TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows

TL;DR – In our darkest moments we show our true strength or failure, and be glad we had Pike on our side.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows. Image Credit: CBS Studios.


Things are starting to really hit the fan in Star Trek Discovery as a secret sentient AI is positioning itself to wipe out all sentient life and it has started using nanites to replicate real people. That’s a problem, a real problem, a ‘resistance is futile’ kind of problem. But never fear because the red lights are back and this week brings us revelations of the future and connections with the past.

So to set the scene, with the knowledge that Control now has 50% of the sphere’s data and that there is no more Red Angel to help because her time crystal was destroyed in last week’s Perpetual Infinity, everyone is a little bit on edge. No one more than Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) who watched her mum come back from the dead, be mostly disinterested in her, and then get sucked back into the future with no hope of returning all in a space of a day. That is going to be upsetting. But another of the red bursts has emerged this time over the Klingon planet Boreth, a sore spot for Ash (Shazad Latif) as it means reconnecting with L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) now the Mother of the Klingon Empire. As well as this, a Section 31 ship had an odd transmission and Michael is desperate to find Control and this might be the way to do it. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
It was great to see some depth added to Boreth a place know throughout the canon. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

This is an episode of two halves and the first half has us venturing into the Klingon Empire for the first time since Point of Light. Since then L’Rell has continued to cement her rule over the empire and turn it away from just a collection of petty warlords, which we see when she arrives on her new flagship a D7 cruiser. There is an instant connection when she and Ash see each other for the first time, but it also immediately devolves into a fight as Pike (Anson Mount) looks awkwardly on. Indeed, what is interesting is that in an episode on the holiest place in the Klingon Empire it is not one of our regular Klingons that have a spiritual experience but Pike.

We soon find out why the red burst sent them to Boreth because not only is it the home of the monastery that Kahless is prophesied to return too, but the monks also are caretakers over the only known natural source of time crystals. While this might feel odd, it was the Klingon’s Janeway went to when she needed a time machine, also a fun fact – that was not a Dilithium Crystal sitting there in the opening credits all this time. Everyone wanting a crystal has to pay a price and most are driven mad by it. So what is the price, from Pike it is the knowledge of the future and also the certainty that there is nothing that he can do to change it. For the last season, the show has been dropping hints as to what we know about Pike’s future and here we face it straight on. Full respect to the writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt for showing not only that Pike was injured trying to save the life of a Starfleet trainee a truly selfless act, that when given the opportunity, knowing what he knows, to change his future, he chooses ‘service, sacrifice, compassion, and love.’ Also, I have to say once again that Anson Mount has been truly spectacular as Pike and I wish we could get more of him after the end of this season even though that can’t really happen. Also, a quick note that Jett (Tig Notaro) going around and playing a sort of matchmaker, or in this case a match reconciler was a beautiful little threw line throughout the episode.

Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
Anson Mount brings so much power to the role of Captain Pike. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

We then flip to the other side of the story and the hunt for Control which leads Michael and Spock to a dialect Section 31 ship NI-1101 surrounded by floating corpses of its crew. Thankfully one of them was still alive and so they beamed him on board and discovered that it was Kamran Grant (Ali Momen) who served with Michael on the USS Shenzhou. Now if you do not remember who that was, well they added a handy insert because while I think they have done a great job of shining a light on the bridge crew this season, I 100% had no idea who he was. Now if you are sitting here thinking, wait what the one person alive is also someone Michael already knows, that’s mighty coincidental, you’d be right because Grant was Control.

First walking into what was clearly a trap and not realising it was a trap is kind of Michael’s go-to move, so I didn’t mind that. But this side of things did coalesce what I thought about how the show is presenting Section 31. It is clear from Enterprise that S31 has been around since before Federation in the shadows. From the look of things since then, it used the rising threats to come out into the open and use that as a way of becoming almost a legitimate part of Starfleet to the point where now it had over 30 ships at its disposal. It is also clear from Deep Space Nine that at some point S31 went back into the shadows. How could that happen, well it might happen when an AI kills your leadership and then spaces all the crews on all your ships, that I don’t think have much time left on their clocks. It would not wipe out all of Section 31 but enough that it has to start from almost scratch again. Also before we move on, anyone else who has played Mass Effect, did you get a Legion vibe in this episode? When they return to Discovery they find that Pike has secured a new time crystal, but also that they are surrounded by what I assume are crewless Section 31 vessels. This leads them with only one option, the self-destruct, and we cut to black. Will the ship be destroyed next week? Well let’s just say in the history of Star Trek: The Number of Times a Self-Destruct is used ≠ The Number of Destroyed Ships, and I think we can expect some unexpected help next week.

Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows. Image Credit: CBS Studios.
The literal death of Section 31. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

In the end, do we recommend Through the Valley of Shadows? Yes, yes we do. You know things are starting to hit the fan when the show’s titles start taking on Biblical connotations. My only major big issue is that this episode is clearly here to springboard us into the final two episodes and at the time of writing I can watch them, and I really want to.                           

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.   

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek Discovery
Directed by –
Doug Aarniokoski
Written by – Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt
Based offStar Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Created by – Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman  
Production/Distribution Companies – CBS Television Studios, Roddenberry Entertainment, Secret Hideout, CBS All Access & Netflix. 
Starring in Season 2 – Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Shazad Latif, Wilson Cruz & Anson Mount with Mia Kirshner, Mary Chieffo, Ethan Peck, Tig Notaro, Kenneth Mitchell, Rachael Ancheril, Ali Momen, Emily Coutts, Oyin Oladejo, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Ronnie Rowe Jr., Sara Mitich, David Benjamin Tomlinson, Ian James Corlett and Julianne Grossman.


2 thoughts on “TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Through the Valley of Shadows

  1. Pingback: TV Review – Star Trek Discovery: Such Sweet Sorrow Part 1 | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  2. Pingback: Star Trek Discovery: Season 3 Primer | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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