Discovery’ Gets Cool Under Pressure In “Erigah” –



Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 7 – Debuted Thursday, May 9, 2024
Written by M. Raven Metzner
Directed by Jon Dudkowski

You can cut the tension with an Andorian Ushaan-tor in a taut episode full of political intrigue, heartbreak, and even a few laughs.

I’m back!

WARNING: Spoilers below!


“Never turn your back on a Breen”

The Disco rendezvous with the USS Locherer which has captured Moll and L’ak. Captain Burnham is briefed by her old friend Nhan who has the former couriers in custody and she also has Vellek’s original diary, which may have more hidden secrets. Book wants to help but the security officer only sees him as a “security risk,” for that whole betraying the Federation thing last season. L’ak is beamed to sickbay and he is still in bad shape from that knife wound Michael gave him two episodes ago. Dr. Culber is no expert but they figure an old Breen refrigeration unit in storage at Starfleet HQ could help. When they arrive Admiral Vance won’t let them in. For the first time since the Dominion War, the Breen have entered Federation space… and they want L’ak and Moll. Worried the baddies will find out about the whole Progenitor tech thing, Vance wants the Disco to skedaddle, but Burnham successfully argues they should make their stand here instead of letting the Breen cause havoc chasing them around the quadrant. The stakes couldn’t be higher… so I guess this isn’t a “filler episode.”

President T’Rina is in charge of negotiations (Rillak is away and so is Saru, sadly) and leads a crisis meeting at HQ. No one has talked to the Breen since before The Burn, but people are scared as they still remember their brutal Dominion War history. Rayner makes his view plain with “All the Breen are the same” (can he say that?) arguing they should prepare to fight. However, it’s curious why a Primarch would come all the way to Fed HQ, so it must be tied into the Breen’s civil war. While T’Rina, Burnham and Vance try to figure out how to buy time until more Starfleet ships arrive, Rayner’s anti-Breen tirade escalates to get him booted from the room. Burnham is tasked with getting info from L’ak to find out what they can use to negotiate, and to get her XO “in line.” As she wasn’t privy to all those flashbacks from two episodes ago, Michael needs to drag the whole royalty story out of L’ak while he is barely holding on in sickbay. Turns out he is next in line for the throne, “Scion of the Breen Imperium.” He wants nothing to do with it and asks the captain to spit in his uncle’s face when he shows up. That’s cold, even for a Breen.

I may not know anything about Breen philology, but I have my concerned caregiver face down.

“Wow, you really got around”

While everyone is running around thinking they are all about to die, Stamets remembers the season arc, talking Tilly out of leaving the ship so she can help find the last piece of the map with “the most important thing in the Federation right now,” specifically a piece of metal they found in the clue from last week. He is going to team up with Book to work on tracing the metallurgy while Tilly teams up with Adira on the inscription. The Academy teacher is impressed with how the young ensign is coming along as they sort out how the clue points to the original Betazed manuscript for “Labyrinths of the Mind,” location unknown, naturally. Zora points them to the one person on the ship with a background in antique books: Commander Reno. Really. Turns out the acerbic engineer “padded” her resume, but she used to be a smuggler for “a shady antiquarian archivist” amongst other colorful jobs. She does figure Dr. Derex would have wanted to protect the next clue so they should look into something called the “Eternal Gallery and Archive,” a space library that keeps on the move and uses little metal library cards… ding ding ding! SIDE PITCH: Sitcom of Reno’s time as a bartender on Alshain IV… Call it Jett’s Treks. Make it so, Alex.

The Breen Dreadnaught finally shows up, and it’s redonculous. It’s so big, you got to think Primarch Ruhn is compensating. T’Rina buys them four hours, but they need something to use to negotiate besides handing over the fugitives. L’ak is no help, telling the captain she will never understand the Breen, so he busies himself working on an escape plan with Moll. Michael looks to her xenophobic first officer for help as it turns out his home world was once occupied by the Breen. He opens up on the painful memories of a Primarch Tahal showing up at Kellerun to use it as a supply depot in some war, enslaving the people, destroying the environment… all the usual evil occupier stuff. They fought back, but he was his family’s sole survivor. His advice: you can’t negotiate with the Breen, but his tragic backstory gives her an idea. Rhun beams in at HQ with a small army and rudely refuses T’Rina’s counteroffer of a bunch of dilithium, “The only payment for a blood bounty is blood”… this guy’s a barrel of laughs. T’Rina surprises him by not only showing she can understand Breen, but she has decided to hand the prisoners over to Primarch Tahal. Burnham and Rayner help sell the ruse with the Kellerun’s knowledge of the rival Primarch. And they know Rhun can’t afford to blast his way through the station to get to L’ak because he can’t risk killing the Scion. The Breen came to play checkers and T’Rina is playing 3-D Vulcan Chess.

