Following a break from coverage last week due to a poorly timed PVR breakdown we return to our regular coverage of Star Trek Discovery with a recap and discussion of the latest episode, The Sounds of Thunder.
We’ll start with some Spoiler free information, and a preview of the newest episode, followed by a more detailed discussion with spoilers, don’t worry, there will be a warning.
For those who missed last week’s episode as I did, we will have some coverage in this post as well as in other posts as time goes on. Thankfully I was able to catch a last-minute repeat of the previous episode before this one came on the air.
"THE SOUNDS OF THUNDER — When a new signal appears over Saru’s home planet, Burnham, Saru and the crew embark on a perilous mission that puts Saru in danger and raises questions about the Red Angel’s intentions. Hugh struggles to come to terms with his new reality.Official Synopsis"
There’s no doubt that last week’s episode, the Saints of Imperfection has forever changed the series going forward, we saw a long-lost face, and learned a great deal more about the spore network that discovery had used to power it’s DASH Drive during the first season, and a few episodes of the second.
tonight’s episode, as we’ve seen in the previews will take us back to a setting we’ve only seen in the short form episode of Star Trek Short Treks Brightest Star a few months ago, Saru’s home planet. With all the changes we’ve seen to Saru’s life over the past year it will be very interesting to see exactly what happens when he returns home.
The rest of this article contains spoilers for the second season of Star Trek Discovery, through the Saints of Imperfection.
More from Star Trek: Discovery
- Will Star Trek: Discovery feature a satisfying ending to the series?
- When is Star Trek: Discovery’s fifth and final season coming?
- Sonequa Martin-Green talks about how Star Trek’s Michael Burnham changed her life
- Star Trek: Discovery’s final season may have some of the series’ best villains so far
- Star Trek’s mysterious “Galactic Barrier” (un)explained
Last week’s episode was largely focused around Discovery’s rescue of Ensign Tilly from the Mycelial network, where she was taken by the life-form known as May at the end of the previous episode.
May had kidnapped Tilly in the hopes that she could help them to fight a beast which had decimated their home over the past few months, this beast was killing her people after the destruction caused by Stamets multiple jumps and they blame Discovery for bringing the beast to them.
Tilly agreed to help, while Discovery mounted their own rescue mission, their plan to half jump leaving Discovery stuck half way between the network and regular space, as they jump in Burnham and Stamets are able to enter the network and find Tilly, but they quickly also find the beast, who turns out to be Dr. Culber.
It seems that Dr. Culber was trapped in the network and had used a substance that is toxic to the mycelial’s as an armour to keep himself from being killed, as a result they see him as an invader. Unfortunately for the crew of the Discovery who try to take Culber back home with them he is made of Mycelial matter and can’t make the transition back to the ship in the same way they can.
After a bit of discussion May agrees to try to return him to Discovery through the organic transporter system they developed to bring Tilly to the network, amazingly it works and Dr. Culber is returned to Discovery, alive.
During the rescue a Section 31 ship commanded by Leland, which has the ability to camouflage it’s self as an asteroid helps pull discovery out of the Network, we later see Admiral Cornwell aboard this ship with Leland and Captain Pike telling them that they will have to work together to find Spock, and that Starfleet now knows that the mysterious Red Signals leave behind a tachyon emission, Leland speculates that may mean time travel while Pike believes it may have to do with a cloaking device.
The rest of this article contains spoilers for The Sounds of Thunder.
The episode opens with a monologue from Saru before he enters sick bay and talks to the newly resurrected Dr. Culber, they have a brief discussion about the meaning of his return, then Saru talks to the doctor about the changes in his own physiology following the loss of his threat ganglia. Saru ponders his life without fear, and how this would affect his people as a whole, he feels some sort of divine intervention.
In the science lab Pike, Burnham and Tyler discuss the red signals and the possibility of the Red Angel being a time traveler, they discuss the previous missions and how they need Spock to help when a message comes in that another Red Signal has been detected, they return to the bridge and quickly discover that the new signal is coming from Saru’s home planet.
We learn that Saru’s planet has two species, one is the Ba’ul who have warp capability, the other is the Kelpiens, they recall the events that lead to Saru joining Starfleet, it quickly becomes clear that the Ba’ul are not interested in knowing the Federation, and that no Kelpien or human has ever seen the Ba’ul. After a few tense moments between Pike and Saru its agreed that Burnham and Saru will beam down to the planet and speak to the priest, who maintains the balance between the two species, in Saru’s village.
In sick bay we learn that Dr. Culber’s body is entirely new, but that his knowledge and experiences seem to be fully intact, he is cleared to return to his normal life, but he seems to feel a little off, he asks about his senses feeling different and is told that his nerves are all new so some differences are to be expected early on.
Kelpien Tea for Three…
Saru and Burnham and discuss the pillar outside of the village, which was placed by the Ba’ul to keep an eye on the Kelpiens, they go to find the priest who turns out to be Saranna, Saru’s sister, after catching up with where Saru has been for the past eighteen years and introducing her to Michael, the first alien she has ever seen, she is initially overwhelmed but invites them in for tea.
