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Nightmare Fuel / Star Trek: Discovery

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Turns out there's a very good reason Saru wanted to leave his planet. Not pictured: the glowing red eyes.
"The cosmos has lost its brilliance, and everywhere I turn... there's fear."
Michael Burnham

As a TV-MA Darker and Edgier Star Trek show, Discovery is shaping up to continue the Star Trek tradition of treating the galaxy as a mix of amazing wonders and terrifying dangers.

WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.

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    Season 1 
"The Vulcan Hello"
  • The Shenzhou detects... something hiding in the accretion disc of a binary star. They know exactly where it is, but some distortion is preventing them from getting a solid look at it. The audience knows that this is most likely a Cloaking Device, but the crew has no idea what they are looking at or what it could mean.
  • The effects the radiation of the star would have on someone who got too close too long without protection, leading to a breakdown on a genetic level. Turns into Mood Whiplash with Saru's choice of words to describe how one's DNA would deteriorate.
    Burnham: Like noodles?!
  • T'Kuvma's flagship, the Sarcophagus, is covered in coffins, some containing rotting corpses dating back thousands of years.

"Battle At The Binary Stars"

  • A large standoff between Klingon and Starfleet ships erupts into a massive space battle, and true to Georgiou's warning, it is all chaos and explosions and fire and screams of the wounded. To make it worse, Burnham has to spend most of it locked up in the brig, unable to do anything to help. Adding to the Nothing Is Scarier element, she can't even get a damage report to know how badly the ship is damaged because the computer has her Locked Out of the Loop due to being a prisoner.
  • Ensign Connor, the operations officer from the bridge, is injured and sent to report to Sickbay. In a Heroic BSoD, he ends up wandering into the brig while disoriented by his injuries. While Burnham, powerless to help him, tries to get him to go to Sickbay, he briefly laments that Starfleet shouldn't even be in battle, being explorers rather than soldiers. He finally starts to get his bearings, only to be blasted into space when most of the brig is destroyed along with a significant portion of the ship.
  • Burnham now finds herself trapped in her cell, still pressurized by emergency force fields, surrounded by open space on three sides. The computer reports that the force fields will fail in a few minutes, but refuses to release her while there is still any chance she can still survive in her cell. Fortunately, she is able to use logic to convince the computer that it must release her under the computer's ethical protocols so that she can make it to the next pressurized compartment, essentially by explaining how her odds of survival are better being flung through the breached compartment than staying in her cell until the force fields fail. Burnham still has to make a jump several seconds long through the airless void of space to reach the corridor beyond.
  • Admiral Anderson arrives in the Europa, saves the crippled Shenzhou from crashing into an asteroid, and convinces the Klingons to agree to a ceasefire so that negotiations can start. T'Kuvma seemingly agrees to this, only to order a cloaked warship to ram the Europa without warning, resulting in the battle starting with renewed carnage. The crew of the Europa barely have time to figure out what's happening and start evacuating before setting off their warp core to destroy both ships. Making the effect even more disconcerting, Anderson was in the middle of a conversation with Georgiou and his initial confused reaction to the collision is the last thing transmitted from Europa.
  • The space battle is relatively devoid of wide open shots letting us clearly see what's happening. For the most part, we have a series of close-in shots with ships flying in and out of frame, sometimes not even being fully framed in the shot, making for a very claustrophobic experience. When the Europa is rammed, even when the Klingon ship uncloaks, we never get a good look at it, with the shot framed instead on the Europa being destroyed.
  • A flashback reveals that Burnham, as a child, nearly died in an attack on a Vulcan learning center. Just to clarify: The flashback shows the immediate aftermath of a school bombing, with the clear implication that class was in session at the time.