You are going to need a bigger boat.

“This isn’t how our story ends”

T’Rina makes her diplomatic checkmate move, suggesting they keep the prisoners. With no Primarch getting the Scion, the Breen Civil War will stay status quo. Rhun reluctantly agrees… warning they better keep L’ak alive. Um, well, in sickbay, L’ak starts the escape plan by injecting himself with a whole day’s worth of drugs as a distraction. Culber rushes in to save him and Moll makes her move, fighting off the guard and Nhan, escaping into the ship. Meanwhile, Book is in Paul’s lab and he really wants to join the search but Stamets talks him into staying to use his glowy forehead empath powers on the little piece of metal… and it works. The Kwejian picks up images of a huge plasma storm and something about “eternal,” before he can’t wait any longer to go find Moll. After the big win at HQ Burnham beams into sickbay to find things falling apart, with L’ak fading fast. Her only option, get a Breen medic. The Primarch shows up with a doctor and “If my nephew dies, the Federation will pay.” Like, does this guy practice villain talk in front of the mirror?

Book helps Nhan track down Moll, who has taken a hostage and is working her way to the shuttlebay. He convinces her to stay, telling her she may want to return to sickbay before it’s too late. She arrives just in time to have final words with the love of her life and it’s actually really sad. The Primarch blames Starfleet and prepares for battle as four more Starfleet ships show up. His new plan: a war to avenge L’ak would unite the Breen behind him. Now Moll drops the bombshell, she and L’ak were married so she is part of the bargain. She also reveals the Federation is hiding info on powerful tech that she knows how to get, so Rhun demands they hand her over or shooting starts, sparking another HQ debate. Book is incensed they are considering it even though Moll wants to go, figuring the Breen can help find the Progenitor tech to resurrect L’ak, a possibility mentioned in Vellek’s diary. T’Rina makes the call and beams the former courier to the Dreadnaught and it warps away. Vance points out they are now in a race with the Breen, but thanks to Stamets the research teams put the pieces together to sort out their next stop: The Archive… in the Badlands! With the next episode’s destination set to another canon connection, Michael and Rayner play us out with a nice quiet bonding moment before she orders black alert… and fade to black.

I’m just a Breen country doctor.


A dish best served cold

This excellent tension-filled episode keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a lot going on in “Erigah” but good pacing weaves the drama, action, character exploration, worldbuilding and even humor together into a tight, entertaining package. Returning to a focus on the season’s big story, the episode evoked the high-stakes drama of some of the more martial Trek episodes, especially from the Dominion War arc of Deep Space Nine, which got plenty of nods throughout. The full ensemble of stars and guest stars elevated the material with a few standouts, especially Tara Rosling as the effective president T’Rina, Eve Harlow as the anguished Moll, and Tig Notaro as the always hilarious Jett Reno. Instead of taking the lead in every situation, Sonequa Martin-Green’s Captain Burnham was the glue holding it all together, with an assist from Anthony Rapp’s Stamets, the guy keeping his eye on the big Progenitor prize. The political maneuvering and debates in “Erigah” are some of the best of a franchise tradition as the episode asked big moral questions, but didn’t force a single point of view, leaving the viewer to ponder their own path… again, very Star Trek.

The plot-heavy episode finely wove several character stories into it, mostly seamlessly. From little beats like Tilly mentoring and encouraging Adira, to Michael pivotally getting Rayner to reveal his vulnerabilities. Callum Keith Rennie was superb and it was a nice touch drawing a parallel from Rayner’s shoot first idea to the callback to Michael’s series premiere mutiny. Throughout there were emotional stakes equal to the political, without taking unnecessary character sidebar distractions. A good example of this was Book’s ongoing redemption, with the smart return of Rachael Ancheril’s Nhan providing the perfect foil to his arc since last season. L’ak’s death was poignant and emotional and even though he and Moll began the season as the main antagonists, the work done in this and previous episodes earned its way to making us care… something no other Discovery season has pulled off. On the other side of the tonal coin, not enough can be said of the Adira/Tilly/Reno story that laid the foundation to set up the next episode with a surprising amount of humor, yet it also nailed the stakes in between the snappy dialog. Besides the delicious backstory, Reno is always great for little moments of meta-commentary, like her “truncheons, jackboots, where’s the nuance?” take on the Breen.

