Mark Watches ‘Discovery’: S01E15 – Will You Take My Hand?

In the fifteenth and final episode of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, it’s official: I love this show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of torture, PTSD/trauma

What an ACCOMPLISHMENT, y’all. This season… holy shit. One giant interconnected story, all of it centered on Burnham from the Battle at the Binary Stars to the end of the Federation-Klingon War, culminating in a poetic, beautiful ending in which Burnham learns that you can survive and uphold your principles at the same time.


  • I loved that the first scene in this episode wasted no time in showing us how completely uncomfortable it was going to be to have Georgiou as captain. Michelle Yeoh simply dominates every goddamn moment of this characterization, too. She’s playing Terran Georgiou pretending to be Prime Georgiou except not, because she doesn’t hold back when giving orders or interacting with the crew. And unsurprisingly, Burnham just HAD to bait her further. Please know that if you don’t watch the video of me watching this, you’ll miss me GIGGLING WITH DELIGHT AND TERROR as I witnessed this all unfold. 
  • I am also realizing that during the confrontation Burnham had with Georgiou in the hallway, Georgiou basically gave away the ending of this episode. Her criticism of Burnham amounted to the claim that Burnham couldn’t follow through on her actions, which is why she failed at the Battle of the Binary Stars. YET LOOK WHAT TRANSPIRES IN “Will You Take My Hand?” Burnham follows through on the promises she made to uphold the values of Starfleet. 
  • HEY. GEORGIOU’S INTERROGATION OF L’RELL. Holy shit, y’all. Like… I knew Terran Georgiou was more willing to be violent. I knew she hated all humans. WHY DID I NOT ANTICIPATE HER USING VIOLENCE AGAINST L’RELL. It’s interesting, too, because the show frames the scene as one worthy of extreme horror. There is nothing valiant about what Georgiou does, and even more important is the fact that Georgiou’s technique serves no purpose. L’Rell would never have given up the information that Georgiou wanted. Torture wasn’t going to work! Starfleet has outlawed torture for a reason!!!!
  • There was a writing reason for that choice, too, since the “better” option wasn’t just literally better in every way, but it was also IMMENSELY PAINFUL! Let’s make everything hurt by having Burnham and Tyler be on a mission together right after Burnham said she would be letting go of Tyler!!!!!!!!!
  • Let us all join in a moment of silence for the scene where Tilly “meets” Georgiou. One of THE funniest things in this whole season, oh my GOD. Tilly went from 100 to 0 in like four seconds. I’ve never seen someone deflate like that, oh my GOD. 
  • I said this on video, but I’m repeating it in the review, too: I love worldbuilding through marketplaces. I love it so much I did it in my own fantasy book, and getting to construct the market at Obregón for Each of Us a Desert was a high I am constantly chasing in new things I’m writing. I think I’ve spoken about this before, but if not: THIS IS HOW I LEARN MORE ABOUT PLACES I TRAVEL TO. I go to supermarkets and stores and malls and shopping centers! They genuinely fill me with joy! (Interestingly: I don’t really like American malls/shopping centers, but I think that’s also because if you’ve been in one mall here, they aren’t all that different from one another.) So getting to see Qo’noS for the first time on this show through the outpost was a delight. I loved all the food. The languages. The different cultures and species. The fact that the weapons trade was done in the open spoke volumes to what was acceptable in this society! (Same with the fact that gormaganders are eaten very, very casually there, too.) The bar itself was so fascinating, too, in that the writers did use some tropes we often see in sci-fi worldbuilding for worlds like this, but then what the characters do in it made it seem refreshing.
  • Like the fact that Prime Georgiou is bisexual, which is casually confirmed and ruined my fucking life. RUINED.
  • Actually, interesting meta-textual thing: This isn’t the first time a Terran character was portrayed as not-straight; that happened with Kira on Deep Space Nine. I mean, it wasn’t as outright as this, but it was still there. And I recall having an issue with it, in part because there was so very little representation of queer folks within Trek’s universe. (Though Deep Space Nine went way further with it, of course. HI JADZIA.) I did not have the same issue here, and one detail helped me feel different: Georgiou is not the sole representation under that umbrella. There are other queer characters who are also good people, so it doesn’t feel like the show is accidentally equating queerness with the Terran world. Instead, we get EVIL BISEXUALS and I am HERE FOR THIS. (I use the term “evil” to reference the character trope more than I am labeling Georgiou as evil herself, for the record. Though… damn. She’s pretty fucked up.) I still want Dr. Culber back, damn it. No—NEED.
  • Tilly got high. 
  • I am still reeling from the brilliant, thorny complications this script gave us by having Tyler on the mission with Burnham. After Burnham’s emotional monologue in the previous episode, we must watch her deal with the fact that while Ash Tyler is now… well, Ash Tyler, he’s also still in possession of Voq’s memories, making him extremely comfortable within the world of this outpost. He seamlessly folded himself into that game and I can’t even say it was like second nature to Tyler. It’s… first nature? I don’t even know the correct term! 
