After the collapse of the Egyptian Empire, the world forgot how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. It wasn’t until 1799, during the Napoleonic Campaign of Egypt when scholars discovered the Rosetta Stone. On it was the same decree written in Ancient Greek, Egyptian Coptic, as well as Egyptian hieroglyphics. This cipher ultimately allowed scholars to decipher Egyptian writings.
Discovery has come across a planet that was once the home to Species 10C and Burnham wants to explore it to learn more about them. With only 29 hours left until the DMA begins to destroy Earth and Ni’Var, it’s a substantial risk as it will take time (and it’s running out).
Elsewhere, Book and Tarka are trying (unsuccessfully) to find their way into the hyper field to find the power source of the DMA. They decide that they are going to attach themselves to Discovery and hitch a ride. However, to do this, they need to install a patch to hide themselves from Zora. But the only way to do this is to break into Discovery and access engineering. So the two of them plan their way to sneak onto the ship.
Saru, Burnham, Dr. Culber, and Detmer prepare to go to the planet. However, the General argues that they don’t have time to explore this planet. Instead, they should be focused on finding the 10C and communicating with them. Burnham acknowledges the risk but still feels that her plan is the best one and the others agree.
The trip to the planet is a difficult one. On arrival, Saru tells them that he is unable to read any life signs – including their own. They set their phasers to stun and begin to explore. Saru is suddenly struck by an entity. He is convinced they are under attack and is terrified. Once he realizes that he’s the only one affected, he brushes it off as “vertigo.” The crew then stumbles across large bones.
They appear to be the remains of species 10C who are physiologically designed to float in the atmosphere. They find more bones and it appears that it is part of a mass grave. Some type of mass extinction happened at this place. The team continues to a nearby building, but Saru is continuing to struggle.
As they explore the building left behind by Species 10C, Saru is becoming more troubled by the energy force that is provoking his fear response. While treating him, Culber is also infected, and then Michael. They are experiencing the same vision and having an extreme fear response. Only Detmer is not impacted. They are able to identify a hydrocarbon in the dust as the culprit and adjust their suits to filter it out. They all breathe a sigh of relief as they find a reprieve from fear.
I live to Serve
After watching the shuttle depart, Tarka and Book board Discovery and start to make their way to Engineering. In the process, they overhear the General complaining to the President of Ni’Var about the decision to delay first contact to explore the planet. As they continue to engineer, Book decides he wants to approach the General. She supported their initial plan of attack at the assembly and he believes that (given her new concerns) she will support them.
In Engineering, Commander Reno (Tig Notaro) responds to reports of replicators malfunctioning all over the ship (Book and Tarka’s diversion to clear out Engineering). As Tarka continues on to install the patch, Book approaches the General to propose they cooperate. She agrees, but only as a “back-up” plan. If the 10C agree to cooperate, they must stand down.
Nothing like Coming Home to an Unexpected Hostage
On the planet, Saru analyzes another hydrocarbon they find in the building. It’s different from the one that provoked a fear response. They also learn that the building served as a nursery for the 10C. Michael then intentionally exposes herself to the new hydrocarbon. Unlike the one near the mass grave, this one makes her feel loved and safe. The away team determines that, like Bees on earth, the 10C communicate using pheromones – their Rosetta Stone. They head back to Discovery to share what they learned and plan how they will communicate with species 10C.
Equipped with their newfound knowledge, the team continues their quest to find Species 10C and get them to stop the harvester. Michael takes a moment to enjoy a drink with Coburn. He confesses to her that he is emotionally struggling. The weight of supporting his crew is getting to him.
Back on Book’s ship, Tarka tells him that their plan has worked. However, Reno is tied up on the ship. Tarka took her prisoner when she stumbled on him in engineering. Now the crew of Discovery with their two stow-aways (and a hostage) head to find Species 10C.
Episode Analysis – Episode 11: Rosetta Stone
As a lover of Star Trek, it pains me to say that this season’s arc continues to be a painful and somewhat boring watch. The quest for 10C (again, who is in charge of naming aliens on this show?!) has dragged on and on with little progress to be made. It also does little to nothing to advance character development. This is episode 11 of the season. With two more remaining it seems that there will be little opportunity to explore the 10C, the impact of the Harvester on the galaxy, or anything but a superficial wrap-up of the conflicts that have arisen between characters. I get that we should appreciate the journey, but at some point, you need to get to the point!
Discovery continues to make an attempt to explore the interpersonal relationships of the crew from Saru’s love life, Adira’s desire for a mentor, Stamets exploring fatherhood, and Culbern struggling with his own emotional health. However, they continue to cover these with only a superficial brush. I really, really want to care about these characters but the show makes it hard to connect to them.
Tig Notaro remains the bright spot in the season. I will say, I’m excited to see that she will be spending the next episode tied up on Book’s ship. This will no doubt lead to some truly entertaining banter between her and her captors. No doubt it will be biting and witty.
What did you think about this week’s episode, Rosetta Stone? Comment below and let us know! Stay tuned to THS for more recaps and reviews.