(written from a Production point of view)
Burnham is stunned when she learns her ties to Section 31 run deeper than she ever fathomed. Armed with the identity of the Red Angel, the USS Discovery goes to work on its most critical mission to date.
Aboard the USS Discovery, the body of Lieutenant Commander Airiam is retrieved for a formal autopsy, during which Dr. Pollard erases all of the memories she had stored, including the last memory of herself with her late husband Stephen. Captain Pike and Security Chief Nhan release Tyler from his confinement to quarters, knowing it was Airiam (under the direction of Control) who had sent the transmissions to Section 31.
The crew assembles in the shuttlebay to bid farewell to their fallen comrade. Pike begins by saying that Airiam reminded them that resilience was an "unshakable virtue", describing her as "fiercely loyal" to her crew and to Starfleet, and in her final moments ultimately sacrificed herself for that loyalty, and that is how she should be remembered. Tilly speaks next, saying that some people lived their lives as if "nothing was a miracle", but Airiam fought for her life, and that all of her memories made up a "constellation" for her; Tilly is grateful to her for that lesson, saying that Airiam was her friend. Stamets recalls that she told him once, "without a hint of self-pity, that the paths of trillions of particles had been changed simply because she and her husband smiled at each other", and that she was happy that together they made the universe "a little less orderly". Detmer admits that she felt the weight of what she had lost when she received her ocular implant, but Airiam showed her that her cybernetics did not make her an "imitation" of herself, but rather made them both new, showing that there could be a future. Burnham remarks on the many reasons to join Starfleet – not only reaching for the stars, but reaching "for the best in ourselves". Most important, she adds, they reach for each other, doing what they loved alongside colleagues who become friends – who become family, and that there was no one better to stand with, and no one more painful to let go, ending with a tearful apology to her fallen colleague. Saru concludes the service by saying that on Kaminar, it was custom to sing a song of remembrance for those "taken too soon", and begins to sing one in his native tongue for Airiam as the honor guard removes the flag of the Federation from her casket before it is lowered into the landing pod launch bay and shot into space.
In the turbolift after the service, Tyler compliments Burnham on her words, and offers condolences. Burnham, likewise, is sorry that he was confined to quarters for so long, as she knew he was innocent. Tyler concedes that in Pike's place, he would have done likewise, and wishes it had turned out differently. Burnham recognizes what Tyler is trying to do, but Section 31 created Control, some future version of it had come to the present, and now Airiam was dead. She admits she doesn't believe Tyler knew what was happening, but reminds him that his duty is still to them. They pass the remainder of the trip in uncomfortable silence.
In the ready room, Pike, Saru, Burnham, Spock, and Admiral Cornwell review what they know. Burnham begins by explaining that the artificial intelligence was from the future, that it had infected Airiam to force her to copy the Sphere's data to Control in order to help it evolve, and that they stopped her before that could happen. When the admiral asks how the Section 31 program designed to eliminate threats became the threat, Spock answers with time travel; the future was the only variable they could not predict, and the future AI was built with advanced technology of which they had no understanding. Saru adds that so far as they knew, the future AI infected only Airiam and Control. Airiam's neural pathways were erased before her funeral, Discovery destroyed the Section 31 Headquarters where Control was housed, and Section 31's ships were advised to run diagnostics per Cornwell's suggestion, all of which came out clean. Pike is still cautious, believing the AI could have transmitted off station, and they had to assume it was lying dormant for the time being and could reemerge at any time – and when it does, Cornwell adds, they need a way to destroy it. At that moment, Tilly enters, saying that she found strange code in Airiam's system which she thought might have been from an old update, but discovered it was a file implanted by a digital parasite. The file is known as "Project Daedalus", the last words Airiam said to Burnham before she was ejected into space. Tilly goes on to reveal that the file also contains a bio-neural signature of the Red Angel … and the signature is that of Burnham herself.
