L'Rell and Ash reunited in "Through the Valley of Shadows"
There’s a weird balance in this week’s Star Trek Discovery episode “Through the Valley of Shadows.” A lot of stuff happens! But not a lot of it feels very consequential. Pike gazes into the looking glass and finds a future that elicits a reaction much like Carol Marcus’ in Star Trek “Into Darkness” when Khan crushed her father’s skull. Pike procures a time crystal. But now? They lack a suit to install it in and the energy of a supernova to power it. Leland is nowhere to be found in this episode. But that doesn’t mean the buddy team-up between Spock and Burnham is safe from Control’s wrath. Linus and Gant show up for some fun, too.

Behind the Camera

Douglas Aarniokoski is back at it in “Through the Valley of Shadows” as the director. We saw his work not too long ago back in “The Sound of Thunder” and the Short Trek episode “The Brightest Star.” We first met him way back in the sixth episode of the series for “Lethe.” He seems to be a director that gets along well with CBS. He’s also helmed over a half dozen episodes of “Criminal Minds,” as well as episodes of “Bull,” “Limitless,” and “Instinct.” Given that relationship, it seems a safe bet that he’ll return for season three of Discovery.

Over on the writing side, we’ve got Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt coming back for “Through the Valley of Shadows.” “Coming back” seems to be inaccurate, as they two are deeply embedded in Star Trek Discovery serving as co-producers of the show since the season opener “Brother.” The last time we saw them with a writing credit for a Discovery episode was “The Sound of Thunder,” the same one that also had Arniokoski directing. They were executive story editors for the first season going back to “Vulcan Hello,“so they are knee deep in Disco. The first time they wrote an episode was back in the first season episode “Into the Forest I Go.”

In Front of the Camera

  • Mia Kirshner comes back as Amanda Grayson for about 15 seconds. It’s weird, but I like her so it’s a treat.
  • Mary Chieffo! L’Rell is back in the game, suckas! And she wears a fancy dress that really taps into the color scheme of the Klingon flag. This L’Rell / Tyler stuff continues to be a puzzle to me, though.
  • Ethan Peck as Spock! Anson Mount as Pike! I feel weird calling them guest stars at this point, but their time with us is short. It feels important to mention their outstanding existence while we can.
  • We get a bit more of Tig Notaro providing comedic and heart-warming relief as Jet Reno. There’s never been a person like her in our world. And there definitely has never been one like her in Star Trek. It’s thrilling.
  • Kenneth Mitchell returns as Tenavik. This is the first time we meet Tenavik, but we met Mitchell way back in “Battle at the Binary Stars.” He played the Klingon Kol in that episode up until the writers of this episode killed him in their first season episode, “Into the Forest I Go.” He showed up one more time in the second season episode “Point of Light” as Kol-Sha, the late Kol’s father.

Other Appearances

  • Ali Momen comes back as Kamran Gant. He was a fella serving aboard the Shenzhou with Burnham back up until the “Battle at the Binary Stars.” He’s also credited as Gant in “Despite Yourself” and “The Wolf Inside.” He must have played his Mirror Universe counterpart in these episodes.
  • David Benjamin Tomlinson comes back as Linus. Linus and I have a really up-and-down relationship. Tomlinson has been with the show since the first season, playing a Klingon in both the pilot, as well as its finale in “Will You Take My Hand?” This is his fifth appearance this season as Linus. Sometimes it really works for me, like when he was complaining in “An Obol for Charon” when he “had a cold last week and it sucked.” That was funny. It was less funny when he actually had the cold and got snot all over that poor guy who was just hours away from dying in “Brother.”
  • Ian James Corlett voices the Section 31 Computer in “Through the Valley of Shadows.” Normally this isn’t the type of thing I’d note. BUT. He also voices Goku in Dragon Ball Z. I’ve never watching Dragon Ball Z, but this strikes me as a “get” for Star Trek Discovery. Might suggest that this voice will continue to play a role.

Time to Subscribe

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