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Burnham goes to Vulcan in search of Spock, where she unearths surprising family secrets. In researching what is left of the Red Angel's signal over Kaminar, Pike and Tyler end up in battle with time itself. Georgiou has a few tricks up her sleeve for Leland and Section 31.



"Personal log, Commander Michael Burnham. My mother taught me the greatest mysteries come in threes: Birth, life, death. The past, the present, and future. That's where the Red Angel is from. We now have confirmation, thanks to Mr. Saru. The Angel is humanoid, and wearing an exosuit made of future technology we've never seen. But whose future, and why? The only person who may be able to answer these questions is the one person nobody can find."

Aboard the USS Discovery, Burnham walks the corridors with Captain Pike, reviewing what they knew about Spock's connection to the Red Angel, how he had seen the seven red bursts before they had appeared. The cognitive scans in Spock's medical record indicate he had suffered a mental breakdown, to which Pike adds that either what the Angel revealed to him caused the breakdown, or it appeared to him because he was "broken". Burnham does not like either option. Perhaps, Pike speculates, it showed him a future that he couldn't process. They know that Spock escaped from the psychiatric unit on Starbase 5, and that his shuttle had disappeared in the Mutara sector, but have no other leads besides that. With the Federation and Section 31 on the hunt for Spock, Burnham emphasizes that they need to find him first, and asks Pike's permission to return to Vulcan to meet with her foster parents, Sarek and Amanda. Sarek is part of the Federation's task force investigating the signals, but Burnham knows that Amanda has not always seen eye-to-eye with Sarek when it comes to Spock. Pike grants her leave; he and the Discovery have been ordered by Starfleet to remain on Kaminar for a time to investigate the residual energy left behind by the red burst in orbit, to perhaps investigate where in the future the Angel came from.

On the bridge, Pike and Saru review the readings from the burst in orbit, showing them to match the same spike of tachyons detected by Admiral Cornwell's team from Discovery's previous expedition to the interstellar asteroid. Sylvia Tilly then enters the bridge, excitably remarking that the readings "can't be accurate" – showing five thousand parts per cubic micron, densities not seen outside of a supernova, which Tilly calls "freaking amazing". Pike wonders what kind of power source could generate that level of tachyon particles, to which Tilly replies it might not have even been invented yet. Pike half-jokingly orders her to determine what was behind the power source beyond "freaking amazing". Saru has attempted to launch a probe into the anomaly to determine its origin, but the tachyon levels are disrupting the scanners, so Pike orders Detmer to move in closer, also ordering Airiam to aid Saru with the analysis. Ash Tyler asks where Burnham is, to which Pike replies she is on "personal leave". Tyler insists that if Burnham's leave has to do with Spock, Pike "owes" him an explanation, tossing his Section 31 badge into the captain's hand. Pike coolly informs him that "the chair outranks the badge", just as alarms begin to sound. Bryce reports comms are offline, and Rhys adds likewise for tactical. Owosekun reports the computers seem to be caught in some sort of loop, which Saru attributes to possible temporal distortion – which becomes certain as the previous exchange between Pike and Tyler repeats. In front of them, a rift in spacetime opens; Pike orders full reverse, allowing them to put enough distance between themselves and the rift to restore normal functions. Pike instructs Saru to load the probe onto a shuttlecraft, which Pike himself will then pilot close enough to the anomaly to launch; since his first assignment in Starfleet was as a test pilot, he knows the shuttles better than anyone aboard.

To Pike's barely-concealed irritation, Tyler (whom Pike refers to as a "bad penny") accompanies him in the turbolift. Tyler tells Pike that he can keep him in the dark about Burnham, but not about the signals or the Red Angel; as the official liaison to Section 31, Pike has to deal with him. Pike asks about the Klingon inside him, to which Tyler mirrors the question Pike asked him about knowing the war was over. Pike counters that his problem is not with Klingons, but about the fact that Tyler's "shadow", Voq, had killed Dr. Culber. Tyler replies that he can't get rid of Voq, to which Pike sarcastically replies that he knows how that feels.

