BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

‘Discovery’ Goes Back to the Dominion War With “Erigah”

5 Minute Read
May 9 2024

Enough puzzles. Enough meditations. It’s time for Star Trek: Discovery to get back to the main quest. And boy does it ever in “Erigah”.

The biggest return of Star Trek: Discovery‘s fifth season is not of the TNG episode “The Chase”. No, the reveal that L’ak is Breen is the shot heard ’round the Alpha Quadrant. It’s a portend of doom. The Breen are synonymous with one thing: war. And not just any war, but the biggest war arguably in Star Trek history: the Dominion War from Deep Space Nine‘s legendary seventh and final season.

And to skip the pretense, yes, that is clearly what DISCO‘s team wants us to think about during the nearly one-hour run-time of “Erigah”. Just like the war with the Breen in the 24th century, the one happening now involves betrayals and romantic melodrama. And also warships. Can’t have a war without warships.

The question is: can Discovery sell something as big as a potential war with only 4 episodes to go? If “Erigah” is anything to go by… maybe. But it won’t be easy. As ever the show’s worst enemy is itself and its reuse of old ideas. And for all that’s great here, there’s also one deeply frustrating element, too. But before we get to the analysis…

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

To Boldly Recap “Erigah”

Good news! Discovery has Moll and L’ak aboard. Bad news! L’ak is dying from a certain stab wound he obtained thanks to a certain Michael Burnham. Fortunately, Doctor Culber has a solution in hand which looks to have L’ak on the mend. But that still leaves a Breen warship at Fed HQ’s doorstep—the same one that destroys Starfleet in that alternate future. But why is Primarch Ruhn chasing Moll and L’ak in a warship?

It turns out, L’ak is the direct descendent of the recently-deceased Breen emperor. And that means the rite of ascension passes through him. But L’ak wants nothing to do with any of this—he just wants to be free with Moll. So Burnham uses Rayner’s knowledge of the Imperium to do a run around on Ruhn. President T’Rina tells Ruhn the Federation is in negotiations with another Primarch. Maybe if they all play nice, there’s peace to be brokered.

Alas, in an effort to help Moll escape, L’ak overdoses on stimulants and dies. Ruhn loses his mind and the same goes for Moll. In her grief, Moll tells Ruh about the Progenitors and offers to share their tech. Starfleet lets her leave because it’s the least bad option. And Moll’s motivation is to use the Progenitor tech to bring L’ak back to life.

Meanwhile, Tilly and Adira find the location of the next clue: it’s in the Badlands. Cue the Voyager theme!

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

To Boldly Review “Erigah”

The positives in “Erigah” are obvious and many. Because it really does feel ripped right from the pages of the Dominion War with all the excitement and pathos that suggests. There’s this incredible moment where Jet Reno watches as the shadow of the Breen warship casts over Discovery—and that’s the vibe of the whole episode.


It’s great to see Rayner’s past explored again and how clever for his homeworld to have faced a Breen occupation. That’s real shades of Bajor. And it’s a real Kira Nerys and Sisko move to use Primarch Ruhn’s paranoia and opportunism against him in negotiations. Plus, we get to watch Adira, Tilly, and Reno take on the Ferengi side of things. They’re helping, but in a way that adds a pop of lightness and comedy so we don’t drown in the war drama.

And, of course, there’s Moll and L’ak. Our star-crossed lovers. Divorced of Discovery’s past, their story (mostly) works here, too. In the midst of the threat of war, all they want is each other. And they’d make almost any sacrifice for their freedom except for the that actually happens. L’ak is dead and Moll has thrown in with the Breen—or has she?

In true Discovery fashion “Erigah” ends with the hope of tomorrow. The Breen didn’t kill anyone today. L’ak may not be dead. And the next piece of the puzzle is a jump away. It’s nice seeing this as the consistent tone for the season after the stone-cold bummer of planetary destruction in season 4.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses…

Courtesy of Paramount Plus

Star Trek: Discovery and Killing Love

L’ak kills himself by accident. Oopsie. Can I be honest? I think that moment of “Erigah” takes some wind out of the episode’s otherwise gusty sails. There’s something almost silly about his death. But I suspect the writers felt it had to be his own fault otherwise Moll’s allegiances afterward would be obvious. This way, even when Moll chooses the Breen, she’s really just choosing L’ak. And that keeps her a full wild card. Still, there had to be a better way to execute that.


And speaking of executing, how many couples are we going to kill half off on Discovery? Because first, it was Culber (later resurrected). And then it was Gray Tal (later resurrected). But now, and get ready for this one folks, it’s L’ak (resurrection date TBD). If it weren’t for the last two occasions we saw this story, it would work better, but this feels like a note the show’s hit one too many times now.

Culber’s death remains one of the most unpopular decisions in Discovery history. Gray’s death in season 3 felt weightless precisely because there was no way Team DISCO was going to find themselves dinged for burying their gays again. And with L’ak’s resurrection practically prescribed, this feels like a Star Trek timeloop—and not a good one.

Everything else? Great. Wonderful. Feels like golden age Trek. But it’s going to be tricky to make this particular recycled story feel fresh and I’m not optimistic it’s going to happen. But we live and hope, right? Moll and L’ak are interesting characters. Perhaps Moll and the Breen have exciting things in store for us next week?

4/5 stars

Lina Morgan
Author: Lina Morgan
  • 'Star Trek: Discovery' is All Action With "Red Directive" and "Under the Twin Moons"