"Context Is For Kings"

  • Burnham is traveling aboard a shuttle with several other prisoners. The shuttle ends up flying through some kind of space infestation, covering it in glowy bug-things which will sap all of the shuttle's power and leave them dead in space. That's not the scary part: The shuttle's pilot goes out to clean the spores off, only for her safety tether to fail, sending her drifting off into space. And then the computer helpfully reports that the autopilot has malfunctioned. Did we mention that the prisoners are all restrained in their seats and can't travel the ten feet to the open cockpit to take control of the shuttle? Somehow it is less than reassuring that Discovery stumbles across them in this very moment to tractor them in. Comments by other characters later on imply that if Lorca wants Burnham on his ship, nothing will stop him from having just that.
  • Burnham, Stamets, Tilly, Landry, and a Red Shirt investigate the darkened USS Glenn after some kind of accident killed its entire crew. They find the bodies as either simply piles of bloody meat or horribly distorted by whatever affected the ship. To make matters worse, they also find the remains of a Klingon boarding party that had been torn apart, but not by whatever had happened to the Glenn. And that's when the alien monster shows up.
  • What happened to the Glenn could just as easily happen to Discovery, since both are tasked with the same propulsion experiments. Lorca beaming said alien monster aboard right before scuttling the Glenn certainly doesn't help matters.
  • Burnham looks frightened and backs away from Lorca when they're talking in his ready room. Presumably, she's been the target of a lot of violence over the last six months. Oddly, for such a perceptive man, he doesn't seem to notice. Or pretends not to, because he has bigger things to worry about.

"The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry"

  • While it had already been established in previous Trek series that Klingons sometimes ate the hearts of their slain enemies, it's pretty sickening to learn that Voq and L'Rell devoured Georgiou's corpse. Yeah, they were close to starvation, but still...
    • Betting trapped on a derelict ship in the middle of nowhere is no picnic either. There's just nothing there, and you're forced to do terrible things just to hang on in the slim hope that someone will come to rescue you...
  • There something horrific about a Federation ship trying to find ways to turn the giant tardigrade into a weapon. Lorca and Landry casually mention methods of control which include pain. Its apparent fate as a forced navigation instrument is not much of an improvement; it's left in pain and exhausted afterwards, and only Burnham seems to care.
  • "Ripper" lives up to its name as well, being shockingly fast and powerful when Landry tries to sedate it and take its claws by force for study. In a matter of mere seconds, it deals her what is probably the most painful and ghastly mauling suffered in a Trek series to date (and which is, needless to say, swiftly fatal).

"Choose Your Pain"

  • The prison that Lorca, Tyler, and Mudd are trapped in. The Klingons regularly inflict both physical and psychological torture, forcing prisoners to choose whether to accept a beating or pass it on to someone else. Tyler has only stayed alive so long because L'Rell "took a liking to him" (read as: raping him). Several times during conversations between the cast, there are agonized screams coming from other cells.
    • When confronted with the loss of his previous ship and Mudd's scorn that he abandoned his crew, Lorca counters that he didn't abandon them; he blew up his own ship to spare them being captured and brutally executed by the Klingons.
  • L'Rell's screams of pain as a near-miss with a disruptor burns part of her face off.
  • Stamets' reflection remaining in the mirror, even after he leaves the room.


  • The Vulcan suicide bomber who attempts to assassinate Sarek. He injects himself with something which makes his body glow red before exploding, giving him enough time to make his final words.
  • We receive some clarification regarding the bombing which nearly killed Burnham as a child:
    • First, she wasn't a random victim; she was the target of the attack.
    • Second, it wasn't a Klingon attack; it was a Vulcan attack launched by extremists opposed not only to a human being raised among Vulcan society, but humans being treated as equals by Vulcans at all.
    • And third, it didn't nearly kill Burnham, it did kill her before Sarek used his katra to resurrect her.
  • Lorca sleeps with a phaser under his pillow. Admiral Cornwell only learns of this after she accidentally startles him awake and his first instinct is to grab the phaser and attack her. Particularly frightening for her because they had sex while she had no idea there was a loaded weapon right next to them on the bed.

"Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad"

  • Stamets is the only one who can remember the events of all the time loops, with everything that happens in them. Including all the times he dies, or all the times he watches Burnham and Tyler die. Mudd kills Lorca at least 50 times, but who knows how many more time loops Stamets had to endure?
    • Given that Mudd had to figure out everything through trial and error, and only had a few minutes at a time to do so (taking into account the time it took to do the things he had already figured out), it's likely the loop took hundreds of iterations. The episode title is not an exaggeration.
  • While it's somewhat Played for Laughs, the montage where Mudd kills Lorca in dozens of different ways can fall here. In one loop, he beams Lorca into space and watches him writhe in his death throes from the captain's own chair. When the montage finishes, he takes a Death Ray from Lorca's private laboratory and tests it on Lorca, disintegrating him slowly (and in great detail, thanks to the CGI).
  • There's also the casual way in which Mudd kills any crewmember who has the bad fortune to get in his way, whether by a phaser set to kill or by a Klingon disruptor that practically makes its targets vanish in a cloud of green energy. Fortunately, it's an Everybody Lives ending in the final time loop.
  • The weaponized dark matter are clearly nasty pieces of work, but then in the next-to-last time loop, Burnham EATS one. Cruel and Unusual Death indeed.

"Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"

  • It's extremely disturbing to see Saru, usually a Cowardly Lion and often the Only Sane Man on Discovery, turn borderline homicidal after being affected by the Pahvans, to the point where he effortlessly subdues both Tyler and Burnham, and nearly kills the latter in defense of his "paradise". Burnham has to shoot him twice with a phaser just to slow him down.
    • Made worse by the fact that this isn't the standard Trek trope of an alien force taking over a main character and forcing them to act scary. The Pahvans are as innocent and peaceful as initially presented. But Saru, being born into a prey race, hasn't had a single moment of peace his whole life. When the Pahvans give him one, he goes mad at the thought of returning to Discovery. Think about that. Saru's standard existence is so terrifying that, upon relief, he was ready to kill so he wouldn't have to go back.

"Into the Forest I Go"

  • Tyler's flashbacks. We know he was raped and tortured by L'Rell, but this show completely averts Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male and we get to see in detail what happened to him, including some sort of circular saw being used on him while he was fully conscious. YMMV on who he really is, but this man is clearly traumatized by the entire experience. Fortunately, Trek averts There Are No Therapists as well, with Admiral Cornwell helping him through the immediate Heroic BSoD.
  • Stamets's nearly Blank White Eyes at the end after he collapses from the stress of the spore drive jumps.
  • From a heroic angle, we get to see Discovery's spore drive used to its maximum tactical potential, enabling the ship to be basically everywhere at once; it's the Picard Maneuver taken to its logical extreme and weaponized a century in advance.note  And we get to see it done from the Klingons' perspective, to whom the Discovery is moving so rapidly and randomly that they cannot seem to establish a weapons lock at all after the initial couple of shots. How would someone even hope to fight that?

"Despite Yourself"

"The Wolf Inside"

  • We see Tyler's torture in greater detail. L'Rell evidently stripped the real Tyler for parts and used him to disguise Voq as a human.
  • The Terran Empire is starting to rival the Imperium of Man in atrocities.
    • Right at the beginning, we see three ISS Shenzhou crewmen beamed into space, executed for the crime of "malicious thoughts against your Emperor." Michael, still posing as her mirror counterpart and unable to break cover without dooming Discovery, can only watch silently as Commander Detmer pronounces and carries out the sentence, and the audience is then treated to a close-up shot of all three victims gasping and freezing in the vacuum of space. This happens to Tyler/Voq at the end, although by that point, it's safe to say he deserved it. And he gets rescued by Discovery anyway.
    • Burnham is tasked with destroying the headquarters of the Resistance on Harlak, dooming the galaxy to unchallenged Terran supremacy. While she manages to delay carrying out the order, the episode ends with Emperor Philippa Georgiou doing it herself via orbital bombardment, which turns the entire continent into molten slag in mere seconds. Burnham looks like she wants to cry as she watches the planet burn, knowing that the closest thing the Mirror Universe has to The Federation has just been utterly annihilated.
    • Throughout the episode, Burnham is terrified that spending so much time in the Mirror Universe is slowly eroding her true self and, as her opening monologue shows, she heavily relies on Tyler to be her Living Emotional Crutch. Then Tyler turns out to be Voq, who attacks her and would have killed her if it weren't for Saru. Damn.

