Breaking Down the Latest Episode of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’: ‘Stormy Weather’

Star Trek Discovery

Warner Bros. / Paramount Did "Star Trek: Discovery" cleverly honor the 20th Anniversary of "The Lord of the Rings"?

As the crew of the U.S.S Discovery-A delve deeper into the mystery that is the Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA), they find themselves in a bit of galactic quicksand, and no matter where they turn, they are still stuck. A ship caught in a trap is something that “Star Trek” loves, and there are numerous examples of this from Trek’s past, including “The Tholian Web” and “Booby Trap.”


While this episode keeps the plot of the menacing DMA moving forward, “Stormy Weather” stands on its own. Much like the previous episode, “The Examples,” this story feels largely episodic, as the drama unfolds and is solved within one hour. 

The episode begins with the Discovery investigating a void created when the DMA moved from an area of space. Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) orders that a DOT robot be launched to gather more data. The DOT encounters the edge of the field and is disintegrated. The crew then realizes that there is no way to “back out” of the rift, as all their sensors and navigation are cut off. 

Burnham orders a “black alert” jump, and her boyfriend Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) takes the reins of the spore drive. As he tried, a massive electric shock tore through his body, making him start to see his long-dead father (Rothaford Gray). Book’s father pushes him to leave Discovery and find his way in the universe.

Meanwhile, Gray (Ian Alexander) strikes up a friendship with the ship’s computer, known as Zora (Annabelle Wallis). They play a chess-like game to calm Zora’s nerves, and thanks to that, the computer is able to figure out how to leave the void. Zora shares this information with Burnham but is unable to execute the plan because she’s afraid. Burnham and Gray soothe the AI, and eventually, they work together on the plan. Michael and Zora pilot the Discovery out of danger, even as the ship is nearly incinerated.

A few notes of interest from the episode:

A Nod to ‘Lord of the Rings’?

Are the writers of ‘Discovery’ fans of ‘Lord of the Rings?’

ParamountAre the writers of “Discovery” fans of “Lord of the Rings”?

December 19, 2021, was the 20th anniversary of the opening of “Fellowship of the Ring,” the first installment of the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy. There might be some Tolkien fans in the “Discovery” Writer’s Room — or perhaps at one of the special effects houses which work for Paramount — because when the ship turns to approach the void, it appears that it is entering Sauron’s eye. This eye effect was used throughout the trilogy and again in the “Hobbit” films to share when the villain is watching from afar. 

An Old Engineer’s Trick

Star Trek TNG S6 E4 (Relics) Opening Scene With The return Of ScottyThe opening scenes of the Episode Relics which includes the rescue of Scotty.2020-06-13T11:37:45Z

In the classic TNG episode “Relics,” the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D finds Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (James Doohan) alive in a crashed vessel. It turns out that Scotty survived for decades thanks to a transporter trick. He beamed his signal into the transporter buffer, which allowed him to survive until Geordi (LeVar Burton), Data (Brent Spiner) and the others found him. 

This is how the crew of the Discovery was able to survive, even though the ship had no life support running (except for gravity) and was being burned to a crisp. The entire crew, and Grudge Cat, beamed into the ship’s pattern buffers and survived. 

Are There Souls on ‘Star Trek’?

The Vulcanian Fal-tor-pan [Star Trek III: TSfS]Il rituale del fal-tor-pan o rifusione, attraverso il quale il katra (l'essenza mentale vivente che un Vulcaniano morente può trasferire in un'altra creatura) torna ad unirsi al corpo originario. [Star Trek III: Alla ricerca di Spock, 1984]2013-02-22T12:19:38Z

At one point, Book tells his father that all of the people who died when his homeworld was destroyed by the DMA “that if spirits do go on… they are not lost after all.” Book also notes that he believes that he’s actually talking to his father, not some part of his subconscious.

Thanks to an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager,” there is precedence for this type of thinking. During the episode “Cathexis,” Chakotay (Robert Beltran) becomes a floating spirit when his body is ‘dead,’ and his brain shows no electrical activity. He guides the crew as they struggle against another being, which they do not understand. Eventually, Chakotay’s soul is reunited with his body.

And not to mention the plot of “Star Trek III” involved returning Spock’s soul, or Katra, to his physical body.

How to Help the AI Which Is ‘Afraid’

Emotion chipSometimes I envy you data. Not everyone can turn off their emotion chip2013-08-23T03:02:10Z

Zora, the ship’s AI, has evolved fear. This is a problem for a part of the Discovery, which is supposed to help execute dangerous missions. Mr. Data also struggled with his fears after the emotion chip was integrated into his positronic brain. Data eventually was able to turn off the chip, as he did in “Star Trek: First Contact,” and resume the mission. Perhaps Zora will ultimately turn off her emotions as well. 

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