“Lethe” is the 6th episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “Choose Your Pain“.
Note. This article contains several spoilers about “Lethe”.
Sarek (James Frain) is traveling on a spacecraft that is supposed to bring him to a meeting with a Klingon delegation but a Vulcan extremist sabotage it. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) perceives that Sarek is injured and Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) decides to try to save him.
In “Lethe” we find out that in the XXII century yet another version of Doom was produced and we see Captain Gabriel Lorca playing with the newcomer to Discovery, Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif). The bridge holograms is yet another inconsistency with the original series and trying to explain its existence is useless.
Once again an episode has a plot in many ways predictable that is little more than an excuse to develop some characters and their relationships. Michael Burnham is at the center of everything, at the beginning with cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and then Lieutenant Ash Tyler but the most important part is in her relationship with Sarek.
The personal story between Michael Burnham and Sarek has strong roots in the events told in the original series, so much that Amanda (Mia Kirshner) appears in the mind’s flashbacks and Spock is mentioned a number of times. There’s also an explanation of the contact between Michael and Sarek’s minds in the episode “Battle at the Binary Stars” with the revelation that Michael has part of Sarek’s katra.
Michael Burnham’s discoveries of past events show complex family relationships. Sarek worked long to try to integrate Vulcans and humans but the results seem far different from what he expected. His children, either biological or adoptive, moved away from Vulcan and in Michael’s case there’s a new stage in her inner journey with what in some ways is a new awareness of her humanity.
In the previous episodes, Michael Burnham often acted in a very human way, showing various emotions, but they were always chaotic manifestations. Finding herself in Sarek’s mind with his emotions – because Vulcans have emotions, even if repressed! – somehow allowed her to take control of her emotions.
Some surprises come mainly from the relationship between Captain Gabriel Lorca and Admiral Katrina Cornwell (Jayne Brook). Captain Picard never tried certain unorthodox strategies to convince Admiral Nechayev but, given the results obtained by Lorca, maybe he did the right thing. 😀
The end of the episode leaves the plot about Admiral Cornwell open both concerning Captain Lorca’s situation and the relationship with the Klingons. There’s also the question of the attempts by Vulcan extremists to sabotage the Federation: will that sub-plot also be developed?