We open with a funeral and end with a character volunteering to (almost) die, and the middle is full of more death, both discussed and actual. Ethan Peck seems to be inhabited by the ghost of Leonard Nimoy (aided by a script that understands how Spock talks). And best of all, we finally find out who the Red Angel is, and it’s a very worthy and impressive twist. My take on a most intense episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “The Red Angel.”
It starts with something I would not have credited them doing with the death of so minor a character as Airiam: a funeral. Usually such pomp and circumstance is reserved for people in the opening credits, and the fact that they went to this trouble for a minor character was a welcome change from the norm, where the characters’ reactions to other characters’ deaths depends entirely upon their actors’ billing. It shows that the writers remember that, even though the viewers barely knew Airiam, the crew of Discovery knew her damn well.
I also love that they used Spock’s funeral at the end of The Wrath of Khan as a template for Airiam’s service here. But instead of just one eulogy, we get several—from Pike, from Tilly, from Stamets, from Detmer (my favorite of them, as Detmer explains how Airiam helped the pilot deal with her own cybernetic implants—”It made both of us new, and that there could be a future”), and finally from Burnham. We even have a musical coda, à la Scotty playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes—in this case, Saru singing a lovely Kelpien death dirge as they send out Airiam’s coffin through the torpedo tube.