TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: The War Within, The War Without  

TL;DR – The season is hurtling towards the season finale and today is about putting all our ducks in a row waiting for next week’s growing dilemma.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The War Without, The War Within


It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of the first season of Star Trek Discovery, and that today’s episode is the penultimate entry for the season. Now, this more than any episode this season was all about getting everything ready for what I am assuming is going to be a massive season finale. Which is good because you can see where it is going in the future, but does leave this being one of the weaker episodes this season, but given the strength of the season it still is a fascinating one to watch. Now as always, we will be going into depth with the episode, so there may be [SPOILERS] ahead.

So to set the scene, at the end of What’s Past is Prologue (see review) we discovered a couple of very important things. First, that the USS Discovery is back in the prime timeline, but unfortunately they arrived nine months after they left and the war with the Klingons has gone very badly. As well as this, the USS Discovery did not come back to its universe empty-handed as the mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) was brought by Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) off her dreadnought before it was destroyed. Of course, the final titbit is that Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is dead, gone, dematerialised, never to return … maybe. Well at the start of this episode we are relieved to find out that The Federation and Starfleet are not dead, as Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) boards the Discovery and uses Sarek (James Frain) to force meld with Saru (Doug Jones) to check if it is a trap. However, the war has gone very badly and nothing that Starfleet has done has stopped the Klingon advance. The Federation has lost about 20% of its territory, and about 30% of its fleet due to a combination of suicide attacks, and the cloaking screens that they still cannot breach. We also find out the answer to what damage the ISS Discovery has been doing in our universe, nothing, they were ambushed and destroyed by Klingon ships the moment they entered our space. It is at the point where the Klingons have a real chance of taking Earth, and only a huge gambit will stop the coming apocalypse.

When the admiralty beams on with weapons drawn that's not a good sign.

When the admiralty beams on with weapons drawn that’s not a good sign.


As the title of the episode alludes to, this episode is all about those battles within, as well as the larger Klingon-Federation War going on without. For Ash (Shazad Latif) there is the battle to reconcile who he was, what he did, and who he is now. Which is not an easy prospect when you are on the same ship with Stamets (Anthony Rapp) whose partner you murdered in cold blood to protect your secret, and Michael who you tried to kill when the Voq side of your personality tried to assert yourself. By the end of the episode, he has been comforted by some of the crew, but understandably not by the two people he needs some kind of absolving by which probably is going to play into his role next week or next season. As well as this, you have Michael battling with her emotions and logic, logic said leave Georgiou behind, but the emotional core of her being could not let her die a second time if she could stop it. For Cornwell, there is that battle between what she knows is right, and the very real possibility that she could lose the Federation if she does not act decisively, a fact that I think Georgiou has probably exploited. All of these personal battles are setting the groundwork for next week’s episode where many, if not all, of these, will come to the foreground.

One thing I do want to say about this episode is how it continues to shows the strength of the women on Discovery and it has been really great to see that evolve throughout the season. Michael has been to hell and back a couple of times this season, she has made mistakes, but she has also owned those mistakes. In her conversation with Ash, we get the see the struggle she has faced every day since her actions led to the death of our Georgiou and probably the current war. Over the season she has taken such strides, that during the last Mirror Universe arc I forgot for a moment that she does not have a rank. You have Sylvia (Mary Wiseman) who is only a cadet on this ship that has battled Klingons, travelled on propulsion never seen before, and pretended to be a captain of the ship in a mirror universe. Like Michael she has travelled so much over the course of the season, she has gone from being that shy cadet, to getting her ship out of no-win-scenarios, saving Stamet’s life, and asserting herself more and more, even when it is not what she wants to do. In today’s episode, we have a number of moments, but I really loved when she got up and walked over to Ash in the mess, is the only crew member to take that first step, or when she reminded us that it would not take much for us to slip into being Terrans. You have Cornwell who has been fighting a losing war for nine months and still keeps on fighting. Even though they might be bad … maybe, the jury is still out here … Mirror Georgiou and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) also have a real power to their performances. All of this is because the writers are creating these fascinating characters, and the actors are giving their all to the roles.

Just look at how beautiful this info-graphic is, gorgeous

Just look at how beautiful this info-graphic is, gorgeous


So I have mentioned that a lot of this episode was build up for next week’s finale, which would probably be not a big problem if I could watch the finale now, but it is when I have to wait a week that it becomes a problem, and yes I know I am being impatient here and I shouldn’t be. But what a fascinating finale this episode is setting up. Michael thinks that they are going to spore drive into a cave on Qo’noS chart the surface in secret and then allow Starfleet to have a sneak attack that destroys every military facility on the planet forcing the Klingon forces to retreat back to their home planet. However, with Georgiou leading the mission and her conversations with Sarek I think we can take the hint that it will be more than just military targets being hit. The question is how far is the Federation willing to go to protect themselves? Are they willing to throw away everything they hold dear for the price of security, gee that is not a relevant storyline at all.

In the end, while this might not have been the strongest episode of the season, it was still a fascinating one. Sure it took a lot of time getting all the players into position for next week’s climax but what an interesting episode it is setting up. We also got to see more of the crew, and Saru be a stronger commander, and I think that next week is likely to go down in history as one of the defining episodes of Star Trek.


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 –
Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by –
Ted Sullivan
Based offStar 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, Emily Coutts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon & Sara Mitich


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