Act One

Arriving on Vulcan during one of its rare periods of rain, Burnham lands her shuttle at Sarek's residence. As she enters the house, she remembers the first time she had been there, and when she had met Spock. She has a flashback of playing three-dimensional chess with Spock when they were children, and laughing at her inability to form her fingers in the Vulcan salute. Spock questions how she finds amusement in her own error, and tells her that emotions confuse him; Burnham admits they confused her, too. Spock shows Burnham the correct way, and shares a brief smile with her. Back in the present, Amanda greets Burnham, who tells her that Spock is still missing. Sarek sits in meditation nearby, and Amanda says he has been in that position for hours. Ever since word came that Spock had disappeared, Sarek had been practicing tokmar, which ancient Vulcans believed could bring lost souls back home, but it wasn't working. Burnham believes it to be more than that; Sarek has the most disciplined mind she knows, but if it isn't working, there is a reason… and Burnham believes Amanda knows what it is. Amanda replies she has not spoken to him, but Burnham persists, reminding her that the longer Spock is on the run, the harder it would be for him, a logic Amanda cannot refute. No matter how angry Amanda was with her, Burnham emphasizes her love for her brother, and her desire to protect him. Amanda replies that even if she knew, she would not allow her son to be arrested for murders he did not commit, and again flatly replies that she has not seen him. Burnham is not convinced; Amanda had told her the truth her entire life, which was how she could tell Amanda was lying. She pleads with Amanda to tell her where Spock was, to let her help him. Amanda replies that Spock was not as Burnham remembered him.

In orbit of Kaminar, Shuttle 5 leaves Discovery with Pike and Tyler at the controls; it has been five minutes, with no further signs of temporal effects from the rift, and Pike prepares to move the shuttle six hundred kilometers closer to re-acclimate. Tilly compares it to a diver rising to the surface and jokingly warns him not to get the "time bends". Saru advises him not to fire the probe into the rift's aperture, and Pike acknowledges – his transmission echoing from the temporal distortions. Saru advises him not to approach closer and to launch from his current position. As he attends to the controls himself (much to the frustration of Tyler) to bring the shuttle to a full stop, Pike hears Tyler screaming behind him, and witnesses a temporal echo where he shoots Tyler with his phaser. Tyler, who did not witness it, asks if something was wrong; Pike instructs him to launch the probe. As the probe enters the rift, Owosekun warns Pike that a temporal shock wave is headed straight for him. Pike acknowledges and initiates evasive maneuvers, but his transmission becomes choppy before it finally cuts out. Back on Discovery, Owosekun has lost the shuttle in the time rift; Rhys is not detecting the shuttle on sensors, and Bryce is getting no reading from its transponder. Saru asks Rhys if he can detect any debris from an explosion; Rhys replies that sensors are offline. Detmer warns if they get any closer to the rift, what happened to Pike's shuttle could happen to Discovery as well. Determinedly, Saru informs the crew their mission has changed from one of research to one of rescue. He orders Owosekun to rectify the sensor issues by manually accounting for the varying tachyon levels, and instructs Rhys to continue studying the anomaly, in order to recognize any deviations in its internal dynamics – deviations like Pike's shuttle. Tilly warns that the radiation from the anomaly will become lethal within five hours. Saru speculates that time does not move in a linear fashion inside the anomaly; Tilly confirms this, that it "jumbles it all up, like a blender", which would make it impossible to find Pike's shuttle. Saru agrees it would be impossible for them, but also knows that, based on the incident with Harry Mudd, Commander Stamets has a "unique" relationship with time, protected from temporal distortions by the tardigrade DNA he introduced into his system. Tilly heads to engineering.

Back on Vulcan, Amanda brings Burnham to a nearby crypt. Inside, Burnham is horrified to find Spock, bearded and disheveled, muttering constantly to himself. Michael approaches him, trying to tell him she was there, but he shows no signs of acknowledgement.

Act Two

Sarek appears in the sacred crypt

Spock continues repeating the same words over and over, which Burnham recognizes as the First Doctrines of Logic. Amanda tells her that he has been like this for the past two days. Burnham is appalled, saying that he needs a doctor, but Amanda refuses, saying that "every avenue leaves a trail". Spock then begins reciting the same numbers in order: 8-4-1-9-4-7. Amanda has been unable to figure out what the numbers mean. Burnham again insists that he needs to be taken to a hospital; if he were fully Vulcan, the emotional disarray would have driven him to insanity. Amanda is adamant that he is not going anywhere. Spock came to her for help, and she would never turn him in – indeed, under Federation law, she has no obligation to do so, and as the wife of the Vulcan ambassador, she can claim diplomatic immunity to protect Spock from extradition. "Unless the ambassador objects," Sarek replies from behind them.

