home Discovery, Star Trek, TV Discovering Star Trek : DSC S01E05 : Choose Your Pain

Discovering Star Trek : DSC S01E05 : Choose Your Pain

Wikipedia description:

Captain Lorca is shown to have commanded multiple operations using the Black Alert – mycelium network to attack Klingon raids. His superior officer reveals that the Klingons have identified the Discovery’s spore drive as Starfleet’s secret weapon. On a transfer vessel from the HQ to Discovery, Lorca is abducted by Klingons. Discovery under the command of Saru, now plan to trace all Klingon vessels across the universe to identify a warp signature that can lead them to the rescue of Lorca. Burnham is worried about the ability of the tardigrade (Ripper) to manage the multiple jumps required. Saru chides Burnham and asks her to follow orders and do the jump. On reaching the vessel trail, Ripper is exhausted and enters into a hibernation with less than 1% water content as a means of survival. Burnham and Stamets along with Dr Culber advise Saru that further jumps are not possible with the condition Ripper is in. Burnham and Stamets realize only Humans have the ability to be animate copilots as they share 50% of the same genetic code as mushrooms. Meanwhile Lorca is in the holding cell with two other humans – one a Starfleet officer, Ash Tyler who is now a forced lover of the Klingon Captain and Harcourt “Harry” Fenton Mudd who seemed to have survived the Klingon torture for 7 months which Lorca reckons is not possible. Lorca is tortured and he realizes Fenton is a mole as Klingon captain uses same words he mentions to Fenton. Lorca berates Mudd and joins hands with Tyler. He also reveals that he destroyed his own vessels with the crew on board on his last vessel to ensure his crew doesn’t get tortured at Qoónos. Together with Tyler, they overpower the guards and escape the Klingon vessel after killing the first officer and severely injuring the Captain. They commandeer a Klingon escape pod beam back to Discovery thanks to Saru. Saru orders the Black Alert command and Discovery jumps instantly using the mycelium network. Saru realizes that Stamets used himself as the animate copilot and is injured in the process. Saru visits Burnham to tell her that she deserves better. Burnham gives him the Telescope that Captain Georgiou bequeathed her asking him to see what the Captain saw in the universe. Burnham releases Ripper back into space. Stamets’ reflection in his mirror does not walk away when Stamets does.


Reactions while watching:

