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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S2E07 "Light and Shadows"

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Burnham returns to Vulcan to try and discover more information about Spock while Discovery remains at Kaminar to try and discover more about the Red Angel.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Ace Pilot: Pike reveals one of his first assignments was as a test pilot, making him probably the best shuttle pilot on the ship.
  • As You Know: Seemingly overused throughout the episode, ranging from discussions between Stamets and Tilly about four-dimensional math to discussions between Grayson and Burnham about Spock's childhood. At least the season 1 references to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland finally have context.
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  • Bad Liar: Amanda's attempt to lie about Spock's whereabouts falls flat with Burnham. As Burnham explains, since Amanda never lied to her when she was growing up, it's obvious she's doing so now.
  • Blackmail: Mirror Georgiou once again proves to be the better manipulator when she effortlessly leverages her knowledge of Leland's culpability in the deaths of Burnham's parents to bring him to heel.
  • Blatant Lies: Burnham packs a bag then asks Pike for leave in order to find Spock. Pike guesses that she's already packed, and Burnham says she never would without his permission.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: After the shuttle is saved, Pike concedes to Ash that he does feel guilty about missing the war and is risking himself as a method of atonement, while Ash admits that Pike's decision to vent the drive plasma as a signal was the right move.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Saru recalls how Stamets is immune to temporal changes as a result of his tardigrade gene therapy, which they learned during Mudd's temporal shenanigans.
    • Tilly mentioning that she's trying not to swear while on duty recalls her Precision F-Strike from season 1's "Choose Your Pain".
  • Came Back Strong: The probe fired into the anomaly disappears, winds up 500 years into the future, then comes back with sentience and a bunch of upgrades.
  • Continuity Nod:
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  • Deadpan Snarker: When Tyler tries to assert authority over the mission because he's a member of Section 31, Pike shuts him down quick.
    Pike: Mr. Tyler, the chair outranks the badge.
  • Dramatic Irony: Burnham wonders what awaits her and Spock at Talos IV. Any viewer familiar with the original series knows exactly what she's in for.
  • Eureka Moment: After Amanda discloses that Spock had some issues with a learning disability, and Leland compares that disability to dyslexia, Burnham realizes the numbers Spock constantly repeats should be read in reverse order.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Discovery has to find Pike and Tyler in the anomaly before they're exposed to a lethal level of radiation.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Spock has been driven mad by whatever the Red Angel showed him. Pike and Burnham wonder whether he simply couldn't handle it or the Red Angel deliberately showed it to him to cause his madness.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Tilly says something is "freakin' amazing". When Saru chides her, she says that she's working hard to follow his advice not to swear while on duty.
  • Irony: The last time Amanda and Michael spoke, Amanda remarked that whatever Michael did to hurt Spock, the betrayal was the reason why the family could never be in the same place at the same time, and Michael couldn't even respect her foster parents enough to explain why until years later. Now, the entire family does indeed find themselves in the same room, but despite Amanda's actions rather than because of them: She hid Spock away in a shrine on Vulcan to keep him away from Michael and Sarek. Michael deduced it as a likely hiding spot, and Sarek followed Michael.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Tilly and the swearing again.
  • Madness Mantra: Spock is repeating the same six numbers over and over, as well as definitions of logic and passages from Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Pike insists on personally piloting the shuttle to the anomaly, reasoning that as a former test pilot he's the most qualified. Tyler suggests the real reason he's doing it is to make up for not participating in the war, which Pike eventually admits is part of it.
  • Make It Look Like a Struggle: Georgiou tells Burnham right as the cameras come back on that she needs to "make it look good". Burnham does.
  • The Mole: The 500-years advanced probe downloads some kind of viral payload into Airiam which clearly has some kind of influence over her.
  • Mythology Gag: Not the first time that a mechanical probe of human or Federation origin has come back with with powers and/or new sentience (although, in-universe, it predates both examples).
  • Negative Space Wedgie: A temporal anomaly forms at Kaminar and the Discovery's shuttle ends up inside.
  • Not So Above It All: Burnham, who always tries to present the Vulcan ideal of being calm, collected, and rational, gleefully jumps at the chance to take out her frustration with Georgiou with a good, old-fashioned brawl.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Pike initially sees a Flash Forward of him shooting at Tyler. Later he realizes it was showing him shooting at a probe tentacle holding Tyler.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: For just a moment, Sarek's voice cracks and he's on the verge of breaking down at the thought of losing both Spock and Michael.
  • Pet the Dog: Mirror-Georgiou arranges for Burnham to rescue Spock from Section 31, revealing the device they intend to use on him is a memory extractor which will destroy his mind. Her stated reason for helping is because it will benefit both Burnham and herself, since it will make Leland look bad.
  • Psychic Static: The shrine Amanda hides Spock in is made of katra stone, which naturally disrupts Vulcan telepathy.
  • The Reveal:
    • Leland was somehow responsible for the death of Burnham's biological parents.
    • We finally know that Leland's stealth ship is designated NCIA-93 and that there are at least two more like it in the Section 31 fleet.
  • Sadistic Choice: Sarek tells Burnham now that she knows where Spock is, she has two choices: risk her career again by continuing to conceal a wanted man, or turn Spock over to Section 31.
  • Single-Biome Planet: For once, averted in regards to Vulcan. When Burnham arrives at Vulcan she does so in the middle of a rainstorm, and Sarek and Amanda's home is in a forested area. Although it was mentioned on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that Vulcan had lush, forested parks, it was only ever previously seen on screen as a dry desert.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The symbol on the monitors that appears when the probe downloads something into Airiam — three solid circles arranged in a triangle — looks suspiciously like the symbol of Superman villain Brainiac.
    • Stamets shouting "Now! Now! Now!" while calling for a beam-out sounds a lot like Kirk in Star Trek (2009) when he and Sulu are in free-fall over Vulcan.
  • Temporal Paradox: The temporal rift cause ripples in time, such as Pike and the bridge crew seeing an "echo" of Pike's conversation with Tyler a few minutes earlier and Pike witnessing his own actions a few minutes into the future.
  • That's an Order!: Pike uses this with threats of a court martial to get Tyler to obey his order to release drive plasma as a signal to Discovery.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: When Stamets beams onto the shuttle.
    Pike: Stamets?
    Stamets: I'm actually here ten minutes from now. Admittedly, confusing.
  • Unstuck in Time: Inside the anomaly, the shuttle is lost in both space and time, randomly bouncing between the past and future.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: Right after Amanda states that, as the wife of the Vulcan Ambassador, she has the right to invoke diplomatic immunity to protect her son, Sarek steps into the crypt and states that she can only do so if the Ambassador himself does not object.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Mirror-Georgiou tells Leland he needs her to prevent Burnham from learning the truth:
      Mirror-Georgiou: You're responsible for the death of her parents.
    • After realizing the numbers Spock has been repeating are backwards, Burnham orders the shuttle computer to search the numbers in reverse. It gets a set of coordinates. The location?
      Computer: Identification: Talos IV.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Mirror-Georgiou arranges for Burnham to beat her in a fight to explain she was "overpowered" when Burnham escaped with Spock. Leland doesn't believe it for a second, but has no way of proving this, and to add injury to insult, Mirror-Georgiou blackmails him into compliance.
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