This Star Trek: Discovery review contains spoilers for “Light and Shadows”
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 7
“Light and Shadows” was a supremely action-driven episode—though, unlike most of Discovery‘s other forays into action, the episode grounds its fast-paced, high-stakes adventure in character, making Season 2, Episode 7 (the halfway point for the season!) another success in a string of excellent episodes for this show’s sophomore season. Do you feel that? That is what narrative momentum feels like.
Pike and Tyler’s trip into the temporal distortion was about putting two characters we know and maybe kind of like (sorry, TyVoq, I am still side-eyeing you after last season) into danger, but it was also about seeing these two learn to trust one another, at least on some level, when they are put in a high-stakes situation. (We also, as Ryan Britt points out in the Easter egg guide for this episode, learn that TyVoq speaks Klingon when he is in danger. Interesting…)
I’m not sure that TyVoq is a character that Pike should trust—not only is he a known murderer, but he is working for the shady Section 31. Question the motivations of the Red Angel, sure, but never let your guard down around an agent of Section 31, either. You don’t have to choose.
The result of Pike and TyVoq’s little bonding adventure meant that Pike has started to take the suggestion that the Red Angel could be a threat a bit more seriously—though I like to think that this is less because TyVoq said it and more because their shuttle was violently attacked by Discovery’s own probe, modified from the future and intent on hacking into Discovery’s computer. How is the probe related to the Red Angel? How is the temporal distortion related to the Red Angel?
A question that is most likely going to become relevant even faster than the previous questions is: What did the probe do to Airiam, the augmented human who only just started getting a character in recent episodes of Discovery. (Hopefully, this plot twist means we will learn even more about her moving forward.)
While the Discovery was dealing with the temporal distortion, Burnham was on personal leave (it’s personal, TyVoq), going to Vulcan to find out more about Spock, only to discover that Amanda has been harboring him there—not only from Starfleet and Michael, but from Sarek, too.
Spock is… not doing well. Mumbling what is seeming nonsense, sketching the Red Angel on walls. There is a lot of backstory exposition in the big Spock family crisis scene, which made it clunkier than it needed to be. The old storytelling adage “show, don’t tell” is perhaps overemphasized, but, in the case of most of the Spock stuff this season, should be scrawled on the writers room wall.
Still, it was so much fun to see Spock again. He is much changed how we remember him, but there is precedent for Spock going mad with emotion in various situations. Really, he is more of a prop in this episode than a full-on character, which works for where the story is now. It helps that we get more insight into Michael and Spock’s relationship in the past. Unlike the last time we got flashbacks to their childhood together, they have a connection here, playing 3-D chess and practicing the Vulcan salute.
While this family unit continues to have too many scenes in which people talk about Spock without actually interacting with him—both in the past and in the present—this is the first time, for me, that they have felt like a real family on Discovery. I hope this trend continues once Spock is, you know, present.
Spock magically healing his brain would be very helpful for Michael right about now who is currently on the lam from Starfleet and Section 31 with her distressed brother. She figured out that Spock had reversed the numbers he was reciting over and over again like some kind of Lost extra. Will they lead them to the Red Angel? Will that be on Talos IV, a planet that has deep conontations for any The Original Series fan? And, regardless, will Michael ask for help with her brother?
Going back to Discovery would put Pike and the rest of the crew in a tough position. So far, he has been by the book in a way that I have appreciated after Lorca. That being said, there is a difference between adhering to Starfleet authority and adhering to Section 31 authority, and I’m not sure how Pike might see this situation. He has loyalty to Spock, too. We all do.
As a viewer, my relationship to the character of Spock has deeply affected how I have watched this entire storyline unfold. (Can you imagine watching this season if you had no idea who Michael’s brother is? A very different experience.) As we move forward with the season, now that Spock has actually appeared, I just hope Discovery remembers that they need to tell a riveting story within the context of Discovery, without relying too much on what has come before.
What is Section 31 up to? And was Georgiou telling Burnham the truth about the device they were about to use on Spock or was she manipulating Michael? I mean, she is always manipulating Michael, but did she use the truth to do it here?
The Georgious/Burnham staged fight scene gave me life. It is telling that, on some level, Michael trusts the Emperor, even if she seemed to kind of enjoy fake-winning their fight.
Star Trek on TV has never looked more cinematic, and what a time to be alive.
I love that Pike articulates that he isn’t wary of TyVoq because he is part-Klingon, but because he murdered one of Discovery’s crew that one time. Like: Yes. Good reason.
Little Spock is adorable.
Spock has dyslexia (more or less)? That’s an interesting addition to canon. I wonder if Discovery will continue to explore this, or if it will just be a thing that is mentioned one as a plot point for this episode. Hopefully, it is the former.
Um, I think we firmly established that Stamets — not Pike— was, in fact, the most qualified person to go into the temporal distortion.
The Saru/Tilly/Pike dynamic here was great.
Are they setting Saru up to become the for-reals captain of the Discovery once Pike leaves? I hope so.
I’m not sure if I care that Leland was responsible for the deaths of Burnham’s parents. Like, I care, but I care more about what this potentially says about Section 31 than what it does about Leland’s character specifically. Michael doesn’t have any kind of relationship with Leland, but she does have a very intense relationship with Starfleet, so if they were involved in the deaths of her parents, then that is going to cause some feelings.
Spock’s family has been peak drama since they first showed up in “Journey to Babel.” I love that Discovery is continuing the tradition, even if I don’t like how Amanda has been characterized so far in Discovery.
This episode was all in, once again, on the Alice in Wonderland references.
I miss Number One.
I’m still worried about Hugh. I hope he did some healing off screen this episode. And got a therapist. Dear god, tell me he has a therapist.
Everything does sound cooler once you’ve put “time” in front of it.
When Sarek told Amanda that he wouldn’t lose both of this children in the same day? Reader, my heart swelled three sizes.