TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Choose Your Pain


TL;DR – Today we meet our final main cast member, and delve into the lives of some of the others, oh and maybe a new villain.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Choose Your Pain Banner


This was an interesting week for Star Trek Discovery, and not just because it is episode five and one of the main cast only just showed up. No, it was interesting because we got to see a deeper side as to what drives a number of the leading characters. So let’s dive in, and as per usual just a warning that there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

So to set the scene, in last week’s The Butchers Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry (See Review), after a lot of trial and error, the USS Discovery crew successfully used its spore drive. This meant they were able to jump to Corvan II and save the miners from the Klingon assault. This was all thanks to the tardigrade that they found, who is linked to the spore network and lets the ship jump much further than they would on their own. Well, today’s episode has been a couple of weeks since then, and the USS Discovery has been helping out across the front line shoring things up and counter punching the Klingons where they can. However, this has not gone unnoticed and this week opens with Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) being abducted on route back to USS Discovery from a meeting with the Admiralty. This leaves Saru (Doug Jones) as acting captain, in charge of both finding the captain before the Klingon’s make him talk, and a giant ethical quandary dropped on his lap.

Choose Your Pain 1

Harry Mudd is an interesting addition to the Discovery series

As I mentioned this week was all about revealing things about our leading cast and on that front, I think the episode was really worked. Take Saru, he is from a species that evolved to see things in very black and white terms, prey and predator, and that works into his calculations. We see this to be a benefit in some situations and an issue in others. We also get to see the aftermath of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) coup had on Saru, and how in some respects he is not ready for command because he missed out on that learning. However, with all due respect to Saru, in those first moments after learning the captain was missing he gave a set of commands that shows that he has what it takes.

Lorca has always been the difficult new character, because he is making it very hard for people to root for him, but that does not mean you don’t understand where he is coming from. In many respects, he is the other side of the coin to Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) when it comes to the direction of Starfleet’s and the Federations soul. This week he spent most of the time being tortured by the Klingon’s to find out what he knows about the spore drive. In the prison ship he meets Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson) a civilian independent merchant caught up in the war and Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) a Starfleet officer captured in the Battle at the Binary Suns (See Review) and has been kept alive mostly because he was being raped by the prison ship’s commandant. Here we get to see Lorca’s tactical side at work, as he plants bits of information two the two people in his cell to see if any of them were Klingon spies. However, while this goes about humanising his character a giant bombshell gets dropped to complicate matters. Lorca was the only surviving crewmember from his last ship the USS Buran, not only that, he initiated the self-destruct to save his crew the indignity of a slow death on Qo’noS. See this only makes sense if Lorca went down with the ship as well, but he didn’t, so I think there is more going on here.

Choose Your Pain 2

Another first for the series

Finally, we have, Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) the chief engineer and main person behind the spore drive. So far in the series, he has been this stuffy academic type only focused on his research but this week we start to see a more depth to his character. We see that in the way he talks with Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) helping to drop the first f-bomb in Star Trek history. But also in how he was willing to sacrifice his own life to save both the captain and prevent the tardigrade from coming to any more harm. One of the calling anthems from some parts of the Internet in the build-up to Discovery launching and its war storyline was “Can we not have politics in Star Trek …”. To which I say have you ever seen a single episode of Star Trek in your life, just having Sulu, Uhura and Chekov were political statements. There is a whole subplot in First Contact where Picard espoused the money free world of the future, and don’t get me started on DS9. However, I think the most profound statement they have made in a very long time is having the main couple of the show being an inter-racial gay couple. Also, it was nice to see some realistic couple dialogue, and what is only the second time in all of the 734 episodes released so far when we have seen a toothbrush.

In the end, it will be interesting to see what dynamic Ash ads to the crew, and I highly doubt that is the last time we will see the wonderfully acted Harry Mudd. It was also really good to see this take a more character focused direction. However, just about everything this season has been on spaceships, or stations, for varieties sake, it would be good to get out of that confine occasionally. Also, what be up with that ending …

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Star Trek Discovery yet?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    

Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek Discovery
Directed by
– Lee Rose
Written by – Kemp Powers, Gretchen J Berg, Aaron Harberts
Based off – Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Created by – Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
Starring in Season 1 – Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman & Jason Isaacs with Michelle Yeoh, James Frain, Chris Obi, Mary Chieffo, Rainn Wilson, Kenneth Mitchell, Rekha Sharma, Damon Runyan, Clare McConnell & Wilson Cruz


3 thoughts on “TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Choose Your Pain

  1. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  2. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Vaulting Ambition | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  3. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Chapter 2 and Season 1 Overview    | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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