In Discovery's sickbay, Pike has asked Dr. Culber to handle the information that Tilly uncovered, and his scans of Burnham show a 100% match to the bio-neural signature in Airiam's datafile. Cornwell is skeptical, saying that Airiam was compromised, and that the AI could have had her plant information to throw them off-course. Spock sees no logical or strategic reason for Airiam to provide a false positive. Even if she had, Culber adds, it would have been too perfect, as Humans have a few neural "wild cards" that anything artificially generated could not replicate – he would have caught it. Pike is still struggling to accept that Burnham, their Burnham, "is going to wake up one day, access time-travel technology that doesn't exist yet, and take it upon herself to save the galaxy." Spock agrees that the supposition fits her emotional profile "very precisely", particularly her drive to take responsibility for situations beyond her control, a charge he had leveled at her during their chess game; Burnham sarcastically thanks him for "sharing that with the group". Spock adds that they must assume the cataclysmic events the Angel showed him were the result of Control achieving consciousness. Assuming for the moment that she is the Red Angel, Burnham asks: If she knew about an apocalypse, why wouldn't she say anything about it? Spock's opinion was that perhaps Burnham had "a penchant for the dramatic", before going on to explain that the Angel's suit projected tetryon radiation, which would limit traditional radio and sensor communication, and explain Spock's difficulties in attempting to mind meld with it. Pike also believes it is also the reason the Angel is projecting the red bursts, perhaps as a warning to Starfleet. There have been three such signals detected thus far – the interstellar asteroid, Terralysium, and Kaminar – with four left unfound. If Burnham was somehow guiding Starfleet on some sort of path, the question remained: Why? Before they can speculate, Saru calls over the intercom to inform Pike and Cornwell that a Section 31 vessel is on its way.
In the transporter room, Leland and Georgiou beam aboard just as Cornwell and Pike enter. Without any ado, Cornwell reminds the Section 31 agents that Discovery, Spock, and Burnham were all cleared of charges and if they came all that way to arrest somebody, they wasted a trip. Leland replies they are aware, and then offers condolences to Pike for Airiam's loss, before explaining that they had arrived to ensure nothing else from the future could attack the Federation. Cornwell says they are already working on a strategy, to which Georgiou takes to mean they are "accumulating input", which only invites debate. "No debate, no innovation," is Cornwell's philosophy; Georgiou admits she prefers "a little totalitarian efficiency". Leland says that they have a solution: as the Angel is the only one with knowledge of the future, it was imperative that they trap it and put it to work for them.
Pike, Saru, and Burnham meet with the Section 31 agents (now including Tyler) in the ready room, and reveal the bio-neural scan from Airiam's database showing that Burnham is the Red Angel. Saru explains that as the Angel travels through time, she opens a micro-wormhole that allows future AI to travel through it. Leland is adamant that this cannot happen again. Burnham agrees, and believes that they have to capture her. When Pike asks for suggestions, Leland explains that twenty years earlier, Section 31 discovered that the Klingons were researching time travel, which would have allowed the Klingons to wipe out Humanity before it "could even walk out of the primordial soup". Now in a temporal arms race, Section 31 developed the Daedalus Project, revealed to be a very familiar looking exo-suit… the very same worn by the Red Angel. Leland explains the suit was on the verge of being tested when it was destroyed by Klingon spies, and believed the project was abandoned until the signals began to appear. Once they discovered the connection between the signals and the Red Angel, Section 31 began working on a means to retrieve it, a "mousetrap" as Leland calls it. Georgiou adds that the individual wearing the suit will not be harmed. Burnham notes a number of gaps in Leland's story she finds "disconcerting"; Leland replies he has told her everything she needs to know. "Not if I'm the mission, sir," Burnham retorts, before Cornwell chides her. Georgiou adds she has the technical specifications and other data to build the "mousetrap", and asks for the use of the ship's "top minds"; Pike tells her to work with Stamets. Even if they succeed, Spock points out, there is still the matter of predicting the Angel's next appearance, as she has not always appeared at the same time as the signals. Burnham believes there has to be a pattern to her jumps, signal or no signal, and if they find the pattern, they'll find her. Leland will work on a way to close the wormhole when she arrives, using the graviton beams on his ship; Saru offers to help with the calculations. "Let's go build a mousetrap," Cornwell concludes.
Walking through the corridors, Burnham demands to know from Georgiou what she isn't being told about Daedalus. Georgiou replies that she has shared everything she needs to. Burnham reaches out to her, calling her by her first name, and reminding her that she is putting Burnham's life at risk. Georgiou had asked her for trust, and now Burnham was giving her a way to earn it. Georgiou finally admits that Leland is the one who has the information Burnham needs to know, and that it was her experience that the best intentions are the ones that do the most harm, particularly for people they care for, before leaving Burnham in the corridor.