"Vaulting Ambition"

  • Kelpien is considered a delicacy by Mirror!Georgiou, and possibly for the Terran Empire as a whole. Considering we are used to seeing Saru treated as an equal, this is pretty much cannibalism.
  • To torture Mirror!Lorca, one of his conspirators from the MU is brought in and injected with foreign DNA which causes his skin to combust before his entire body explodes.
  • We don't know the real Captain Gabriel Lorca at all. We don't even know if he's still alive or not. His Terran counterpart has been rampaging across our galaxy for an unknown amount of time, and there's no telling what damage he could have done. This also calls into question the true fate of the Buran, whose crew no doubt would have immediately recognized Lorca's bizarre behavior.
  • Since TOS' "Mirror, Mirror", there's been an assumption that the prime reality is "safe" from the Terrans (and the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance that later supplanted them) because the alternates were simply too evil to successfully blend in. Boy, was everyone wrong about that.
  • Mirror!Georgiou describes how Mirror!Lorca manipulated Mirror!Burnham into joining him and turning on her. She outright describes it as him grooming her. Suddenly, Burnham recalls how Lorca convinced her to join him way back in "Context Is For Kings" and then realizes that it was the same Lorca. The implications for her relationship with her captain are horrifying, especially considering her very vulnerable position as a convicted mutineer on parole to serve on his ship.
  • Mirror!Stamets has done something to the mycellium spore network so now it's corrupted and dying. Not only does this strand Discovery in the Mirror Universe but, if Spore!Culber is to be believed, this means the entire multiverse is in danger.

"What's Past Is Prologue"

  • Mirror!Lorca considers Empress Georgiou, a woman who eats a sentient species as a delicacy and went to a planet that wasn't destroyed quickly enough in order to destroy it herself, too soft on alien races. How the hell would he have treated alien races if his reign had been anything more than a skirmish that left an Evil Power Vacuum?

"The War Without, the War Within"

  • The prime reality Starfleet has been so brutalized by well over a year of total war that putting Mirror!Georgiou in command of Discovery sounds like a good idea. We don't know yet what her plans are for Qo'noS, but suffice to say it won't be good.
  • Tyler's future looks pretty bad. The woman he loves cannot look at him without seeing the remorseless killer that he was. He has another man's memories along with his own. He is sickened by the actions he took as a sleeper agent, including killing a fellow Starfleet officer. At best, he will simply lose his commission and be left to fend for himself. At worst, he'll spend the rest of his life either in a prison cell or being treated like a lab rat.

"Will You Take My Hand?"

  • We now know Mirror!Georgiou's plan for Qo'noS: Detonate a water-producing chemical bomb in a volcanic vent. This would result in a gradual Class 6 apocalypse due to ash from landmass shredded by a phreatic eruption choking the atmosphere. Tilly, even high as a kite, is well-aware of what would happen just on a theoretical basis, and Mirror!Georgiou has first-hand experience of what would happen because she previously did this to Mirror-Qo'noS. Burnham is so disgusted with the plan that she threatens another mutiny, this time enjoying support from the crew, and thankfully she prevents the bomb from being detonated.
    • Also, it must be emphasized: This didn't even satisfy Mirror!Lorca. Discovery must have prevented a genocide that would basically have amounted to the Holocaust taken Up to Eleven.
  • In a deleted scene/preview for Season 2, Section 31 purposely goes out of their way to recruit Mirror!Georgiou, saying her talents are being wasted, and they give her a black Starfleet badge, the same as those which showed up aboard Discovery. When combined with plenty of the above material, it makes one wonder just how the Terrans of the Mirror Universe are the Evil Counterparts, or if Starfleet is.

    Short Treks Season 1 
  • It's a mild example, but imagine being in the middle of the relentless storm of synthesized food that Po pelts Tilly with in the mess hall, and facing the prospect of struggling through that attack to figure out some way to shut the food processors off while continuing to get walloped at point-blank range.
  • Po then advances on Tilly shockingly quickly with a bestial growl, and extends some very sharp-looking quills from her body. And have we mentioned that this young lady has an Invisibility Cloak on top of that?


  • Just the fact that Discovery has been adrift without a crew for over a thousand years, so long that the ship's computer has become sentient and developed a personality! One has to wonder what bizarre situation would force the crew to evacuate en masse, leaving the ship on autopilot with orders to hold position.
    • What's more, you'd think that Starfleet would have sent someone back to recover a perfectly good starship — if anyone had survived to let Starfleet know.
  • Craft doesn't seem to be at all familiar with Earth, Starfleet, or the Federation which, given that the 33rd century is the furthest into the future Star Trek has gone thus far, raises some disturbing implications for the future of those organizations.
    • Even worse, episode writer Michael Chabon confirmed that the name of the enemy he was fighting, the V'draysh, was the distorted form of the name "Federation."

