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Star Trek: Discovery - The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry - Review: "Saving Corvan II"



Star Trek: Discovery 1.04 "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry - Review:
Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi & Written by Jesse Alexander & Aron Eli Coleite

The first of the episodes without Bryan Fuller's name attached to the story credits, The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry once again brought the Klingons back into focus after wisely choosing them to leave them out of last week's episode. This meant we got to catch up on what the survivors of the first encounter with Starfleet were up to since their battle with the Shenzhou six months ago, and they're facing a terrible dilemma. Lost and alone in the dead of space their ship is powerless and unable to move, with supplies rapidly running low they have little time left. These six months has almost brought them to the verge of desperation. Voq, the Klingon who has inherited T'Kuvma's mantle as leader of the Klingons left behind, is faced with a choice. Does he abandon T'Kuvma's belief that they must remain Klingon and independent in order to survive? To what lengths is Voq willing to go to to see the Martyr's final wishes carried out?

It was interesting to see the Klingon storyline unfolding alongside that of our protagonists. The dual narrative allowed for some interesting twists as we got to spend a bit more time with L'Rell this week, who it turns out, betrayed Voq in favour of siding with commander Kol. But this too was all a ruse, a grand scheme of Machiavellian planning to leave her and Voq alone, in space, stranded without the Shenzhou's dilithium processor. They haven't yet specified how they're going to get off the Starfleet vessel yet but presumably, L'Rell has something in mind (UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that there was a raider nearby that they could use to escape), as she has just told Voq that in order to achieve greatness, he must sacrifice everything. The decision to put the spotlight on Voq is kind of underwhelming as he's far from the commanding screen presence that T'Kuvma was in his episode, but it seems that Voq is much better working with L'Rell than on his own and the dynamic between the two keeps me engaged enough to let that slide. The way they were forced to eat Captain Georgiou’s body out of desperation was also, a tad disturbing.

This episode itself was very much establishing what the weekly formula of Star Trek: Discovery would look like, because the first two episodes stood well enough on their own in kind of a mini-series type way before we got our 'proper' pilot with episode three. The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry felt like the first real second episode of the show, even if at the same time it's the fourth. The structure reminded me a lot of the way 2003's Battlestar Galactica handled their show, which handled all the set up in the mini-series allowing the first season to hit the ground running.

It didn't take too long for the audience to be shown what Lorca's intentions were with the being that had come to be known as the Ripper which was salvaged in initial secrecy from The Glenn. I wasn't sure how long they'd keep it locked up behind closed doors without Michael's knowledge, but it quickly became an instrument of experimentation as the science team which were facing problems of their own in working out how to use the spores for travel. Lorca needs answers quickly, they've just received word that dilithium mining colony of Corvan II has just come under attack from Klingons, but they're running out of time and the spores aren't quite working smoothly yet, as their first jump attempt sends them dramatically off course.

The agency of the situation and of the episode itself worked well to play into creating tension, with the crew working against time to beat a deadline for the Discovery. Whilst it didn't take long for the Ripper to earn its nickname it did take a bit longer to work out what its purpose was, costing the life of Landry in the process. This death was one of the disappointing moments for me in this episode, as Landry what amounted to Star Trek's latest Redshirt, even if she was around than your Redshirters of old. Whilst she didn't get the biggest character development being nothing more than one-dimensional most of the time, I felt her death was one of the more stupid moments of the series that could have easily been avoided. Did she really think her weapons were going to work on the Ripper after she'd seen it take out Klingons with ease? It's a shame to see Rekha Sharma go so soon, and her character really deserved better, with the death feeling cheap and hollow.

The death of Landry did at least allow Michael to get her suspicions about the Ripper through to the science team led by Stamets that the Ripper itself was not as aggressive as it first appeared and was actually only aggressive when threatened, not harming Michael at all. It helped of course that Michael was able to bring it what it wanted, the spores. It turns out that there had been a supercomputer designed to operate the spores on the Glenn after all, only it was the Ripper itself, which Stamets and his team were able to use to overcome the difficulty of instantaneous travel, allowing them to reach Corvan II seconds after the destruction of the shields, saving the people from the Klingons in a brilliant sequence that made it all the more worthwhile, capping off the episode with a great ending which provided us with one of the most exciting moments of the series so far.

Where things go next remains to be seen but it looks like we'll be spending time solving problems on the Discovery as much as we may well be exploring elsewhere, whilst also spending time with Voq and L'Rell. The counterpart to their dynamic on board the Discovery seems to be the quickly forming mutual understanding between Michael and Saru, who are just great together. They've had some of the best interactions so far this season and Saru is certainly making an impression in his new role as a First Officer. If things had gone a little differently perhaps he could have been the first officer under Michael, because judging by Captain Georgiou's last will and testament, she fully expected Michael to be a Captain by the time of her death, never expecting that Michael would become Starfleet's first mutineer. Obviously the recording hadn't been updated to reflect the particular circumstances of her death, but it was still an effective moment.

The show continues to look absolutely amazing and there were several instances where it made the most out of its effects. Anything with Voq on the Shenzhou looked spectacular, as did the Discovery's rescue attempt. It's great to see the show continuing to make use of its budget and I'm really excited to see what new worlds and frontiers the show continues to explore in the future. Something that's also worth pointing out is in regards to The Next Generation here is that Corvan II was a planet also mentioned in that series, something that was pointed out to me elsewhere. I'm still only on Season 2 of The Next Generation, but I'm getting ever closer towards the finale of that season and will have started Season 3 before long, so it'll be fun to see that show evolve going forward along with Star Trek: Discovery, which may just with that episode title emerge as one of Star Trek's longest ever if I am correct. Can you find any longer ones lurking about somewhere?

What did you think of Star Trek: Discovery's latest episode, "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"? Let me know in the comments section below and check out the next episode on Sunday through CBS All Access, or the following day on Netflix outside of the US and Canada.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The Wire, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Person of Interest. He reviews Preacher, The Exorcist, Star Wars Rebels, Star Trek Discovery, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Krypton, Marvel's New Warriors, Rise, Marvel's Runaways, Succession and Trust. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 300 favourite movies here.
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