Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 6 recap: The Sounds of Thunder


Following an emotional reunion in the Valentine’s Day special, we learn more about Commander Saru and his species, the Kelpiens, in the sixth episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

"Perhaps, in feeling less like you were, you are more like who you were meant to become. – Saru"

After Saru’s near-death experience in episode 4 of Star Trek: Discovery, he is undergoing several examinations in Sickbay. There he finds Dr. Hugh Culber and attempts to comfort him before turning his attention to Dr. Pollard. What is a Kelpien without fear? Saru wonders as his physiology changes to accommodate the removal of his threat ganglia. Dr. Pollard can’t make head nor tail of it, but Saru can’t help either since he is the only Kelpien to have undergone such a change.

Meanwhile, Michael Burnham, Captain Christopher Pike, and Agent Ash Tyler discuss the red signals and their connection to Burnham’s brother Spock. Tyler is doubtful of the innocence of these red signals, especially since their appearance coincides with some catastrophe or other. Is the red angel creating these problems?

Just then, Discovery picks up a red signal – it’s coming from Kaminar. Kaminar is occupied by Kelpiens and their oppressors the Ba’ul. It’s a strange coincidence that from all the billions of planets the red signal should appear above Kaminar. Pike decides to investigate and meet with the elusive Ba’ul.

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As always, the signal disappears just as Discovery arrives. Since the Ba’ul aren’t responding to the Discovery’s hails, Saru suggests that Discovery could communicate with one of the Kelpien priests in the village, are in contact with the Ba’ul. Pike agrees and recommends xenobiologist Burnham go down to the planet. But Saru believes he is the best person for the job, and adamantly makes his case to Pike. Seems like the lack of fear is causing some behavioral changes in him. Not that he notices; Saru comes bearing down on Pike, who somehow stands his ground. Burnham, as always, comes to the rescue, suggesting a familiar face might be a better way to make the first contact.

Back in Sickbay, Culber is feeling decidedly unlike himself. His mind is the same, but his body is brand new – in fact, he is so pristine, his scars are gone. According to Pollard, the reason Culber’s senses feel off is because his nervous system is trying to adjust to the new body. Despite Culber’s discomfort, Stamets is giddy with happiness to have him back.

The away team beam down to the planet surface. To Burnham, Kaminar looks like paradise, but as Saru reminisces about his past, it becomes clear that the planet is anything but. As they walk past the Ba’ul citadel, who should Saru bump into but his beloved sister, Siranna (Hannah Spear), who had been introduced in the Star Trek: Short Treks episode, ‘The Brightest Star’.

Saru explains what his life has been and introduces Burnham to his sister. Burnham uses the old Star Trek universal translator to understand and communicate with Siranna. Saru’s sister is overwhelmed but exceptionally hospitable. She welcomes Burnham to their home for some tea.

When Saru asks after their father, Siranna tells him that he died soon after Saru left. She is still cut up about Saru abandoning them, as they feared that he had been punished by the Watchful Eye for asking the wrong questions. Her family feared retribution for years.

When Burnham explains that they came to investigate the red angel, Siranna loses it, upset that her brother had not come back for her. She is aware of the red signal but is interrupted by the Ba’ul’s pylon activating. Fearing the Ba’ul’s wrath, she sends Saru and Burnham away.

Saru and Burnham return to Discovery as the Ba’ul are hailing the ship. They accuse Pike of stealing from them. They are referring, of course, to Saru. Pike tries to explain the red signal situation, but Saru interrupts him, bellowing at the Ba’ul for murdering his people. The Vaharai that he underwent was not a sign of death, but that of evolution. ‘You do not even know what you are,’ the Ba’ul retorts and turn their attention towards Saru’s village. When Saru pleads with Pike to stop the attack, Pike dismisses him from the Bridge. He’s made the situation quite difficult already.

“The Brightest Star”– Episode SF-003– (l-r) Doug Jones as Saru; Hannah Spear as Siranna of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS © 2018 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Saru attempts to surrender himself to the Ba’ul in an effort to save his sister. When Burnham tries to stop him, Saru pleads with her, mentioning that Burnham would do the same for her brother. Burnham lets him go and seeks out Ensign Sylvia Tilly and Lt Cmdr Airiam (Hannah Cheesman) who have been studying the sphere that Discovery encountered. It is a fount of knowledge and has collected information about Kaminar. Time to figure out what the Ba’ul meant by their statement to Saru.

Along with Saru, the Ba’ul have also captured Siranna. As the Ba’ul sends probes after them, Siranna explains to Saru that she became a priest because she saw Georgiou’s ship fly away with Saru. She hoped to one day find the light, and her brother, and freedom. But the Ba’ul have other plans.

The room where Saru and Siranna are being held has a pit from which arises a creature – the Ba’ul. While on Discovery, Burnham and Tilly learn that the Ba’ul were once a prey species who destroyed all evolved Kelpiens, leaving only the unevolved, frightened ones to survive, Saru discovers his threat ganglia have turned into spikes that instinctively attack the Ba’ul when it threatens him. I wonder if the Ba’ul are related to the tar monster that killed Tasha Yarr on Star Trek: The Next Generation? They look quite similar.

Saru’s new physiology makes him strong enough to break the shackles and free his sister. Siranna now sees the truth. The siblings are outraged by the sacrifice of their people for generations. Saru contacts Discovery, but the ship can’t pinpoint Saru’s exact location to beam him out.

Burnham realizes that using the sphere’s frequency will trigger the Vaharai for all Kelpiens and then Saru’s people will be able to prove to the Ba’ul that they can evolve without being predators. Saru believes this is what the red signal intended.

Pike is concerned about history repeating itself, but Burnham reminds him that the Ba’ul are technologically superior, thereby putting the two species on an even keel. With this assurance, Discovery and Saru amplify the sphere signal to activate the Vaharai.

While Saru comforts his sister, Joann Owosekun detects a huge structure emerging from the lake on Kaminar. It’s the Ba’ul’s stronghold where Saru is being held. The stronghold activates the pylons across the planet in an attempt to wipe out all Kelpiens. Pike beseeches them to ‘choose wisely’. The Ba’ul, of course, do not listen. So, Discovery starts attacking, but it’s a tall task.

But something attacks the Ba’ul’s sentinels, disabling them and saving the Kelpiens. Saru’s enhanced optics sees the Red Angel more clearly than anyone else has – it looks like a person with advanced technology. Who is it? And what are they trying to say?

Pike brings Saru’s report on the Red Angel to Tyler, who is still unsure about the Angel’s intentions. He sounds paranoid. Is that the Section 31 way or is Tyler’s complicated personal situation clouding his judgment?

Siranna joins Saru on Discovery for a while, but she cannot leave Kaminar. There is important work to be done. However, both of them finally have closure, and an invitation to return home is always open. Saru will have to make do with his Discovery family for now but the reassurance that Siranna can live a full life makes their separation more bearable.

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This adventure has not only saved the Kelpiens but has also inspired Burnham. It is time she returned home as well. Time to return to Vulcan.

What did you think of this Star Trek: Discovery episode? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!