"The Brightest Star"

  • Just the thought of living in a society where friends and family are selected at random as sacrifices to faceless aliens who are running People Farms. You can't blame Saru for wanting dearly to leave.

    Season 2 
  • Burnham has a flashback to her frosty first meeting with her foster brother Spock, who at the time was a Creepy Child, taking a towering, roaring snake-creature that he had been drawing and throwing the hologram right in Burnham's face (before then slamming the door).
  • For all his Know-Nothing Know-It-All tendencies, Connolly gets a Surprisingly Sudden Death while piloting through the Asteroid Thicket on the way to the wreck of the Hiawatha.
  • Later, when the asteroid and the wreck start to break up, Burnham is left aboard the Hiawatha as the transporter fails, and as the explosions spread, she is basically forced to Run or Die — until an explosion in her path knocks her briefly unconscious. When she comes to, she has a red-hot jagged piece of metal impaling her leg, and cannot move until Pike beams back in to get her out.
  • While it's very impressive that Reno managed to keep her patients alive for so long, it's a bit chilling to consider that she had to do this for ten months with no indication that they would be rescued, or that they wouldn't be found and finished off by the Klingons instead.
  • Stamets mentions that in Kasseelian opera, a prima donna trains her whole life for a single performance, after which she commits suicide on stage. That means every single song we hear throughout the series is basically a Snuff Film. Kinda makes you wonder why it's Hugh Culber's favorite genre...

"Point of Light"

  • Tilly slowly cracking from the (initially bubbly and silly, but ultimately more and more menacing and abrasive) hallucination of her dead friend is disturbing to watch.

"An Obol for Charon"

  • May, now in the form of an amorphous mud-blob spore thing, has clinged onto Tilly. Stamets and Reno are trying to free her while the ship itself is stricken immobile by the mysterious large orb they have been captured by.
    • They figure out that they might be able to communicate with May, but to do so they need to install an implant in Tilly's brain, requiring them to perform surgery with the only things they have on hand, the contents of Reno's toolkit, meaning the best thing they can find is a power drill.
    • To help calm Tilly down before the surgery, Stamets asks her to sing her favorite song with him, and the two go into a rendition of "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. You know, the song about an astronaut dying?

"Saints of Imperfection"

  • When Burnham, Tilly and Stamets find what appears to be Culber in the mycellium network, May savagely tells them to kill 'it', and then starts screaming at them. "Kill it! KILL IT! YOU PROMISED!"

"The Sounds of Thunder"

  • When a Ba'ul individual finally appears (pictured above), it's a creature that wouldn't be at all out of place in a horror movie. It's like the production team saw a picture of Armus and decided to add more everything.
  • Saru in this episode is basically Beware the Nice Ones on steroids. The guy who was the perfect example of "timid, cautious and paranoid" not only becomes defiant and almost insubordinate, he nearly comes to blows with his own commanding officer when Pike won't let him beam down to Kaminar. Then, after he is captured by the Ba'ul and they threaten his sister, he breaks free of the magnetic restraints, grabs the drones attacking them and smashes them to pieces with his bare hands. No wonder the Ba'ul are absolutely terrified of evolved Kelpians.
  • The Ba'ul were so terrified of the Kelpiens that when Saru triggered the vahar'ai on his entire race, the Ba'ul tried to completely exterminate them out of fear that they't be hunted down to extinction once more. They were willing to risk earning the eternal enmity of the Federation if it meant the Kelpiens would never harm them again. The Red Angel averted a double genocide.