  • On top of that, Burnham is dealing with the immense trauma she experienced when her parents were murdered by Klingons, which she had to listen to. So the setting of this mission is made all the more difficult for her! The very sound of Klingon laughter is a trigger for her. 
  • And yet, Discovery does an amazing thing with Burnham, and it was why “Will You Take My Hand?” felt so terribly exciting to watch. To say Burnham has been through a lot is an understatement, of course, and I understand now more than ever why this show began as it did. We needed to see that battle so that we would comprehend where Burnham was at in her journey of self-identity and self discovery. Perhaps more so than anyone (except maybe Cornwell?), she has a reason to utterly hate the Klingons because of what they did to her and her family, let alone the results of this war. However, even as Burnham is coping with Ash Tyler, even as she is remembering the death of her parents, Burnham is still able to observe life. She sees an outpost full of Klingons, yes; she knows that this culture wants the death of hers. However, she also can see that the people on Qo’noS are just… living. They’re trading and playing games and working and doing all the things that living beings do all over this universe. 
  • It is in that epiphany that the endgame of this season is truly set up. When Tilly discovers that she’s not carrying a drone but a hydro bomb, Burnham deliberately rejects the choice she made in the very first episode. The destruction of the Klingon homeworld would most assuredly end the war and guarantee the survival of the Federation.
  • Burnham paid a price for defying Captain Georgiou. And shit, the collateral damage of that decision led indirectly to other deaths, too. This whole season has been Burnham grappling with the guilt and shame she felt for choosing survival over values, and on Qo’noS, minutes away from an end to the Federation-Klingon war, Burnham chose differently. 
  • Principles were ALL THAT BURNHAM HAD IN THE END. Oh my god I LOVE THAT. 
  • I also love that I was somewhat correct in guessing that the writers were setting up a parallel mutiny against Georgiou. Did it happen like I thought? ABSOLUTELY NOT. 
  • Because the solution to this is not in violence, nor is it in the Federation assuming they know what is best for the Klingons. I am still reeling from what Burnham comes up with because GUESS WHAT. THE KLINGONS NOW FEEL SUPER INTERESTING TO ME. Because Burnham correctly understood that L’Rell was trying her best to live up to the mission that T’Kuvma gave her: to unite the various houses of Klingon. Rather than commit an act of horrific violence to end the war, Burnham gave L’Rell the most powerful bargaining chip imaginable, which will allow her to pursue unification. Does that mean the Klingons won’t ever be a threat again? No, but it’s a much, much better solution, one that involved NO loss of life, and ended the war WAY faster. 
  • Y’all. Georgiou is granted freedom. MEANING SHE CAN SHOW UP AT ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE. Oh god, what is she going to turj out like after living in this universe? Will she stay the same? GET WORSE?????? The possibilities are endless!!!
  • I’m sad about Ash Tyler, but I think that—and I say this not knowing what role he might play in the future—this was the natural end for his arc in this season. I remain sympathetic for what he went through, and I appreciate that the writers didn’t negate what Burnham went through either. Her experiences with Tyler in this episode helped bring some closure, too. Both of them realized that he could prove valuable because of his unique situation, but on an emotional level, Tyler found a way to give Burnham space. Burnham found a way to see the real Ash Tyler beneath everything that happened. GOD THAT KISS WAS…. pain? Pain and hurt and oh my god, this story was so hard to watch, but I weirdly feel great about the end result? Tyler has an unbelievable journey ahead of him, but I hope time away can provide him healing, too. 
  • Burnham also earned a greater respect and admiration from Sarek, and seeing Sarek smile so openly at his daughter? Good bye. What a wonderful, wonderful moment.
  • This season ends in the opposite place where it began. There was so much destruction and such a lack of hope because of the Battle at the Binary Stars. But here, Discovery heads out into the unknown for a mission that ISN’T military or defensive in nature. God, what does that mean for season two? What am I about to experience? Well, first up: THE ENTERPRISE. Piloted by Captain Pike!!! WHO ELSE IS ON THAT SHIP, I NEED TO KNOW. BADLY.

This has been so, so fun, y’all. I truly enjoyed this season, and it only got better and better. (Now bring back Dr. Culber, please.) Am I going to see a second season more focused on away missions? Standalone stories? Something else? I don’t know, but lord, I really, really can’t wait to start season two. We’ll do a prediction post and some of Short Treks first, but hang tight!!!! I’ll get there!!!

The video for “Will You Take My Hand?” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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