  • At least Sonequa is better at pain reactions then Marina Sirtis.
  • Ok, we’ve jumped further in the narrative then I expected.
  • Rippers allowed several successful missions.  I don’t like that one ship is tearing apart the Klingons, no matter how quick it is.
  • Less then three weeks since last episode.
  • The Tardigrade wasn’t a complete secret, and the spore drive was known to work, so that’s not how the drive is discontinued by later shows.
  • Klingon intelligence is decent to be able to know of and target Lorca attending a conference.
  • No Tribbles on the desk when Lorca’s not home.
  • I would have liked at least one Captain on the list we didn’t know of before, but I do appreciate Robert April being made canon.
  • I expected to hate the recasting of Harry Mudd, especially with the comments about him being darker.  He wasn’t darker.  Harry always had a dark edge. And I want more of Rainn Wilson as Mudd now.
  • Mudd’s “I’m a survivor, just like you” hints at the reveal later.
  • Lorca doesn’t believe that Tyler has been there 7 months.
  • I would like to see more of Star Trek from a civilian perspective occasionally.
  • Exposition and technobabble, but I enjoyed it.  It also was a good handwave into the ideas of the mushrooms being everywhere by tying it into subspace.
  • First use of “fuck” in Star Trek – I don’t love it, but don’t hate it.  More thoughts below.
  • I didn’t realize L’Rell was the Klingon captain at first, and I had to pause several times on the second viewing to make sure.  I believe it is her.   Which makes the idea that she’s been snuggling Ash Tyler… problematic since she’s only been off the Sarcophagus three weeks.
  • (This is my main issue with the new makeup and all Klingonese all the time. It buried the actress a little. Also want more duras sister armor please. )
  • There are three lights!
  • The “like a ghost” part is what Lorca said was parroted back at himself.
  • Lorca has only had the U.S.S. Discovery since at least 1.5-2 months into the war.
  • Would Kirk or Picard have killed their crew to save them from
  • Klingons?
  • How did Lorca survive?
  • The look of guilt on Stamets and Tully’s face – they saw the Tardigrade suffering before but because it was so alien, they didn’t realize it.  Now that they do, they can’t bear it.
  • Saru is leading a lot about the burdens of command and the choices that try men’s souls.  For everyone that didn’t like his choices,
  • How is this terribly different from Data in Unification part II?
  • At least Data was sacrificing fellow Starfleet crew who signed up I guess…
  • And the classic Star Trek two fist punch. I don’t think I’ve seen that in any other show.
  • I don’t like Lorca leaving Mudd behind. I get it, but seems immoral. But WWKD? or Picard?  How would they handle escaping with a traitor?
  • I guess next time we see L’Rell we will know for sure if that was her.
  • I don’t know what I think of Klingon fighters.
  • If Tyler was a plant, this fight scene in the hallway seems very dangerous for L’Rell and well done. I’d be convinced.
  • I knew from Stamets not answering the question what the answer was.
  • Lt Tyler “There’s no place I’d rather be.”   Hmmm.
  • I love all the little inflections and mannerisms of Saru.
  • I wonder how much hell Saru will catch for letting Ripper go.
  • I appreciate Saru not needing to hear the computers review.
  • Stamets taking the DNA out of a desire to save or achieve his life’s work would be unsurprising.  Very human, and yes, I believe that was part of his decision.
  • However, what makes this Star Trek, and optimistic is that he saw the Tardigrade’s pain and couldn’t let it happen again.
  • That is what separates Starfleet from not, from them in the future and humanity now.   The willingness to take the pain ourself so that others don’t have to.    And that knowing sacrifice coming at an actual real cost, a real pain.
  • That’s why Mudd is so repugnant, and why Lorca raises alarm bells.
  • And then the mirror scene.  Indeed.  Very Alice thru the Looking Glass. More on that below too:


So, much has been commented about the use of “fucking” on Star Trek.  I can’t say that I’m thrilled at expanding the language.  On the other hand, Star Trek has always had adult language.

I remember a weary Kirk, heartbroken, saying to his friends, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

I had to “beep” out McCoy saying ‘Goddamn” in Star Trek V for more conservative friends watching it.

Picard cussed like a sailor, saying *merde* all the time.

Data learned from his mentor, yelling “Shit” as they crashed.

Language happens.   But in ST, generally the language is used to highlight important things as an exclamation point, unlike some shows that use it like a comma.

So let’s look at Tilly. She didn’t use it in anger or pain, She didn’t use it in fear of death or a sexual situation.

She used it in wonder at science. At the joy of the universe opening up just a little more, at knowing something we didn’t know before.

Between this and Michael Burnham’s joy at her EV walk, I can’t remember when Star Trek felt so excited about the business of exploring.


Time to talk about L’Rell, Ash Tyler, and the Mirror scene.

The last we saw L’Rell, she was taking Voq to her family for him to sacrifice everything.  So if she’s here, where is he?  There’s several hints about Tyler that he’s not what he appears.  Is Tyler Voq in disguise?  Will Lorca’s tribble reveal the game?


So there’s a few things I want to add to the discussion that involve possible spoilers from outside the show.

The Mirror scene – we know thanks to Jonathan Frakes that there will be at least one Mirror universe episode.

Voq and Tyler.

The actor playing Voq – Javid Iqbal – has one credit, and one credit alone: Discovery.  His IMDB picture is Voq in makeup.

Ash Tyler is played by Shazad Latif.    He was first cast on DSC as Kol, back when Kol was T’Kuvma’s protege. (A role which turned into Voq).

Wikipedia says that the name Jawed, or Javid, began as a pseudonym and means “eternal.” Another baby naming site defines it as “living.” Ancestry.com claims the name Iqbal means “prosperity.”

A rough translation of the name Javid Iqbal is “eternal/living in prosperity.” Or, Live long and prosper!

( credit to /u/MungoBaobab )

Lorca has a Tribble. Apparently Jason Issacs has said the tribble is animatronic.That seems rather detailed if it won’t come into play.