Welcome back and on to our final week where we recap, react to, and ruminate about Star Trek: Discovery Episode 15: “Will You Take My Hand?” This post will contain some mild spoilers, so don’t read ahead until you have watched episode 15.
As with the other posts in this Star Trek: Discovery series, there won’t be a lengthy recap. Instead of we will focus on the basics of what we learn. As before, I’ll be pulling reactions and ruminations from my Star Trek community.
All previous discussions and posts in this series are linked at the end of this article.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 15: “Will You Take My Hand?” Recap
Star Trek: Discovery episode 15 begins with a Klingon armada approaching Earth while the Discovery is approaching Qo’noS.
On the bridge of the Discovery, Saru and Burnham are clearly uncomfortable and have reservations about Starfleet’s decision to put Emperor Georgiou in charge and pass her off as Captain Georgiou. After Georgiou reminds Saru that he is food, Burnham attempts to trick Georgiou into revealing her identity.
Georgiou threatens Burnham on their way to get intel from L’Rell. Georgiou’s method of extracting intel involved attempted murder, which Burnham stops. Since L’Rell would rather die than cooperate, Burnham decided Tyler would be a source of information, and he is. He unlocks the magic box inside of his brain (the box that holds Voq’s memories) and they create a plan to get a drone inside of Qo’noS.
Tilly is tasked with carrying the drone, accompanying Georgiou, Burnham, and Tyler on an away mission to the Orion enclave on Qo’Nos. Very quickly, Tilly figures out Georgiou is not who Starfleet is passing her off as.
While on Qo’noS, Tyler and Burnham decide on one way to get the info they need to plant the drone, and Georgiou goes a different route, leaving Tilly alone to get stoned and pass out. She wakes up to an Orion trying to steal her drone but then she learns the drone isn’t a drone but an H-bomb. Genocide is the order of the day.
As Tilly attempts to inform Burnham of what the Federation is really planning, Georgiou punches her and steals the bomb.
Learning the truth, the entire ship threatens mutiny against the Federation. Cornwell relents, and Burnham has another plan to end to war.
After getting the bomb from Georgiou, Burnham gives it to L’Rell to hold it over the heads of the other houses and unite them. The war is on pause. Georgiou is left to run around the Prime Universe.
Back on Earth, everyone gets a medal, Tilly becomes an ensign, Burnham receives a full pardon and is reinstated as a commander, Amanda reminds Burnham of her humanity, and Sarek apologizes and says he’s proud she is his daughter.
Star Trek: Discovery episode 15 ends with a hail from Captain Pike and a view of the USS Enterprise.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 15: “Will You Take My Hand?” Reactions
The reactions to Star Trek: Discovery episode 15 from within my Star Trek community were not the best. The biggest critique we had was how rushed, once again, this episode felt. Deus ex Machina or, as I like to call it (ever since reading Redshirts by John Scalzi), “the magic box” was way over the top. It was all too pat.
I’ve personally felt this way about the last four episodes. I really wish the studio approved more than just two extra episodes. I think the writers were a little too ambitious with their storytelling. They couldn’t have really cut anything out of the pre-break episodes because every moment had information needed for the Mirror and post-Mirror episodes to work.
But, then, they had to rely too much on the magic box in those last four episodes to tie everything up. I’d prefer the studio give them more episodes, so they can continue to be ambitious in their writing, but that isn’t going to happen (especially if Viacom absorbs CBS again to merge all Trek assets).
So, the writers must be less ambitious in what they want to tell. And frankly, that sucks, because there were a bunch of excellent storytelling moments this season.
And while as a group we felt a little let down by the magic box used to end the war and have a lot of questions about L’Rell and how that whole thing is just way too convenient to work, we were happy to see some of the grander themes resolved and were satisfied with that.
We were happy to see Burnham go full circle. We were happy to see the crew of the Discovery stand together and willing to commit mutiny rather than commit genocide, because that is what you do in such a situation. And it’s not easy.
We ate up the speech Burnham gave, broken up in parts, through the episode. That speech sets the tone for the future of the series.
And while we don’t buy into how the Klingon empire will be unified because the magic doesn’t work for us, we are happy that it is the beginning of a unified empire.
And overall, we agree that the first season of Star Trek: Discovery is a lot better than other first seasons, and even second seasons, of previous series.
Every week, we, as a community, had a lot to discuss.