"Light and Shadows"

  • Discovery sends a probe into the temporal anomaly. It travels 500 years into the future and is sent back with tentacles that break into the shuttle and try to kill the crew while downloading all the data it can. And when Pike blows up the shuttle to stop it, it seemingly downloads itself into Airiam before being destroyed.
  • Commander Burnham, driven by her duty as a Starfleet Officer and at the urging of her foster father, hands Spock over to Section 31, who promise to give him the treatment he needs, using advanced memory repair technology. Except that it turns out they intend to do nothing of the sort, instead planning to tear her brother's mind apart to extract only what they need. The only reason she realizes the peril he's in is because she's tipped off by Mirror!Georgiou, who is not a woman Michael has many reasons to trust and could have very easily have chosen to ignore. The idea that your sense of duty could be manipulated to trick you into unwittingly betraying your own family like that is chilling.

"If Memory Serves"

  • The reveal of what the Red Angel showed Spock, both times:
    • When he was a kid, it showed Michael, having run off into the Forge, getting chased and eventually killed by the local wildlife.
    • The second, is of scores of probes like the one Pike and Tyler encounters, obliterating Federation worlds one by one.
    • Not to mention the chilling implications that the reason we never heard about Michael before Discovery was because, in the original timeline, without the Red Angel doing whatever it is it's doing, she just died. Which is its own brand of Adult Fear, given Michael took off because she thought her presence was threatening Spock. Imagine it: You take in a child after a terrorist attack kills her parents, and one night, without a word to you, she takes off into the wilderness... and gets eaten before you can find her, thanks to the place she hid in being immune to sensor-sweeps.

"Project Daedalus"

  • Between poor Ariam being taken over by a hostile AI and forced to attack her friends, and Section 31's Control program pulling a Kill and Replace on an entire starbase full of people, the entire thing is A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Episode.
    • Special mention to the frozen bodies of the Section 31 personnel, who had been floating because of the low gravity, and once they restore power, they fall to the ground and shatter. Good thing they'd already been long dead by that point...

"The Red Angel"

  • Captain Leland has to place his face up against a retinal scanner to override the computer's security protocols to redirect power to the graviton emitters. The prop seems to be designed specifically to invoke the Eye Scream trope, naturally, and it takes him several tries to get the scanner to work properly. When it finally does, the ship's computer mockingly repeats Leland's words back at him before suddenly jabbing him in the eye with a needle that seems to infect him with something.
  • One quick cut later, Tyler hear's Leland casually announce over the communicator that the power is being redirected, with the audience left to wonder what exactly has happened to Leland.
  • Almost simultaneously, there is the extremely drawn-out sequence of Burnham suffocating and being singed by the carbon monoxide and perchlorate dust-bearing atmosphere of the planet, with the entire crew being Forced to Watch either through a transparent window or over the Discovery's viewscreen. It's enough to unnerve even Mirror-Georgiou, who has to be held at phaser-point by Spock to not intervene and give the Red Angel enough time to arrive.

"Perpetual Infinity"

  • Gabrielle reveals she's seen Michael die hundreds of times. It's obvious the torture that had to be on her as a mother.
  • Control restrains Leland, informs him that it plans to use him as a vessel — including a very familiar sounding "Struggle is pointless" — and then injects him with nanotech. Leland screams in utter agony as his eyes and veins turn black...

"In the Valley of Shadows"

