Star Trek Discovery (S02E09) “Project Daedalus”

Hello to all the trekkies out there! I’m back for my review of the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery entitled ‘Project Daedalus’

out of the frying pan and into the fire

After a brief recap, the episode opens up with a shuttle approaching Discovery. It’s Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook).  She ‘s here to see Spock (Ethan Peck). Pike (Anson Mount) expresses concerns about Section 31. Cornwell proceeds to interrogate Spock. Spock complies with her questions and speaks plainly. Afterward, Cornwell meets with the senior officers to discuss her suspicions. Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) defends Spock, as do Pike and Saru (Doug Jones).

Cornwell shows them video footage of Spock killing the doctors. She informs the crew that her codes to get into Control are no longer valid. One of the Admirals in Section 31 is a logic extremist and wants things to be done her way. Control is in Section 31 HQ, and they must get there and arrest the Admiral and put Control back to rights. Starfleet relies almost entirely on Control, so it is a mission of utmost importance.

When the crew goes back onto the bridge, Tilly (Mary Wiseman) informs them that the coordinates to Section 31 HQ had been sent in the subspace transmission.

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Tilly with Airiam. Photo courtesy of Google.
memories and a game of chess

We now come to a scene with Airiam (Hannah Chessman) accessing memories of her life. She keeps some and discards others. She talks with Tilly and we find out a bit more about her past and how she came to have cybernetic augmentations.

In engineering, Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is trying to fix the spore drive. Spock and Burnham are there as well. The pair start theorizing, strategizing, and eventually arguing about what to do next. Stamets kicks them out of engineering. Airiam gets the coded signals again. As Discovery approaches Section 31 HQ, they realize it’s heavily fortified with mines scattered everywhere.

Burnham shows Spock her quarters. She suggests a game of chess to help him figure things out. He reluctantly agrees. We see a quick view of Airiam downloading a large file. On the bridge, Cornwell gives them a path through the mines and warns them that they cannot use shields. They have to carefully navigate through the field.

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Cornwell with Pike. Photo courtesy of Google.
flying by the seat of their pants

While playing chess, Spock and Burnham continue to argue. She is trying to help him, but Spock becomes increasingly frustrated. He eventually says some pretty harsh things to Burnham. Naturally, she retaliates. Finally, Spock snaps and smashes the chessboard and storms out of her room. Back on the bridge, the mines are starting to attack the ship. Desperate, they put up the shields. The crew struggles to figure out how not to die. Finally, Burnham figures out that it’s a game. They need to randomize their movements. The crew calls out different flight patterns to Detmer (Kayla Coutts) who goes with it as best she can.

Airiam covertly sends a message, and suddenly the mines stop. They are past the field and at the doors of Section 31 HQ. They get a hail. It’s the Admiral. She informs them that they are to be boarded. She also says that Starfleet ordered the mines to attack the Discovery. In engineering, Stamets is still trying to frantically fix the spore drive. Spock lends a hand and the pair have an insightful conversation.

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Burnham, Nhan, and Airiam on Section 31 HQ. Photo courtesy of Google.
control is taking control

The crew decides to go on the offensive and beam aboard the fortress. Burnham, Airiam, and Commander Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) appear in a darkened corridor in their pressure suits. There’s a copious amount of blood. After getting basic gravity and life support up they discover more dead bodies, including the Admiral. They appear to have been dead for at least two weeks.

Everyone is confused as to how this could be. Saru informs them that the Admiral was a hologram. So was the video footage of Spock. Control had created it all. They now have to fight Control. Tilly realizes that Airiam had been ‘infected’ by control. It wanted the information about the sphere from her. Control wanted to amass power unparalleled to anyone or anything else. As the crew realizes this, they try to warn Burnham and Nhan. It’s too late.

Airiam fights with Burnham and Nhan. After effectively incapacitating Nhan, Airiam turns her attention to Burnham. It’s a merciless, brutal fight. Burnham does eventually emerge victorious, but at an enormous cost. Airiam has to sacrifice herself. She had only been able to transfer part of the data. If she transfers the rest, Control would quickly destroy Discovery and everything else in its path.

In a heart-wrenching scene, we see Tilly give Airiam a last memory before she goes. Burnham struggles to force her out the airlock. Just as she is about to push the button, Commander Khan does, throwing Airiam out into space. Before she goes, Airiam tells Burnham that everything was about her all along, and to find Project Daedalus.

final thoughts

So I think season two is much stronger than season one. Not that season one was horrible. I swear it’s almost tradition now for Star Trek as a whole to have a somewhat weak season one and then really start to improve in season two. Let’s all remember Commander Riker ‘growing a beard in season two of TNG.

Anyways, this episode was so emotional at the end. I was sad and mad that Airiam died. Sad, because the death of a character, even a minor one, is always sad. Mad, because I feel like she was just getting into her own. She had a freaking backstory for heaven’s sake.

Spock becoming emotional was kinda disturbing too. Vulcans are seriously strong and he can potentially do a lot of damage, especially when distraught. I really hope that Spock and Burnham can try and make amends. Their initial arguing felt playful, but it turned into something ugly very quickly. I totally enjoyed the camaraderie between Spock and Stamets. I really hope we can see more of it in future episodes.

Overall I give this episode an 8/10.

Catch a new episode of Star Trek Discovery on Thurs, Mar 21 on Space.