07th Nov2017

‘Star Trek: Discovery 1×08: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


In the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, one thing that the Klingons made clear is the fact the Federation may say they come in peace, but many times they don’t. This week that peacefulness is put to the test on a new planet.

When U.S.S. Discovery takes a high priority mission to a planet called Pahvo they encounter a new lifeform. When the lifeform offer Saru (Doug Jones) a way to calm the unrest in his mind, it once again pits him against Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) who fights to keep them on mission.

One thing that I’m starting to notice with Star Trek: Discovery is that there is a cycle of episodes. We have the ship based ones, ones that feature more of the Klingons, then ones that question the Prime Directive and how the crew of Discovery can manage to bend the rules around it. This week’s episode is a mixture of Klingon and Prime Directive themes.

What will interest fans the most is that we get another episode that focuses on Saru, which means that Doug Jones once again gets the chance to shine. You also find pity for Saru, who appears to be tiring of the battles he must face and the impending doom he keeps on sensing. The fact he says his race is born to sense death puts a new perspective on how he acts in dangerous situations.

The fact that he fights so hard to keep the tranquillity he finds on Pahvo shows his need for an escape from the dangers that he is seeing on the Discovery. It also shows his feelings towards Michael as a character who continually is at odds with him and his beliefs. The fight they go through shows the mutual respect they have for each other, and the animosity that is still alive in that relationship.

On Discovery itself we see Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) continued risk taking, though it is used for good this time. The fact he would put his ship in the way of torpedoes destined for another Federation vessel is admirable, but when the Discovery is so important to winning the war against the Klingons is it wise to risk the ship and the crew? With Stamets (Anthony Rapp) once again acting weird, maybe Lorca should take time to realise not all is well on Discovery.

The Klingons also show that they have an edge in the war this week with their cloaking technology. Now that every ship appears to be able to cloak, it is harder to battle against them. Another thing they still have is Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) though things don’t appear to be going well for her either. I wouldn’t be surprised though if her fate this week is revealed to not be as it seems, but we’ll have to wait till next week to see that.

This is the first episode that feels like it is a two-part story, ending on a cliff-hanger that teases a great battle, unless of course Pahvo holds some secrets that can avert disaster. It is fair to say though that the Prime Directive has once again been ignored so that the Discovery can cause more chaos.

If we get more episodes like this then Star Trek: Discovery is going in the right direction for me. It does break a few Star Trek rules that will leave fans a little bemused, but with likeable characters and an interesting story being build up around the ship, there is definitely potential in the show.

****½  4.5/5

Star Trek: Discovery is available in the UK every Monday on Netflix.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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