Discovering Trek: Saints of Imperfection


This is my guide to Star Trek Discovery episode: Saints of Imperfection. Spoilers ahoy so turn back now if you haven’t seen episode 5 of Star Trek Discovery’s second season.


The Search for Spock Takes a Detour to the Underworld

Through the weightless throng our heroes travel in the name of love. The episode begins with Burnham running through the corridors of Discovery in slow motion, having just heard the news that Tilly has disappeared. We get a Burnham voice-over during these dramatic moments. “Words define who we are, officer, orphan, widower, ship-mate.” As she says widower, we see Stamets's pained face as he looks at Burnham trying to make sense of what has happened to Tilly and foreshadowing the episodes events. The use of Burnham as the narrator has been inconsistent this season, as if the writers occasionally remember the show is supposedly from her perspective, but it is a powerful opening. Stamets believes that Tilly survived her fall down the rabbit hole. Burnham says in her opening monologue that she wants to have faith that Tilly is fine, which is an interesting counterpoint to her views on faith in New Eden. She throws herself into her duty to take her mind of the uncertainty.

The Disco have caught up with what appears to be Spock’s shuttle. Pike communicates with the shuttle that he is here to listen. Spock opens fire on a nebula to disrupt Discovery’s sensors and they fly past him. Pike uses his tactical ingenuity to disable the shuttle and they bring the shuttle onboard. The shuttle door opens, and it is, shock of absolutely no shock, NOT Spock. It is the smiley face of Section 31 and former emperor of the Terran Empire, Phillipa Georgiou. Georgiou continues in her role as pantomime villain, twirling her cape, scowling and making liberal use of the double entendre. People in the mirror universe like whips and chains and we shall never be allowed to forget.

Pike: You like being back in the saddle?

Georgiou: “It’s an invigorating ride.”

I was surprised to the see the return of Section 31 so soon after their backdoor pilot and they are clearly going to play an integral part in the search for Spock as the episode closes with the return of Admiral Cornwall ordering Pike and the head of Section 31 (the organisation that supposedly has no authority but itself) Leland to work together. The Georgiou character does have some emotional nuance as she appears to go out of her way to try and save Burnham, she no doubt has an ulterior motive. Burnham is of course one of only a few people that know that this is mirror Georgiou, so Pike picks up on Burnham’s reluctance to drop her weapon when Georgiou appears. It transpires that Pike met Georgiou at the academy, and they reminisce during a walk and talk as Pike try’s to figure out what Section 31 have to do with Spock and the red signals. Georgiou merely states she is tracking down an officer wanted for murder. They are contacted by the head of Section 31 Leland and Pike and he are old/former friends. Pike claims jurisdiction over the mission, but Leland doesn’t back down, saying they can’t have Spock’s commanding officer or his sister appearing to interfere with his investigation as it would look like he was doing an old friend a favour. Leland agrees to send a liaison from Section 31 to Discovery. Pike agrees to cooperate, sardonically noting “anything for an old friend.”

In the spore lab Stamets has made a breakthrough, the cocoon that sucked in Tilly is an organic transporter, he thinks they can use it to get her back. He will scan the network to find the cocoon’s counterpart within the network. Tilly awakes within the network, which looks visually stunning, and May tells her that the network used to be a paradise. May’s friends, in the form of the tiny JahSepp, try to eat Tilly. May reveals that she needs Tilly’s help in killing a monster otherwise her entire species will die.

The Section 31 liaison is Ash Tyler, Pike wants an explanation as to why the Klingon torch bearer, who also murdered a fellow officer, is now in black-ops. Burnham says she knows Tyler, but Pike says, “call me provincial but I prefer people whose truth I can take at face value, so what truth are you keeping from me.” Burnham asks Pike to bear with her as it is a longer conversation to explain her relationship with Tyler and Georgiou. He grants her this leeway but asks her not to make him chase her for the information. Tyler and Burnham catch up and we see that Commander Nhan is the new chief of security and she is detailed to keep tabs on Tyler.

Stamets explains his plan to enter the network to rescue Tilly, they will jump half in and half out of the network. They must be careful though otherwise they will end up like the bodies they found on the U.S.S. Glenn in season one. This reminded me how Season Two seems less violent than the first season, an issue that I raised several times in the blog last year, this is a shift I welcome. Pike opens a ship-wide channel. “Starfleet is a promise, I give my life for you, you give your life for me, and no one gets left behind. Ensign Sylvia Tilly is out there, and she has every right to expect us, we keep our promises. Good luck and Godspeed to us all.” The remaining scenes aboard the Discovery are very reminiscent of those in the Wrath of Khan, the sense of a crew and a ship getting ready for battle, a well-drilled and brave ensemble of comrades. Stamets makes the jump and shifts them into the network, they can only access it from certain parts of the ship, where there is a barrier. Tilly sees the Discovery appearing in the network and they get onboard, she promises not to abandon May by using the solemn oath of the pinkie swear.

Burnham and Stamets enter the network, they find Tilly and May. And together they find the monster. The monster turns out to be Culber, but not a ghost Culber, but an apparent flesh and blood version of the good Doctor. The return of Culber isn’t a shock as they have been hinting at it for some tim