‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2, Episode 8 Recap

March 13, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 1
TV, TV Recaps
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Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 8 Recap If Memory Serves


“If Memory Serves” provided psychic FaceTiming, shipmate squabbles, rule-bending and creepy alien walks in a stellar episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

This recap of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 8, “If Memory Serves”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

I’ve said before that one of the things I greatly respect about Star Trek: Discovery, especially as someone who isn’t a long-standing fan of the franchise, is its willingness to do things that are almost guaranteed to rile up the dedicated fanbase, many of whom already consider the show’s action-packed, highly serialized contemporary leanings to be heretical in the first place. “If Memory Serves” could go either way, to be honest. For the first time, the show has ventured into explicitly canonical territory, casting a slightly different light on a notorious early-days adventure of Pike and Spock (now played, very well in this episode, by Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, respectively).

It’s a risky move, especially since it requires a lot of time-and-space-bending physic illusions for it all to fit together, as the big-headed residents of Talos IV, where Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Spock fled last week, project conversations and memories back and forth with the aid of a human woman, Vina (Melissa George), who has previous with both Pike and Star Trek in general. It’s all a bit difficult to make sense of and in part seems present only to force Spock and Michael into a couple of emotionally-charged sibling rivalry moments in which they relive traumatic memories from their shared past.

Luckily, “If Memory Serves” is exceedingly well written and acted, particularly by Martin-Green and Peck but also by Mount, who gets to add some emotional contours to the upright captain that we haven’t had a chance to see yet. It’s almost enough to distract you from the fact that very little forward progression is actually made on the nebulous Red Angel plot here, despite confirmation of what we already suspected: The cosmic meddler is a human from the future whose grand design must be followed in order to avert the global extinction of sentient life. Lovely!

There are, predictably, more problems. Once the Talosians have unknotted Spock’s mind, he and Michael need to be picked up by Discovery. But Section 31 is on the case, especially since a whole bunch of sensitive tell-tale data is being beamed around by what appears to be Tyler (Shazad Latif) but is quite clearly Airiam (Sara Mitich), who you’ll recall is now technologically compromised. All told, Tyler had an especially terrible day at work, since he was also publicly attacked by a thoroughly annoyed Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), who is still struggling to adapt to his death, his new, reconstituted body, and the well-intentioned but profoundly naive romantic efforts of Stamets (Anthony Rapp). The fight was a bit handbags, if I’m being honest, but it had a great exchange: “I don’t know who I am anymore!” from Culber, and a stern, knowing, “Who do you think you’re talking to?” in response.

“If Memory Serves” did a great job of balancing these various dynamics, which weren’t simply filler subplots but in most cases explorations of trauma, the legacy of romantic and familial relationships, and the complexity of growth and change. Despite some of the wacky alien shenanigans we’ve seen so far this season – and I must give special credit to Doug Jones for the thoroughly unnerving way he swings his arms behind his torso as he walks – Star Trek: Discovery continues to be a show about human beings, human emotions, and human relationships – even if they may or may not be from the future.

Find where to watch this and more with our Discovery Tool

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