Adira and Stamets in engineering in Star Trek: Discovery “Lagrange Point”

“Warm fuzzy encouragement that I don’t need” — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Lagrange Point”

Last week, it was a race to get to the Progenitors’ tech, and our heroes had one advantage: a last-minute instruction that wasn’t on the clues themselves, but which Burnham was told when she got the last clue.

By the end of “Lagrange Point” we have learned that the last-minute instruction was a specific phrase that Burnham would need to speak at some point. And we also learned that the tech is in a big container that was left at the Lagrange Point between two singularities that are two of the oldest stars in the galaxy, and which is an interdimensional portal, apparently.

The episode ends with Burnham following two Breen and Moll into the portal to try to find the tech, with Rayner about to order Discovery to follow them in.

Getting to that point really didn’t need to take up an entire episode, but it did. And it was at once very exciting and very annoying.

In terms of straight-up action and intrigue and maneuvering and thinking their way out of the problem, the story worked. The Breen snagged the tech and put it in their cargo hold, and Discovery (which has been cloaked the entire time, so the Breen still think they’re destroyed) has to, in essence, pull a heist.

Now I loves me a good heist. Two of my favorite TV shows are heist shows: Leverage and Hustle, and I also loved the heist parts of the TV show Animal Kingdom and the movie Solo. And visually, veteran director Jonathan Frakes does his usual excellent job, with mostly perfect pacing.

(I say mostly because the script calls for Burnham and Book to have a heart-to-heart in the middle of their time-sensitive away mission. Sure.)

But the script, by Sean Cochran and Ari Friedman, is a big honkin’ mess that makes no sense.

Adira and Stamets in engineering in Star Trek: Discovery “Lagrange Point”
Credit: CBS / Paramount+

On the face of it, Discovery’s plan seems like a good one: infiltrate the Breen dreadnought, disguise themselves as Breen, and steal the doodad. An advantage to trying to steal something from the Breen is that it should be easy to disguise yourself as one of them.

Except for one problem: the Breen are supposed to be (a) incredibly advanced, and (b) completely mysterious. How is Discovery able to perfectly replicate a Breen suit enough so that a real Breen can’t tell the difference? How are they able to suddenly translate the Breen language? And how can they all communicate with each other without the Breen—who are supposed to have superior technology—knowing that they’re doing it?

Basically, the notion that Discovery’s away team can so perfectly imitate Breen so that no one notices strains credulity well beyond the breaking point.

Having said that, the final bit of the heist did work, mostly because at this point Burnham and Book were exposed and they had to think their way out of the problem. Burnham mentions their first confrontation with Moll and L’ak back in “Red Directive,” which is meant as a hint to Rayner as to how to rescue them.

This results in a visually spectacular sequence as Discovery basically rams into the cargo bay and blasts its contents out into space, including both Book and Burnham and the doodad. The idea is to beam them off, although Burnham has entered the portal by this point, following Moll.

Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) prepares to step through the portal in Star Trek: Discovery “Lagrange Point”
Credit: CBS / Paramount+

Speaking of Moll, despite Eve Harlow doing the best she can, I remain utterly unconvinced that she’s now the leader of the Breen, and I have yet to see a single reason why anyone would even consider taking orders from her.

Meantime, another Breen Primarch is on her way: Tahal, the Primarch who occupied Kellerun during Rayner’s younger days. She doesn’t actually show up—like far too much, that’s being saved for next week’s finale—but it’s obvious that Rayner still has some major PTSD regarding her.

One bit of good news: Saru’s back! After an unconscionably long time without Doug Jones, he’s back, and has volunteered to try to negotiate with Tahal to keep her from blowing everything up. But we don’t see him performing that mission, either. However, we do get him and Tara Rosling’s T’Rina being adorable, which is always welcome. Plus Chelah Horsdal is back as President Rillak, which will always make me happy. (Allow me to once again plug my Rillak short story “Work Worth Doing” in Star Trek Explorer #9.)

Also, I do want to single out Blu del Barrio and Patrick Kwok-Choon as Adira and Rhys, respectively. Their banter as they work to bring down the Breen shields—Adira using their super brain and Rhys providing support and protection—is hilarious. I especially loved when Rhys hit upon the notion of bullying the low-ranking officer at the console and making him leave so Adira can do her work. Adira just mutters, “Everyone always picks on the ensign…”

Last season, Discovery was paced perfectly for its first half, and then slowed to a crawl for its second. It’s happening again, as the season started out well paced, but we kept side-stepping into Breen stupidity and other weird distractions, and now spending an entire episode with a heist that just gets us to where we should’ve been at the beginning of the episode: with Moll and Burnham both chasing the tech in the dimensional portal. Everything else has just been wheel-spinning to get us to where we need to go, and we should’ve gotten there already. It’s like last season when they spent an entire episode getting through the Galactic Barrier (a trip that took Kirk’s Enterprise all of five minutes each of the three times they did it). Once again we’ve got an entire episode that should’ve been a pre-credits teaser.

Saru (Doug Jones) at Federation Headquarters in Star Trek: Discovery “Lagrange Point”
Credit: CBS / Paramount+

And now we have to wait another week for the finale—which will apparently be 90 minutes long, so hopefully there’ll be room for everything… icon-paragraph-end

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