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Welcome to possibly the most gothically titled episode we'll see all season. And you know what that kind of title means, right? Yep, The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry is chock full of feelings, and they start with Michael's uniform.


Michael Burnham's uniform

Watching Michael's uniform synthesise was intense, right? Once I knew what was going on, I liked how much visual importance the team gave to the threads meshing together in the synthesiser. And the full force of what that uniform means to her is right there in her eyes. Ugh, I love Michael.

Michael's character arc

The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry is more about action and plot than Michael's character. Michael is at the centre of solving the technological problem at the heart of this episode (how to make the S. S. Discovery's new warp technology work and to Corved 2) but this plot does little to develop of her character along the way. That's fine because none of the other characters take over the character building spotlight but it does make this episode a little bit underwhelming in places. I'm in Star Trek: Discovery primarily for Michael's journey, and I think Discovery has made it pretty clear that she's the show's main focus. I think this is another big departure from past Star Trek shows which usually split off to focus on other characters at some point. Somehow I can't see Saru or Tilly getting single episode spotlights or their own split off storylines (which I guess means there's even more scope for fan-fic to explore).

Given my laser focus on Michael, it's probably unsurprising that my favourite element of this episode is her interactions with Ripper. Most of Michael's character development in this episode hinges on her decision to allow Ripper to be hurt in order to save Corved 2. In past episodes, we've seen Michael do the wrong thing for the right reason so it is little surprise that she doesn't intervene when it's clear Ripper is in pain. However, in Context is For Kings, Lorca characterises Michael as someone who does the right thing even at great cost to herself. And that changes the way we see Michael's actions here. In The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry, she betrays something in herself for the greater good rather than stick to her core principles at any cost. And the fact that this pains her is clear in the facial expression she makes when the Glenn's machinery digs into Ripper, and the apology she makes to Ripper after Corved 2 is saved. It is telling that none of the rest of Discovery's crew feels any remorse about using Ripper this way, and once again leads me to suspect that Michael's biggest dilemma will be finding a way to do what is best in a way that is right.

(I really want her to release Ripper in the next episode btw.)

Lorca's den of death

If this is Michael's character arc then surely it will bring her into direct conflict with Lorca. He clearly has no qualms about doing whatever is necessary to save the lives that he believes matter. Is it me or should Michael be a bit more creeped out by Lorca? While it makes sense for him to study war, inviting your new crewmate to your den of deadly weaponry on the first day seems a bit much. It's pretty clear to me that Lorca intends to weaponise Michael just as he wants to weaponise Ripper, and I am not ok with that.

Also, interesting to see that Saru is not Team Lorca after all, and is instead just following the chain of command. Does anyone like Lorca? More importantly, does anyone trust Lorca (and if not why does he have a Star Ship?)

The death of Commander Landry

In fact, the only person who really seemed to be at least vaguely in line with Lorca's way of thinking is now dead. I am really annoyed about this. We'd already seen Ripper kill and, while practically Landry needs to be removed from taking 'care' of Ripper so that Michael can make her discoveries, it seems unnecessary that she die. I was really hoping Landry would develop into a wonderful, secondary antagonist for Michael (maybe the kind of antagonist who slowly comes around to a woman who can be just as hard as she can over a glass or two of fine whisky in the mess) but instead she's dead. And her death doesn't mean much because viewers haven't really had a chance to get to know her, and we haven't seen any of her own emotional ties developed on screen. Also Landry is the second chromatic female character who has died in this series, and we're only four episodes in. Obviously Michael still helms the show and a, so far unnamed, black female officer sits on the bridge of the Discovery but anxious fans are going to be keeping count of deaths like Landry's.

The brief return of Georgiou

Just… Georgiou appearing as a hologram and gifting Michael her banged up, much loved telescope so she can keep exploring the universe! I have no words about this whole speech which was magnificent. 'You are like my own daughter.' OMG YOU HAVE TO STOP.

I mean, the 'sci-fi has too many feelings' brigade must be enraged by Discovery right about now.

The Klingons

Finally, I should mention the positives and the negatives of the Klingons who have returned after an episode away. So, I really like that Discovery has decided to do something different with the Klingons by giving them so much space, and their own storylines. It's interesting to see so much behind the scenes insight into their culture, and to see some of the character's lives unfold just as we see Star Fleet characters develop and grow.

However - Klingon romance. Woah, I had no idea how little I wanted a Klingon romance until it was actually happening. It's just weird.

I also did not want L'Rell's speech about how standing 'behind' Voq means she can maneuver better. That's smart thinking from the lady but the text of this speech makes her words ring with a really icky sense of female subservience because of the word 'behind'. I'd encourage any creative team to think about the use of this world when putting a TV show into a world where women have historically been made to walk behind men because they were viewed as lesser. Phrases like 'stand at your back' would work equally well without the depressing undertones.

Eventually we're going to reach a point where Star Fleet will have to interact with Voq, L'Rell, and the Klingons again. And at that point the creative team are going to have to decide how to play the Klingons. Do they go back to being straight up villains the viewer roots against as they back Star Fleet? Or do they remain complex characters whose lives viewers are expected to care about as much as they care about the crew of Discovery? If the team choose the second option, what does that mean for the Discovery crew? And won't it be hard to square any viewer sympathy with the fact that Voq literally ate Georgiou's brain? Personally, I think that's kind of a hard thing to get over (and once again, so unnecessary).

Who out there is still watching Star Trek: Discovery and how did you find this episode? Am I the only one hoping for something a little lighter on Klingons, and a little heavier on Michael bonding with Tilly while gently sniping with Saru?

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