Star Trek: Discovery S01.E04 Review – The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

Warning: this review contains spoilers.


The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry



What Was Awesome

Light show effect of seeing how the replicator actually builds items was interesting. Something I didn’t even know that I wanted to see.


The continuing/collapsing relationship between Michael Burnham and Saru. Particularly how hurt Saru was after Michael apology turned out to be a ruse because she wanted to see if Saru’s threat ganglia would respond to the creature.


Michael still hasn’t lost her Starfleet ideals, even though that is why the series is happening at all; e.g. the war, Captain Lorca wanting her on the ship. It’s good to see that she isn’t towing Lorca’s line. Even with the war going on and further how conflicted she is with what they are doing.


I liked that the creature turned out to be, essentially, a tardigrade many thousands of times larger than we are used too. Although this had some problems as well.


What was suboptimal

A lot of the advancement of technology outside of (beyond) the canon is starting to get to me. We have been assured by the writers and Producers that everything will be explained. But as a good example several times now Michael has asked the computer to do a sight-to-sight emergency transport. That was something that Scotty himself had to figure out about 12 years in Discovery’s future. The fact that the ships computer can pull it off several times in the show now suggests that the writers haven’t really taken that into account.

This also goes for the turbolift. In the mid-23rd century turbolifts required holding a handle then requesting a destination. This is not the case on Discovery, their turbolifts are more like those in the 24th century.


The problem with the Tardigrade; The example I made last week of not needing to go down to the quantum level to have biology be a part of physics is another example of something that seems to plague much of the pop-culture sci-fi realm. Discovery seems to have a bit of a problem with not really understanding science, just chucking sciency-esk sounding terms around and hoping that will satisfy the sci- prefix in their fiction. I give them props for trying though so this is almost more of a neutral point.


The death of Security Officer Ellen Landry was not impactful at all. She was barely in the previous episode and it was hinted at that she and Captain Lorca seemed to have a close relationship. She appeared to be a confidant that Lorca could share all his dodgy plans with. And now she’s dead.



Michael replicates her uniform and the computer expositions that Michael has been assigned to the USS Discovery but has no rank. Looking at herself in a holographic mirror Michael looks reticent, she is clearly still conflicted about re-joining Starfleet.

Tilly delivers Michael a package which turns out to be the last will and testament of Captain Georgiou. Michael quickly throws it under her bed. She is not ready to deal with it emotionally yet.


Inside the turbolift Michael meets Saru, he is upset that she was not on the prisoner transport. We are introduced to his threat ganglia a grouping of nerves that extend out of the back of Saru’s head in the presence of danger.


Lorca tells the crew that with the spore drive they will be able to travel anywhere in the known universe. This must be an exaggeration. That would be a monumental advance beyond anything we have seen in other Star Trek series.

Captain Lorca then takes Michael to study the creature from the Glenn. He tells her that he wants to weaponize it.


Back in the debris field at the binary stars we find Voq and T’Kuvma’s followers have been left behind. They are starving and running low on power. L’Rell suggests they take a dilithium processor from the Shenzhou but Voq thinks this would be sacrilege.

In a throwaway line L’Rell mentions that they both ate Captain Georgiou. Partly out of necessity and partly out of revenge. Which seems a bit extreme.


Commander Landry has been ordered to help Michael study the creature. She comes up with the name Ripper.

Michael has figured out that the creature is related to a Tardigrade; probably not aggressive.

Landry insists that it must be a monster. Michael says;


“You judge the creature by its appearance, and one single incident from its past. Nothing in its biology suggests it would attack, except in self-defence. Commander, this creature is an unknown alien. It can only be what it is, not what you want it to be.”


This seems to apply to herself as well as Ripper. And Landry acknowledges this by telling Michael that;


“Lorca isn’t interested in who you are he’s interested in what you can do. For him.”


Lorca communicates with an Admiral. Corvan II is under Klingon attack. The Admiral explains that Corvan II is responsible for producing 40% of the dilithium within the Federation. Lorca tells the Admiral he has no doubts that the Discovery will be able to use its spore drive to jump there in time to save Corvan II.

Cut to Lieutenant Stamens saying they definitely can’t.

Stamens explains that the further they jump the more difficult it is to navigate. He thinks a piece of equipment from the Glenn could help but it appears to be missing a piece because he can’t get it to function.


Kol visits Voq requesting an alliance. He wants T’Kuvma’s ship for the cloaking tech.


The Discovery makes a spore jump and almost lands inside a star. As the ship tries to escape the gravity Stamens smashes his face into his station.


Michael tells Landry that Ripper got agitated when the spore drive came online.


In sickbay Stamens is getting his skull repaired. Lorca and he have a disagreement and Stamens claims that if he leaves he will take his research with him.

Lorca responds by pointing out that everything onboard is the property of Starfleet. He asks Stamens if he wants to be remembered alongside the Wright brothers, Elon Musk and Zephram Cochrane or as someone who abandoned his post.

Stamens storms out. Captain Lorca gets the ship to play the last message received from Corvan II shipwide.


Landry plans to cut off Rippers claws for study. But the creature attacks her. Michael asks the computer to do a sight-to-sight transport to sickbay. But they’re too late to save Landry.


Voq and L’Rell explore the Shenzhou, eventually they retrieve the dilithium processor.


Michael calls Saru to the lab. She apologizes for everything whilst leading him towards Ripper’s pen. Michael notes that Saru has no threat response and Saru is again upset with Michael for her insencerity.


Tilly brings Michael some spores. Michael releases them into Ripper’s pen. Ripper reacts to the spores.

Michael shows Stamens her findings. Stamens hypothesises that Ripper is communicating with the spores. Michael calls Ripper their new navigator.


Back on T’Kuvma’s ship Kol has fed T’Kuvma’s follwers and now they’re loyal to him.

L’Rell gives the dilithium processor to Kol, seemingly changing her allegiances.

Kol orders Voq killed but L’Rell convinces him to abandon Voq on the Shenzhou.


Ripper is beamed into the Glenn’s device. The device automatically clamps onto Ripper, who screams in pain.


Captain Lorca orders the jump to Corvan II and the Discovery jumps right into the Klingon attack.

As Klingon ships begin to converge on their position the Captain calls for a jump at the last second. The Klingon ships are all destroyed by the jump.


Michael is the only one not celebrating. She is concerned for Ripper’s suffering.


Voq is left to die on the Shenzhou. L’Rell beams over to tell Voq that she hasn’t betrayed him. She plans to take him to her home world to help him win the war.


Ripper is clearly still suffering post flight. Michael brings it some spores.


Back in her quarters she opens the package from Captain Georgiou. Georgiou’s image tells her that she is as proud of her as though she were her own daughter. She has bequeathed Michael her telescope.



It has been speculated that Captain Lorca is actually from the ‘evil’ Mirror universe. Whilst this may explain his character I feel like a simpler explanation would be that he has just seen a lot of bad shit which has twisted his perspective.


What to Look Forward to Next Week

It will be interesting to see how Michael deals with the ethical quandaries of balancing the suffering of Ripper with the saving of human lives.


The Producers have said to be patient with Discovery in regards to canon and certain other inconsistencies. So hopefully we can start to get a glimpse of what that solution will be next week.

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy has wanted to be a writer since before he could write.. He was a long time film reviewer for as well as reviewing film scripts for their monthly competitions. He has one self published book - The Science-Based Baby Book for Skeptical Parents and a novel which will definitely be published any decade now. He had an aneurysm and died on September 10 2015, but thanks to medical science he got better.