“Choose to Live” is a stunningly incompetent slog that could be Star Trek: Discovery’s worst episode ever

Discovery, in the midst of a galaxy threatening anomaly that could chew up and poop out innumerable star systems, decides to devote its resources and time to tracking down a Qowat Milat nun who, for some reason of another, is stealing dilithium, killing a Starfleet officer to do it.

When Discovery is good, it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s, “Choose to Live.” This entire episode was a slog… a worthless, time-wasting slog that never excites, never captivates, and never really entertains. Calling it a placeholder would be a compliment as that would imply that it had an actual purpose.

The only real thing of value that I saw in this episode was Booker finding peace as it seemed a natural part of his grief and Gray’s scene.

And, seriously… those sneak sequences were it. The rest of the episode was unadulterated trash and I take no pleasure from that declaration.

For one thing, absolutely no progress with the main story of the anomaly, now known as the DME, is made. We start on square one and we end on square one. The entire trip to Ne’Var, meditating with the Vulcan Science Council… ultimately did nothing to advance the plot. While I admitted that I liked Book gaining peace through the mind meld, it also stands to reason that a mind meld should have been one of the first things that a Vulcan would have suggested.

Speaking of solving problems quickly and efficiently, the entire storyline with J’Vinni, the rogue Qowat Milat nun, was a complete waste. I know I keep using that word, “waste,” but this… it was a complete waste.

Spoilers if you care…

So, the entire reason that J’Vinni was stealing dilithium and murdering people was to insure the survival of an entire species of aliens who were on a gigantic sleeper ship and whose bodies contained large amounts of latinum, making them valuable to undesirables and graverobbers. She says that she didn’t dare ask for help because she couldn’t give away the location of the alien’s ship because it would put them at risk.

Here’s the issue: She’s refusing to trust her own people, famous for logic and whose core tenant is, “We live to serve.” She’s refusing the help of the Federation whose not only famous for their humanitarian efforts but whose literal mission is to seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations and who also, if you remember, does not use money and has no reason to take latinum from the alien’s bodies in the first place! Not to mention that, thanks to the tracker that the Federation planted in the dilithium at the literal beginning of this cursed episode, Ni’Var and the Federation had the location of the alien ship the entire time!

This episode was just terrible. An unneeded and unwelcome break from the overarching storyline, a series of events that amounted to a gigantic nothingburger that went nowhere and did nothing, and a conflict that would have been solved in five minutes had the characters or writers used any one of their brain cells.

That being said, and in my eternal quest to not be too negative, Discovery‘s new Ten Forward-esque lounge set is absolutely lovely. It just seems like a very cozy, warm environment and I hope we see more of it.

The few strengths of this episode were character driven. Book’s emotional coda on Ne’Var and, of course, Gray’s very emotional scene which was, honestly, just a joy.

This could very well be the worst episode of Star Trek Discovery ever. I’m honestly in awe of how stunningly incompetent it is.

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