“Choose Your Pain” is the 5th episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry“.
Note. This article contains several spoilers about “Choose Your Pain”.
Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is demanded to make progress with the spore propulsion but the tardigrad used as a pilot appears to be in pain after the last jump. As he returns to Discovery, Lorca is kidnapped by Klingons who want to find out how he can appear on the battlefield so suddenly.
“Choose Your Pain” seems to me a step back from the previous episode. Captain Lorca kidnapped by Klingons immediately reminded me of the many – too many – episodes of the TV show “Star Trek: Enterprise” in which Captain Archer was kidnapped by the aliens of the week. Ironically, Archer is mentioned along with Philippa Georgiou and Captains Robert April and Christopher Pike of the original series’ Enterprise.
In essence, a lot of the plot’s development seemed to me predictable and therefore not interesting. Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), who for a long time shared a cell with Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), a character well-known by fans of the original series, is in the brig where Lorca gets locked up.
The part of the audience who didn’t like scenes spokne in Klingon might have been happy but in this episode these enemies are totally embarrassing, space bullies beating their prisoners when they can have them at gunpoint but in a body-to-body clash they get easily beaten even by a human who can barely stand. In short, a really humiliating situation for the ones who are supposed to be strong warriors who instead turn out to be even physically fragile.
This episode works much better concerning the relationships among the characters. The tardigrade is in pain and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) has to save it but is arguing with Saru (Doug Jones), who’s commanding the Discovery in the absence of Lorca. There’s also space for the scientific officer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) both in terms of their tasks and the relationship between the two of them.
In the end, “Choose Your Pain” is useful to advance the development of the spore propulsion storyline hoping that it will continue with something original. In this episode, the most striking moment was the use of a swear word: in the previous shows a few were used in languages other than English (“Merde” by Picard and “Che cazzo …” by a holographic Leonardo da Vinci) but not even in the movie “The Voyage Home” they had used such colorful metaphors. I expect more strong substance besides the language.