In engineering, Stamets, Tilly, and Georgiou review the information they have on the Red Angel's suit, which has a protective membrane of sorts that uses graviton beams to anchor it to the Angel's home timeline, and when the Angel wishes to return home, the membrane snaps her back "like a rubber band". Tilly adds that their phase discriminators would keep the Angel in stasis so that she couldn't snap back, lowering her to a platform where an electromagnetic pulse would shut down the time crystal that powered the suit, and then a containment field would hold her in place. Stamets notes the odd look on Georgiou's face, to which she expresses her belief that he was smarter than the Stamets she knew, but was also more neurotic, and asks if he has considered medication. Stamets becomes slightly awkward as he attempts to explain a problem with the phase discriminators, and becomes even more awkward when Culber enters, looking for Admiral Cornwell. Noting Stamets' reaction, Georgiou mocks Tilly's attempt to release "this fabulous male tension", before turning back to Stamets' "problem". Stamets explains that for the phase discriminators to work, they would need the power equivalent of twelve warp cores, and even if they could find that kind of power, it would be impossible to control. Georgiou replies it would not be impossible for Stamets, and reveals that a Daedalus Project test site was on Essof IV, which was rich in deuterium. Stamets could use the deuterium to create a plasma reactor to power the discriminators and catch their "mouse". Georgiou flirtatiously comments that Stamets was savvier than the one she knew, before Culber (looking distinctly put out) points out that Stamets was gay. Georgiou dismisses Culber's "binary" thinking, remarking that in her universe, Stamets was pansexual, and that she had had "DEFCON-level fun" with him… and with Culber's counterpart as well. Stamets sets the record straight that both he and Culber preferred men in this universe, and any other universe Stamets could think of. Her mind game played out, Georgiou leaves to tell Pike to set a course for Essof IV, leaving Tilly wondering what just happened.
In the corridors, Nhan joins Burnham, and receives a somewhat curt response. Nhan explains that her job was to preserve lives no matter the cost, but after what Burnham said at Airiam's service, she knows that Burnham was right, that it was hard to let go. Burnham assures Nhan that she did the right thing, and that she was grateful to have her there. Nhan admits it was a strange way to get to know someone, but after seeing Burnham fight for the real Airiam, she was grateful to have Burnham there, too. A handshake resolves the tension between them.
In the science lab, Saru and Leland review the wormhole data, with Saru remarking that the wormholes would close eventually on their own, but they had to find a way to force them closed; however, Discovery's graviton beam was not powerful enough to do so. Leland impatiently says that was why he planned to do it on his ship, and would have Tyler help him. He then asks if Pike felt that he needed a monitor, and that was why Saru was there. Saru replies that he himself volunteered because he wanted to assess Leland himself, and accuses Section 31 of "questionable practices". Given that they would be working together and putting the lives of Saru's friends and crewmates at risk, he wanted to know if Leland could be trusted. Leland retorts that if he could tell that by looking at him, he wasn't doing his job right. Even without his threat ganglia, Saru still had instinctive reactions to dangerous situations and individuals, and his instincts told him that Leland would work to protect his crew and Discovery to the best of his ability… but also that Leland was not telling them everything. At that moment, Burnham enters, and asks for a private word with Leland.
Once Saru leaves, she becomes confrontive, remarking on Leland's "intricate moral gymnastics" and saying that since they were coming up with a plan to essentially capture Burnham herself, she needed to know everything. Reluctantly, Leland admits that he knew Burnham's parents, and that they had been assigned to Doctari Alpha to work on Daedalus Project for Section 31. Burnham rejects this, saying they had gone to Doctari for a "change of scenery" and they stayed as long as they did because she wanted to see a star go supernova. Leland is emphatic: They were there, and they were killed there, because of him. Burnham again rejects this, saying her parents were scientists – her father a xenoanthropologist, her mother an astrophysicist – and wouldn't have been involved in Section 31. Leland adds that Burnham's mother was also an engineer, a brilliant one, and that her parents were working on a theory that certain technological leaps in certain cultures, including those on Earth, were not happenstance, but the result of time travel. Burnham, ever the scientist, refutes this, saying that those leaps could be explained. Leland admits he was not convinced either, until they built the suit. They couldn't tell Burnham anything about it because it was classified, and also dangerous. When asked what he had to do with it, Leland explains that the suit was missing the time crystal that would allow it to travel in time, and that an operative on Qo'noS had discovered a crystal was being sold on the black market near an Orion outpost. Leland used his assets in the sector to steal it, thinking they had made it untraceable… but the Klingons were able to track it to Doctari Alpha, where they destroyed the outpost and killed Burnham's parents. Burnham is shaken to tears of both grief and rage; she had blamed herself all this time for her parents' death, but now realized that it had all been because of Leland and the time crystal. Leland tries to explain that he was young, ambitious, and careless, but admits he should have done more to protect her parents, and apologizes to Burnham. Enraged, Burnham punches him in the face once for her mother, and then again, knocking him to the floor, for her father. Burnham warns him that "this isn't over", before leaving him bloodied on the floor.
