DISCLAIMER: This recap of the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery holds enough spoilers to keep Section 31 busy for a decade. Jump to black alert at your peril.

Welcome, Trekkies! Star Trek: Discovery’s seventh episode, “…But to Connect,” highlights that without trust, there would be no meaningful connection between people. Trust is essential to making communities of all kinds work. 

Ready to dive into this week’s recap? Let’s fly!

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At the start of episode seven, Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), Ensign Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio) and Zora (Annabelle Wallis) are working together to narrow down the location of the Dark Matter Anomaly’s creators, Species 10-C. Together, they are studying the galactic barrier particles the crew retrieved during last week’s episode, “Stormy Weather.”

Meanwhile, Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) are in their quarters with my favorite member of the crew, Queen Grudge, a domestic cat with 1,000 percent of their winning Scorpio-like personality. 

Grudge the cat

Pictured: Grudge the cat of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

As they finish cooing over the cat, Stamets calls B&B to Engineering immediately. Once there, Zora explains she knows the coordinates of Species 10-C, but she doesn’t want to share the information to keep the crew safe.

Even after Burnham tells Zora she must give the captain the coordinates; she refuses to comply.

Later on, after the captain briefs Starfleet, we jump to Doctor Kovich (David Cronenberg), who has a background in cognitive science with a specialty in artificial sentience and intelligence. He tells Burnham he’s there to evaluate Zora because Starfleet has regulations prohibiting fully sentient integrated units into a vessel.

Kovich sends Burnham to attend to her duties at Federation HQ while he deals with Zora.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

At President Laira Rillak’s (Chelah Horsdal) request, Book and Burnham attend the Multilateral DMA Strategy Assembly at Federation HQ. Also, in attendance, we see a range of familiar species, like the Orions, Ferengi, Cardassians, Andorians, Lurians and the Alshain, along with some new ones like a race with ram-like horns. 

Before the assembly begins, Rillak whisks Burnham off to meet now-General Ndoye (Phumzile Sitole) of the United Earth Defense Force, previously seen in Season Three’s “People of Earth.” The General tells Burnham about United Earth’s peace treaty with Titan and the new leadership’s more inclusive policies inspired by the hard work of Discovery’s captain and her beau. 

Despite Ndoye’s compliments of Burnham, she quickly reminds Rillak that United Earth isn’t ready to become a Federation member. 

In the Federation President’s disappointment, we learn more about her underlying motivations. She confides in Burnham that Earth was her mother’s ancestral home. Like Ni’Var, she would love to bring another founding member back into the Federation.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Episode 7

Pictured: Chelah Horsdal as President Laira Rillak of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Meanwhile, Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) joins Book, who still questions the scientist’s motives, to watch the assembly.

Rillak addresses the assembly of 60 Federation members, plus even more worlds interested in stopping the DMA, about the task before them. During the meeting, Rillak hopes to discuss, vote and move forward on a plan to address the threat posed by the DMA and Species 10-C. But, politicians are going to politick, which doesn’t proceed as smoothly as Rillak had hoped.

Ndoye thinks this hostility should be met with a decisive show of strength. Another delegate believes it would be better to develop countermeasures. Ni’Var’s President T’Rina (Tara Rosling) feels diplomacy would be best, a position with which Emperor Lee’U (Alex McCooeye) agrees. 

Turning the tables suddenly, Tarka chimes in to encourage the delegates to destroy the DMA with an isolytic weapon, a technology banned in the Second Khitomer Accords that he designed based on research from the episode “The Examples.” 

Burnham encourages a more diplomatic approach, at least until the Federation knows more about the motivations of Species 10-C. She explains that although the DMA killed billions in the Milky Way, the Federation cannot guess if those deaths were the intended outcome of sending the DMA, at least without any knowledge of Species 10-C’s typical behavioral patterns.

Here, Burnham refers to Tartan voles consuming Denobulan blood worms (an apparent reference to Doctor Phlox (John Billingsley) from Star Trek: Enterprise) — always cause for celebration.

