Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 12 recap: Through the Valley of Shadows


A new red signal appears above Klingon space on Star Trek: Discovery. While the crew investigates, Burnham and Spock are on a separate mission.

"“The present is a veil between anticipation and horror. Lift the veil, and madness may follow.” – Tenavik"

Michael Burnham and her brother Spock have finally made amends and present a united front on the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Burnham is insistent on seeking out Leland, who has been possessed by Control. But, as Commander Saru explains, since the sphere data cannot be deleted, pursuing Leland could very well lead to Control gaining access to the very item that Discovery are trying to protect.

Captain Pike understands Michael’s concerns, but a new red signal has appeared and this time it is above the sacred Klingon planet, Boreth. Since there is no way for Dr. Burnham to have created the signal, the crew of Discovery wants to find out who is the person behind these signals, and what their meaning is.

Ash Tyler reaches out to Chancellor L’Rell for safe passage to the Klingon world. Burnham notices Ash’s reluctance. When she asks him about it, Tyler reveals that Boreth is where he left Voq and L’Rell’s son.

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Boreth is the location of the monastery dedicated to Kahless, but that’s not why the red signal has appeared. L’Rell reveals to Tyler and Pike that the planet is home to time crystals, the same material that powers Dr. Burnham’s red suit. Does Dr. Burnham have a connection to red signals after all?

To investigate what exactly the signal is after, Tyler demands to beam down to Boreth. But L’Rell forbids it. Both Tyler and their child were reported as deceased in episode 3 of this season of Star Trek: Discovery, which in turn gave L’Rell the power to keep the Klingons united. She cannot risk Tyler being seen on Boreth, but Tyler is desperate to see his son again. With the two of them almost coming to blows, Pike interrupts and decides to go in Tyler’s stead. L’Rell warns Pike that Boreth is ‘not for the faint of heart’. Getting an audience with the monks is hard enough, but no one has been able to hold a time crystal without great sacrifice.

Pike enters the monastery to meet the ‘Time Keepers’, protectors of the time crystals. But the keepers refuse to let Pike get his hands on the crystals. When Pike implores the leader, Tenavik, for the sake of the galaxy, it appears to change the Klingon’s minds.

“Through the Valley of Shadows” — Episode #212 — Pictured: Kenneth Mitchell as Tevanik of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Onboard Discovery, Paul Stamets isn’t feeling very victorious, despite the rest of the crew being in a chipper mood. Even Jett Reno’s announcement that Captain Pike is looking to get his hands on some time crystals doesn’t cheer Stamets up. The situation is compounded by the appearance of Hugh Culber. Stamets may have thwarted Culber’s attempts to re-initiate their relationship, but apparently, he’s still carrying a torch for his former partner.

Reno sees the sadness in Stamets and takes it upon herself to rectify the situation. She makes an excuse to go to sickbay and talks to Culber about her late wife. Reno’s wife passed during the Klingon War; she reminds Culber that he has a second chance at his relationship. So, he shouldn’t ‘screw it up’.

Tenavik takes Pike into the interiors of the monastery, revealing that he is L’Rell and Voq’s son. Time flows differently for those who come in contact with the time crystals, which is why Tenavik is a full-grown adult despite being left at the monastery only a few months ago.

Tenavik brings Pike to the time crystals, leaving him with an ominous warning about what he might witness when he holds the crystals. Fearfully, Pike picks up the glowing rock and is immediately transported to another ship, where a radiation leak causes an explosion, burning Pike’s face.

Pike jumps to another vision – this time of himself as an immobile, aged man, screaming in pain. Pike snaps out of the vision, absolutely terrified. Tenavik tells Pike that he has the choice to walk away from the future that he has just witnessed, but if he takes the time crystal, then Pike’s fate will be sealed. Considering the state of Pike in the original Star Trek episode ‘Menagerie’, we know what Pike’s decision will be.

“Through the Valley of Shadows” — Episode #212 — Pictured: Anson Mount as Captain Pike of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pike is horrified by his future, but he is a Starfleet captain and won’t abandon everything he stands for, despite what it means for his future. Pike returns to Discovery, shattered, but still a strong person. He gives L’Rell and Tyler the closure they need about their son – handing them a memento from Tenavik, and revealing that the boy was meant to be a timekeeper. Despite having gone through a harrowing experience, Pike is still able to bring happiness to those around him.

Tyler informs Burnham of a Section 31 ship not checking in. This is all the incentive Burnham needs to continue her clandestine hunt for Leland. She gets Saru’s greenlight to take a shuttle to investigate, thereby allowing the sphere data to be safely out of Control’s reach. Spock joins Burnham on her mission.

Spock believes the common denominator for the signals is Burnham, and hence she must be the clue to figuring out their purpose. But Burnham is still too enraged to see clearly. When they reach their destination, Burnham and Spock find the entire Section 31 crew ejected into space. Only one person is found alive – Kamran Gant (Ali Momen), a science officer aboard the USS Shenzhou, before the destruction of the ship in season one of Star Trek: Discovery.

When Gant regains consciousness, he recalls his ship’s last moments. Control took over the Section 31 ship when Gant discovered errant AI. Gant believes it was his discovery that provoked the AI into ejecting all the crew. He survived by getting inside a space suit, but guilt and fear stop him from agreeing to join Burnham and Spock while they beam aboard the Section 31 ship. It takes some convincing before Gant can change his mind.

“Through the Valley of Shadows” — Episode #212 — Pictured: (l-r): Ethan Peck as Spock; Ali Momen as Kamran Grant; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The three of them beam aboard the ship. They have hardly stepped on board when the AI takes control and warps them to an unknown destination. The AI slowly takes control of the entire ship’s systems. Spock tries to pinpoint where Control is, while Burnham works with Gant. Turns out Gant has been taken over by Control. Gant died with the rest of the crew and was reanimated by Control.

Control wants to take over Burnham as it believes she is the best way to get to the sphere data. When Spock distracts Control, Burnham and Gant get into a phaser fight, allowing Burnham time to manually reboot the system. Control tries to desperately feed its nanobots into Burnham, but Spock is able to immobilize them just in time to save her.

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This incident has made Burnham realize that Spock was on to something. Once aboard the Discovery, she reports the incident. But then, an entire fleet of Section 31 ships converges on them. With no other alternative to protect the data or the time crystal, Burnham suggests only one way out – destroy the ship. Without hesitation, Pike orders the crew to evacuate the Discovery and sets the self-destruct sequence in motion.