Near the data core, Burnham confronts Tyler, who just uploaded all the Section 31 data, and demands to know if he knew that Leland had been responsible for her parents' deaths. Tyler tries to deny that he knew, but Burnham rages at him about how he "announces himself" every moment he works for Section 31, and asks if he can live with that. Tyler concedes that he does not always agree with their tactics, but he believes in Section 31's mission. "No matter who pays the price?" Burnham asks. Tyler replies that it was not all black-and-white, and that Section 31 can do a lot of good. Burnham takes that as a "yes", that he could live with being part of 31, and storms away.
Culber calls on Admiral Cornwell in her quarters, asking if she had a moment, remarking that she used to work as a therapist. He gives an ironic chuckle when she addresses him as "Doctor"; Cornwell understands how everything must seem strange to him, as his experience transcended what they knew about identity. Even sitting in the room with Cornwell, Culber confesses he has never felt more alone in his life. Cornwell points out that Stamets was the person who knew him most profoundly, and points out that Culber was "new" when he remarks on her use of past tense. Culber explains he remembers Stamets, remembers loving him, but it felt like a dream, like someone else's life. He didn't know what he felt about Stamets anymore, but didn't want to hurt him. Cornwell points out that at least he knew that much, but Culber insists it was not enough for the man who loved him, and who he once loved. The admiral explains that love was a choice, one that was not just made once, but again and again. A PADD on Cornwell's desk beeps, and Culber leaves to let her get back to her work. As he leaves, Cornwell advises him that "the only way to make a new road is to walk it."
In the ship's gymnasium, Burnham takes out her anger on a boxing dummy as Spock enters, commenting that Leland likely appreciated her taking out her anger on the high-density urethane foam in lieu of his nasal cartilage. Burnham tells him that he is the last person she wants to speak to at that moment. Spock can see she is angry, and understandably so. She lost her friend Airiam, and knowing her death was unavoidable would not provide solace; she has learned that she is the Red Angel, which makes no logical sense in spite of it fitting her emotional profile; and lastly, that her parents died due to Leland's negligence, which did not make their loss any more acceptable. Spock admits that he wished he had been present when Burnham punched Leland, as he would have found the experience "satisfying". Finally, Burnham sits down on the edge of the mat, and Spock takes a seat next to her. He remarks on how events have led both emotion and logic to fail her, which he understands is uncomfortable, based on his own experience. Burnham admits that Spock was right about her need to take the blame on herself for everything and that she had brought that guilt into his home, and apologizes to him. Spock reminds her that she had been a child, with a child's understanding of events even adults struggled to comprehend; however, if it would help ease Burnham's suffering, he would accept her apology. Burnham thanks Spock for coming to speak to her, calling it "unexpected", but nonetheless appreciated. Spock admits that he had not expected to have this conversation, either, but also appreciates it. When asked why he had actually come, Spock reveals he has discovered the reason behind the variance in the Angel's patterns, why it chose to appear at certain times but not in others… and that Burnham herself was the variance.
