Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 8th October 2017
Series created by: Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman
Written by: Jesse Alexander and Aron Eli Coleite
Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi
“Let’s send our Klingon friends a message they won’t forget.”
Settling into its new post-‘second pilot’ direction, episode 1.4 of Star Trek: Discovery gave me the distinct impression that it was panicked about how grand, impressive and memorable it was, and frequently felt the need to throw everything at the audience in a shallow attempt to impress. While it’s by no means a complete shipwreck, “The Butcher’s Knife…” is both the busiest and my least favourite of the new series thus far.
Alongside the verbose, poetic and TOS-aping title, we open on a dazzling and purposefully mysterious view of Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) badge-less uniform being synthesized at a micro-atomic level. Our eyes are further assaulted by a maelstrom of chaos and colour over the ensuing 50 minutes thanks to Starfleet’s bombastic war simulation programme, the Klingon army’s penchant for rainbow decorations (and foods!) and a last-minute fire-fight above ambushed planet Corvan 2. Everything is too bright, too show and too try-hard.
Where the episode did most impress was in its quieter character moments where emotions were allowed to speak louder than CGI. Captain Lorca’s (Jason Isaacs) impassioned severity when persuading an injured and reluctant Stamets (Anthony Rapp); a rare show of Klingon tenderness between exiled torchbearer Voq (Javid Iqbal) and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo); Burnham’s difficult decision to open Georgiou’s last will and testament… pity director Olatunde Osunsanmi favoured neon explosions and the visceral violence of a rampaging beast nicknamed “Ripper.”
CR@B’s Claw Score: