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[REVIEW] “The War Without, the War Within” Pumps the Brakes Before DISCOVERY’s First Season Finale

[REVIEW] "The War Without, the War Within" Pumps the Brakes Before the First Season Finale

REVIEW: Star Trek: Discovery Episode 14 “The War Without, the War Within”

This week saw Star Trek: Discovery pump the brakes after last week’s intense conclusion to the show’s romp through the Mirror Universe. While some might not enjoy slower-paced episodes, considering how adept Discovery has shown itself in keeping a fairly consistent pace through this season, “The War Without, the War Within” allowed some substantial character moments to occur before the surely action-packed season finale.

While we received a briefing on the state of the Klingon War at the end of “What’s Past is Prologue,” the most pressing sign that the war was going so poorly came in this episode introduction. After Sarek boards the Discovery with Admiral Cornwell, he immediately forces himself on Saru to ascertain the status of the ship and her crew. We’ve been taught that unwanted Vulcan mind melds are a serious breach of privacy and security to the meld’s recipient, so this aggressive action was a sobering “show, don’t tell” moment for describing the Klingon War in the nine months Discovery jumped forward.

James Frain as Sarek

James Frain as Sarek (CBS)

Meanwhile, after his notable absence from last week’s episode, Ash Tyler returns, finally freed of Voq’s influence. Not that some severe emotional wounds remain from his torturous experience, wounds that ultimately lead Michael to cut Ash loose. For her performance in this episode, Sonequa Martin-Green had plenty to do, between dealing with the presence of the Terran Georgiou and the reemergence of her irreparably changed lover. The emotional blow Michael deals with in this episode is a sympathetic experience for the viewer; to have a Vulcan-raised human reach out and connect with someone and fall in love, only to have that connection brutally ruptured by such outstanding circumstances – it’s an intriguing and complex character arc that both Martin-Green and Shazad Latif continues to display with grace and intensity.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, Jayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell, Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou and James Frain as Ambassador Sarek

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, Jayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell, Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou and James Frain as Ambassador Sarek (CBS)

Another illustrative character moment came during a brief corridor encounter between Stamets and Tyler, the latter of whom killed Stamet’s partner, Doctor Hugh. Stamets actually proves to be more forgiving of Tyler’s situation than Michael, as he asks Tyler if he feels guilty killing Hugh. When Tyler answers in the affirmative, Stamets takes this as a sign that Tyler is “still human.” It’s a remarkable stance to take after such an ordeal, and it helps show how far Stamets has come from the ornery engineer we met at the beginning of the season. Of course, this forgiveness doesn’t help resolve Tyler’s suffering, and once again Latif is a standout cast member, perfectly expressing Tyler’s self-loathing, guilt, and in a surprising scene, frustration toward Michael for her abandonment.

And speaking of surprising scenes, the plan the Discovery crew conjures for an attack on Qo’noS is certainly out of left field; flying a starship through caverns to map the planet’s military defenses is a startlingly tactical solution – a solution that doesn’t really feel like Star Trek. One might assume this plan would never come to fruition in light of Emperor Georgiou’s presence on Discovery, but the teaser attached at the episode’s end does indeed show this plan being executed. And because the crew needs to get to Qo’noS, they need more spores, which is when Stamets goes all Carol Marcus on a desolate planet. It was fairly easy to terraform an entire planet with those spore drills, wasn’t it? Despite how pretty the sequence was, this is a strange scene; the ability to alter an entire planet in that way seems contrary to continuity, considering the events of The Wrath of Khan. A throwaway line from Stamets remarking on how the spore-powered terraforming process could be a precursor to the Genesis device we see in The Wrath of Khan would have been welcome. As it stands, the events of “The War Without, the War Within” seem to contradict Carol Marcus’ work in that movie.

Doug Jones as Saru

Doug Jones as Saru (CBS)

In any case, this episode seemed to function more as a prelude to the season finale, with a smattering of intriguing character moments sprinkled throughout. It isn’t surprising that Discovery had to slow down after the events of the Mirror Universe arc, but it’s because we are so used to an energetic pace that this episode seemed to standout as one of Discovery‘s weakest. “The War Without, the War Within” will most likely be remembered as a setup to the season finale rather than a fantastic episode in its own right.

What did you think of the latest episode of Discovery? Let us know in the comments below. is your dedicated source for all the latest news on Star Trek: Discovery. Follow @TrekNewsnet on Twitter, TrekNews on Facebook, @TrekNews on Instagram and TrekNewsnet on YouTube.

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Written By

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn't ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis are his favorite Star Trek movies. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.



  1. David Zane Taylor

    February 5, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    I was curious to see the reviews start to get published and see if my feelings were out in left field or shared. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show but yes, this episode I think was probably the second most weak one from the season. (The weakest was crystal tree). I felt like the ‘love story’ between Burham and Tyler was a bit rushed/forced to get to where we are now. Michael was raised on Vulcan and was never in love before. It doesn’t seem right that she would have fallen so quickly and deeply, so her walking away from the relationship seems to ring truer than falling so quickly. I’m going to trust the story but I’m not liking this ship in the cave idea. Hoping it is a bit of a red herring. I really don’t see how they can wrap this all up in 50 minutes.. we will see I guess.

    • Sarah Michele

      February 5, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      Watch Brawl in cell Block 99 only on this web site : FMOVIESTREAM.BLOGSPOT.COM

  2. Patrick Evans

    February 5, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    If there were a shark in this universe, the Discovery just jumped it…

    • Amanda

      February 8, 2018 at 2:15 am

      Watch Lady Bird only on this web site :

  3. sherry wallis

    February 6, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Sarek looks more like an elf from The Ring Trilogy than a Vulcan. The ears ar wrong–too standout

  4. JB

    February 6, 2018 at 11:48 am

    You can only be surprised so many times, until you just sit there and laugh when they appoint the bloodthirsty cannibal Miss Space-Hitler the Leader of their taskforce.

    I mean at this point, who didn’t see that coming? I’d be surprised if she ate Saru, though not sad, but it seems far more likely her 50 years of brutality will be redeemed with lazily written new hope and/or her death in the finale.

  5. Jan

    August 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    one of my favourite episodes BECAUSE of the slower pace. the only thing i didn’t like is that they put the mission in the hands of a cruel dictator who represents all that ST is NOT about.

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