Originally Published on There Are Four Mics – A Star Trek Podcast

(We’re moving our Star Trek Discovery related content over here where it belongs)

Into the Forest I Go Review: Discovery at its best.

Continuing the journey back into the first season of Star Trek Discovery with “Into the Forest I Go” and this episode doesn’t waste a beat of any of that tension established at the end of “Si Vi Pacem, Para Bellum.” This episode is written by Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt, which I note because this episode is absolutely superb. This their first Star Trek Discovery episode where they are credited as the writers, and they are definitely names I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for in the future. Both these writers were also featured in the special feature on the Star Trek Discovery Season One Blu-ray set, “A Woman’s Journey.”

Lorca Continues To Be Suspect

Lorca is the shining star of this episode. He opens “Into the Forest I Go” in that classic Star Trek captain fashion by following the letter of orders he’s received from Starfleet, but not their intent. Unexpectedly it’s Lorca this time defending traditional Starfleet values, and expressing concern for the fate of the peace-loving Pahvans. Sure, it’s probably for his own nasty motives, but I endorse his advertised reasoning, at least. Setting course back to starbase at a snail’s pace is one of my favorite moves that Starfleet captains pull out of their pocket. This is a thing that always brings me a lot of joy. Space is in a state of anarchy and it’s exciting to watch!

But if there were any lingering doubts about Lorca’s motives up to this point, all signs start to point to trouble in this episode. He’s secretly been collecting data that might point to the existence of alternate universes, which is a big red flag. And his protective nature over Burnham goes to a new level here, where he tries to keep her from beaming over to the Ship of the Dead, but is unable to come up with a reasonable justification for it. For the guy who lost Commander Landry just a few episodes back in “Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For the Lamb’s Cry” and has likely never given another thought to her, this is clearly unusual behavior.

Farewell to Kol and the Ship of the Dead

Kenneth Mitchell as Kol in "Into the Forest I Go"

Kenneth Mitchell as Kol has been a fantastic Klingon, and I’m disappointed to see his story come to an end. He came across as a fella who reached his position  through pure luck and opportunism, not because of skills. He’s always seemed a little out of his depth after falling into greatness. His appeal to me was that he never seemed to realize he was in over his head. He might not be a good person, but he was definitely good entertainment. Also watching all of the Klingons recognizing their fate and shouting at the sky in the Klingon death ritual was a glorious moment. And saying goodbye to the gorgeous Ship of the Dead made me almost as sad as saying goodbye to Kol.

Boldly Planning

The boldness of the Discovery’s plan with the Klingon ship is damned intense. Beam a team aboard and have them secretly skulk around until they can install very bright and noisy beacons? And then have Stamets do hundred plus micro-jumps? It already feels like there is a lot of room for complications. So finding Admiral Cornwell aboard the Ship of Dead seems about par for the course.

As complicated and bonkers this plan is, when things do off the rails? I love for Burnham for delaying Kol’s jump to warp by challenging him to hand-to-hand combat. The depths of her cool know no bounds. She puts a little icing on the cake by recovering Georgiou’s insignia and leaping off the balcony as she’s getting transported out. Love a hero that knows how to make an exit. Sonequa Martin-Green is a blessing.

Burnham saying goodbye to the Ship of the Dead in "Into the Forest I Go"

After all the commotion ends and just before Burnham and Tyler have their heart-to-heart, Cadet Decker is paged on the overhead comms, so I can only assume it’s Will Decker from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But speaking of that heart-to-heart? Shazid Latif closes out “Into the Forest I Go” by delivering one helluva performance here. The vulnerability is palpable and the emotions are visceral as he tells Burnham about his Klingon experience. Give Latif some Emmys, please.

Dramatic Shift in Discovery’s Direction

“Into the Forest I Go” was the mid-season finale, but it had the feeling of a season finale. The Klingon War seems effectively over with their newfound ability to breakthrough the cloak. And that final jump into unknown space seems like a great way to lead into next season. But Rather than having the entire season be one arc like they did with the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise and the Xindi conflict, this is another example of Discovery’s willingness to play with expectations. I love them for it.

Stamets giving Culber some love before he does one last jump in "Into the Forest I Go"

One thing I was less than enamored with was Stamets and Culber’s dramatic goodbye before he made the final jump. The jump itself seemed like it was going to be entirely routine. But all that setting up a romantic date and saying that things are going to be different going forward? It made very clear that some seriously bad stuff was about to happen.

Pick up all of Star Trek Discovery season one on Blu-ray from Amazon here.

Or if you’re in the mood for a Star Trek Discovery podcast? Joe and Jason talk about “Into the Forest I Go” over on Disco Night. It’s our sister podcast, so check it out and subscribe!