Hey there Trek fans, I’m back for another review of Star Trek Discovery. Let’s get to it! This episode is called “An Obol for Charon”.
After a brief recap of the last episode, we open with Pike’s first officer coming aboard the ship. She was investigating Spock’s case, which is now deemed a classified case level one. In Engineering Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Tilly (Mary Wiseman) are dealing with the viral fungus that they had extracted from Tilly. They have a conversation about Tilly’s friendship with May when they were younger.
There are theories about the Red Angel. It might possibly be a mutant. Saru (Doug Jones) is sick but is trying to manage his duties. The Discovery manages to intercept Spock’s shuttle thanks to some intel. Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) doesn’t want to see Spock on account of possibly making things worse and suggests for Pike (Anson Mount) to see him instead.
The ship comes out of warp suddenly and they are trapped in a multi-phasic stasis shield put out by a giant sphere emanating a red, pulsing light. They figure the Sphere to be about one hundred thousand years old. Possibly an organic life form. The sphere starts vibrating. Now everyone is speaking a different language because the universal translator is malfunctioning due to a virus, and everything gets locked down. Saru manages to get everything into some semblance of working order since he speaks ninety-four different languages.
The virus of death
Going into the spore drive area, we meet Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) who engages Stamets in an argument about dilithium vs spores. Saru is now very ill and barely functioning. There are electrical surges all throughout the ship. Jett and Stamets have the idea to create a makeshift lightning rod to help diffuse some of the extra energy. The virus is now spreading in the ship. The viral fungus “May” is intent on attaching itself to Tilly.
Saru is seeing UV light which is a signal that he is dying. He is going through Vahari, which is a ritual his species goes through to prepare for the culling by the predators on his home planet. There is nothing he can do to stop it.
Stamets is trying to talk to Tilly, who has been acting strange since the virus attached to her. It’s been secreting something akin to a mild hallucinogenic. The others are trying to make a digital anti-dote to try and slow the progress of the ship virus. There is a heartfelt conversation between Michael and Saru, and they figure out that they might be able to establish communication with the Sphere. The ‘virus’ is actually a form of communication. Apparently, the Sphere was going to die and wanted someone to carry on its legacy.
contacting the sphere
Jett and Stamets put a cortical implant in Tilly in to try and talk to ‘May’. There is a massive energy build-up in the Sphere. They now know that it overloaded the systems because it is so powerful. Jett and Stamets make contact with ‘May’. She is angry that the network invaded her world. The virus then “absorbs” Tilly.
Saru convinces Pike to lower the shields to communicate better with the Sphere. It starts downloading a transmission, and when it is complete the Sphere explodes. Luckily it managed to pull the ship out of the blast radius.
Saru is still dying. Michael stays with him. It is a very moving scene. He asks her to end his suffering. Micheal can’t do it. They are like family. Saru encourages her to make amends with Spock. When Michael goes to cut off his ganglia, it falls off on its own and Saru miraculously recovers. He has no fear anymore. Saru is now questioning the core belief of his species, wondering if he can help them somehow.
The Sphere gave them all of its knowledge and experience and the Federation is now studying it. Stamets and Jett rescue Tilly, but they start hallucinating and Tilly is fully absorbed into the fungal virus.
Wow, this was one very emotional episode! I was legit crying when it looked like Saru was going to die. I was really hoping to not have a character death. Saru is one of my favorite characters and I swear I was prepared to rage quit if they had killed him. I hope that Tilly is ok and that she finds her way back home. The chemistry between Jett and Stamets was great. I think they are good character foils. They feed off each other. I hope they catch up with Spock’s ship. It’s going to be exciting to see the long-anticipated reunion between Spock and Micheal.
Overall, I give this episode a 9/10.
Catch a new episode of Star Trek Discovery on Thursday, Feb 14 on Space at 5E/8P.