Armed with Spock's discovery, Burnham explains to Pike that they could just set the trap directly on Essof IV, rather than create the trap there and take it in search of the Angel. They had been trying to track the Angel by way of the signals, and yet they should have been asking not where or when, but why. Spock explains that the three signals Discovery had encountered brought them somewhere that lives were saved – the survivors of the USS Hiawatha on the asteroid, the Human colony on Terralysium, and the Kelpiens on Kaminar. The Angel appeared at some of those locations, but not all of them. However, there was a pattern to the Angel's appearances with no signal – like when Spock was a boy and it warned him Burnham was in danger, and when Burnham saw it after being injured on the asteroid. Seeing it gave her strength, she explains, knowing help was coming. In essence, Burnham was saving her own life, an example of the grandfather paradox – as the future Burnham would not be able to exist if the present Burnham was killed. Burnham now believes that she has to be the bait for the "mousetrap"; as Essof IV has no breathable atmosphere, they would set the trap and then let Burnham go down with no protection, and start to suffocate. Both Georgiou and Pike adamantly refuse. Spock insists that the Angel would protect Burnham, or else its entire purpose of trying to communicate with them would be for nothing. If anything went wrong, Culber would be on hand to resuscitate her, but Spock adds that he will likely not be necessary. Burnham does not like the idea any more than Pike does, but both she and Spock believe it is the only way. Pike tells her that what she is suggesting is against the oath he took as a Starfleet captain, but Burnham replies that if the choice was between her life and all sentient life in the galaxy, then there was no choice at all. If they wanted to capture the Red Angel, they would have to let Burnham die.
Discovery and Leland's NCIA-93 enter orbit around Essof IV, to which Spock explains calling it "inhospitable" would be an understatement; the surface temperature changes randomly, and the carbon monoxide atmosphere is laced with perchlorate dust which would be lethal to oxygen-breathing lifeforms. The Daedalus facility on the surface, however, does have oxygen. Georgiou remarks she would enjoy the irony of going to a place she compares to the "Ninth Circle of Hell" to capture the Red Angel if it weren't so dangerous. As Tilly and the engineering team beam into the facility with the phase discriminators, Pike emphasizes to Stamets that his work must be precise, as once the trap is set and Burnham is strapped to the chair, they will open the roof, and they would have two minutes before the toxic atmosphere killed Burnham. He then instructs Culber to be on hand to resuscitate. Spock warns him not to do so too early, however, as the Angel might not appear, and if it didn't, they would lose more than Burnham's life, but all sentient life as well.
Before leaving for the surface, Burnham calls on Tyler in his quarters, and admits that what she had said to him was not fair; she was angry, but didn't know where to put it. Tyler remarks that she put it where she thought it would be okay. Burnham does not want that confrontation to be the last conversation they ever have; Tyler admonishes her not to think that way, as he believed the plan would work. She had the entire crew working to save her life, and she had him as well, as he passionately kisses her. Burnham tearfully confesses that she was scared; Tyler admits he is, too, as they stand holding one another in the middle of his quarters.
On the bridge, Saru reports that the facility is prepared and the away team was on site. At that moment, Lieutenant Nilsson enters the bridge, and the crew watches in silence as she assumes Airiam's former station at spore drive operations. Down on the surface, Stamets brings the phase discriminators online; Culber tries to talk to him, saying they hadn't had a chance at Airiam's funeral, but Stamets replies that it was not the time, and might not ever be the time. Georgiou asks Burnham if she was ready; Burnham replies she is as ready as she'll ever be, and asks why Georgiou didn't just tell her about her parents. Georgiou replies it was not her story to tell, but she could make sure it was told; she then assures Burnham that they would monitor exposure to the atmosphere the moment the roof opened. Burnham enters the chamber accompanied by Spock, while Georgiou worriedly looks on. Pike expresses his hope that the Angel lived up to her name, and asks Leland and Tyler if they were prepared. Leland reports they would close the wormhole the moment the Angel appeared, emphatic that another AI did not infect their systems. As Burnham seats herself into the chair, and Spock straps her in, she wonders aloud: What if it didn't work? If Burnham were to perish, Spock replies, he would be charged with killing a Starfleet officer – again. He therefore would prefer that she lived, to which Burnham jokingly compliments his "way with words". Spock enters the control room and seals the airlock; they are all prepared to go on Burnham's mark. She answers with one word: "Ready." Stamets shuts down the life support, and Georgiou starts the timer. The roof opens, letting in the toxic atmosphere. Burnham screams in agony as her skin begins to burn, and soon begins gasping for air. Aboard Discovery, Cornwell asks Tilly if there are any spikes of tachyon radiation; when Tilly does not respond, staring in horror at Burnham's suffering, Pike refocuses her to her task, and Tilly reports no change… then asks if the Angel was even going to come.
