colony.
Kol greets the Voq and his crew with a proposition.
Revealing to Burnham the creature he ordered beamed from the USS Glenn onto Discovery, Lorca wishes Burnham to “weaponize” the animal. This creature can withstand phaser fire set to kill and its claws can pierce the hull of any Starfleet ship. He pairs up Burnham with Commander Landry to research the animal.
Voq, the torchbearer for the beacon in the episode “The Vulcan Hello,” and his crew have been stranded in space for six months. Voq is still mourning T’Kuvma’s death. He wants to actualize the vision of uniting the Houses of the Klingons, but how? L’Rell recommends using the Shenzhou’s dilithium processor. The Klingons on the ship have depleted their food sources and Voq was forced to eat Captain Georgiou. Yes, Star Trek discusses cannibalism.
Burnham grasps that the animal is an enlarged relative of the microscopic tardigrades indigenous to Earth and it is not a predator. (See What Is A Tardigrade?) Impressed with the urgency of the Corvan 2 mission, Landry incites the tardigrade while targeting to amputate one of its claws. She is mauled to death by the animal before Burnham can subdue it. Afterward, she rushed Landry to Sickbay where she is pronounced dead.
After retrieving the dilithuim processor on the Shenzhou, L’Rell informs Voq she sides with him on his quest to reunite the houses. But Kol approaches the captain and crew about possessing the coveted cloaking technology.
Burnham seeks the advice of Commander Saru and Cadet Tilly about understanding the tardigrade. Saru disbelieves the creature is not a predator though Burnham still believes. Tilly smuggles Burnham a canister of spores. Deducing that the beast has a connection to the spores, Burnham visits its chambers with a supply of spores kept in the engine room. The tardigrade has a positive response to the spores.
Later, she and Stamets observe that the tardigrade communicates and manipulates the spores. With this revelation, Discovery services the tardigrade to manipulate the propulsion system to embark on the mission to save the colony of Corvan 2. During the journey, Burnham discovers that the beast is in immense pain while being used with the spore propulsion system.
Kol gains the support of the Klingon ship’s crew by offering supplies like food and L’Rell persuades Kol to abandon Voq on the Shenzhou. He does so. But later, L’Rell materializes on the Shenzhou with a proposition to Voq about traveling to her Klingon house to help him complete T’Kuvma’s vision.
In her quarters again, Burnham watches a holographic message from Captain Phillipia Georgiou leaving a family heirloom of the telescope to her in which they beheld the Light Of Kahless on “The Vulcan Hello.”
THEMES AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
The Star Trek episode’s metaphor may be the creature or tardigrade’s agony and pain when being serviced to assist the USS Discovery new propulsion system to guide it throughout space like a lamb brought to its end for the sake of its usefulness in other ways. This propulsion system gives Starfleet the edge to win the war against the Klingons. But how far would anyone go to win a war and injury a helpless, peaceful creature?
Klingon torchbearer Voq and Michael Burnham’s story lines parallel in that they both anguish about their leader’s death. Voq desires to complete T’Kuvma’s vision to unite the Klingon Houses by waging war with the Federation. Burnham’s self-reproach is that she cannot be the captain, officer and person Captain Georgiou wished her to be. She still tries to live by her captain’s maxim:
“Take good care, but, more importantly, take good care of those in your care.”
This truism creates the dilemma Michael faces about how to treat the tardigrade in her care. This creature is docile and peaceful.
The ships the USS Discovery and the Klingon flagship previously captained by T’Kuvma suffer the same problem-immobility. The Klingon ship is derelict in need of dilithium, a crystal that makes the ship go. The USS Discovery is utilizes a new propulsion system that it has not mastered yet. It cannot reach its destination easily in this episode.
The telescope Captian Georgiou leaves to Burnham has significant relevance. it symbolizes the discovery that lies in space but in ourselves.
“The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry” episode is actually a great show with subtle messages. I believe it will be one of the better episodes this season. The Klingon ship’s decor is still fresh and its technologies seem cutting edges. I, also, enjoyed the color scheme of the Klingon’s ship and the contrast of it to the USS Discovery. Saru and Burnham’s quips morphed from childhood banter with Captain Georgiou to icy retorts and cutting dialogue on Captain Lorca’s ship and considering the present situation. The battle simulation on board the USS Discovery was surprising using the viewscreen as a battle sequence. There is a inferred hint Burnham may become a commander again in future episodes after watching the mock battle with the Klingon and after adding Commander Landry’s death. All in all, excellent episode, excellent message.
So, in this episode “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry” we resolve that Michael Burnham still mourns Captain Georgiou’s death. The beginning and ending scenes act as bookends to accentuate this feeling. She has much to discovery about herself and as her journey on the Discovery continues she must find absolution. It will be interesting to observe how she does this.