Inside the temporal rift, Pike tells Tyler he is wasting his time trying to use sensors; Tyler insists that they need a fixed point for navigation, leading Pike to ask in a fit of pique if Tyler is telling him how to fly. Tyler replies that he is not the enemy. Pike gives in, telling him to take the controls while he tries to get a bearing. Assuming that Discovery was coming in after them, Pike instructs Tyler to release plasma from the nacelles to let them follow their trail; Tyler objects, as they need the fuel. He accuses Pike of survivor guilt for sitting out the war, and trying to prove his bravery; an indignant Pike cuts him off, telling him to release the plasma or he would throw Tyler in the brig when they returned to the ship, and have him court-martialed for disobeying a direct order. Tyler relents, and releases the plasma. Back aboard Discovery, Tilly updates Stamets on the situation, and that the radiation levels will become lethal in four hours. Since he has the tardigrade DNA, Stamets could use the mycelial network as a constant to plot the shuttle's trajectory, but Stamets warns that beyond the rift's event horizon, time would exist all at once, making finding them like "catching a grain of sand in a hurricane using a pair of tweezers".

Back on Vulcan, Sarek confronts Amanda about lying to him, assuming she was hiding him in the crypt because it contained katra stones, which could block any efforts to find him by telepathy. Amanda confirms this, a decision that Sarek condemns as "shortsighted and impulsive". She accepted this life she leads out of her love for Sarek, and Spock was paying the price, "like he always has". She tells him she used to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Spock when he was a child, before they adopted Burnham, because he had "Human difficulties" – learning difficulties that Vulcans called L'tak Terai. Sarek dismisses it as a "temporary complication" remedied at the Learning Center; Amanda disagrees, saying that a half-Vulcan child had no support for a learning disability he'd inherited from his mother. Spock then begins quoting from the book, which Sarek fears is a regression. Burnham tells Sarek that Spock's condition is connected to the Red Angel and the seven signals, and that he knew about them before they were detected; she had not told Sarek of this because she wanted to make sure she could find Spock first. Sarek concedes that Amanda is right, Spock does need help… which is why Burnham must deliver him to Captain Leland. Both Burnham and Amanda object to delivering him to those who seek to punish him for murder, but Sarek is convinced that the Federation desperately needs the knowledge Spock has, and that outside of the three of them, no one wants to see Spock healed more than Section 31. There is another logical reason for Burnham to be the one who takes Spock to Leland: the risk of once again jeopardizing her Starfleet career for failing to do her duty. Sarek's voice quivers when he admits he is not willing to lose both of his children on the same day.

Back in the rift, as the shuttle circles closer to the aperture, Tyler reports the plasma levels are down to thirty percent, and the shields are down to twenty-three percent. He sarcastically remarks that Pike got what he came for: A dangerous mission with high stakes, and the added bonus of taking Tyler down with him. Pike heatedly replies he is trying to get them out of there, and that arguing with each other was not helping – just as something collides with the shuttle. Pike recognizes it as the probe they launched earlier, which has received an "upgrade" in the form of squid-like metal tentacles that latch onto the shuttle.

