Star Trek: Discovery stumbled in its fourth episode, delivering a rushed story lacking in depth, and sweeping an apparently major character's death under the rug. "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not For The Lamb's Cry" had all the makings of a classic Trek episode, with a colony in danger, a ticking clock, and a mysterious creature who held the key to the solution. We should have had an a slow-burn of intrigue, as Michael slowly came to her conclusions about the tardigrade's true nature, and worked out how it could solve their spore-flight problem. If Landry had to die (and she really didn't, not before her character was developed even one iota), then her death should have meant something. But instead, conclusions were hastily made without emotional weight, and Landry went the way of Tasha Yar — unceremoniously, nonsensically, and far too soon.
But Episode 4 did have its good points. Michael's character was developed nicely, and her interactions with Tilly continue to be adorable. Lt Stamets got some character depth, as his conflict with Captain Lorca continued to mount. A major highlight was Doctor Culber's appearance, and his serious chemistry with Stamets makes us wonder whether there's something between them already, or something yet to come...
And of course, the episode would not be complete without a collection of Easter Eggs for us to discover. So let's get down to it.
An Anachronistic Replicator
The replicators are one of #StarTrek's most interesting inventions. Using transporter technology, replicators can create any object from the very building blocks of matter, from food to starship parts to clothing. Discovery Episode 4 starts with Michael replicating herself a new uniform, in a stunning CG sequence that made me wish I could shrink down and jump inside a 3D printer. There's just one problem with this — replicators haven't been invented yet.
Replicators were perfected in the early 2300s, but when the USS Discovery was launched in 2256, Starfleet used rudimentary food synthesizers aboard their starships, like the ones we saw in The Original Series. This isn't a huge canon break though. We can assume that basic clothing synthesizers were also available, but this does go against what we've seen so far.
You're not a true Klingon until you've eaten the heart of your enemy! Over several Star Trek shows, Klingons have boasted of eating the heart of their enemies, and Worf even chided the Klingon-aficionado Jadzia Dax for never taking part in this custom. Discovery's Voq and L'Rell though, take this a step further, eating not only Captain Georgiou's heart but her entire body.
This may have been because the crew was starving and they needed food, or this may be an extension of the Klingon heart-eating custom on the part of T'Kuvma's death cult.
Attack On Corvan II
The USS Discovery races to save the colonists on Corvan II from a Klingon attack, as this planet is rich in the starship-powering dilithium. But this isn't the first time we've heard of this planet — Corvan II was also mentioned in The Next Generation episode "New Ground," wherein the Enterprise transported two endangered gilvos to a sanctuary on another planet.
By the time The Next Generation rolls around, Corvan II is heavily industrialized, almost destroying the habitat of the gilvos. Thanks to Discovery, we now know that this industrialization is part of the dilithium mining process. So much for the Federation learning from the mistakes of Earth's past when it comes to protecting a planet's ecosystem.
Of all Star Trek's many Klingon characters, only one survived all the way from Enterprise to Deep Space Nine. This character was Kor, the legendary warrior, one of three main Klingon antagonists in The Original Series who made his return in DS9. Kor is a fantastic character, a hallmark of everything a Klingon can be: noble, brave, uproarious, cunning, and loyal. And now, we may catch a glimpse of him in Discovery too, as one of his relatives took over Voq's forces in Episode 4.
Kol, from House Kor, arrived with provisions and craftily stole Voq's crew from under him, marooning the pale Klingon on the wreck of the USS Shenzou. Kol certainly behaved with more Klingon vigor than T'Kuvma's clan, with all the tenacity of a true descendent of House Kor. We're left wondering if we'll ever see the patriarch of this clan, or if Kor is too busy harassing Kirk.
A Tellarite Nose
After smashing his face on the console, Stamets pays the doctor a visit, but he won't stop fidgeting as Culber repairs his nose. Culber warns that Stamets will end up "looking like a Tellarite," a vicious insult as the Tellarites — one of the founding races of the Federation — certainly aren't easy on the eyes.
Luckily, Culber could repair the damage — and we can only hope that there were no Tellarite shipmates around to hear his casual insult.
The Anachronistic Elon Musk
Let's round it out with another anachronism. Lorca name-drops Elon Musk as one of the pioneers of flight. Normally, references to the 21st Century are just fine, but after the 1990s things get a little screwy. With the Eugenics Wars in the '90s and World War III a few decades later, Star Trek Earth history diverges from ours in ways we can't predict.
So we have to wonder: What did Star Trek's version of Elon Musk do? Was he developing rockets for Colonel Green in World War III? And why didn't his philanthropy lead him to help abolish the ghettos peppering US cities? Or did the writers just carefully forget that Star Trek's early 21st Century was pretty different from the one we know?
We may never find out the answer, but my money's on the latter.
Tell us in the comments: Did you spot any more Easter Eggs?