Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Lethe

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Starting off with a geek-dom S.O.S... I'm going to need some input on why Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6 is called "Lethe" and whether it really had anything at all to do with what happened.

I'm a huge Greek mythology fan and immediately recognized the title as the name of the river that grants oblivion or forgetting. So, I think, maybe it's a reference to the memory that Sarek's mind is obsessed with as he is dying?

Sarek - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 2

In times of crisis, ignorance can be beneficial.

Sarek

But, despite his comment to his Vulcan suicide bomber co-pilot, V'latak, it's not like he ever forgot that day. And Burnham hadn't forgotten it either so that doesn't work.

Then I look to Lorca and his whole "I blew up my previous crew to save them from Klingon torture and humiliation" revelation from Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 5. But, again, he's never forgotten what he's done so pfft to that.

Burnham has a crystal clear memory of all her supposed crimes and it's not like anyone ever lets her forget about it.

Our new element, Lt. Ash Tyler, seems to have a perfect (and horrendous) memory of his time as the Klingons' prisoner as well as his life before the Battle of the Binary Stars.

Ash Tyler Up Close - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6

No one else (Tilly, Saru, Stamets) gets enough screen-time to warrant having an episode named for their plotline. At this point, I give up on making a classical connection to the plot.

In desperation, I break out my Google-Fu and discover that "Lethe" was the name of a character in a TOS episode called "Dagger of the Mind" and she had committed some crime, had been rehabilitated with a "neural neutralizer", and thereafter had no connection to the person she was before.

A-HA! Now this could be in reference to any or all of the primary players here. Cornwell says that she doesn't recognize Lorca anymore as her long-time friend (apparently with benefits) while we have seen that Burnham, under the influence of Georgiou, had changed significantly from the Vulcan Science Academy grad.

Lorca Solo - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6
Burnham Thoughts - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6

Stamets has had an obvious personality change since his experience on the mycelium highway. And who knows what Tyler was like before the Klingons captured him? 

Someone with better knowledge of the canon is going to have to chime in on this. Please. It's totally bugging me.

On to more exciting elements of the show. How great was it to have Sarek back? James Frain is getting so much awesome screen-time in this role. Not only in the Starfleet context but with all the Vulcan politics and racism!

The whole concept of "Logic Extremists" is a bit mind-blowing (err... no pun intended) and it occurs to me that the more accurate moniker should be "Vulcan Supremecists" since they are devoted to a purity of Vulcan culture.

I feel like the Vulcan element is as important as the more obvious Klingon influence in the ultimate story arc here. Lorca makes a good point that Vulcan's are pretty high-handed in their Federation dealings.

Lorca, post Klingon captivity, is about as much a changed man as post-Code-Black Stamets. Offering his Security Chief position to a P.O.W. he's only known for five minutes might actually be in keeping with his character but his flirtation and encounter with Cornwell was eye-opening.

Hello Admiral - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6

Rules are for admirals and back offices. I'm out there trying to win a war.

Lorca

Furthermore, his protectiveness of Burnham is weirdly affectionate. Telling Tyler that he might as well not come back if he doesn't bring her back safely... Not sure if I imagined it but the glance Tyler shoots Burnham after that exchange looked distinctly jealous. Landry's ghost hasn't gone far.

Ash Tyler - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6

When he sees Cornwell off to her shuttle, I wondered if it was going to inexplicably explode as it cleared the air-lock but no, he's not that far gone despite her promise to remove him from command on her return.

He does, however, look like he'll launch the slowest rescue response EVER. But seriously, the greatest indicator that Lorca's not feeling like himself? He actually SITS on the bridge. Dude doesn't even sit in his ready room. 

Captain Sits - Star Trek: Discovery

War doesn't provide too many opportunities for niceties.

Lorca

Burnham's approach to goal-setting and career-planning veers dramatically to the left after she finds out that Sarek was the reason why she was not invited to the join the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. 

See your path. Stay on it. Reach your destination. Cadet to Captain. Just like that.

Burnham

All my life, the conflict inside me has been between logic and emotion. But now, it's my emotions that are hiding. I think about him and I want to cry but I have to smile. And I feel angry but I want to love. And I'm hurt but there's hope. What is this?

Burnham

His role of mentor and father in her life is obviously central to her sense of self. Discovering that he chose to save the position for Spock made her re-evaluate the pedestal she'd placed him on.

Their relationship is a clever parallel to her new relationship to Tilly who has decided that Burnham is now HER mentor, a title Burnham obviously didn't expect to be introduced to Tyler with.

Tilly: It is my experience that what I lack in athletic ability, I more than make up for in intelligence and personality...
Burnham: Everyone applying to the command training program will be smart. Personality doesn't count.
Tilly: That's just something people with no personality say.

There are certain episodes that I would prefer to just sit back and relax into. This one falls into that category because the driving action is really a slow path to the final rescue. 

Burnham and Lorca both undergo distinct developments in their characters and revelations about their motivations. What I'll need time to mull over is how these changes will affect the trajectory of the series as it heads into its final push to the mid-season hiatus.

I'm grateful to serve under a captain like you.

Burnham

Don't apologize for excellence.

Lorca

Will Lorca's conflict of interest mean the end of Admiral Cornwell?

Does Burnham's new acceptance of her human-ness mean she'll be a different sort of Starfleet officer?

Anyone concerned about how quickly Tyler is integrating into the core crew? There's a theory out there that I'm not going into here but I have to say that if it proves true, there's a heckuva a lot of explaining that'll need doing.

Is someone going to check if Stamets is still Stamets? He's become distinctly pod-person-esque in his persistent cheerinest. I also wonder if his comment about the katra/soul is indicative of what has happened to him.

Stamets: I gotta say, this katra stuff is way cool. An uncharted superhighway connecting all of consciousness and life?
Lorca: We have exactly no time to discuss the metaphysical implications.

Burnham: I'm guessing from your reaction that modifying this neural enhancer is a viable method to achieve what I need.
Stamets: Sure. Hey, why not? So, we boost your neural impulses to reconnect with his katra, then pump those same signals into your noggin and... voila! Sarek-Vision.

Finally, I'm still a little bewildered by the extra helpfulness offered by the computers in this iteration of the Trek-verse. I don't remember a single time when the Enterprise-D's computer sighed,"Again?" when Picard ordered his tea or made the tsk-tsk noise when Troi needed her chocolate sundae.

If it's going to comment on every item of food it replicates, I could understand someone down the line just disabling that function out of sheer annoyance.

The Science Stuff - Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6

Now, there were a lot of subtle glances and micro-expressions to read into (after all, we are dealing with Vulcans) so be sure to watch Star Trek: Discovery online and let me know who YOU think is going to be the next to hook themselves up to some dangerous and untested piece of tech.

Lethe Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (20 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

See your path. Stay on it. Reach your destination. Cadet to Captain. Just like that.

Burnham

Don't apologize for excellence.

Lorca