Act Three

Burnham's shuttle makes a rendezvous with Leland's ship, NCIA-93, and brings Spock aboard. Spock continues to repeat the sequence of numbers as he is taken aboard. Georgiou congratulates Burnham for finding Spock first and using her own mother to do it, remarking that she would have enjoyed manipulating hers like that, if she'd lived longer. Burnham asks if she killed her. "It's a blur," Georgiou nonchalantly replies. Inside the ship's sickbay, Leland assures Burnham that Spock has received a sedative for the procedure he is about to undergo, to attempt to repair Spock's neutral impulses, and that Control would not proceed if there would be any risk. He then asks the others to clear the room, including Georgiou. Once they are alone, Leland tells Burnham he hopes Spock is innocent, and understands how painful it is for Burnham. She wants answers, and so does Section 31, and that they would find them together. Leland made that promise to Sarek, and now makes it to Burnham, before asking if there was anything in his psychological makeup to help them. She remarks that he was brilliant, curious, but when he was a child, he had fewer filters, and remarks on Amanda revealing he suffered from L'tak Terai, which Leland recognizes as being similar to dyslexia, a condition common on Earth but not on Vulcan. Leland has spoken to Admiral Cornwell to extend Burnham's leave, but as Section 31's facilities are classified, Burnham could not stay onboard, and so directs her to travel to Starbase 23 to rest. The best thing she can do for Spock, he tells her, is to take care of herself. Alone with Spock, Burnham thinks on how lonely he must have been with his condition, but that knowing him as she did, he made something "beautiful" with the mirrored images. Then she thinks about the numbers he kept repeating: the sequence, she realizes, was backwards.

On board Discovery, Rhys detects the deuterium bursts from Pike's shuttle, recognizing it as a trick taught in flight school to alert search parties, something a former test pilot would do. Saru orders him to send the positions to Stamets in engineering, who uses them to calculate the shuttle's trajectory not within three-dimensional space, but through corresponding coordinates in the mycelial network. Tilly wonders if her fourth-dimensional math is wrong, as the burns seem to have taken place in different points in time – one a week earlier, one the previous day, and one eight minutes into the future. Stamets assures her it's correct, as nonlinear temporal progression is a "mind bender", but also sees that the shuttle is drifting into the aperture. The rift works like water circling down a drain, and the temporal distortions would make spatial orientation meaningless to a Human brain – unless the Human in question also had tardigrade DNA. Stamets rushes out of the room, telling Tilly to follow him.

Meanwhile, on Pike's shuttle, Tyler's scanners show that some of the metals of the modified probe don't show on any periodic table, and that atomic decay indicates the probe's core has aged five hundred years, which means someone five centuries in the future found the probe, modified it, and sent it back. Just then, the tentacles breach the shuttle's hull, one of which wraps around Tyler. Recognizing it as the echo he saw earlier, Pike tells Tyler to hold still as he blasts off the end of the tentacle, which then rushes forward and impales itself into the shuttle's controls, accessing its computer. Before either Pike or Tyler can reach the probe, it releases an energy pulse that knocks them off their feet.

Stamets and Tilly rush through the corridors to the transporter room, where Stamets intends to use the coordinates to beam onto Pike's shuttle and fly it out. Tilly is aghast, warning him about what would happen if his calculations were even slightly off. Stamets agrees that would mean he would be "very dead", which is why he's asking Tilly to handle the transporter. Though she continues to try to talk him out of it, Stamets finally quiets her by telling her to trust the math, and more importantly to trust herself. Tilly gives in, and beams Stamets over.

Act Four

Stamets materializes safely aboard the shuttle, much to Pike's confusion. Stamets reassures Pike that he was from about ten minutes in the future and would fly them out using the mycelial network; he also notices the tentacle embedded in the control console. Back on Discovery, Tilly nervously asks if Stamets made it over. Owosekun detects the shuttle exiting the anomaly, and Saru orders it put on screen, seeing the shuttle with the attached probe. Stamets hails, telling them that it was their own probe with "a few modifications", and that in addition to trying to kill them, it was accessing the ship's computer core. Saru orders yellow alert; Airiam reports the probe is searching the computer as incredibly high speed, and that she will try to lock it out. Pike replies they will try to do the same thing on their end; with the shuttle's shields low, Rhys cannot fire on the probe without possibly destroying the shuttle, and they're too near the rift to lock transporters. As Stamets tries to fly the shuttle closer, the power fails, and the shuttle begins to be pulled back into the drift.

Aboard NCIA-93, Georgiou stops Burnham in the corridor, telling her she has disabled the cameras for sixty seconds. Georgiou confirms Burnham's suspicions: the device Leland intends to use on Spock is a memory extractor, which will destroy his mind. Georgiou dismisses Leland as a "puppet following orders", and figured Burnham would not want Spock's blood on her hands. Burnham sarcastically asks the former emperor if she was doing this out of the goodness of her heart. "No, the goodness of yours," Georgiou replies, saying that she knows more about Burnham than she could imagine. For now, however, Burnham should attack Georgiou and rescue Spock, which would be good for Burnham… and it would make Leland look bad, which would be good for Georgiou. As the cameras come back online, Georgiou and Burnham fight in the corridors, each giving as good as they get, before Burnham knocks Georgiou unconscious, grabs her phaser, and runs to retrieve Spock.