  • Captain Pike's vision from the time crystal will go down as one of the most horrifying moments in Star Trek history:
    • Remember what happens (or rather, will happen) to Pike in nine years as seen in "The Menagerie"? Disco!Pike gets to see that future through the time crystal, and Facial Horror doesn't begin to describe it. While Star Trek: The Original Series had a small budget and couldn't really do much more than paint a scar on his face, Discovery has enough of a budget to add modern prosthetics to the mix, making his face look utterly molten as a result of being irradiated. The icing on the cake is when Future!Pike's face starts to melt and he tries to scream in pain and horror... but can't make a sound. It's easily one of the most disturbing scenes in Star Trek, ever.
    • Especially because the scar - the most visible part of his injury in The Menagerie - doesn't look nearly as prominent as it did originally, just a bit of discoloration on that side of his face where once it was very striking and looked like someone had used a giant potato peeler to rip the flesh right off. You're at first disappointed that they didn't commit to continuity by trying to make the injury look as bad, downplaying instead of updating its most striking feature. ...then his face starts to freaking melt like wax!
    • The Reveal of the Chair. Pike has a vision where he's standing in a long starship corridor, and the wheelchair rolls into view, too out of focus to make out, except that the fans already know what it is. As Pike slowly approaches the wheelchair, it comes into focus, viewed from behind, with a sickly-sounding Vader Breath. Pike slowly falls to his knees as the camera finally shows Wheelchair!Pike's disfigured face.
    • It gets even worse when you remember that in this time period, it's possible to reconstruct a damaged body via cybernetics, as seen with Detmer and Airiam. Both of them, while clearly part-machine, are seen happily living their lives with no serious drawbacks. Compare this with Pike's situation: he's sealed inside a futuristic "wheelchair" that encloses much of his ruined body, unable to even communicate with the world save for beeping Once for Yes, Twice for No. It really goes to show just how badly the delta-rays damaged him — all the technology available to Starfleet can't give him a satisfactory existence.
    • As horrific as that vision is, what happens immediately afterward is almost worse. Tenavik tells Pike that it's possible he can escape that fate — all he has to do is walk away, leave the time crystal behind... and potentially doom the galaxy to the whims of Control. Pike has to tearfully remind himself that he's a Starfleet officer and has a duty to perform, no matter the personal cost, before forcing himself to take the crystal. Imagine being in his position, having to make that choice and live with the knowledge of what will become of you for nine whole years.
    • The biggest piece of this is the update to the injuries to better justify the limited form of communication Pike has after the accident - in 1966, the production staff had no idea the kind of medical advances that would come in the 21st century that have improved the quality of living of quadriplegics and those who've suffered serious injuries, or (as an example) someone like Stephen Hawking, confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak himself, but still capable of communication. Pike only being able to beep yes or no? It's because that limited communication is all he CAN manage because of the intense and ongoing pain, without even the relief of being able to scream.
  • Spock and Burnham go to investigate a Section 31 ship that failed to check in on schedule. When they show up, they find that the entire crew has been Thrown Out the Airlock. The only survivor is Gant...who has already been compromised.
  • Control!Gant trying to inject Burnham with nanites... through her eye. And when it fails, the trillions of nanites inside its body form Combat Tentacles and surge right back toward her... Thank god Spock was there!

"Such Sweet Sorrow"

  • When Michael touches the time crystal she sees a vision of the current future, where Control's fleet is tearing apart Enterprise and Discovery. Control!Leland then boards Discovery's bridge and kills most of the entire main cast with ease before effortlessly killing Michael.
  • An entire fleet of Section 31 ships downwarp around Enterprise and Discovery — and none of them have crews. In other words, they all suffered the same fate as the crew from the previous episode.

    Short Treks Season 2 
"The Trouble With Edward"
  • You wouldn't expect a tribble episode to contain much Nightmare Fuel, but this episode delivers it in spades by applying Reality Ensues to the species. Over the course of hours or days the critters breed to the point that they overwhelm the U.S.S. Cabot's containment teams, literally drown the idiot who turned them into Explosive Breeders, and ultimately tear the ship apart by their sheer mass. Worse, a few of them somehow make it down to a nearby planet and completely wreck its ecosystem, forcing the indigenous species to abandon their homeworld. We all laughed at Worf when he describes the Klingons' hatred for tribbles, but this episode makes it clear just how destructive those little guys can really be.

Ephraim and Dot

  • While generally an adorable and funny short about an alien trying to find a warm place to lay her eggs, Adult Fear sets in when Ephraim is forced off the ship and spends several years in a Stern Chase as we see the Enterprise, and by extension Ephraim's eggs, go through numerous harrowing adventures. And then once we get past the space battle near Regula, we hear the sound of a Bird of Prey uncloaking, and longtime fans know what is about to happen to the ship the eggs are on.
    • The action cuts back to Dot fighting fires aboard the stricken ship as we hear the Computer announce the Self Destruct sequence. Dot notices the eggs just before the ship explodes. Dot stuffed the eggs inside its case and they narrowly survived the ship's destruction, soon after rescued by Ephraim.

