(written from a Production point of view)
Disobeying Starfleet's orders, Lorca plans to use the spore drive to discover the secret of the Klingons' cloaking device, destroy the Sarcophagus and lead the Federation to victory.
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The USS Discovery orbits Pahvo waiting for the Klingons. Admiral Terral orders Captain Gabriel Lorca to retreat to Starbase 46, despite the fact that the Klingons will certainly destroy the antenna and the planet. Lorca does his best, but the admiral insists. The call ends and Lorca gives the order. Commander Saru objects, but Lorca ignores it as he's already going that direction. He orders the ship to starbase at warp while using the time to figure out what to do about the Sarcophagus. They'll use the spore drive to get back once their plan is figured out. He orders Paul Stamets to come up with an excuse for the spore drive's inoperability at the moment and, to Stamets' dread, to go to Doctor Hugh Culber for a complete check-up.
Saru and Michael Burnham present an analysis of the Klingon invisibility cloak. There are imperfections, but they'll need to study it. Saru suggests putting sensors on the ship and studying it as it cloaks. Unfortunately, they could need days to process the data unless they have enough of it.
Culber explains to Lorca that there's a problem with Stamets. Despite it, he wants to have Stamets perform 133 jumps, shocking both of them. Stamets needs time to make the calculations, but Lorca again inspires him through his explorer instincts to get it done. Lorca also shows him data he's gathered, which surprises Stamets as he didn't realize Lorca cared about the data. Also surprisingly, Stamets notes that there may be pockets that contain an alternate universe.
On the bridge, Ash Tyler suggests to Lorca that Burnham come with him on the mission. Lorca rejects it, but Burnham challenges him, saying she's the most qualified and the decision must have to do with keeping her out of harm's way. Lorca relents.
Culber prepares Stamets with additional gear to monitor him, while saying he doesn't like it. Sylvia Tilly, uncomfortable with keeping Stamet's secret, thinks he admitted and blurted out its existence. Lorca inspires the crew, the Sarcophagus is detected, and the ship heads there via spore drive.
Kol is informed of the Discovery and excitedly declares he'll kill the crew and destroy the planet. They decloak to face the ship.
Burnham and Tyler beam over discretely as the battle begins. They explore and plant one sensor in a room. They head to the bridge when they detect a human on the ship. Tyler is focused on the mission but relents. They hack a door and find Admiral Katrina Cornwell. Shockingly, Tyler also finds L'Rell, who comes closer slowly and he freezes at seeing her. Burnham revives Cornwell in time to see him freeze. She shoots L'Rell and Tyler falls, clearly affected and unresponsive. Burnham has to leave him with the admiral and go on with the mission. Tyler continues to freeze and Cornwell tries to calm him.
As the battle continues, Burnham is able to place a second sensor. The Klingons fire, but the Discovery jumps several times to avoid hits. The Sarcophagus cloaks and the Discovery continues to jump repeatedly. Culber tries to object to Lorca about the effects the jumps have on Stamets.
On the Sarcophagus bridge, one officer says he detects a saboteur. Kol wants to warp out of the system, which would foil Lorca's plan. Burnham then makes herself known, entering the center of the bridge. Kol demands to know why she's there, and holds Philippa Georgiou's badge to taunt her. Burnham instead challenges Kol's honor, having not been involved in the Battle of the Binary Stars and stole the ship.
Cornwell has to fight off some approaching Klingons. She hits one with a phaser and Tyler finally comes to and kills the other.
Burnham apologizes to Kol for the war and wants to start over, but Kol thanks her, wanting to use the confrontation to gain power. Burnham challenges him to a fight, and he happily agrees, throwing her a weapon. They spar and Burnham is initially thrown back. She comes back harder and continues to spar, but Kol returns every blow and holds her briefly. She drops and stabs him in the leg.
Meanwhile, the Discovery is still jumping with five minutes left. Lorca realizes the Klingon ship is staying put and is a bit confused, but they are able to get the data. The away team is beamed back. First, Cornwell and Tyler, plus L'Rell as she jumps onto Tyler during the beam-out. Burnham next, as she flies away from Kol.
The analysis happens quickly and the crew get the data it needs. Lorca excitedly orders the ship to fire, and Kol watches as his ship is destroyed.
Burnham finds Tyler in his quarters to talk to him about earlier. He thanks her for not giving up on him. Burnham notes his reaction to L'Rell, and Tyler reluctantly admits he had to give in to her to survive in the cell. Burnham says it's not his fault.
