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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S1E09 "Into the Forest I Go"

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Discovery is ordered to abandon Pahvo even though it means the inevitable demise of the Pahvans, but Lorca and the crew come up with a plan to save the planet and overcome the Klingons' cloaking advantage. In the process they rescue Admiral Cornwell, destroy the Klingon Ship of the Dead, kill Kol, and capture L'Rell, but before they can provide Starfleet with the way to overcome the cloaking a failed jump puts them somewhere unknown.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Actor Allusion: Paul tells Hugh after their Big Damn Kiss that there's an opera house on a moon near space station 46, where they are performing La Bohème. La Bohème is the opera that RENT is based on, which stared Anthony Rapp as Mark Cohen in its original run, as well as the film, and Wilson Cruz as Angel in future productions.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Burnham and Tyler draw their phasers and aim towards the transporter operator before being beamed aboard Sarcophagus, in this case somewhat justified because they are going to be beamed into the middle of the enemy ship and want to arrive ready to fight.
  • Big "NO!": Kol's last word as he sees Discovery launching torpedoes at his ship, which is defenseless while under cloak.
  • Book-Ends: The two-part pilot episode focuses around a stand-off and battle against the Sarcophagus. This episode culminates in a (much briefer) stand-off and battle between Discovery and Sarcophagus, even with the same officer manning the helm of the heroes' ship in both cases. And both battles start the same way, with the Federation and Klingon ships exchanging fire before the smaller Starfleet ship takes evasive action.
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  • Cliffhanger: A botched jump leaves Discovery in an unknown location surrounded by Klingon wreckage, while Stamets seems to have lost his mind from the turbulence.
  • Combat Medic: Admiral Cornwell, a psychiatrist by training, both holds off Klingons while paralyzed on the floor, and provides enough quick-and-dirty therapy to Tyler to get him back on his feet and fighting after his PTSD episode.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: The title comes from a quote by John Muir: "Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul."
  • Cosmic Deadline: The "first chapter" of Star Trek: Discovery is drawing to a close, so the crew figure out a way around the Klingons' cloaking technology, L'Rell is apprehended, and Kol and his massive "ship of the dead" are blown up, all just in time for several weeks' break until the show comes back to air the remaining six episodes of the first season.
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  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Even two jumps takes its toll on Stamets, so requiring him to do 133 in rapid succession as part of their plan to expose the Klingon cloak is considered life-threatening. Fortunately, it doesn't kill him, although attempting one more jump to get them home does leave him in a Heroic RRoD.
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. Killing Kol causes the Klingons to mount a full-scale attack rather than making them back off.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Kol and the Sarcophagus are destroyed while there's still a sizeable chunk left of season 1. Not to worry, a new crisis will quickly rear its head.
  • Disney Death: Cornwell wasn't dead after all, though she's paralyzed and requires medical attention to regain consciousness.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Subverted with Tyler's flashbacks, showing just how traumatizing sexual assault is for men.
  • Faking Engine Trouble: Rather than spore-jumping to Starbase 46 as ordered, Lorca has Discovery warp there to stall for time.
    Lorca: Lieutenant Stamets, I'm gonna need some reasonable explanation for Starfleet as to why we're currently not using the spore drive. I understand you've had some trouble with your interface upgrades.
    Stamets: Now that you mention it, um, it has been a little...itchy.
    Lorca: That's unfortunate.
  • Fan Disservice: Tyler's flashback to having sex with L'Rell is shot and edited in such a way to appear confusing and even horrifying, giving an impression of how Tyler's mind sees it.
  • Handicapped Badass: Admiral Cornwell drops the first Klingon warrior that comes into the room after them, while lying wounded on the floor. She needs Tyler's help to deal with the second warrior though.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tyler has a mental breakdown upon encountering L'Rell, due to their mutual history.
  • Heroic RRoD: The physical and neurological stress of navigating all of the spore drive jumps catches up to Stamets, and he collapses in a catatonic state after Discovery's final jump at the end of the episode.
  • Hope Spot: For the war effort — Discovery destroys the Sarcophagus while gaining the information they need to penetrate the Klingon Invisibility Cloak. They go for one more jump to the nearest Starbase — but end up Gene-knows-where, unable to deliver their intel.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: Cornwell loses the use of her legs thanks to the injuries she suffered last episode.
  • Idiot Ball: Kol accurately deduces the Discovery is up to something when it continues its rapid jumping even after his ship cloaks, and that the proper course of action is to temporarily withdraw to figure out what's going on, as Lorca himself notes. He promptly forgets all that when Burnham shows up and challenges him, although there's absolutely no reason why he can't follow his original plan of breaking away and deal with Burnham at the same time.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: The two transmitters Burnham places on the Klingon's ship are not only large, they glow, blink, and helpfully announce out loud that they're functioning. This isn't so bad for the one they stuff in a closet, but the second is sitting on the bridge behind some barrels and should be obvious to anyone that glances in that direction.
  • Invisibility Flicker: The Sarcophagus is lit up slightly while Discovery is spore-jumping around it.
  • Irony: Lorca notes the irony of Terral wanting to give him a medal for destroying the Sarcophagus despite having ordered Discovery to withdraw from Pahvo.
  • Kick the Dog: When he sees Burnham looking at Georgiou's badge, Kol makes a production of claiming to use it to clean his teeth and then demonstrating.