On the shuttle, Saru reports that they are unable to lock on with transporters, and will lose them in the rift in 34 seconds. Pike asks Stamets if he can calculate transporter coordinates remotely, to which Stamets replies with a slightly confused "probably". While Tyler continues to bash at the tentacle in an attempt to disable it, Pike then initiates the shuttle's self-destruct, while Stamets sends the coordinates to Owosekun. As the self-destruct counts down, Stamets frantically calls for Owosekun to beam them out. The three of them beam away just as the shuttle explodes, taking the probe with it. As the shuttle explodes, Airiam – analyzing the computer breach – sees three flashing red lights in a sequence, which seem to have an effect on her. Saru asks if Pike, Tyler, and Stamets are aboard; after a moment, she replies that they are.

Burnham storms into NCIA-93's sickbay and stuns the doctors with her phaser, returns Spock to consciousness, and escorts him to the shuttlebay. Georgiou fires (harmlessly) into Burnham's shoulder for the sake of the ruse, as she takes Spock aboard her shuttle and escapes from the landing bay.

Returning to the Discovery's bridge, Pike expresses gratitude for the rescue, to which Tilly warns perhaps he shouldn't thank them yet; the shuttle explosion has released a "time tsunami" from the rift. Pike orders maximum warp to get clear of the shock wave. Once they're clear, Pike thanks Tyler for saving him back on the shuttle, and admits that Tyler was right about why he chose to undertake the mission. At the same time, Tyler concedes that Pike was the most qualified pilot for the duty. Pike then asks Saru about the analysis of what the probe was looking for, to which Saru replied they were still trying to discern that. The modified probe was from the future, Pike reasons, and so was the Red Angel; when Saru asks if he believed the Red Angel shared the probe's hostility, Pike mentions that Tyler had broached that possibility. Whether it was trying to start something or end something, Tyler adds, one thing is certain: They were in a fight for the future. Pike agrees: they were always in a fight for the future.

On NCIA-93's bridge, Leland confronts Georgiou about letting Burnham escape, and asks to know where she is taking Spock. When she gives nonchalant and sarcastic answers, Leland warns her not to overestimate her value. Georgiou replies that he needed her to keep Burnham from finding out the truth: That Leland had been responsible for the death of Burnham's biological parents. She smugly tells him that he is no longer "calling the shots", before leaving the bridge. Meanwhile, three other NCIA-93-type ships search for Burnham's shuttle, finding only residual EM traces. Burnham has landed the shuttle on an asteroid, waiting until the ships are outside of sensor range. She goes back to Spock, who keeps repeating the reversed sequence of numbers. Burnham looks to the computer and instructs it to analyze records based on the number sequence 7-4-9-1-4-8, in that order. As the computer works, Burnham kneels next to Spock, quoting from Alice in Wonderland: "Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly. For she had plenty of time as she went down to wonder what was going to happen next." She pleads with Spock to talk to her, to tell her what he was trying to say. The computer soon finds a match, a planetary system at coordinates 749 mark 148: The planet Talos IV. Burnham orders the shuttle's computer to set a course, and engage at maximum warp.

Memorable quotes

"I'm sorry, sir, you know how I get around violations of causality. Plus, you said I shouldn't curse when I was on duty."

- Tilly to Saru, remarking on the "freaking amazing" readings from the red burst

"Mr. Tyler, the chair outranks the badge."

- Pike, brushing off Tyler "pulling rank" with Section 31

"Now at a minute five, is no signs of the temporal effects. Ready to move us another 600 kilometers closer and reacclimate."
"Like a diver rising to the surface. Don't wanna get the 'time bends,' sir."
"Time bends. I like that."
"Oh, everything sounds cooler when you put 'time' in front of it."

- Christopher Pike and Silvia Tilly, as Pike approaches the temporal anomaly

"Beyond the event horizon, time exists all at once, which makes finding them like catching a grain of sand in a hurricane… using a pair of tweezers."