Lorca finds Stamets in a shuttlebay. He mentions the award and wants to give it to him instead. They'll use warp to get to starbase this time, but Stamets says one more jump to get to safety is all right with him. But only one – no more. Lorca agrees.
Tyler has another dream about his captivity, now vividly remembering being in bed with L'Rell. He wakes up suddenly and disbelieving. He decides to face L'Rell and demands to know what she did to him. She simply responds, "soon." He's then called away.
Stamets kisses Culber and enters the chamber once more. However, something goes wrong. Tilly reports it was an incomplete navigation sequence. Stamets leaves the chamber and collapses.
On the bridge, Saru finds he can't find their location. In their vicinity is only some Klingon wreckage.
"I have no intention of reaching our destination. But if you're planning on disobeying a direct order, best not to advertise the fact. So, you all heard the panicked admiral. Starfleet is tired of fighting the Klingon cloaking devices and losing. So am I."
- - Gabriel Lorca, explaining that his appearance of following Starfleet's orders is a ruse
"We are about to face the most difficult challenge we have ever attempted. Today, we stare down the bow of the Ship of the Dead, the very same ship that took thousands of our own at the Battle of the Binary Stars. When I took command of this vessel, you were a crew of polite scientists. Now, I look at you. You are fierce warriors all. No other Federation vessel would have a chance of pulling this off. Just us. Because mark my words: you will look back proudly and tell the world you were there the day the USS Discovery saved Pahvo and ended the Klingon War."
- - Gabriel Lorca, addressing the crew of the USS Discovery
- - Kol and Michael Burnham
"We're gonna win this war on account of you, Mr. Stamets. After this, it's a whole new chapter for Discovery. You've opened a door to a whole new era of exploration. The data provided by the micro-jumps will push us closer than we've ever been to understanding the mysteries of the universe."
"No, captain, I mean only one more jump. After we get back, I'm done. Traveling the mycelial network is like commingling with the most abstruse blips of our celestial existence. I've seen these stars through a lens no one else has access to, and... that has to be enough for me. Because I need Starfleet's best doctors to examine my condition and figure out what's been happening to me."
"One last jump, then. You've served the Federation honorably, lieutenant."
"Well, I'll always have you to thank for the view."
- - Gabriel Lorca and Paul Stamets
"Let's go home..."
- - Lorca, after entering a course from his chair
"Captain, I'm afraid... I don't know where we are."
- - Saru, explaining that a failed spore drive jump has left the Discovery stranded in an unknown area of space
- This episode's title comes from a quote by John Muir: "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." The writers of the episode chose it because they believed it especially reflected Michael Burnham's journey over the past eight episodes. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
Story and script
- Erika Lippoldt stated, "By the time we were writing episodes three and four, we already knew that, by episode nine, she would have another confrontation with the Sarcophagus ship, and that would kind of be a redux of the Battle of the Binary Stars, but this time, you know, Burnham will be in a different place emotionally." 
- Knowing they were scheduled to visit the set during production on this episode and because they wanted to arrange set time with Georgiou actress Michelle Yeoh, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim thought about writing a part for her into this episode. "I said, 'How do we stuff Georgiou into nine?' but it never worked," Kim recalled. 
- Upon deciding how many jumps Stamets would be required to make, the writers initially selected 525,600. This was an in-joke reference to the song "Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent, which actors Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz both (at different times) appeared in. However, that number seemed too far-fetched. The writers finally chose 133, as an homage to the 2004 Battlestar Galactica pilot "33", written by former Star Trek writing staffer Ronald D. Moore. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Nonetheless, the writers still managed to include a nod to Rent in this episode. Stamets offers to take Culber to see a production of the opera La bohème, on which Rent was based.