Stop pointing that at me, I’m trying to help!

Ice in the veins

The world-building in this episode was rich and rewarding, as the season pivots to the Breen and Primarch Rhun as the real big bads. He may be mustache-twirly, but it works in this case. The Breen Civil War plot allowed us to learn more about them through learning more about Rayner and the Kelleruns, effectively layering plot and character stories. Although, it may not make sense that T’Rina – who amazingly could understand Breen – was not already briefed on all of that. But it does appear that Kelleruns are still not part of the Federation, so perhaps her files didn’t have that key intel. Together, like they were in the 24th century, the Breen are still a mysterious and very credible threat… with the gigantic ship driving that point home. However, this episode did raise the question of how the power of empires outside the Federation should be limited in the post-Burn era without their own supplies of dilithium. Speaking of interesting backstories, Reno’s resume was full of little bits, even how she used to work at a bar on Alshain IV, the butterfly people planet from the season 4 opener. Does her 23rd-century cocktail named “Seven of Limes” make sense? No? Was it funny? Yes.

One curiosity is how DS9 established Breen do not have blood (reconfirmed to TrekMovie by Disco writer Carolos Cisco), but an Erigah is a “blood bounty,” which can only be “paid with blood,” because L’ak is part of the royal “bloodline.” One can only hope something is being lost in translation. Also, it isn’t entirely clear why L’ak never reverted to his gelatinous state when unconscious and even after death. Blood and jelly nitpicks aside, fans of Deep Space Nine should have been doing the Pointing Rick Dalton meme all episode long. There were several references to the Dominion War and the Breen attack on Earth resulting in the destruction of San Francisco, which seems to ring through Federation history like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Little canon callback moments like “Never turn your back on a Breen” are woven in seamlessly to serve the plot and characters, not just fans. And deeper cuts such as references to Thoron Fields and Duraniam Shadows may go unnoticed by most, but surely bring a little delight to hard-core Niners. They even qued the next episode’s setting in the Badlands, with an impressive peek at what it looks like in the 32nd century. It’s so welcome how Discovery has rediscovered it is part of the rich history of Star Trek.

Which one of you made that crack about Jello?

Final thoughts

A fantastic episode tied up and built upon plot and character threads that have been building all season long, and even some from past seasons and the franchise as a whole. The excitement level is really ramped up now for this best season of the series, with only three episodes left until it is all over.

Tilly and Adira after drinking a few Seven of Limes.


  • For the fourth episode in a row, Doug Jones is not credited and does not appear, although T’Rina did mention some intel Saru provided that helped the plot… In case you missed it, Jones recently explained his absence and confirmed his return.
  • L’ak overdosed on Tricordrazine, a potent stimulant used during the TNG era, derived from Cordrazine, introduced in the classic TOS episode “City on the Edge of Forever.”
  • T’Rina mentions considering using a Tribble infestation as a ruse to buy time with the Breen, as Discovery needs a nod to Tribbles every episode or two.
  • When the Breen show up the Discovery is set to “Code One Alpha Zero,” which was used to signify a ship in distress, first seen in TNG’s “Relics.”
  • Moll sarcastically mentioned Book should try to sell her “a goat farm on Bopak III,” referencing a Gamma Quadrant planet from the DS9 episode “Hippocratic Oath.”
  • Apparently, Betazoids can imbue an object with information telepathically.
  • Nhan’s eyes weren’t bright blue in this episode, it was established back in season 3 that when outside their native atmosphere Barzan’s eyes change to bright blue.
  • Could the “shady antiquarian archivist” Reno used to work for be Pelia?

Do either of you know what the hell this thing is?

More to come

Every Friday, the All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe and discusses the latest episode. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

The fifth and final season of Discovery debuted with two episodes on Thursday, April 4 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the UK, Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Austria. Discovery will also premiere on April 4 on Paramount+ in Canada and will be broadcast on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada. The rest of the 10-episode final season will be available to stream weekly on Thursdays. Season 5 debuts on SkyShowtime in select European countries on April 5.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at

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