In the seventh episode of Season 5 of Star Trek: Discovery, entitled “Erigah,” the crew embarks on a high-stakes mission fraught with intrigue, diplomacy, and heart-wrenching sacrifices. The episode delves deep into the intricate web of interstellar politics and personal histories as the crew navigates the complex landscape of the Breen Confederacy.

The narrative unfolds with the discovery of a distress call from Mol and L’ak, a key figure. They sent out an SOS to other couriers, but the Federation intercepted it first. Rushing to capture them, the crew of the Discovery finds themselves thrust into a precarious situation upon learning the true nature of their guests and the bounty the Breen have put on their heads. L’ak is still gravely injured and, even under advanced Federation technology, Doctor Culber doesn’t have the knowledge to help him. He finds a way to stabilize him.

Admiral Vance arrives to provide counsel and underscore the gravity of the situation. With the Breen en route to retrieve to make good on their Erigah (blood bounty) on L’ak and Moll, the crew must navigate a delicate balance between upholding Federation principles and safeguarding their own interests.

As they strategize, Rayner advocates for a bold and violent approach, even commenting to President T’Rina that there’s a Romulan expression: “Never turn your back on a Breen.”. However, his fervor clashes with the measured diplomacy favored by the Federation, setting the stage for internal conflict.

Meanwhile, Stametz is working to decipher the most recent clue left behind by the Progenitors, each revelation bringing them one step closer to unlocking the secrets of ancient technology. He enlists Tilly’s help to decipher the clue as they uncover a trail leading to an elusive Betazoid tome, Labyrinths of the Mind, which seems to have been lost to history. However, the computer points out that there is someone on board who may be able to help – Reno. Reno is one of my favorite characters, played by the hilarious Tig Notaro. We learn that she had quite the colorful past, including working as an antique book trader. She lets them know that it might be stored in an Archive that moves its location every 50 years.

Michael continues to question L’ak and why the Breen are so intent on retrieving him. She learns that L’ak is directly descended from the late Emperor, thus making him a pivotal cog for those Primarchs fighting for power within the Breen confederacy. They return to negotiate with the Breen, saying that they will trade L’ak to a rival Primarch if he does not agree to their terms. However, their plans go sideways when L’ak and Moll take things into their own hands.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and Wilson Cruz as Culber in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 7, season 5

L’ak and Moll don’t want to be taken by the Breen. So, they come up with a plan for L’ak to distract the doctors, allowing Moll to escape. She will then beam him onto a shuttlecraft. Tragically, L’ak’s plot to secure Moll’s freedom proves fatal. The Primarch states that he will declare war on the Federation, uniting the Breen behind him. Moll reveals that she and L’ak were secretly married, given her rights within the Breen homework. Additionally, she says she can lead them to a power that the Federation is hunting (a power she believes can revive L’ak). With no alternatives, the Federation agree to let Moll go with the Breen. 

As the episode ends, we learn that Book was able to use his empathic abilities to decipher the location of the Archive and the final clue to the Progenitor’s technology. Now it’s a race against the Breen to save the universe. 

Overall, this was the best episode of the season. We got a look into the Breen confederacy and its politics (something that has been secretive throughout the series). We also got to learn more about Rayner and why he is so aggressive; growing up on a planet run by the Breen and surviving a  massacre will make one a bit grumpy. And of course, we got a spotlight on Reno. I really wish they would use Tig more. She’s phenomenal on the show. This feels like Trek is finally expanding the universe and delving into the politics of the era. 

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery stream weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+.

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