While having tea Saru learns that his father has been culled, and hears about everything that has happened to his family since he left the planet. Michael tells Saranna about the Red Angel and asks if she’s seen it, Saru mentions the Red Signal, which Saranna calls “The Fire sign” and suddenly her demeanour changes, she begins accusing Saru of running away, when the hut begins to shake, the Ba’ul are approaching and Saranna tells Saru to leave, that there is no place for him there anymore. As Saru and Michael go outside a bright light appears from the pillar and they beam out.
Kidnapping or Murder
The Ba’ul hail Discovery, audio only, and Pike responds, the Ba’ul tell him that they have taken a Kelpien that belongs to them, Pike tells them about the signal and asks about the Red Angel but the Ba’ul demand again that the Kelpien be returned. Saru speaks against Pike’s order and tells the Ba’ul that he has survived the Vhari and he knows now that his people are being suppressed to prevent their evolution. The Ba’ul launch ten sentry ships which are all larger than Discovery and take up positions surrounding them.
Captain Pike tells the Ba’ul that he will take any action needed to protect Saru, but when they threaten the Kelpiens Saru asks to be turned over to them, he is ejected from the bridge and makes his way to the transporter room where he sets the system to beam him down, Michael intervenes and points a phaser at him, but ultimately lets him have his way and beam down. The Ba’ul take Saru and he disappears from Discovery’s sensors, their ships power down weapons and turn away from Discovery and back to the planet.
The Search fo Saru
Airiam, Tilly and Burnham are shown in the science lab searching for Saru, they use the data from the Sphere they encountered in An Obol for Charon, they discover that it contains thousands of years of data from the planet and begin looking for something that will help.
Meanwhile in an unknown location Saru wakes up next to a black pool as his sister beams in, drones approach and scan the two of them, Saru is attacked by one and thrown against a wall where he is locked in by both wrists and the neck. The black pool begins to bubble and a creature rises from it, it is remarkably similar to Aramis from Star Trek The Next Generation’s Skin of Evil at first sight, but as its eyes glow red we are forced to wonder if it is somehow related to the Red Angel.
Back in the science lab the three searching for Saru manage to isolate the bio signs on the planet from the Sphere data, they discover that there used to be a lot more evolved Kelpiens, in fact the Ba’ul were at one point nearly extinct, then they turned the tables and wiped out the evolved Kelpiens who must have at one point been the predators.
Saru watches as the tar black creature who appears to be a Ba’ul rises from the pool, an exchange between the two tells us that the Ba’ul are afraid of what Saru has become, saru accuses them of as much and is threatened with death as the Ba’ul reenters the pool.
Three more drones come in and threaten to kill both Saru and Saranna, but in an incredible show of strength Saru breaks his restraints and destroys all three drones before freeing his sister. The resolve to end the balance between the two species and free their people. Saru begins building something from the parts left by the destroyed drones.
On the bridge Pike is briefed by Burnham and the Ba’ul hail, when they answer it’s Saru talking on a communicator he built with the spare parts, Burnham confirms Saru’s suspicions about his peoples history as predators. Saru suggests that they can show both the Kelpens and Ba’ul what they can become together and comes up with a plan to trigger all of his people’s Vhari. As the process is triggered Saru warns his sister about the pain she is about to experience, and promises her a new beginning for the Kelpiens. He activates the Vhari signal, sending it to all the pillars on the planet.
Evolution or Genocide
As the Kelpiens undergo their Vhari a large structure emerges from the Ocean on the planet, its a Ba’ul stronghold, this is where Saru and Saranna are being held, Discovery targets them to disable their shielding so they cannot a transporter lock, but as they target the stronghold begins sending a signal to all the pillars setting them to overload and destroy all Kelpiens.
Pike hails the Ba’ul and threatens war if they attack the Kelpiens, he targets as many of the Pillars as they are able to, they report that over 4000 pillars are active and set to overload, as Saru watches the signals begin to be sent a red flash in the sky drops the Red Angel down to the stronghold and it appears before Saru, we get our best look at it so far while it launches an EMP attack disabling all the pillars across the planet.
The Red Angel appears as a humanoid in some sort of space suit, possibly with antennal, it looks at Saru and does a jump and roll as it disappears in a puff of red smoke.
Saru and his sister approach the other Kelpiens on the beach, all now evolved, they ask for answers to their questions and Saranna tells them they are going to build a new balance between them and the Ba’ul, that the Kelpiens no longer need to be afraid.
On Discovery Pike approaches Tyler and gives him Saru’s report, they discuss the look of the Red Angel as a humanoid in a technological suit far beyond their current level of technology. Ash reiterates that they believe it is a time traveling being. Pike tells him that the Angel intervened to save the Kelpiens from genocide, suggesting it’s not a bad entity. Ash tells Pike that the last war was difficult for those who fought it, and suggests that Pike might start another one.
A touch of home
Saru shows his sister the garden in his quarters and invites her to stay aboard Discovery with him, but she tells him she needs to be with their people to help them through the transition with the Ba’ul, she thanks him and the Red Angel for returning and giving home a new hope.
As she prepares to beam down she tells Saru that he is always welcome. Saru and Michael talk as they walk out of the transporter room, Michael tells him that thanks to everything that has happened recently she knows now that she has to return home, to Vulcan.
Another great standalone episode which still manages to move the overarching season plot forward and gives us more information on the nature of the Red Signals and the Red Angel.
Star Trek Discovery returns next week with Light and Shadows.