- Paul Stamets, on finding Pike and Tyler

"I am not prepared to lose both of our children on the same day."

- Sarek

"What is that?"
"It's our probe, but somehow it's got an upgrade."

- Ash Tyler and Christopher Pike, staring down an enhanced probe

"I'm impressed that you found Spock before we did, and that you used your own mother to do it. I would have enjoyed manipulating mine like that, if she'd lived a little longer."
"Did you kill her?"
"It's a blur."

- Philippa Georgiou and Michael Burnham

"Tilly… trust the math. And more importantly, trust yourself. I wouldn't let just anyone beam me in and out of time."

- Paul Stamets

"Not bad. Once more, with feeling."

- Philippa Georgiou, telling Michael Burnham to attack her

"Thank you everyone, for uh… our lives."
"Don't thank us yet, sir. A shockwave from the shuttle explosion is about to hit us with a… time tsunami? That one's not as cool as it sounds."

- Christopher Pike and Sylvia Tilly

"'Whether the Red Angel's here to end something, or start something, one things for sure; we're in the middle of a fight for the future."

- Ash Tyler

"Mind your manners. You're no longer calling the shots."

- Georgiou, to Leland

Log entries

  • "Personal log, Commander Michael Burnham. My mother taught me the greatest mysteries come in threes. Birth, life, death. The past, the present, and future. That's where the Red Angel is from. We now have confirmation, thanks to Mr. Saru. The Angel is humanoid and wearing an exosuit made of future technology we've never seen. But whose future, and why? The only person who may be able to answer these questions is the one person nobody can find."

Background information

Visual effects

  • This episode introduces a change in the intro sequence. The Red Angel was previously depicted as a blurred entity, but is now shown as a piece of technology, in accordance with the revelation in the previous episode that it was a mechanized suit.



  • This is the first regular episode, not including the two-part series premiere of "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars", that does not open with a "Previously, on Star Trek: Discovery" recap. In its place is an expository log entry and a teaser that sets up all the necessary information within the first few minutes. It should be noted, however, that several clips from previous episodes are presented within the narrative of this episode, including clips from "The Sound of Thunder" and "Brother".
  • Burnham mentions that Spock's shuttle disappeared in the Mutara sector. The sector's Mutara Nebula is where Spock died in 2285, twenty-eight years after the events of this episode, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • However, Burnham's claim that the shuttle disappeared seems at odds with "Saints of Imperfection", where the mirror universe Philippa Georgiou is claimed to have tracked Spock's shuttle, only to find it adrift and abandoned after catching up with it.
  • An object is seen within the sacred crypt where Amanda hides Spock which resembles the Kir'Shara in shape and general size, though it differs in surface detail.
  • In TOS: "Journey to Babel", which is set in 2268, Amanda tells Captain Kirk that Spock and Sarek have not spoken "as father and son for eighteen years", which would be seven years prior to this episode. Although Sarek and Spock do share a scene together in this episode, Amanda's statement to Kirk is still technically correct because Spock was not in a proper state of mind and Sarek does not directly address his son.


Production history

Links and references



Special guest star

Guest starring


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles



28th century; Alice; ambassador; asteroid; atomic decay; auto-destruct; avenue; bat; brig; causality; class M; cognitive scan; Cornwell, Katrina; court-martial; crypt; Dinah; data core; deuterium; diplomatic immunity; DSC 05; DSC 06; dyslexia; emotion; event horizon; Federation law; Filter; First Doctrines of Logic; hospital; hybrid; Kaminar; katra stone; Kelpien; Kir'Shara; L'tak Terai; logic; memory extractor; Mudd, Harry; mental breakdown; Mutara sector; mycelial network; NCIA-93; parts per cubic micron; picnic; plasma; probe; radiation; Red Angel; Section 31; Sector 14; Sector 15; Sector 16; Starbase 23; Starfleet uniform (late 2230s-2250s); supernova; tachyon; tardigrade; task force; Talos IV; telepathy; temporal distortion; temporal shock wave; test pilot; three-dimensional chess; time rift; time tsunami; tokmar; transponder; Voq; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan (species); Vulcan cruiser (unidentified cruiser 004); Vulcan Learning Center; Vulcan salute; yellow alert

External links

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"The Sound of Thunder"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 2
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