We discussed whether Burnham needs redemption because a lot of us didn’t think Burnham’s actions in the first episodes were wrong. And she isn’t the first officer to flagrantly disobey orders. Even Picard did it. And all the questions of morality that surround this issue.
Many weeks, we talked about the “at any cost” idea and what that means for not only the Federation, but for us in our present.
We talked about colonialism and assimilation and how the Federation can be viewed as a force that isn’t good and how that is valid.
We talked about easy routes and about how standing up is difficult and can cost you.
And people within my Star Trek community learned about trauma and PTSD and we were able to have frank discussions about that. I think that was one of my favorite things about this entire season. While many other media outlets’ reactions to that storyline ended up harming people like me who will forever deal with PTSD, my community members learned a lot, for which we are all grateful.
We reacted to and discussed so much more but those were the highlights, making it a great season for me because it was every week, instead of a handful of episodes every season that really get you talking about the societal issues highlighted.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 15: “Will You Take My Hand?” Ruminations
“Will you take my hand?” That is what Star Trek: Discovery episode 15 asks. Not only within the story and a crew backing each other up, no questions asked, but I think the writers are asking that of us, too. Will you take my hand? Extending a hand is also scary because it can lead to rejection. Accepting that hand is scary because it can lead to broken trust.
All season, the writers have been asking us to trust them. The writers have broken our trust, sometimes in very upsetting ways like with the treatment of Culber. But, they’ve also given us many wonderful things to ruminate about each week.
All season, the characters have had to reach out and accept that reaching out in the most impossible of circumstances with everything to lose, but they did it.
All season, I reach out sharing some very personal things about my own PTSD and people responded in supportive ways that I was not expecting.
So, will we take their hand into season two? I know I will. There were a lot of disappointing things about this season. But, there were a bunch of great moments that gave glimmers of hope throughout the heaviness of season one of Star Trek: Discovery. Glimmers of hope are how I’ve survived to see this day. Star Trek‘s hope and optimism gave me a sense of belonging.
The reason why I’ll take their hand into season two is because of the following speech Burnham gave throughout the episode. It is part of what many of us have been debating all season. It sets the tone. It’s something to chew on because it isn’t easy. In fact, in my own experiences, it can be the most difficult thing to do:
On the eve of battle, on a cold and windless night, an old general turned to a young soldier.
‘Tomorrow,’ said the master, ‘you will know Fear.’
The young soldier who had not yet experienced the agony of war looked at the general with quizzical eyes.
‘How will I know Fear if I do not know what it looks like?’
The general replied, ‘You will know Fear because it speaks very fast and it speaks very loud…’
‘If that is how Fear acts, recognizing it is easy.’ But as the young soldier considered the general’s advice, she asked the question facing us now,’ Once I know Fear, how do I defeat it?’
The only way to defeat fear is to tell it ‘No’. No, we will not take shortcuts on the path to righteousness. No, we will not break the rules that protect us from our basest instincts. No, we will not allow desperation to destroy moral authority.
Until next season, Live Long and Prosper!
Catch Up With Other Posts in the Star Trek: Discovery Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations Series
Star Trek: Discovery Episodes 1 and 2: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Burnham’s actions as it relates to her past, and how the message of “we come in peace” will not always be received as such.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 3: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Section 31, the many Starfleet officers who have broken the prime direction, and Alice in Wonderland.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 4: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about Captain Lorca and his requirement for unquestioning loyalty and the consequences; blindly following orders versus challenging them.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 5: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the times some of our favorite captains did extremely questionable and unethical things, and how it related to Lorca.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 6: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the effects of surviving trauma, C-PSTD, PTSD, and how it relates to Burnham and Lorca.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 7: Recap, Reactions, and Rumination: We ruminate about relationships in the context of Burnham and why the interpersonal relationships amongst the crew seem to be so important to fans
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 8: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the real-world implications of war and PTSD and how this reality is reflected in Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 9: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about trauma and the difference in how the cishet couple is treated compared to the queer couple.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 10: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about how heartbreaking it is to see the “Bury Your Gays” trope in Star Trek.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 11: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We talk about the clues dropped that Lorca is Mirror Lorca, and the desperate need for hope.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 12: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate once again about “Bury Your Gays” and “Stuffed into the Fridge.”
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 13: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about how our pasts inform our present.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 14: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations: We ruminate about the signals your reactions send to people with PTSD.