Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 8 recap: If Memory Serves


Episode eight of Star Trek: Discovery re-visits Talos IV, where the Talosians try and help heal Spock’s mind by learning more about the Red Angel.

"“We’re definitely on the other side of the Looking Glass now.” – Michael Burnham"

In the previous episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Spock had been found by his sister Michael Burnham. She was headed to the coordinates he had been repeating – to the planet Talos IV. Keen Star Trek fans will recall that Talos IV had special significance for Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek series.

In the present time, Captain Pike has not heard from Burnham and hopes that she will get to her brother, his science officer on Enterprise before Section 31 does. He doesn’t trust them, and he has good reason not to.

Captain Philippa Georgiou allowed Burnham to flee with her brother in the previous episode. That was not an act of kindness, but yet another power move for Georgiou to wrest control of Section 31 from Captain Leland. The plan worked. When Starfleet contact Section 31, it is Georgiou who suggests the best way to track Burnham’s masked signal. Captain Leland is quickly put back in his place.

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To keep Discovery distracted, Georgiou orders them to comb through the debris of the probe that nearly killed Pike and Specialist Ash Tyler in episode seven of Star Trek: Discovery. Even Pike can see he’s being played here. Georgiou asks to be kept informed if Burnham contacts Discovery since she is now harboring a murderer.

Speaking of murderers. Hugh Culber has finally been released from Sickbay and his partner Paul Stamets is champing at the bit to bring him home. Culber, now in a fit new body, still looks unsure of his surroundings, when he spots Tyler strolling through the deck. When Voq took over Tyler’s body in Star Trek: Discovery season one, he killed Culber and since then Culber has been through hell and back. When the two of them make eye contact, Tyler looks horrified, while Culber’s look could veritably kill.

Stamets brings Culber his favorite food for dinner, but Culber can’t connect with it. He feels disconnected from everything and lashes out at Stamets in anger. Why is he so angry at Stamets? Maybe, he’s just angry?

“If Memory Serves” — Ep#208 — Pictured (l-r): Wilson Cruz as Culber; Anthony Rapp as Stamets of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Burnham and Spock arrive at Talos IV and almost get sucked into a Black Hole. But this was an illusion created by the psychogenetic Talosians. Burnham successfully lands the ship and leaves Spock to investigate the planet. Fans will recognize the blue flowers from ‘The Cage’ and ‘Menagerie’ in Star Trek.

Burnham sees a woman entering the shuttle and goes to investigate. It’s Vena (Melissa George), a young human woman whose shuttle crashed on the planet. The Talosians have cared for her and now want to help Spock as well. Vena considers herself a friend of Spock’s. It seems this episode of Star Trek: Discovery takes places after ‘Menagerie’.

Burnham and Spock beam down beneath the surface to meet with the Talosians. The character design of this species has been updated since the 1960s, but remain a fitting homage to the original series. They explain that Spock now sees time as fluid, instead of linearly, and he knew that only the Talosians could help him put his mind back in order. In return for doing this, the Talosians ask Burnham to share her memory of the confrontation that ended her relationship with her brother.

Vena asks Burnham not to resist since the Talosians have access to people’s memories and dreams. Burnham seems unconvinced until Vena reveals her true self – shriveled and burned. That was how the Talosians found Vena, and now, their illusions make her look and feel perfect. Convinced that Spock can’t be helped by conventional means, Burnham gives in to the Talosians demands. The Talosians enter Spock and Burnham’s minds.

Spock recounts his encounters with the Red Angel. He first saw it when Burnham ran away from home; the Angel showed him Burnham’s death and thereby led him to her location. Years later, the Red Angel sent him to a remote planet where Spock came face-to-face with it once again. And he immediately mind-melded with it. Why would you do that, Spock?

During the meld, the Red Angel showed Spock the end of all sentient life in the galaxy – probes (much like the one that attacked Pike and Tyler) – will destroy every planet in the Alpha Quadrant. ‘Now, you see’, Spock tells Burnham.

Burnham wakes up and confronts Spock about the Red Angel. ‘You actually think the beard is working?’ is the epitome of sibling quarrels. The bitterness between them is apparent. Spock doesn’t consider Burnham family anymore, but Burnham feels like he should be beholden to her. All he reveals is that he sensed human emotion from the Red Angel. Whoever the Angel is, they are from the future and trying to stop a cataclysmic event from occurring.

