Review: Star Trek: Discovery, “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”

I have this scene in my mind. It’s the Discovery writers room, and they’re pitching episode titles. Someone quips, “Well, we’ll never come up with any titles as over the top as the original series had.”

The official logo for Star Trek: DiscoveryAnd for some reason Neil Patrick Harris is there, and he leaps to his feet and declares, “Challenge accepted!”

It’s the best explanation I can think of for “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry.”

Anyway, four episodes in, I’m still not quite sure what to make of Discovery.

On the one hand, the main plot of this episode does have a nice Star Trek-y feel. Captain Lorca brings Burnham to his Bond villain lab and sets her to studying the creature they recovered from their ill-fated sister ship, dubbed a “Ripper.” It’s the sort of scientific mystery that Star Trek thrives on, with a nice undercurrent of moral quandary. So I like that.

Also, Stamets continues to be awesome.

However, there are also a number of things that are bothering me — about this episode, and about Discovery in general.

For one thing, the show is still favouring spectacle over good storytelling to an unhealthy degree, as evidenced by Landry channeling the spirit of Leeroy Jenkins, as well as a lavish CGI sequence of… a shirt being replicated.

Seriously.

A Klingon in Star Trek: DiscoveryI also remain very unhappy with Discovery’s portrayal of the Klingons. This episode once again takes every opportunity to make them as over-the-top craven and villainous as you can imagine, often in ways that run totally contrary to how Klingons have traditionally been portrayed.

Still having a hard time wrapping my head around their new look, too. Their make-up is so thick you can’t really see the actor’s facial expressions, so they can’t emote properly. Kind of sucks the personality out of them — what little personality is possible with such shallow writing, anyway.

Finally, one other thing that worries me is that after four episodes, this seems to just be the Michael Burnham Show. Every episode focuses on her, to the point where all the other characters are left by the wayside.

Now, I’m not just saying this because I’m not her biggest fan. She is slowly growing on me, actually — I like all her little Vulcan mannerisms.

But even if Burnham was the greatest character ever, it would still be problematic if the show focused only on her. There are lots of other really interesting characters on Discovery — Saru, Tilly, Stamets — but they’re just not getting enough screentime to be properly developed. There’s too much of a laser focus on Burnham.

Star Trek is at its best when it makes full use of ensemble cast. That’s a lesson Discovery would do well to learn.

Overall rating: 6.9/10

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