This was kind of a change of pace after last week’s terrific episode. It’s clearly the calm before the mid-season break storm, but it was still underwhelming. There was some great character development with Saru and that’s about it.
Saru was the star of this episode. His personal and cultural history of fear and extreme sensitivity played into the new species’ open and constant communication practices quite beautifully. The Pahvans(?) don’t seem evil, but lordy lord if Saru isn’t exactly the kind of poor soul that gets pulled into joining a cult five seconds after he’s left on his own. As misguided as he was however, I did love that Saru’s actions were dictated by his need to preserve this way of life more than it was a selfish drive to keep it for himself.
We barely know anything about them, yet the Pahvans are already one of my favorite Star Trek species. I sincerely hope there is nothing sinister about these music-loving fairy lights of the forest that just want to create beautiful music and share it with the universe. (I’m also begging for a musical episode, which would be absurdly easy to write within this context just saying). Major complaint to the production team: the Pahvans look like the spores’ cousins and unless that proves to be an actual plot point I demand alien diversity.
For all her troubles with emotions, Michael is empathetic to her core, so it made it particularly touching to see her acceptance of Saru even after he kicked her in the chest and all but tried to kill her. She probably sees a lot of herself in him, making terrible choices in order to best protect. Tilly on the other end can’t possibly have any idea what Stamets is going through, but she still confronts him about it like a future captain would. Full disclosure I kinda miss old Stamets.
I already told you Ash and Michael’s relationships was going to be tragic, plot twist or no, and her sad smiles might just be my cause of death. He’s proving to be a very wholesome boy, despite his tenuous grasp on the greater good’s priority, and I love him. It’s going to hurt. I liked the little darkness seeping in when he was trying to distract Saru. I doubt he would ever follow through with it at the end of the day (unless stupid plot twist is stupid), but I don’t think his need to hurt those who hurt him came out of nowhere and I’d love for the show to explore that a little more.
Seeing as Sunday’s episode’s going to be the last one till January, next week’s installment may be posted next Sunday or Monday.