The Talosians return to Spock’s memories of the Starfleet psychiatric facility, where Spock covers the floor of his room with scribbles about the future. One of the doctors informs Spock about the Red Signals, but her questions do not ease his fears. He escapes his room, incapacitating the three doctors using the Vulcan nerve pinch. But if Spock didn’t murder the doctors, who did?

On Discovery, while Sylvia Tilly has been scanning the probe debris, Pike has Saru locate possible Vulcan facilities where Burnham could have taken Spock. Tyler is displeased that Pike is going against Georgiou’s orders, but the Captain has a handle on both missions. Unbeknownst to them, the probe affected Commander Airiam, Discovery’s android officer. But its intentions still remain unclear.

Pike refuses to leave Burnham and Spock to their own devices, but Tyler asks him to trust Burnham as that is the only way for them to survive Section 31. Pike asks why Tyler is with 31 if he trusts Burnham more than them; Tyler’s answer is apt. They work in gray areas and since he’s changed, Tyler can be of service to them.

Culber heads to the Mess Hall to confront Tyler. Tyler tries to defend himself: ‘It was Voq’. Culber wants Tyler to bring Voq out, but it doesn’t work like that so the two of them fight each other while Saru keeps the crew away from them, hoping that if the scene continues, they can work things out.

"‘I don’t even know who I am anymore,’ Culber says.‘Who do you think you’re talking to?’ Tyler replies."

“If Memory Serves” — Ep#208 — Pictured (l-r): Wilson Cruz as Culber; Shazad Latif as Tyler of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Captains don’t like their crews fighting each other but Pike allows this incident to pass due to the extraordinary circumstances of those involved. However, he wants Saru to inform the crew that no further disagreements can be solved by violence. Saru agrees.

When Pike returns to his ready room, he sees Vena. She tells him that when the Talosians sent Enterprise away, she was allowed to keep an illusion of Pike. He is happy that she isn’t alone, and is delighted to see her again. But this is not why Vena is here. Burnham is using the Talosians to let Pike know about Spock’s innocence and that Section 31 is after Spock’s memories of the future. They need rescuing, asap.

Culber tells a heart-broken Stamets that the Culber who loved him is dead. Looks like this relationship is over. But before Stamets can continue the conversation, he is called away to power up the spore drive to go to Talos IV. Except, when the ship goes into Black Alert, the spore drive fails. Someone has sabotaged it manually and all signs point to Tyler, who claims innocence. Pike believes that maybe Tyler doesn’t even know he’s doing it and restricts him to his quarters. If only Pike knew the real culprit, Airiam, was right there on the bridge with him. Pike decides to fool Section 31 by warping to a system close to Talos IV and then going dark.

On Talos IV, it is Burnham’s turn to pay the price for healing Spock. She recalls trying to protect her family from the Separatists on Vulcan. Burnham knew that they would try and attack her home because the Logic Extremists didn’t want humans on Vulcan. But baby Spock refused to leave his sister’s side. To push him away, Burnham insulted his cold Vulcan nature and his parentage, thereby breaking his heart and driving an irreparable wedge between the siblings.

Spock thanks Burnham for being the catalyst for eschewing his human side. He has achieved much since then, but he is still not ready to face what’s coming. Discovery is coming but Section 31 are close behind. How did Leland locate Discovery?

When Pike orders Burnham and Spock to be beamed up, Section 31 puts a lock on them as well. Having reached an impasse, Vena appears, asking Pike to let go of his friends. To let go of everything. Pike bids farewell to the love of his life and disengages transporters. Now, Burnham and Spock are with Section 31 and Discovery is ordered to face disciplinary action.

Leland is chuffed with himself, but what he’s got is a Talosian projection. The real Burnham and Spock fly a shuttle on to Discovery and Spock actually smiles at seeing his Captain again. So much for being an emotionless Vulcan!

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Spock suggests Discovery go on the run since they’re now fugitives as well. Pike, as always, tries to give the crew the option of a way out, but they’re sticking right by him. This is Star Trek, after all, and a crew never abandons its captain.

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