Star Trek: Discovery, Season 5 Episode 4 – “Face the Strange”


Eve Harlow as Moll and Elias Toufexis as L’ak

Starting this episode with a bang, Moll (Eve Harlow) and L’ak (Elias Toufexis) remain brutal and clever, quickly eliminating yet another merchant who dared to double-cross them. According to last week’s final bit of espionage, the dangerous duo continues to stay three steps ahead of Discovery and her crew.


On the bridge, Capt. Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew are baffled. While they’ve arrived at the coordinates Jinaal provided, all scans show negative results. Oddly enough, Cmdr. Rhys (Patrick Kwok-Choon) is on the verge of figuring out the episode surprisingly early on. But in true hater fashion, Cmdr. Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie) immediately dismisses the notion. Burnham calls him into her ready room to gather him, showing him more grace than his actions and demeanor warranted. 


Meanwhile in engineering, Cmdr. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is diligently at work when hears something scurrying behind him. He actually spots the bug Moll had planted on Ensign Tal (Blu del Barrio) back on Trill, but the crafty device penetrates a bulkhead before he can stop it. Capt. Burnham and Rayner continue to debate the minutia of managing the crew of a starship when the first time glitch occurs. Because they were about to transport to the bridge during the time jump, the two of them remain aware of the glitch. They step on the bridge and find the crew unconscious, trailing the Red Angel. Timey-wimey shenanigans ensue. Rayner quickly determines that it’s a “time bug” a chrono-weapon used by the Breen after The Burn. Together, Capt. Burnham and Rayner set off looking for the one person on board who deals with timey-wimey nonsense best: Stamets. 


What follows is a veritable master class on what a clip show should look like. By jumping to and fro within the timeline of Discovery, we have a glorious opportunity to review the arc of the ship and her crew. This trip down memory lane weaves seamlessly into the plot of the episode. The writers did an excellent job finding the silver lining inside the murky cloud of a final season, facilitating a space for the actors to play previous versions of their characters. Flawless transitions between old footage and new make “Face The Strange” feel like what TNGs “All Good Things” hoped to achieve. In the fleeting glimpse into 3218, there’s even a reference to the beloved Short Treks episode, “Calypso”.

Only 6 actual hours had passed during Burnham and Rayner’s grand tour through the history of the USS Discovery, leaving Capt. Burnham and Cmdr. Stamets with clarity regarding their respective paths. It also granted Cmdr. Rayner the chance to start over, to respect his new crew and how they operate best: together.

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