  • Nipple and Dimed: During the flashback to Tyler's raping, L'Rell's naked breasts are shown on-screen in a take directly from above (so there's more camera emphasis on her orgasmic face, and thus they are a bit blurred).
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Although Discovery successfully develops a way of defeating the Klingon cloaking technology, they're still processing it to create a general program other ships can use when they get detoured to somewhere due to the jump failure. As a result, Starfleet doesn't have the technology even though they know it exists.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Burnham refuses to leave the Sarcophagus without the human prisoner she'd located, which turns out to be Cornwell.
  • Not Quite Dead: Cornwell turns out to have survived her electrocution in the last episode, albeit just barely and with considerable injuries that have left her half-paralyzed. She still manages to put up a fight from the floor using the phaser that Burnham left her.
  • Oh, Crap!: Stamets panics when Lorca orders him to undergo a full physical, as he fears it will reveal something wrong with him. He's right.
  • Plausible Deniability: Lorca orders Stamets to get a medical exam so that he'll have a "data trail" to support his cover story of why the Discovery was using the warp drive instead of the spore drive to return to Starbase 46.
  • Plot Hole: Early in the season, it was established that the computer could make short-range jumps successfully, though the viewer never sees it. As such, having Stamets attached to the drive in this instance would seem unnecessary, unless these prior tests were less accurate than we were led to believe.
  • Race Against the Clock: The crew of the Discovery has just over three hours to come up with a plan to save Pahvo.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It was only hinted at by Tyler when he was first introduced, but this episode confirms L'Rell wasn't just his jailer and torturer, she also raped him repeatedly. It is so deeply entwined with his time being tortured that his daily nightmares include her, and the mere sight of her is enough to render him nearly catatonic.
  • Rousing Speech:
    Lorca: We are about to face the most difficult challenge we have ever attempted. Today, we stare down the bow of the Ship of the Dead, the very same ship that took thousands of our own at the Battle of the Binary Stars. When I took command of this vessel, you were a crew of polite scientists. Now, I look at you. You are fierce warriors all. No other Federation vessel would have a chance of pulling this off. Just us. Because mark my words: you will look back proudly and tell the world you were there the day the USS Discovery saved Pahvo and ended the Klingon War.
  • Saying Too Much: Tilly accidentally blurts out that Stamets has been experiencing side effects from the gene therapy after she learns that he allowed Culber to do an examination, having assumed that Stamets would have admitted as much if he allowed the exam in the first place.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Faced with the choice between obeying Starfleet's order to withdraw and stopping the Klingons from destroying Pahvo, the Discovery crew all choose the latter.
  • See the Invisible: The whole point of placing sensors on the Sarcophagus is to gather data on Klingon cloaking frequencies, allowing Starfleet sensors to penetrate them.
  • She Had a Name:
    Kol: Then this [badge] belonged to your captain?
    Burnham: Her name was Captain Philippa Georgiou.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Tyler freezes and goes catatonic when he sees L'Rell, his mind flooded with flashbacks of being sexually exploited and tortured. Cornwell has to bring him back to his senses before they're both killed by more Klingons.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Tyler disables the lock on the burial chamber by using his knife to pop off the control panel and sever the wires.
  • Teleport Spam: Knowing he can't go toe-to-toe with Kol's ship, Lorca initially dances around it, firing volleys whenever Discovery rematerializes. Once it cloaks, Lorca has Stamets execute 133 micro-jumps in order to obtain the 3D data model needed to see through the Klingon cloak.
  • Tempting Fate: Stamets volunteers for one last jump to get Discovery to safety and then doesn't plan to jump again until Starfleet Medical finds out what's wrong with him. This ends up being the straw that broke the camel's back and things go very wrong.
  • That's an Order!: Lorca ordering Culber to get Stamets through the jump sequence.
  • Translation Convention: For the first time in the series, Klingons are shown speaking to each other in English. Justified in that Burnham is listening to them with her communicator translating for her and then later using it to talk to them. The scene transitions from having the translator voice their conversations in monotone to simply having them all speak English.
  • Trauma Button: Seeing L'Rell causes Tyler to go into a Heroic BSoD and remember his treatment at her hands.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Burnham emerges from hiding on the Klingons' bridge and one crewman continues tapping away on his console as if a human suddenly appearing, shooting the place up, and confessing to be the killer of a Klingon messiah-figure is just the sort of thing that happens all the time.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Kol decides to just warp away upon realizing that Discovery's rapid jumps are likely part of some plan, Burnham comes out of hiding and challenges him to a duel so Discovery can complete its jump sequence and break the cloak, allowing her, Tyler, and Cornwell to be rescued.
  • Wham Line: L'Rell telling Tyler she would never let anything happen to him, even though she's the one locked up, suggests he underwent something more sinister than torture at her hands.
  • Wham Shot: Discovery finding itself in the middle of a battlefield that should not be there.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: After Discovery completes its jump sequence, Lorca wonders why the Sarcophagus doesn't de-cloak and fire on them. He doesn't know that Burnham is keeping everyone busy.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Kol, as any good Klingon would, appreciates Burnham's challenge to duel him, and fights "fair". There's also the fact that he is trying to avoid losing face in front of his crew, especially after Burnham tells him that T'Kuvma killed Georgiou in honorable single combat, whereas Kol simply stole the ship after Burnham killed T'Kuvma.
    • Kol's followers perform the fist-on-heart salute toward Discovery while being torpedoed into oblivion.


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