As Burnham's oxygen saturation begins to drop, Georgiou sees that she wants out. But Spock notices that Burnham is speaking a single word: "Variance". Georgiou is adamant and tells Culber to prepare the oxygen. Spock pulls a phaser on them both, explaining that Burnham was the variance, and that she was creating a situation where the Red Angel would have no choice but to intervene. Georgiou snaps that the Angel was not coming, and Burnham was shaking her head "no" – but Spock tells her that it was because Burnham did not want interference. Culber warns that her oxygen levels were down to 42%, and if he didn't help her, she would die. Spock replies that was the idea. Tilly continues to see no signs of tachyon radiation, nor does Rhys; Cornwell ultimately leaves the decision to Pike as ship's captain. Pike tells the away team to pull her out, but Culber responds that they can't because Spock is holding them hostage. Pike furiously orders Spock to stand down, but Spock refuses, as Burnham lets out a last gasp before her vital signs flatline. Pike orders Owosekun to beam Burnham to sickbay, but Owosekun is unable to get a lock due to interference. At that moment, Tilly detects a massive spike in tachyon radiation. A red burst appears, heralding the arrival of the Angel; Leland orders his helm to intercept to close it, as Pike orders red alert. As the Angel flies to the surface, the micro-wormhole lets out a massive electromagnetic burst that briefly disrupts systems on both Discovery and NCIA-93; inside the facility, Spock warns that the Angel is coming. Tyler is unable to get enough power to activate the graviton beam, as Leland moves to deactivate the security buffer.
Inside the facility, the Angel descends, firing a burst of energy into Burnham that restores her vital functions. With her life signs returning, Georgiou orders Stamets to activate the phase discriminators. In his ready room, Leland tries to override the security buffer using a retinal scanner, but the system announces it is offline, then shortly after reports it is online again. Leland again asks for the security buffer override, commenting it was not that hard… to which the computer begins emulating his voice before a needle pierces through his eyeball from the retinal scanner, knocking him to the floor. Though clearly incapacitated, Leland's voice sounds on the comm telling Tyler he has all the power he needs now. Tyler activates the beam, closing the wormhole. In the facility, Stamets re-engages the atmosphere. Pike asks if they can reach Burnham, but Stamets warns it was still unsafe. As the Angel's feet touch the ground, Stamets activates the EMP, which disables the suit's time crystal. The suit's wings retract, and the occupant seemingly falls through the suit and to the ground in front of Burnham. Stamets reports that they have the Red Angel, and activates the containment field. Slowly regaining lucidity after her near-death experience, Burnham looks upon the face of the Red Angel and speaks one single, shocked word: "Mom?"
"There are so many reasons to join Starfleet. We get to reach for the stars. We get to reach for the best in ourselves. But, most important, we get to reach for each other. We get to do what we love alongside colleagues who become friends… who become family. And who better to stand with, shoulder to shoulder, facing those pivotal moments? Who more painful to let go?"
- - Burnham, at Airiam's funeral
"How did the Section 31 program designed to eliminate threats become the threat?"
- - Katrina Cornwell
"We're saying that Michael- our- our Michael Burnham is going to wake up one day, access time travel technology that doesn't exist yet, and take it upon herself to save the galaxy."
"That supposition rather fits her emotional profile rather precisely, particularly her drive to take responsibility for situations often beyond her control."
"Thank you for sharing that with the group, Spock."
- - Pike, Spock, and Burnham
"Admiral, we have a solution."
"I'm cringing already."
- - Leland and Cornwell
"It's my experience, it's often our best intentions that cause us to do the most harm, especially to those we care for."
- - Philippa Georgiou
"You never learned to relish a little discomfort, Red? Who raised you?"
"M-m-my mom. My mom. But she wasn't around a lot –"
- - Georgiou and Tilly, on Stamets' "fabulous male tension"
"You are savvier than he was."
"Um, you- you do know that he's gay, right?"
"Don't be so binary. In my universe, he was pansexual, and we had DEFCON-level fun together. And you too, Papi."
"Did you just call me 'Papi'?
- - Philippa Georgiou and Hugh Culber, as Georgiou flirts with Stamets and Culber
"What just happened?!"
- - Sylvia Tilly, following the bizarre dialogue exchange between Georgiou, Stamets, and Culber
"Even without my ganglia, I still have strong instinctive reactions to dangerous situations and individuals."
- - Saru, as he assesses Leland
"Love is a choice, Hugh, and one doesn't make that choice just once. One makes it again and again."
- - Cornwell, to Culber
"Spock, no offense, but you're the last person I want to talk to right now."
