‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2 Episode 4: Recap, Reactions, and Ruminations – “An Obol for Charon”

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Welcome to another week where we recap, react to, and ruminate about Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4 had a lot going on, but this week it was in a very good way.

This post will contain mild spoilers, so don’t read ahead until you have watched Episode 4.

As with previous posts in this Star Trek: Discovery series, there won’t be a lengthy recap, but instead of we will focus on the basics of what we learn. Once again, I’ll be pulling reactions and ruminations from my Star Trek community.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4: “An Obol for Charon” Recap

The original Number One comes for a brief visit to give Pike some intel about Spock. Once that business is done with, the Discovery, too, heads off to search for Spock. Soon enough, they are brought to a dead stop by some giant sphere.

This giant sphere infects the Discovery with a virus and begins to kill Saru. Thankfully, Discovery‘s new chief engineer, Jett Reno, is Starfleet’s version of Canada’s Red Green, so they’re in pretty good hands! She can fix anything with duct tape and literal bubble gum.

Then, the fungus that was possessing Tilly starts to do some very bad things and is very angry with Stamets for destroying its ecosystem.

While laughs and bad things happen in spore drive chamber, Burnham promises Saru that she will help end his life to prevent what is told to be an unpreventable extremely painful death. But before that is to happen, Saru manages to crack the code and communicate with the sphere that turns out to be an ancient lifeform wanting to transfer its knowledge before its death.

Have no fear, Saru doesn’t die, but we learn everything Kelpiens thought they knew about their inevitable demise is a lie.

Oh, and Tilly got sucked into another world or something.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4: “An Obol for Charon” Reactions

Reactions to Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4 were mostly positive. There was one person in our weekly discussion who didn’t enjoy this episode, but that’s okay!

Reactions to Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4 can be best summed up by these comments and conversations:

Apple User: This show is picking up speed. It is Star Trek in everything now.

O’Shea James: I like this episode, especially coming off the previous episode I didn’t care that much for. It had all the classic Trek elements. Family, exploration, and sh!t. Season two has been really good so far.

David Chilson: In my opinion, the episode was way better than the one released last week. It had a Trek type A story which kinda reminded me of the “Tin Man” episode in TNG. The rest of the show with Saru’s illness and the blob in engineering was interesting but not bad.

Tech-wise, it looked as though we got reasons why the holographic com system was not used in TOS and why the Spore Drive wasn’t mentioned in the other Trek shows (and wasn’t considered by the Voyager crew to get home).

Me to David: I’m with you on “Tin Man,” also “Force of Nature” and a way better version of “Ethics.” And not a Trek-related reminder, Poltergeist. At the end, I said, “Well, now they need to make a duct tape rope and pull Carol Anne out from the other world”

Everyone agreed, even the few for whom this episode didn’t work, the Chief Engineer is just awesome. We love her!

Another thing I liked, this was the first time I didn’t feel like I wasted time watching Star Trek: Short Treks as this episode spun off from “The Brightest Star.” Also, the continuation of rebuilding trust while moving through trauma but with a huge layer of family.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4: “An Obol for Charon” Ruminations

Family. It can mean different things to different people. Some of us had very traumatic childhoods and don’t have a birth family in our lives as a result. So, we had to create our own families with our closest of friends.

For Burnham, she did have a traumatic childhood. The attempted murder of her as a child played into whatever she did to alienate Spock and damage that relationship. She lost her parents in a violent way, was taken in by a family who cared, only to have more violence thrust upon her, and her new family were unable to protect her.

She betrayed her shipmates and then had to rebuild those family ties. There was a point where Saru wanted nothing to do with her. Now, in his hour of greatest need, he turns to her for help ending his life, so that he doesn’t need to needlessly suffer for what he was told would be an excruciating and inevitable death.

It was the part about assisted dying and being able to form a bond so tight with someone, they are willing to help with that advanced directive even though it is gutting them, that touched me the most. This is a situation that could very well be faced in my own chosen family because of a potentially fatal auto-immune disease I live with.

I never liked the TNG episode “Ethics” because of the way they portrayed disability and how assisted dying works. It was ableist and acted like being paralyzed is the worst fate in the world. I’ve been paralyzed before after I had a stroke. There are worse things coming my way and why I have a DNR and advanced healthcare directive. It’s why we compassionately euthanize our pets when the end is inevitable and all they have now are joyless days and horrible pain that can’t be controlled even with the strongest of medications.

It is this type of situation that is covered under Canada’s assisted dying laws. It is also one that is still hotly debated in the disability community.

I am thankful to the writers for flipping the script on this topic while exploring family—chosen, adopted into, or otherwise—and what you will do for those people, and how broken trust can be regained. I am hopeful that as more people see this episode, some of the taboo will be lifted and people will understand why assisted dying is a choice some people make.

As an end note, my Star Trek community is in the process of moving with the upcoming shutdown of Google+. You can find us and join us at The United Federation of Planets. It’s free to join but there are paid options with extra features to help offset the costs of hosting and building the apps. In the next couple of weeks, there will be both an Android app and iOS app for the forum functionality of the site.

Until next Sunday, Live Long and Prosper!

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