Star Trek: Discovery's exploration of the Breen leaves much to be desired

Star Trek brought back the Breen for Discovery but the new details have left us unfulfilled.
Eve Harlow as Moll and Elias Toufexis as L’ak in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 4, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+
Eve Harlow as Moll and Elias Toufexis as L’ak in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 4, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+ /

Star Trek: Discovery has made an attempt to make its final season worth watching. While granted, they didn't know it was their final season, the fifth season is doing everything it can to create a sense of ambiance and nostalgia to it. With the return to the ISS Enterprise of the mirror universe, now to the revelation that one of its season's biggest villains is a call back to Deep Space Nine.

The alien L'ak, played by Elias Toufexis, who was slapped on every piece of promotional material and seasonal ad that Star Trek could produce, would end up being revealed not as a new alien, but as an old one. As L'ak is a member of the Breen race. A race of aliens who wore protective suits, and in doing so allowed their true identities to never be revealed.

In fact, Deep Space Nine went as far to say that no one who has ever seen the Breen's true face has lived to tell others what they looked like (aside from Kira and Dukat apparently). Well, now everyone knows what they look like as Discovery opted to bring back the Breen for their final season and in doing so expanded on the lore of the aliens.

We're not against this, we think it worked great with The Gorn in Strange New Worlds, but the Breen reveal has us a bit lacking. They don't necessarily look like we thought they would without their helmets, and the revelation that they have two "states" is a bit odd. They have a solid form, which is what L'ak takes whenever we see him running about, and a fluid state, that makes them look more like insects on a leaf than a threatening invasive race of fighters.

The idea to give them the two states of existence wasn't a bad idea, as it helps rationalize why they would take up arms with the Dominion, who were led by Changelings. They're similar in makeup to the Changelings, at least more so than any other alien in the area, so you can see the reason why the two species stood together.

Still, with how, frankly, boring they look and how odd their liquid state is, you think that they could've done better with the Breen. In fact, a better idea would have been to leave the Klingons alone, bring in a more traditional Klingon for the first season, and save the Nu Klingon concept for the Breen. While I think the Purple Orc Klingons are stupid, for Klingons, the designs are bad, especially the white Orc Klingon Tenavik. Remove the ridges, add some horns, and hazaah; the new Breen.

It's cute that they tried to connect the aliens from the Dominions to the events of Discovery but the show's leaders have proven one too many times that they can't deliver on high-concepts like this.