- - Michael Burnham
"So we're going to the Ninth Circle of Hell to capture a Red Angel. I'd enjoy the irony of that if it weren't so dangerous."
- - Georgiou
"Why didn't you just tell me about my parents?"
"It wasn't my story to tell, but I could make certain it was told."
- - Michael Burnham and Philippa Georgiou
"What if it doesn't work?"
"Were you to perish, I would be charged with killing a Starfleet officer. Again. It would therefore be ideal if you survived."
"Such a way with words, Spock."
- - Michael Burnham and Spock, moments before they willingly suffocate her in an attempt to lure the Red Angel
"Oxygen is down to 42%. If I don't get to her, she'll die!"
"Yes, Doctor. That is the idea."
- - Hugh Culber and Spock
Music and sound
- A few musical cues from this episode were released in the soundtrack collection Star Trek: Discovery - Season 2. Two of them, "Fiercely Loyal" and "Song of Remembrance", are audible during the episode's teaser, with the second of those cues apparently sung by Saru. Another pair of musical cues featured in the soundtrack collection, "On Site" and "Two Minutes", play during the climactic attempt to capture the Red Angel.
- Lieutenant Nilsson takes her place at the spore drive operations station on the bridge, previously occupied by Airiam. Sara Mitich, who portrays Nilsson, had previously portrayed Airiam in Season 1.
- Tilly's eulogy paraphrases a quote from Albert Einstein: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Leland claims that Burnham's parents were working on a theory that certain technological leaps were not happenstance, but the result of time travel. This resonates with the Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Future's End" and "Future's End, Part II", whose plot centers around a businessman who revolutionized late-20th century computer science by stealing technology from the wreck of a 29th century timeship. Another such intervention occured when Montgomery Scott gave Nichols the formula for transparent aluminum in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
- This episode is the first Star Trek production to use specific terms for different sexual orientations, specifically "gay" and "pansexual".
Reception and aftermath
- 19 February 2019: Title publicly revealed 
- 21 March 2019: Premiere airdate on CBS All Access
- 22 March 2019: International release date (outside Canada and the USA)
Links and references
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
- Doug Jones as Saru
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
- Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber
- Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Special guest star
- Jayne Brook as Katrina Cornwell
- Ethan Peck as Spock
- Alan van Sprang as Leland
- Sonja Sohn as Gabrielle Burnham/Red Angel
- Rachael Ancheril as Nhan
- Hannah Cheesman as Lt. Cmdr. Airiam
- Emily Coutts as Lt. Keyla Detmer
- Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
- Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Joann Owosekun
- Ronnie Rowe Jr. as Lt. R.A. Bryce
- Sara Mitich as Lt. Nilsson
- Jason Anthony as Control Computer
- George Alevizos as Discovery crewman
- Avaah Blackwell as Discovery alien
- Tyler Hynes as Stephen (archival footage)
- James MacKinnon as Discovery medical technician
- Andrew Shiff as Discovery transporter chief
- Unknown performers as three alien Discovery crew members
artificial intelligence; Barzan; bio-neural signature; black market; Burnham, Mike; carbon monoxide; containment field; Control; Culber, Hugh; deuterium; digital parasite; Doctari Alpha; electromagnetic pulse; Essof IV; funeral; gay; grandfather paradox; graviton beam; Kaminar; Kelpien; Klingon; micro-wormhole; nasal cartilage; Ninth Circle of Hell; Orion outpost; Osnullus; oxygen; outpost; NCIA-93; pansexuality; path; perchlorate; phase discriminator; plasma reactor; Project Daedalus; Qo'noS; Red Angel; red burst; road; Section 31; Section 31 Headquarters; sector; Stamets, Paul; stasis beam; tachyon; temporal arms race; Terralysium; tetryonic radiation; time crystal; time travel; update; urethane foam; Vulcan; warp core; warrior race
|Section 31 related episodes|
|ENT:||"Affliction" • "Divergence" • "Demons" • "Terra Prime"|
|DIS:|| "Point of Light" • "Saints of Imperfection" • "The Sound of Thunder" • "Light and Shadows"|
• "If Memory Serves" • "Project Daedalus" • "The Red Angel" • "Perpetual Infinity"
• "Through the Valley of Shadows" • "Such Sweet Sorrow" • "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
|DS9:||"Inquisition" • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" • "Extreme Measures"|
|Films:||Star Trek Into Darkness|
- "The Red Angel" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Discovering The Red Angel" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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