Star Trek Discovery Review– “Through the Valley of Shadows”

Burnham and Beard-Spock encounter a mystery in space; Pike confronts the Klingons and his own future.

Titles: “Through the Valley of Shadows”

Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski
Written by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt

Cast
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike
Doug Jones as Commander Saru
Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock
Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Ali Momen as Kamran Gant
Mary Chieffo as L’Rell
Kenneth Mitchell as Klingon Monk
Anthony Rapp as Commander Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly
Alan Van Sprang as Leland
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Emily Coutts as Lt. Keyla Detmer
Rachael Ancheril as Cmdr. Nhan
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Joann Owosekun
Ronnie Rowe as Lt. R.A. Bryce
Raven Dauda as Dr. Tracy Pollard
Sara Mitich as Lt. Nilsson
Tig Notaro as Jet Reno
David Benjamin Tomlinson as Linus
Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson
Ian James Corlett as Section 31 Computer
Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer

Premise:

Two stories play out and the Discovery finds itself in a cliffhanger, with two episodes remaining in this season.

High Point:

While the plotting of the Boreth storyline needs work, it features excellent visuals and a strong performance by Anson Mount. We get impressive views of the monastery and its surroundings, first introduced in Next Generation. The Klingons themselves strike a balance between Discovery‘s prosthetic-heavy faces and more familiar Klingon make-up. The most memorable part of this story remains Pike’s harrowing vision of his own future.

Low Point:

The reasons why the Klingons hand over the time crystal remain unclear, Control threat notwithstanding. Have they used the crystals to see the future? And why does Pike have to see his future? It makes sense from a storytelling/quest perspective, I guess, but I see no reason intrinsic to the characters and Trek’s world as depicted.

Also, once again, “Time Crystal.”

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 6/6 This episode makes the most of effects budget, with complex space shots and an alien world.

Acting: 5/6 The main cast do well. Linus is amusing. Tig Notaro as Jet Reno demonstrates how a strong actor and character can elevate a mundane scene.

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 The episode receives an extra point for Pike’s vision.

Story: 4/6: This week’s plots prove interesting, even if Pike’s quest to get a time crystal consists mainly of fan service. I have taken into account, however, that we’re very much mid-plot.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Through the Valley of Shadows” receives 33/42

3 replies on “Star Trek Discovery Review– “Through the Valley of Shadows””

  1. I loved Pike’s reaction to his future. The scene played out beautifully, and within a brief moment, you see him realize his life was essentially forfeit, was going to end in torment and pain, and that meant that he was giving his life for and accepting life in hell for his duty to Starfleet, and after the briefest consideration, he says he signed on and pledged his life, and as far as he was concerned, he’d already accepted that was the outcome, so he was willing to do it. It all happens with a few looks and words, and it’s over before you know it.

    Pike is becoming my favorite, especially after his line the other week: “Giving up our values in the name of security is to lose the battle in advance.”

    Also, the shot of the shuttlecraft taking off and exiting Discovery was breathtaking.

    • zocalo says:

      Not to detract from the moment, but you’ve also got to consider that declining would mean he’s probably dead anyway, along with all other sentient life, unless they manage to figure out a viable alternate plan to stop Control. That doesn’t change the nature of the decision but would perhaps make it, and especially the personal consequences, a little easier to bear.

      Then again, they’re basically planning on nixing a timeline that has already happened from the perspective of The Red Angel and Future-Control. If that can be done, then why should Pike believe his own future is irrevocably set in stone?

      • I didn’t even thing of it in the context of the AIpocalyse. Maybe, seeing what he saw told him that he does succeed in stopping Control because he was still fleshy, but… yeah, he could have been seeing himself as a drone for Control…

        That’s still a pretty powerful moment.

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