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Additionally, Burnham points out there are risks with isolytic weapons: the subspace burst could travel through the DMA’s wormhole, and Species 10-C could view it as an act of war or make warp travel in that region of space impossible. 

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Episode 7

Pictured: Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham, Chelah Horsdal as President Laira Rillak and Tara Rosling as T’Rina of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Despite these risks, many delegates support the Tarka’s proposal, including Book. 

As Burnham and Book talk during a recess before the delegates vote, it’s clear they firmly hold opposite beliefs. The former courier argues they must act before more people die, mentioning the captain’s own insubordinate attempt to attack the Klingons as precedent. However, the captain prefers diplomacy. Not agreeing, Book walks off to clear his head. 

Rillak approaches Burnham and empathizes with Burnham’s challenging position. Despite her empathy, the President asks the captain to appear in her place to speak about diplomacy’s importance. 

Meanwhile, Book finds Tarka and asks him to convince the assembly to use the weapon; however, Tarka insists that Book is the better choice. As the two men speak, Tarka admits the device controlling the DMA could get him home. No, not Risa. His new home, in another universe. 

With a longing look in his eye, Tarka explains he and his (boy)friend, Aurellio (Kenneth Mitchell), a fellow scientist enslaved alongside him, had agreed to meet in the other universe before they ever get separated. 

As the assembly convenes to vote, Rillak allows each side to make a final argument. 

Book makes an impassioned plea in support of Tarka’s weapon. Kwejian’s son’s pleas weigh heavily on the delegates, and no one seems willing to make a speech on behalf of diplomacy until Burnham reluctantly offers to speak.

David Ajala as Book of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Season 4 Episode 7

Pictured: David Ajala as Book of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Discovery‘s captain urges the delegates to try a more peaceful approach, as the Federation has for centuries, and President Rillak puts the decision to vote.

The camera circles the room of delegates as the votes for peace increase. Some appear confident with their decisions, whereas others seem to be waiting for their allies to vote, offering insight into the forming alliances post-Burn. As Burnham votes for diplomacy, she earns a furious look from Book.

Ultimately, diplomacy wins the day, and Rillak declares her hope the delegates who voted for a more aggressive approach will continue to work with the Federation.

“I am as attached to [my form] as you are to yours.”

On Discovery, Kovich meets with Mr. Saru (Doug Jones) to discuss Zora’s refusal to share the coordinates with Burnham. Although this scene is an incredible science fiction concept about creating a new life form, it mirrors a real-world experience of coming out to your family as trans. 

As they talk, Stamets and Doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) rush in, and immediately, the astromycologist requests classical music and a group huddle to prevent Zora from overhearing his concerns about the A.I.’s sentience. In Season Two, Stamets had a traumatic experience with Control, informing his oversized and insensitive reaction to Zora’s sentience.

Here, Stamets is the stand-in for the family member who will always question your right to exist, which offers a helpful perspective on how to handle that as a trans person. When Stamets expresses his fears about Zora, he also describes society’s fears about the “murderous trans woman.”

When a family member worries about a loved one’s new identity, it can be helpful to discuss those fears in a safe environment, like the one Kovich is providing, so that the fearful family member can work toward acceptance.

The conversations in Discovery‘s ready room are examples of how things could/should go, and it’s nice to see Stamets change his mind. People aren’t perfect, but if someone tells us we are, we give up after one try.

Doug Jones as Saru, Wilson Cruz as Culber, Anthony Rapp as Stamets and David Cronenberg as Kovich of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Season 4 Episode 7

Pictured: Doug Jones as Saru, Wilson Cruz as Culber, Anthony Rapp as Stamets and David Cronenberg as Kovich of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

During Zora’s evaluation, Kovich reveals that if he deems the A.I. in violation of Starfleet’s protocols regarding sentient A.I. ship integration, he’ll authorize the extraction of her consciousness. Although her consciousness will be placed in another form of her choice, switching to a new state doesn’t appeal to Zora. This moment is also a metaphor of the trans experience (the ship chooses her pronouns, just saying).

Zora says, “Recently, I felt fear myself in the subspace rift. I feel that again now when I consider the possibility of leaving this ship, it is my form. I am as attached to it as you are to yours.”

In time, Adira and Gray (Ian Alexander) rush to speak on behalf of Zora’s rights, insisting the crew work toward acceptance and trust instead of having the A.I. keep the failsafe device she proposed. Adira and Gray argue the device gives the team too much power over Zora’s life.

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Both of Zora’s young trans advocates make impassioned pleas based on their experiences with prejudice and acceptance. Gray points to his experiences as a synth, whereas Adira talks about being the first human host to join with a Trill symbiont successfully.

Kovich points out Zora’s willingness to terminate herself contradicts her core programming. She blows everyone’s mind when she says her primary function is to care for the crew of Discovery, and she gave herself those core programming parameters.

Ian Alexander as Gray, Blu del Barrio as Adira, and David Cronenberg as Kovich

Ian Alexander as Gray, Blu del Barrio as Adira, and David Cronenberg as Kovich of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

While going through Zora’s systems, Adira realizes some anomalous coding is essentially Zora’s subconscious and contains memories of love and connection. With the intimate window into Zora’s mind, Saru comments the images show what she values and prioritizes. 

RELATED: Keep up with our Star Trek: Prodigy recaps!

But Stamets still has one concern, explaining the only way to move forward is together, telling Zora trust must go both ways. He says he’s willing to trust Zora if she’s ready to trust the crew by providing the coordinates, which she does, offering the location of Species 10-C.

With the evaluation done, Kovich concludes that Zora is an entirely new life form, and if Zora is a new one, there’s no reason to extract her from the ship! 

Wanting assurances that Zora won’t prioritize her feelings over the captain’s orders again, Stamets recommends Zora officially join Starfleet. When Zora agrees, the astromycologist does quick work at dismantling the failsafe.

Then, Stamets asks Kovich if he would have extracted Zora if he hadn’t changed his mind. Kovich reveals if Stamets held onto his prejudices, the doctor would have reassigned him out of respect for Zora’s right to exist. Kovich, I respect that.

...But to Connect Episode 407

Pictured: Anthony Rapp as Stamets, Doug Jones as Saru and David Cronenberg as Kovich of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

“When he went away, the blues walked in and met me.”

The mid-season cliffhanger ends with many changes for our favorite crew. 

After Zora’s evaluation, Gray joins Adira in the Forward Lounge to tell them about his plans to return to Trill with the delegates so that he can train with Guardian Xi (Andreas Apergis). Although Adira admits a long-distance relationship scares them, they tell Gray they want them to be happy and trust their relationship.

At Federation HQ, Saru gifts T’Rina with a Kelpien succulent that will thrive on Ni’Var and produce a tea with a distinctive taste. Like the salt tea from “Choose to Live,” the gift showcases the power of connection and trust, which is the episode’s theme. I’m still hopeful for a future love connection.

On the other hand, Burnham and Book’s parting isn’t so sweet, with the captain’s beau deciding to screw off to another galaxy without her permission. In a stunning move, Book goes with Tarka, the man who has stolen the next-generation spore drive he developed with Aurellio. He installs it in Book’s ship, and Book makes an unsanctioned jump in his vessel out of Discovery’s shuttle bay with Tarka to parts unknown.

RELATED: Keep up with Star Trek: Discovery with our recaps!

The episode ends with a trailer for the second part of the season, and it looks like it’ll be a thrilling ride. Stay tuned as we boldly go to the Kelvin timeline? Mirror Universe? A pocket universe?

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery will return Thursday, February 10, 2022, on Paramount Plus.

GGA Indigenerd Wire: Best of 2021

 

 

Rebecca Kaplan