- While writing this episode, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim were unofficially helped by writer/producer Lisa Randolph. "[She] was instrumental in shaping the episode into what it is," revealed Lippoldt.  Another person who helped the episode's plotting in an uncredited capacity was DIS staff writer Kirsten Beyer, who later noted, "I was very critical in the development of that story." ("Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Following their instincts as dramatists, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim intentionally juxtaposed a romantic kiss between Stamets and Culber with an immediately subsequent, mysterious disaster. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Because they viewed Admiral Cornwell as a strong character that they consequently wanted to retain, the writers decided not to have her killed off in this episode. "We definitely, definitely wanted to keep her alive," noted Erika Lippoldt. Bo Yeon Kim added, "We were just so, so happy to have her back for our episode, and for her to have a redemption story as well. And have this amazing connection with Burnham too, in that they work together, but not really so much exchanging. Like, they don't really say what they have to do on the Sarcophagus ship, they just [...] get shit done." (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Burnham wasn't scripted to cry during the scene where Tyler discloses to her how L'Rell tortured him. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- The final moment in this episode had a long gestation period. Erika Lippoldt noted, "We always knew that we wanted to work towards, at the end of this episode, a really surprising moment where we end up jumping into the mirror universe." ("Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
Cast and characters
- Burnham actress Sonequa Martin-Green gave kudos to Kol actor Kenneth Mitchell for his participation in this episode, saying he had done "such phenomenal work." (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Sonequa Martin-Green and Shazad Latif were eager to perform the scene in which Tyler confides in Burnham that he has been sexually violated by L'Rell. "We just loved it because we were able to see a sort of role reversal with a man admitting to a woman that he had been sexually abused and needing that comfort and empathy. And we were both reveling in the opportunity to do that," commented Martin-Green. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- The sex scene between L'Rell and Tyler/Voq involved much discussion. As actress Mary Chieffo explained, this matter was something that she and the other production staffers took very seriously and was the subject of lots of "lengthy emails and discussions, healthy discussions, that I had with Aaron and Gretchen, Erika and Bo Yeon, […] [and] Chris Byrne, our director for that episode." (AT: "The Wolf Inside")
- During filming, Bo Yeon Kim kept forgetting that Doug Jones wasn't really a Kelpien. "It got to the point where I kept talking to Doug like he was actually Saru and actually had to remind myself that…" she laughed, "that it's Doug under there." Other times, Kim found it very difficult to tell the difference between Jones and his double, as they both were wearing the Kelpien makeup. Erika Lippoldt similarly found it hard to distinguish between Kenneth Mitchell, playing Kol, and his stunt double. 
- While this episode was in production, Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim visited the set. Recalled Kim, "It was our first time going to a television set, period [….] And so, like, one, it's like, 'Uh, our first television set is this beautiful million-dollar…' Like, you know, we had six soundstages […] at Pinewood, which is a huge, you know, lot." 
- The fight between Burnham and Kol was choreographed by Stunt Coordinator Christopher McGuire and Fight Coordinator Hubert Boorder. "I loved fighting with Kenneth [Mitchell]," Sonequa Martin-Green reminisced, "because, you know, the Klingon style is just so brutal, and so what I had to do [was a lot of evasion] [....] And Kenneth and I were just down in there. I accidentally punched him in the knee, he accidentally, like, clobbered me in my hand with his mek'leth. So, we were just like, 'I forgive you. Yeah, it's great, one for one. Yeah, we in this, let's do it. Let's keep going, it's awesome,'" Martin-Green laughed. Considering that Kenneth Mitchell was performing Kol's movements in full prosthetics and with a massive cape on his back, his involvement in the fight took considerable stamina. He, consequently, and Martin-Green were drenched in sweat while doing the scene. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- During the filming, Bo Yeon Kim enjoyed, in her own words, "watching Sonequa do this emotional… our Sarcophagus scene, where she's fighting Kol and she's giving that speech where she stands up, all battered and bloodied, standing up for her captain, trying to get the badge back from Kol. Like, in that moment it just, like… it just clicked. I was like, 'Oh my god.' Like, I had this moment of… I could not see Burnham as being played by anyone else other than Sonequa." Kim also referred to this realization as a "really wonderful moment" and enthusiastically confirmed with Aron Eisenberg asking if it was "the most rewarding thing for a writer." 
