In Review: Star Trek: Discovery (S4 – EP10) The Galactic Barrier

Captain Burnham and her crew must go where few have gone before: beyond the Galactic Barrier.

Synopsis: Captain Burnham and her crew must go where few have gone before: beyond the Galactic Barrier. Meanwhile, Book learns the truth of what drives Ruon Tarka.


The Story

As a result of Tarka’s actions last week when he destroyed the DMA. Another more powerful DMA has replaced it and it is moving through the galaxy at a faster rate and will be a direct threat to the alpha quadrant if Burnham and her crew cannot connect with the 10C. To this end, Burnham and discovery are dispatched on a mission to boldly go where no one had gone before. As they must breach the Galactic Barrier in order to locate and speak with the 10C. Burnham’s mission is given a little bit more of a complication when Federation President Laira Rillak volunteers to lead the Federation delegation in any talks. Meaning that Burnham and Rilak have to be on the same page and must work to present a united front.

Meanwhile, Book and Tarka stop by an old emerald chain prison complex for a part that they need to repair Books ship. While there Book learns what motivates Tarka and finds out that he has been driven by the guilt of not being able to save a fellow scientist that he befriended while he was a prisoner of the Emerald Chain.


The Acting

We get some great acting performances in this episode from all the cast. But it would be wrong not to point out a brilliantly nuanced performance from Shawn Doyle as he shows us some of Tarka’s emotional complexity. The scenes he has with the other scientist that he is imprisoned with are brilliantly performed. It’s especially brilliant when Tarka tells the other scientist that he had to befriend him in order to expose his plans to the Chain. This was something really difficult for Tarka as he had truly formed a strong bond with the other scientist.

We also get a good performance from Sonequa Martin-Green and Chelah Horsdal as both Burnham and President Rillak must navigate their somewhat difficult relationship in order to get the crew of Discovery through the Galactic Barrier. We get a really good scene before they head out where Burnham and the President have a discussion to define each other’s boundaries. This scene pays off in the final moments when Burnham defers to the President to announce some difficult news to the Discovery Crew.



A solid episode, which does a really deep drive into Roun Tarka’s character. But also explores the themes of leadership and what it takes from one leader to defer to another when it comes to deciding who is best suited for the job at hand. After all. True leaders should be in service to the people and not in service to themselves.

Also, I’d be remiss not to mention some of the great visuals we got this week. The last time I remember seeing the Galactic Barrier was in Star Trek 5. So it was fun seeing that particular piece of Star Trek’s rich universe again. Furthermore, it is going to be a lot of fun seeing what the crew of the Discovery will encounter now that they are on the other side of it. How will they reach out to the alien race that we only know as the 10C. Might they try a musical approach and play them ‘I’m not in love’ by 10cc or might that be pushing the envelope a bit too much.

Either way. I look forward to seeing how this will all play out in next week’s episode.

Star Trek: Discovery (S4 - EP10) The Galactic Barrier
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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