When a new signal appears over Saru’s home planet, Burnham, Saru and the crew embark on a perilous mission that puts Saru in danger and raises questions about the Red Angel’s intentions. Hugh struggles to come to terms with his new reality.
Okay Super Friends I’m back on the Star Trek: Discovery fan train. After a couple of moans I definitely felt like I saw an improvement in the last episode (reviewed here) and now this is the episode I’ve been waiting for.
There’s a brilliant mix of action and character in “The Sound of Thunder”. I’m not about to call this a perfect episode but in this mixed bag season it’s definitely one of the better ones.
Watching Discovery I’m learning a lot about my own thoughts on the franchise. For instance I seem to be a fan of bigger action set pieces in the movies than I am in the series. When Discovery echoes the movies and gives character a back seat I feel less engaged (see what I did there!?) with it generally.
“The Sound of Thunder” brings back the classic ethos of exploring strange new worlds and new civilisations. Particularly the Kelpien. IT also nicely picks up the plot of episode four with Saru wanting to learn more about his people. For arguments sake it’s a little convenient that following the revelation about his ganglia one of the red mist signals appears at his home world. But on this occasion I’ll forgive the convenience.
Either way this is only our second opportunity this season to beam down to a new planet. In doing so the set designers get to go crazy creating a new landscape for us to play in.
Kaminar looks incredibly cinematic. Right from the beach to the single designs of the structures. Something about it reminds me of Ba’ku from Star Trek: Insurrection. We’re also able to spend enough time on the planets surface to be able to get a greater understanding of the civilsation. In other words: this episode takes time to breathe!
The other aspect of this episode I was most looking forward to was seeing the Ba’ul. We’ve heard about the monstrous creatures before but we get so much more context to the whole setup here.
It’s equally rewarding to see the writers following through on the character development of Saru whilst building up some much needed context around his people. I felt that it was a great way to flip the story by having the two races trading places in recent history. By the close of the episode we’re really left in a morally ambiguous place whereby the tables could once again turn. Of course that pesky prime directive will stop any Federation involvement with that… right?
The Ba’ul themselves look great. For a moment I thought the oil slick creature from TNG’s “Skin of Eviil” was making a return appearance. The creature effects were above and beyond in this episode. CBS continually raise the bar on their own production values which is great to see.
“The Sound of Thunder” is possibly my favourite episode of the season so far. It showcases the best balance of character and action we’ve had so far this season. It’s also able to take us to strange new worlds and explore new civilisations bringing back more of that classic Trek feel.
On the next episode…
Star Trek: Discovery is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout, Bryan Fuller’s Living Dead Guy Productions and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller, Heather Kadin, Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts, Akiva Goldsman, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth serve as executive producers.
The series airs on CBS All Access in North America and Netflix internationally.