Two Captains Log: Star Trek: Discovery S5E1&2 – “Red Directive” and “Under the Twin Moons” Review

Star Trek Discovery is back for the last time! And we get a rare time to compare two episodes in one week.

The season starts with a new mission for Discovery with a red directive. Some couriers by the names of Moll and L’ak are racing Discovery to find a very old puzzle box from a Romulan ship. They are able to get it, and evade Discovery as they are even aided by the Antares which is helmed by Captain Rayner. They take the box to a synth named Fred, who is able to open it and discover a diary. Meanwhile Tilly uncovers more of the secret mission that has been highly classified by Kovich. What is uncovered is this dates back to Enterprise-D days with the Progenitors (“The Chase,” S6E20). The scientist holding the diary was present when Captain Picard found out about the origins of all humanoid life. It seems that the Progenitors left their device somewhere in the galaxy and now Starfleet and the two couriers are bent on finding it. Book joins Captains Burnham and Rayner to retrieve the diary from Fred before it gets into any more dangerous hands. Moll and L’ak escape with the diary and kill Fred. The captains and Book chase after them, and Rayner makes a rash decision to try to blow up their escape route. It ends with the couriers causing a landslide that will destroy the local village. The two ships become a barricade and save the village. Discovery is able to retrieve the memories of Fred to find that the device or next clue is on a planet with two moons. At the beginning of the episode, Saru was asked by the President to be an ambassador to many systems. T’Rina doesn’t want to persuade him, but does mention their love and points out some logic in being an ambassador and staying. After the landslide debacle, Saru decides to become an ambassador and the two decide to get married as well.

In “Under the Twin Moons,” Discovery is on its way to the next part of the search for the origin of life. It will be Saru’s last mission as well. The next clue is among a necropolis and Discovery is not sure if they’ve beaten Moll and L’ak to this planet. Book stays on Discovery as an aid to this mission. Burnham and Saru beam down to the planet and find security systems that are very lethal. Tilly is aboard the Discovery for the mission and she and Adira are aided by Rayner’s intervention to shut down the security before Burnham and Saru are killed. Meanwhile, Book uses black market contact to talk to Moll and L’ak. What he finds is that Moll has the birth mark of a distant relative of his, and the last of his kin. Burnham and Saru find out that Moll and L’ak overlooked a crucial part of a song clue, a verse hidden beneath a stone. Without it, the trail leads to Betazed, but with the clue it leads to Trill. Rayner has been asked to take an early retirement because of his poor decision in the red directive mission. But, Saru gives the advice to pick a new number one that will stand up to Burnham. She asks Rayner to be her number one, and he agrees.

And now for our thoughts!


Mr. Daps: “I was quite happy with the music in both of these episodes. I felt like things started good in Red Directive and then just kept getting better as it moved into Under the Twin Moons. While I liked both scores, the second one definitely stuck out to me and moved me more. It also felt like a new score that built on the work of what had come before it musically. While I don’t know that I would want either on vinyl, I’d enjoy listening to them again.”

Murray: “Both episodes had great orchestrations, but I had a bit of a problem with some of the themes for the more intense moments of ‘Red Directive.’ I thought the timpani didn’t quite fit as a theme and it could have been a little different. What sways me more toward ‘Under the Twin Moons’ is the symphonic arrangement when Burnham and Saru first beam to the necropolis planet. It’s such a serene theme with a great arrangement. Even the swells of the music throughout when it gets intense was a bit better for me in that episode.”


Mr. Daps: “This season is solid so far in terms of design. The ships look good, the effects look good, and the ruins on Burnham and Suru’s final away mission as Captain and Number One looked impressive as well! It really feels like this season of Discovery is building on the lessons of past seasons and series to create an all around better Star Trek story and delivery of that story.”

Murray: “I am enjoying the design in this season. The ships are amazing to look at. The puzzle box and necropolis have that ancient, yet futuristic look to them. I think they really did put effort and value into the whole production design and I’ve been quite pleased. I did like that the sweeping view of the planet with the clue item looked like the Next Generation painting backdrops. I don’t know if that was intentional, but it had a nice homage to it.”


Mr. Daps: “I am really enjoying this season of Discovery so far. I like its connection with Star Trek: The Next Generation. I like the mission that the crew of the Discovery is on. I also like how the characters and crew are developing individually and together this season. It all feels like it is going in the right direction and the right direction is interesting to watch unfold. I also am enjoying how the story is building and the mystery of the season is being revealed.

Murray: “I’m enjoying the chase of this season. It’s a bit of an expanded ‘The Chase’ episode with the same idea, but higher stakes. There are definitely some obvious send offs for the crew of the Discovery that I’m sure will keep unfolding this season to say good-bye at the end. But, I do appreciate what they’re doing. As for story vs. story, the ‘Under the Twin Moons’ had a better pacing of a pure mission. I think ‘Red Directive’ had too much of an exposition-type episode with the party at the beginning and Burnham and Book trying to say things about their relationship. It wasn’t a bad story, I still enjoyed it quite a bit, but I thought the second episode had a stronger plotline.”

This Week’s Winner

Mr. Daps: “This week’s winner for me was easily Under the Twin Moons. While I enjoyed both episodes, Red Directive was really more about setting up the season and introducing Captain Rayna and his new dynamic to the series. Under the Twin Moons really started taking the story into higher warp and I liked how it is doing that. It feels like classic Star Trek that is pulling some of my favorite things from Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I also like the nods it has to the past as it boldly goes on this new adventure. I can’t wait to see the next episode!”

Murray: “I’d have to go with ‘Under the Twin Moons’ for me this week. It had that great relational interactions between Saru and Burnham, and the stronger plot that needed a scientific solution. It had a nice way of developing Rayner as well. The music and design helped a bit for me to choose it too. As I usually say, but really mean, both episodes are great this week. I sometimes find Discovery to have a slow beginning but I’m all in on this last season. I really like that it’s starting to have The Next Generation as the nexus of Star Trek now. The episode it is stemming from has haunted me in a way and I like that it’s expanding on it. And even with an homage to Data with Fred.”