- It was only during filming that Sonequa Martin-Green added the moment when, after Tyler tells her about his sexual abuse by L'Rell, Burnham cries a single tear. "That was just something that came organically [….] And when that take happened, everyone choked up," Bo Yeon Kim remembered. "We knew that was the one we wanted to use." (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- For the scene (#961) involving Lorca and Stamets looking out over Pahvo while standing in the Discovery's shuttlebay, a green screen stood in for the starfield during filming.  The scene was storyboarded, as was the destruction of the Sarcophagus. Director Chris Byrne used these storyboards to plan each of the scenes. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- The nudity shots of L'Rell, in the sex scene between her and Tyler/Voq, called for Mary Chieffo to wear extensive makeup. "For me, that was four hours in the prosthetic chair," she explained. For the filming of the sex scene, the set was dark and hazy but with flashing light, while classical music played in the background. Neither Chieffo nor Shazad Latif had done an alien sex scene ever before. They performed the scene, which was filmed early one morning, on a rotating bed, but they couldn't leave because they were stuck in certain positions. In conversation with each other, the two actors cited, while working on the scene, an in-joke they had originated during production on "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", regarding "Mister Krada Leg". Speaking in an intense but hushed tone of voice, Chris Byrne excitedly tried to encourage them by saying, "Yes. Yes, keep going." While the cameras weren't rolling, the pair of actors also napped on each other, an experience Chieffo found "super fun" and Latif felt was "very lovely." Recalled Chieffo, "It was about four hours of filming, so we were exhausted […] and we had to reposition." (AT: "The Wolf Inside")
- Actors Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp considered the scene in which their respective characters of Culber and Stamets kiss as highly important, Cruz stating in hindsight, "[It] was a big deal for us […] and we wanted to make sure we got it right." ("Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
Music and sound
- Composer Jeff Russo, voicing pride of this episode's score, enthused, "I'm really happy about the end of Episode 9." 
- A couple of musical cues from this episode were released in the soundtrack collection Star Trek: Discovery - Season 1, Chapter 1. The first, "PTSD", accompanies the scene in which, confronted by L'Rell aboard the Sarcophagus, Tyler starts to suffer from the onset of PTSD and Burnham, after struggling to recover Cornwell, shoots L'Rell and then leaves the admiral with Tyler; the second, "Undetermined", is the final music cue in the episode, accompanying the Discovery's arrival in an unfamiliar area of space. Although the vinyl LP Star Trek: Discovery - Season 1, Chapters 1 & 2 was subsequently released, neither of the two tracks from this episode were included in that album.
Continuity and trivia
- Lorca telling Stamets he "chose to go where no one has gone before" is, chronologically, the earliest instance of this phrase including the term "no one." Its usage here was preceded by the phrase being referred to as "where no man has gone before" firstly in a speech Zefram Cochrane makes in ENT: "Broken Bow", as well as on the dedication plaque aboard Enterprise NX-01. After this episode, the same version of the motto is reused in Kirk's introductory words during the opening credits of virtually all TOS episodes and on the dedication plaque aboard the USS Enterprise-A. Only after a captain's log Kirk voices at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (in which he says, "where no man – where no one – has gone before") did the "no one" version become commonplace.
- Lorca was previously shown studying his multicolored holographic display of Stamets' jumps and the parallel universes in earlier first season installments "Lethe" (when Admiral Cornwell arrived aboard the Discovery) and "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" (in a montage at the start of that episode).
- Sonequa Martin-Green observed that Burnham's appeal to Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus was similar to her appeal to Philippa Georgiou to launch a preemptive strike against that ship, so as to avoid the war that ultimately ensued, in DIS series premiere "The Vulcan Hello". (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Whereas Michael Burnham tells Kol in this episode that she killed T'Kuvma, she revealed the same thing to Harry Mudd in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad".
- Tyler recalls his kiss with Burnham from the previous episode, "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum". Evidently, reused footage from that installment was used to show the flashbacks to their kiss.
- The article "Star Trek Discovery's Coolest, Deepest-Cut Easter Eggs" by StarTrek.com suggests that it is likely that a Cadet Decker mentioned in this installment may actually be Will Decker. 
- The shot that transitions from Pahvo to a pullback from Stamets' left eye resembles the first shot of DIS, in which a view of an unnamed planet turns into a pullback from T'Kuvma's right eye.
- This episode is the first Star Trek episode or film to show female nipples on-screen, albeit briefly in a character's nightmare.
- This episode is the first Star Trek episode or film to feature a romantic kiss between two men. It aired twenty-two years and thirteen days after the first romantic kiss between two women, in DS9: "Rejoined". The historic nature of the kiss in this episode was why performing the scene was highly important to Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp, Cruz remarking, "We were fully aware of it when it was happening." ("Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- The sudden change to the coloration of Stamets' eyes as well as his more slowly developing omniscience are similar to those of Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner in TOS pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
- The Discovery becoming lost in an unknown region of space is akin to an aspect of Star Trek: Voyager's premise, as the USS Voyager, having become lost in an unexplored region deep in the Delta Quadrant, must make a long journey home during the course of that series.
