Burnham and associates face a classic Trek dilemma, and a captive captain encounters a classic Trek character.

“Here’s Mudd in your eye!”

Titles: “Choose Your Pain”

Directed by Lee Rose
Written by Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, and Kemp Powers

Cast
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Saru
Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca
Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer
Clare McConnell as Dennas
Kenneth Mitchell as Kol
Sara Mitich as Airiam
Marco Perretta as Star Fleet Medical Doctor
Damon Runyan as Ujilli
Christopher Russell as Milton Richter
Ray Cammaert as Gratuitous Vulcan
Rainn Wilson as Harcourt Fenton Mudd

Premise:

While the crew contemplate the dangerous effects of their method of travel on a possibly-sentient tardigrade, Captain Lorca gets captured by brutal Klingons. Whose life do they save?

Aboard the Klingon prison ship, Lorca makes a startling revelation to his new cellmates: new regular Ash Tyler and TOS scoundrel Harry Mudd.

High Points:

Stamets makes a typical old-school Trek sacrifice that works out for the best– except it appears it will have a lingering effect, to be revisited in a future episode.

The relationship between Burnham and Saru continues to develop….

Low Points:

…Tilly, however, remains f—-kin’ annoying.

As seems to be standard in pop-SF, advanced, stargoing vessels—in this case, an advanced stargoing prison ship—lack effective security cameras. They barely have effective security.

I don’t object to swearing per se; I watch a lot of shows that use offensive language. That said, the sudden and fairly gratuitous appearance of an expletive on Discovery feels forced and cheap, like they wanted to be the first Trek show to use fµ¢k.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 Although the story isn’t especially original, this episode does go in a few directions Trek has not gone before.

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Story: 5/6 At the center of this week’s ep is a classic dilemma plot, where the characters have to choose between two conflicting options. Despite all the changes, Discovery feels more like Trek than we’ve seen in awhile. We even get a relatively happy ending—though we’re left with the knowledge of Lorca’s actions with his original crew, and the fact that he was willing to abandon a Federation citizen—unnecessarily—aboard a Klingon prison ship.

Emotional Response: 5/6 Despite a relatively happy ending, this episode reminds us that Discovery wants to be a more brutal version of Trek. The ambient sound aboard the Klingon ship makes for disturbing viewing, but the redesigned Klingons have become fearful enemies again, rather than cuddly cosplay.

Overall: 4/6 What’s up with that final moment with the man in the mirror?

In total, “Choose Your Pain” receives 34/42