by Erik Renner Brown | via Entertainment Weekly
After a meandering debut season that often thrilled, Star Trek: Discovery closed its initial run Sunday night — but didn’t quite stick the landing. High on resolution, but low on drama, “Will You Take My Hand?” took some convenient narrative liberties to wrap up the first season’s plot arc a little too tidily.
At the close of last week’s “The War Without, The War Within” — another meandering, inert episode — Starfleet and Adm. Cornwell installed Capt. Georgiou as Discovery’s captain ahead of a crucial mission to the Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS. But as some of the crew knew, Starfleet actually knowingly gave the ship’s command to the Terran emperor. She makes little effort to conceal her true allegiance; when a Discovery officer uses the word “homeworld” to describe Qo’noS, Georgiou spits that “Klingons are animals and they don’t have homes.”
Her comments to Burnham and Saru are even less concealed — and the resulting dialogue is forced. “Scared Kelpien makes for tough Kelpien,” Georgiou tells Saru, referencing his species’ use as Terran livestock. Playing along, Saru says he’s so tough he’s “simply unpalatable,” and Burnham refers to her “firsthand” experience with Kelpien tenderness.
When Burnham joins Georgiou in the bridge to solicit intelligence about Qo’noS from the captive L’Rell, the Terran interloper moves from rhetoric to action. L’Rell goads the “captain” — “I can tell you require seasoning,” another entry in the episode’s forced culinary entendres — so, to Burnham’s horror, Georgiou enters L’Rell’s sell and begins to brutally beat her. “There’s another way,” Burnham says, taking Georgiou to Tyler’s quarters.
Fiddling with a bowline knot — it “doesn’t run, doesn’t slip,” Tyler says during a hokey scene where he explains that the knot ties him to his past — the officer listens as Burnham questions whether he can access the purged Voq’s memories to assist in Starfleet’s mission. Conveniently, he can! Tyler instructs Georgiou and Burnham about where they can plant a drone for data collection on Qo’noS’ surface. In a whimsical turn, Georgiou enlists Tilly to join her, Burnham, and Tyler, and the foursome departs for an Orion outpost on Qo’noS.
Once they arrive at Qo’noS, the members of the landing party take different avenues to learn the location of the proper site to deploy their reconnaissance drone. That yields some entertaining moments, like when Tilly unwittingly munches on some gormagander meat from a street vendor. Tyler plays a game with Klingons named t’Sang, and when the Discovery delegation happens upon a burlesque, Georgiou remarks that she “knew your whole universe couldn’t be boring.” In her own attempt to glean intel, the Terran emperor engages in a threesome with the Orion dancers — and then holds them at gunpoint as she requests information.
With Burnham and Tyler off playing t’Sang and Georgiou getting intimate with two Orions, another Orion in the burlesque convinces Tilly to smoke a mysterious substance out of a hookah-like instrument, which knocks her out cold. When she comes to, Tilly inspects the briefcase she’s guarded and discovers that it contains a hydro bomb, not a drone as she, Burnham, and Tyler had believed. Returning from her sexual escapade, Georgiou punches Tilly as the cadet makes contact with Burnham, and she makes off with the bomb.
Click HERE for the rest of the recap, “Will You Take My Hand?”