- The interior diagram of the Sarcophagus on Burnham's tricorder is based on a map of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany.
- AT: "Into the Forest I Go" discusses the making of, and events in, this episode.
- CBS All Access promoted this episode as the end of "Chapter One". Although still considered "Season One" as a whole, the next episode will premiere eight weeks later, as the premiere of "Chapter Two". This episode is the first time a "mid-season finale" has been used in a Star Trek series. While previous series often had periods which did not see a new first-run episode being broadcast (usually rerunning earlier episodes in the interim), particularly when in syndication, this is the first explicit broadcast break in a Star Trek series.
- Exactly one week before this episode was released, AT: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" debuted the scene in which Burnham appeals to Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus.
- At 3:32 in the morning after this episode was aired, Aaron Harberts, about to start work on the second season the day after, tweeted, "Writers, cast, and crew killed it with this finale." 
- Erika Lippoldt commended Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz for their work in the scene where Stamets and Culber romantically kiss. "They did such a beautiful job in that scene," Lippoldt commented. Lippoldt furthermore described the kiss as a "beautiful moment we've been waiting for for so long." Similarly, Bo Yeon Kim referred to the scene in which Burnham cries a single tear in response to Tyler's ordeal at the hands of L'Rell as "beautiful." (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Having played a highly critical role in the development of this episode's story, Kirsten Beyer highly valued the installment. "I […] have a special place in my heart for 109 '[….] The stakes of that one," she said, "and the idea that this is the way we manage to first figure out how to break cloaking technology, feels like a pretty cool thing to do." ("Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Star Trek: Discovery Co-Executive Producer and Writer Ted Sullivan thoroughly approved of this episode. "It is 'Balance of Terror' good," he enthused. "They blew it out [of the water...] I'm predicting that people's heads will explode that they wrote something so... I had such episode envy when I read the script and went, 'Ahh!'" (AT: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum")
- After Trek host Matt Mira likewise highly approved of this episode, calling it "a pantheon Star Trek episode." (AT: "Into the Forest I Go") He remarked that the scene showing Burnham appeal for Lorca to send her to the Sarcophagus was "very interesting." (AT: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum") Mira also commended the depiction, especially the writing and acting, of Stamets making the 133rd jump, with his boyfriend, Dr. Culber, just staring at him. Other factors that Mira approved of were the first gay kiss in Star Trek history and Admiral Cornwell being returned to the Discovery. (AT: "Into the Forest I Go")
- Laura Hudson of the Verge wrote an editorial praising the episode for raising the topic of male rape victims. 
- 12 October 2017: Title publicly revealed 
- 12 November 2017: Premiere air date on CBS All Access
- 13 November 2017: International release date (outside Canada and the USA)
Video and DVD releases
Links and references
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
- Doug Jones as Saru
- Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
- Jayne Brook as Katrina Cornwell
- Mary Chieffo as L'Rell
- Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber
- Kenneth Mitchell as Kol
- Michael Ayres as Transporter Technician
- Conrad Coates as Admiral Terral
- Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer
- Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer
- Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys
- Sara Mitich as Airiam
- Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun
- David Benjamin Tomlinson as Klingon Bridge Officer
- Mustafa Bulut as stunt double for Shazad Latif
- Nicole Dickinson as stunt double for Mary Chieffo
- Steve Gagne as stunt double for Kenneth Mitchell
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Sonequa Martin-Green
algorithm; Battle of the Binary Stars; beats per minute; black alert; boarding party; Briar Patch; burial chamber; Castor; cc; clearing; cloaking device; cloaking frequency; command stations; Decker; digoxin; EM radiation; evasive pattern; forest; fortune cookie; Georgiou, Philippa; gravitational field; heart rate; Kasseelian opera house; kiss; La bohème; Legion of Honor; life signs; light; medial temporal lobe; mek'leth; meter; month; moon; mycelial network; negative mass; Pahvan transmitter; Pahvo; Pahvo system; parallel universes; pattern simulator; PTSD; ready room; Risa; Sarcophagus; second; sensor; shock; sinoatrial node; spore delivery system; spore drive; Starbase 46; Starbase 88; T'Kuvma; torturer; white matter
- "Into the Forest I Go" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Into the Forest I Go" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Discovering the Unseen" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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