    Season 3 

"That Hope Is You, Part 1"

  • The Burn. For no apparent reason, 90% or more of the dilithium in the alpha quadrant just exploded. This means all the things using it as fuel — starships, starbases, and so forth — were suddenly immolated with no warning. Even worse, for the lucky ones that may have survived, they would find themselves stranded with no FTL and virtually no hope of rescue. It's no wonder the Federation collapsed under those conditions.
    • For clarification, one of the key conceits of dilithium, according to canon, is that until your technology level is high enough, dilithium just appears to be a shiny mineral, indistinguishable from quartz or other minerals. This means that on lower technology planets there could be millions of people just wearing dilithium jewelry and not knowing it. In addition there could be huge pockets of untapped dilithium on a planet that just randomly exploded, and if enough go all at once that planet could be shattered.
      • On the upside, this line of thought is Jossed by the later reveal that The Burn simply consisted of dilithium going inert, and not exploding in its own right, limiting the (still extensive) devastation simply to anyone or any ship that was using a matter-antimatter reactor regulated by dilithium.

"Far From Home"

  • Detmer takes a blow to the head during the crash landing, and finds herself badly disoriented. A quick inspection from Doctor Pollard (in the middle of performing triage on a dozen badly-wounded crew) finds nothing wrong with her and she's sent on her way, several of her crewmates seeming to notice something is off but too distracted with other things to check on her. By the end of the episode it's still not clear what's wrong with her.
  • The parasitic ice expands rapidly, working to encase, crush, and invade anything in its grasp. And Discovery has crash landed in a field full of it, the crew rushing to complete repairs as the ice continues to encase the ship.
  • Zareh, the courier who exploits the Coridan colony, has a heart colder than the aforementioned ice. He has zero qualms about killing anyone who annoys him, and his interactions with Tilly come off as rather creepy.
  • Kal, the Wide-Eyed Idealist Tilly befriends, is killed slowly with an Agony Beam which seems to slowly cook him from the inside-out, complete with Alien Blood from Every Orifice.

"People of Earth"

  • This episode brings The Reveal that "The Burn" wasn't dilithium exploding, but spontaneously falling inert, leading to uncontrolled reactions within any ship, starbase, installation or civilian infrastructure that was using dilithium-regulated matter-antimatter power generation. The only exceptions would have been anyone who had their reactor systems powered-down or offline at the time — but even then, the ships which initially survived would have been the ones tasked with moving to investigate and save any survivors from the numerous warp-core breaches that would have filled long-range sensors across the Federation (and likely the Klingon Empire and Cardassian Union as well). Imagine frantically powering up and going to warp to go rescue countless people and crewmembers in mortal peril, and then having your ship explode without warning before any explanation for the phenomenon had been determined.

"Terra Firma, Part 1"

  • It's awful that Terrans butcher Kelpiens. It's terrifying that this can happen for just spilling sauce on a Terran's boots.
  • Mirror!Burnham is fucking brutal. She visited a family of artists that Emperor Philipa admired and then had them blinded and their hands removed so their remaining work's value would increase.


  • The Viridian, Osyraa's flagship's capture of Discovery is terrifying. It extends a lot of metallic tentacles, like a metallic octopus.
    • That those tentacles look a lot like those the extragalactic alliance of Synths from Picard have makes them even creepier.
  • The device the Emerald Chain forces put on Stamets' head. It makes his eyes turn completely white and puts him under Osyraa's full control.
"That Hope Is You, Part 2"
  • Osyraa attacks the Federation's headquarters with the Viridian and the Discovery, hell-bent on completely destroying it.
  • Booker is Strapped to an Operating Table and tortured with the same brainwashing crown used on Stamets. As he had developed a resistance to it, the backlash would've killed him if he endured too much of it. Osyraa tries to force Michael to watch, so she can coerce him into using the spore drive. Michael manages to regain control of the situation, but Booker's screams sure as hell were horrifying.
  • Su'Kal rediscovers what made him cause the Burn: He saw his mother die before his eyes, horrifying him so much that his screams wrecked the galaxy.
  • Near the end, When Michael decides to destroy the Viridian from within by ejecting Discovery's warp core and detonating it, everyone is horrified, especially Owo, as Stamets isn't in the ship and they're uncertain that Booker can activate the Spore Drive. For a moment it seems like he failed, as the scene cuts away right before the Discovery jumps, and we all get a "lovely" sight of the Viridian inflating like a balloon and being blown to smithereens.


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