Star Trek Discovery - Episode 6 - Lethe

Another interesting entry for Star Trek Discovery from this past Sunday and true to form for today's TV structure, it does not pick up where it last left off.  And that episode left off with a doozy.

"Lethe" ended with a bit of a doozy in and of itself too.  I hope this doesn't become a recurring theme with Discovery, introducing stunning plot lines only to find them deferred until we've either forgotten the specifics or the drama has long since faded.  

While we're at it, Discovery has been roundly criticized for not being "Your daddy's Star Trek" because of it's lack of nobility and it's dark nature.  I've overlooked these criticisms because it's so new and frankly courageous in it's risks.  But let's hope it doesn't get too close to an event horizon that it can't extricate itself from.  (CBS has recently renewed Discovery for a second season so it seems they aren't afraid of a little black hole here and there.)

Shall we get to this week's doozy right away.  We shall.

The Doozy


Discovery nearly left off where the last episode did.  With a major character looking back at a reflection of themselves.

As seen above, Lorca looks into the glass with his face beset with the stars.  It's as if to say his ambitions are so lofty that even the heavens can't contain them.

Even his lover, therapist and superior officer can't contain them!

Not a good move pulling a phaser on your bed mate.

Yes, as we discussed in my last blog post the two have a romantic past.  Not only a romantic past but a professional one as well.  One that goes beyond serving in Starfleet to being patient/therapist.  Pretty deep and it led to the confrontation pictured above.

I've been wrestling with the theory that Admiral Cornwell actually set up this scenario in order to smoke out Lorca's true nature.  As his superior officer, she cannot brook his insubordination nor have him act outside the dictates of Star Fleet.  But, she also traveled all this way to meet him when she could have contacted Lorca through sub-space hologram.

Her reaction to the phaser to the face says no to this idea.  As his therapist she should have known better as to his nature.  But, I have to say, it looks like she was truly stunned.  

Then again, she did refer to his lying on his psych-eval to get back into "the chair" as she pulled her pants on.  This suggests she had an inkling as to what was going on.

It's a tough nut to crack and I'd be interested in what you all thought.  Did "Kat" set this up or was she truly stunned with the outcome and completely surprised?

At the very least, Cornwell miscalculated the depth of Lorca's pathology.  

Here's the real doozy. 
When Lorca learned Sarek was incapacitated and unable to seek out allies within the Klingon Empire, he appealed to Cornwell's better angels.  He must calculated she would jump at the chance to replace Sarek.  But, he also must have realized she'd be at great risk taking on this mission.  His gamble proved worthy when it was learned it was all a trap and his erstwhile lover and superior officer, the women that is keeping all his secrets and on the verge of stripping him of his command, is now facing certain death.

Perhaps his looking into his starry reflection was his way of wondering to what depths he was willing to sink to.  

I guess he may have found that depth when he compounded his perfidy telling Saru that he was going to wait for instructions from Star Fleet before attempting a rescue mission.  

Since when?

Saru was surprised and I think he should have smelled a rat like he did when Burnham tried to take over the Bridge in the first episode.  We'll see where this goes.

Speaking of Burnham.

The "B" Plot

I wouldn't blame you if you thought the Sarek/Burnham story was actually the "A" plot of the episode.  After all, it did send in motion the chain of events that led to Lorca abandoning his Admiral.

But, since the outcome of the Lorca/Cornwell story was such a stunner I can't help but think of it as the lead plot.

In this plot line, it seems Sarek has being carrying a significant amount of guilt over his own betrayal of Burnham. 


This guilt was laid bare when they dying Sarek's Katra reached out to Burnham.  Because of their connection Burnham realized Sarek was in grave danger.

By the way, lest you think the world that Discovery's humans live in is dysfunctional, the Vulcans aren't doing much better.

A faction exists on Vulcan that has taken logic to such an extreme that one is willing to sacrifice one's own life and that of your opponent to achieve it's end.   (That end being putting a stop to consorting with humans.)

Where is the logic in that?  At the very least it isn't very enlightened.  You'd think by this time the Vulcans should be at the height of enlightenment.

Ah well, Sarek managed to elude his assassination but he laid his psyche bare.  

Upon entering Sarek's psyche, Burham eventually learned that Sarek had chosen his son Spock over Burnham to enter the Vulcan Expeditionary Force.  (The irony of which is both ended up serving in Starfleet.)  Sarek had lied to Burnham when he told her she didn't qualify for the VEF and the guilt of this misdeed was so great it became his last thoughts as he lay dying.

Burnham exposed this lie but found it in herself to absolve her "Father" of his guilt.  This was a significant step for Burnham in that the last time a mentor figure stood in her way she chose mutiny.

Do you think Lorca will be absolved of his guilt?  It's doubtful.


Lethe is from the classic Greek for forgetfulness, oblivion and concealment.  There is no doubt Lorca would much prefer his heinous act against Admiral Cornwell be forgotten and sent off into oblivion much like her.

I think he looks to conceal this act by compromising his standing with Burnham and his new head of security Ash Tyler.  Lorca and Tyler are spending "Bro" time together in the holodeck and with his new position, Tyler is much less likely to act against Lorca should the truth come to light.

Burnham too is much indebted to Lorca for her new position on the Bridge in a science position not to mention her escape from prison damnation thanks to him.

Can she really commit a mutiny again?  

I'm not sure Lorca plays cards but he seems to be holding the winning hand.  The Klingons will eventually seek to make a deal with Cornwell as a hostage.   I can see a scenario where Lorca will be forced into a rescue mission but it will somehow go "awry" ending in Cornwell's death.  Tyler and Burnham will be forced to choose between exposing the truth or retaining their new positions.

Lethe indeed.

Odds and Ends

When we last left Stamets he was leaving the mirror and joining his partner Dr. Colber.  The viewing audience returned to the mirror and we watched the reflection walk away again.


Naturally, that thread was left dangling but in the interim Stamets seems to have grown a personality.  No longer the arrogant stoic he's seems downright chipper.  Maybe even a little high.  I can't wait to see Colber's reaction.

We got a good look at a Vulcan city-scape.   Normally, our views of Vulcan have been of the arid and barren countryside.  The heavy accent on the reds and whites seem to suggest an inspiration from that desert-scape.  

In the upper corners of each side of the above picture, we see what seems to be sculptures of animals.  Perhaps even aquatic animals.  My guess they are homage to a long dead set of species that were water-borne.   These rectangular reflecting pools may be another homage to the long dead oceans that once graced Vulcan.

Lastly, is that a throne near the top center?  Perhaps for T'Pau


Here's our first look at Amada Grayson, Sarek's human wife and of course, mother to Spock.  So young!  The original Amanda was ably played by Jane Wyatt in the original series.  I always loved how the original couple would raise their two fingers as a token of love for each other.

Large shoes to fill for the new Amanda, actress Mia Kirshner.  (Remember her from 24?)

Now it's time for a whacked out totally tin hat theory.  Guess who will be the future Captain of the USS Discovery someday?  (If not the Discovery B if Lorca manages to blow up this version.)

Of course Tilly!  They are totally setting this up.  She's on the Captain track, she's being mentored and it seems like the furthest thing from reality.

A total lock. You read it here first.  

(Let's hope we get a flash-forward or a little time travel so we can see Captain Tilly in the midst of a heated battle and ably returning fire.)


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