TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

TL;DR – Back to the war this week and the Federation is starting to lose, and desperate times calls for desperate measures, and an away team.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum banner


After taking a pause from the galactic battle last week when Mudd (Rainn Wilson) invaded the USS Discovery in Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad (see review). This week we are back to the war between the Klingons and the Federation, and the tables have turned once again. In tonight’s episode, we get three intertwining stories play out, and we get to learn some Latin, so that’s always fun, says everyone never raised in the English private school system. This three-story structure is good because we get to see some character pairings we have not seen so far, and it also gives us a chance to explore more of the Klingon world. For those interested, this is the 9th time Star Trek has used Latin in an episode title, and today’s episode ‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ translates to ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’ and well it is an apt title this week. So after we set the scene, we will break down each of the stories and as always there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

So to set the scene, last week we had the feeling that the Federation had turned the tide in the war with the Klingons, however, the more things change the more they stay the same. Unfortunately, just when the Federation found its upper hand, the Klingons roll out their cloaking devices, or invisibility screens as they are called, across the Empire and Federation ships start to fall. We see that first hand when the Discovery Spore Jumps in to help the USS Gagarin under fire from multiple Klingon birds of prey, as well as battlecruisers and destroyers. Unfortunately, the Discovery was not able to save the Gagarin, even when they tried ramming the torpedoes aimed at the crippled ship. But the bad news doesn’t stop there, with coordinated attacks across the Federation front line taking out the USS Hoover and the USS Muroc and killing 462 crew. So now more than ever, the fate of the Federation is in the balance unless they can find a way through the invisibility screens.

The battle is here and all is not good

The battle is here and all is not good

Well, the good thing is that this is the very mission Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Saru (Doug Jones), and Tyler (Shazad Latif) are on. For you see on the planet Pahvo everything vibrates with each other, and if it could be tuned right it could be like a modern sonar, picking up the Klingon ships even when they are cloaked. There was quite a lot I liked about this storyline, the first of which was to be it is so good to see an away mission on a planet. This was one aspect of the show that had been missing so far, and it is really important as it adds to the world. When you are seeing nothing but starship/starbase interiors well you need a change, and this week we go it. Another aspect I liked about this week is that we got to see more of Saru and learn more about his civilization. It reinforces the unease that he has with Burnham as he can detect danger, or what he perceives as a danger, from kilometres away, and well you can’t get kilometres away from someone on the Discovery. This is also where we got one of classic Trek’s conundrums, General Order One, or the Prime Directive. I did kind of like that they name dropped it without going into detail because they knew the people watching it would get the reference. While I don’t think anyone would have been surprised with the Pahvans showing up, they were a new interesting species and I’m interested to see where this goes with them in part two. Also as the young people, today say I am totally on board with, Burnler or Tyham or whatever the portmanteau is, wait do the kids still do that, please someone help me understand youth culture.

While all this is happening we also get a little bit of time on the USS Discovery and an issue that may have serious ramifications for one of the characters. When Stamets (Anthony Rapp) stepped out of the Spore Drive for a moment the composure he had been keeping up fell apart when he asked Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) why was he down in engineering Captain. Tilly being the caring person that she is immediately checked to see if he was all right, at which point Stamets went ballistic. Even though this was only two scenes in the episode I liked it because we got to see some major character growth from both of them, even in those two small scenes. First, for Tilly, we see her finally standing up in the face of opposition, which marks a big step in her move to becoming more assertive. But her motivations behind this is because she can see someone is in trouble and she wants to help, it is such a refreshing change today when there is so much negativity in the world I can say ‘be like Tilly’. Also for Stamets, his anger comes out of a fear that he doesn’t know what is happening to him, and he is trying to not make others suffer for his mistake.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum 1

Well the symbolism here is telling

Our final plotline is on the Klingon flagship the Sarcophagus, where we discover what happened to Cornwell (Jayne Brook) after she was captured by the Klingons at the end of Lethe (see review). Since being captured she has been tortured by the Klingons trying to find out the secrets of the Federation’s fightback, and she has not said a word, go Cornwell. Well guess who’s back, back again, L’Rell’s (Mary Chieffo) back, tell a friend. Well, L’Rell is back to ask to join Kol’s (Kenneth Mitchell) side because he is actually succeeding in uniting the waring Klingon houses. Kor asked her to give something to the cause, and she gives her ability to interrogate. But psyche, she is not here to join Kor, she is here to defect … or maybe not … I think that will be more clear next week. So these scenes were not just great because they let us see more of the Klingons, they are great because I didn’t know I wanted to see a Cornwell/L’Rell team-up show, but now I want to watch all of that. This is also where all our stories meet up because the Pahvans just invited the Klingon flagship to peace talks … they don’t know what hell they have just unleashed.

From a production side of things, I really liked the athletics in this episode, especially the new planet. I’m sure some people will go but they just colour shifted all the plants blue, but come on that’s Star Trek, that’s always been Star Trek. Indeed, Discovery joined a long list of Sci-Fi staples including Star Trek and Doctor Who by filming in what I believe was a quarry and I loved it. Also once again this week, the lighting is on point, I have to give full props to Colin Hoult the cinematographer, and Franco Tata the light designer for all their wonderful work.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum 3

I want to see more of this team up

In the end, did we enjoy this week’s episode of Star Trek Discovery, of course, we did. What will be interesting to see is how we wrap things up next week with part two. Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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
– John S. Scott
Written by – Kirsten Beyer
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, Jayne Brook, Chris Obi, Mary Chieffo, Rainn Wilson, Kenneth Mitchell, Rekha Sharma, Damon Runyan, Clare McConnell & Wilson Cruz


1 thought on “TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

  1. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Into the Forest I Go | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.