Star Trek: Discovery The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not For The Lamb’s Cry Review
Star Trek: Discovery: Season 1, Episode 4: The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry further fleshes out the show’s edgy attitude and casts Starfleet in even worse light.
Although Star Trek has always paid lipservice to the idea of treating all cultures and civilizations as equally valid, the franchise and its many series have always regarded the Federation with a chauvinism that privileged their way of life over those of other species they encountered. While this was obviously true in the case of such malevolent entities as the Borg, the Dominion, and even the Original Series Klingons, even more benevolent species our heroes encountered were viewed as too set in their quaint ways to appreciate the achievements of the Federation.
It is precisely this chauvinism that Sunday night’s episode so skillfully subverts, building on the series’ dark deconstruction of Gene Roddenberry’s space utopia. Picking up where the previous episode left off, the program details Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) studying of the alien creature captured last time and explains Captain Lorca’s (Jason Isaacs) interest in it. Burnham’s research shows that the creature is not only hostile by nature but also capable of interacting with the spores that the Discovery is trying to weaponize, leading Lorca to have it wired up and used as for navigational purposes.
What’s shocking about the way the latter scene is portrayed is that, far from a painless procedure, the animal is visibly distressed for the duration of it and left depleted once it is over. It’s callous, maybe even cruel, and all the more surprising since it’s not the Cardassians or the Klingons but Star Fleet doing it. Even Burnham is left shaken by the sight of the creature suffering, presumably even more so since it was her study of its behavior that led to its mistreatment. It will be interesting to see if Burnham’s pity here grows into resentment towards her superiors and where it could go from there.
Another surprising development here is the death of Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) at the hands – or claws, rather – of the beast. Coming in the wake of both Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and T’Kuvma’s (Chris Obi) deaths, it’s clear that the show has no compunctions about killing characters just after the audience’s gotten used to them. It’s a pity that it had to happen to such a potentially-intriguing character as Landry, but it’s nice to know the series is willing to take big risks, and I certainly hope that Star Trek: Discovery continues to take such risks in the future.
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