9 questions I have after watching Star Trek Discovery episode 9, Into the Forest I Go

That’s all the Star Trek you’re getting this year. No more Star Trek for you! We’ve had the mid-season finale, which means you have to wait until January OF NEXT YEAR for another episode and, of course, there are loads of questions that need answering in the meantime. Your basic Discovery episode always leaves us guessing, but episode 9, Into the Forest I Go, went all out for the mid-season finale and dropped some major cliffhangers. With spoilers to follow, let’s run through all the questions I have after watching the Star Trek Discovery episode 9.

1. How did the crew come up with a solution to the Klingons’ cloaking technology so quickly? 

Let me get this straight. The Klingons’ cloaking technology has been causing the Federation no end of bother ever since it was replicated throughout the fleet, and the crew of the Discovery spent the majority of episode 8 trying to unsuccessfully combat it while on Pavho, but Burnham, Saru, and Tyler came up with another solution... in under three hours? 

Is that correct? It seems pretty unlikely that the idea for planting sensors on a Klingon ship to collect data on the cloaking frequency would just suddenly occur to them. Why didn’t they think of it sooner? Why didn’t anyone in Starfleet think of it? There’s always the possibility that someone did, but it was shelved in favour of the Pavho mission because it was too dangerous. Or maybe the crew just work better under pressure. They needed a solution so they found one. In less than three hours… did I mention that?

2. Why is Lorca still trying to protect Burnham? 

There’s no doubt that Captain Lorca’s attitude toward Burnham has been odd throughout the entire season, but the mid-season finale actually saw him try and protect her from going on the Klingon away mission because it’s “too dangerous”. Lorca isn’t one to coddle his crew, especially when it comes to winning the war, so why is her so keen to protect Burnham, a mutineer, above everyone else? 

There’s been talk that the reason Lorca brought Burnham onto the Discovery in the first place is because he needs her for something specific, so perhaps he just doesn’t want to risk her until that all-important point (whatever it is). The other possibility is that he actually does care about her. They’ve never even met before (that we know of), but perhaps he knew her human family? Maybe he’s a long lost relative? I dunno, ok! 

3. Could the sensors have been *more* conspicuous? 

I know Discovery is supposed to be set before the Original Series, but if the showrunners could work out how to include shiny display screens and handheld technology, how in the hell could the sensors not have been smaller?! I mean, come on, look at this thing. It’s huge! How did Burnham and Tyler even carry them around the Klingon ship, never mind hide them from sight? Plus, it flashes! Like a beacon.

Just in case any Klingons didn’t notice the massive, obviously not Klingon, sensor standing in the corner of the bridge, it gives off a ton of light which screams ‘Look at me! Look at me!’. Oh, and if there was any doubt where the sensors came from if they were discovered, there’s a massive Federation logo smack bang on the top of it. Brilliant. Well done guys. 

4. How is Admiral Cornwell alive (and was this L’Rell’s intention the whole time)? 

I’ll admit I thought Cornwell’s ‘death’ in episode 8 was a bit anti-climatic and suspiciously convenient, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that she hadn’t really died at all in episode 9. It does beg the question, though: how did she survive and was it L’Rell’s intention all along to keep her alive? 

She definitely looked dead after the Klingon smashed her into the ship’s panelling but, then again, L’Rell was the one to ‘dispose’ of her so perhaps this was her plan and she merely knocked Cornwell out. If not though, props to the Admiral who’s been lying on that cell floor for a good long while without dying. Now that’s stamina. 

5. Is Lorca worried about what Cornwell will do once she’s recovered? 

This leads us nicely onto: how much is Lorca shitting himself now Cornwell is set to make a full recovery? Well, probably not that much. Lorca didn’t send Cornwell to her death after all, he merely chose not to rescue her when she was captured so she couldn’t take the Discovery off him. Ok, that’s bad... but no one really knows this or can prove it. 

The other issue is whether Cornwell will insist on him stepping down as Captain now she’s back. He probably doesn’t need to worry about that too much either because a) his victory over the Klingons means he’s in Starfleet’s good books and b) he’s lost in space (more on that later) along with the rest of his crew. 

6.  Why does L’Rell want to protect Tyler? 

Because he’s clearly Voq in disguise! Sigh. 

There isn’t really another explanation for L’Rell’s assertion that she “will never let them hurt” him. Even if Tyler’s ‘memories’ are correct and L’Rell has a certain ‘interest’ in him, it’s unlike a Klingon to want to protect a human in this way. Plus, even if she did, who would she be protecting him from on a Federation ship? He’s with his own people. No, it’s much more likely that the theory which states that Tyler is really Voq in disguise (presumably with memory loss) is correct and L’Rell is assuring her commander that she will stand by him.  

7.  Why did Lorca override that last jump? 

You might have missed the above shot which shows that Captain Lorca overrode Stamets final mycelia jump - number 133 - but as you can see, it clearly says destination “unknown”. This could explain why the Discovery is lost at the end of the episode, but it’s unlikely as that happened during jump number 134 some time later. 

This is in reference to the final jump Stamets took during the mission to defeat the Klingons, but nothing about that jump seemed suspicious at the time. Did Lorca put something in place when everyone else was distracted to ensure that the next time they used the DASH drive the Discovery would end up somewhere very, very different?  

8.  What’s happened to Stamets? 

He’s clearly not in a good way. Is his brain all melted? Will he spend the second half of the season in a coma? Is he blind and will he stay that way? It seems pretty convenient (for the story, not Stamets) that it was his final jump that pushed him over the edge and did some serious damage, but I guess it had to happen at some point. You can’t say his boyfriend doctor didn’t warn him!

As of the end of the episode, Stamets appeared to be alive, but in critical condition. Thanks to what? We don’t really know. Culber said earlier that there was evidence of “restructuring of the tracts within the white matter of [Stamets’s] medial temporal lobe,” but we don’t really know what that means? More importantly, without its navigator, how will the Discovery get back from wherever it’s lost? 

9. Where is the Discovery now? 

This was the BIG question the mid-season finale ended with. After an incomplete mycelium jump Saru declared: “Captain, I’m afraid I don’t know where we are,” and the crew of the Discovery were left staring into the unknown. Annoyingly, we have to wait until January 2018 to find out where they are, but if you’ve been paying attention to all the hints and teases throughout the season, you probably have a good idea already. 

It seems likely that the Discovery has fallen into one of the alternative dimensions Lorca and Stamets were going gooey-eyed over earlier in the episode. More specifically, the Mirror Universe. We already knew that the Mirror Universe was going to make an appearance in this series and everything that’s been going on with Stamets seems to suggest that it’s connected to the mycelia jumps, so it’s time to get ready for alternative versions of our new, but already beloved, Star Trek characters. Unless… we’ve already met some?