Burnham stairs at herself within a chamber full of spores connected to the ship's engines like the tardigrade. She presses a button and both of her scream. She wakes from the dream.
Burnham brings the tardigrade's deteriorating emotional and mental state to Dr. Culver's attention. He agrees to run some tests.
Captain Lorca meets with Starfleet command. He's ordered to reign in his use of the spore drive until more tardigrades can be located.
Burnham has lunch with Tilly. Burnham tells her how she's concerned about the tardigrade and has too much time on her hands.
Lorca applies medicine to his eyes. He yells when Admiral Cornwell. They discuss Lorca recruiting Burnham onto his ship, but he flexes the latitude he's been given by Starfleet to run Discovery his own way.
Lorca is in a transport en route back to Discovery. The transport is captive, leaving his eye medicine behind.
Cornwell informs First Officer Saru of Lorca's abduction. She makes it clear that Lorca must be rescued before he divulges Discovery's secrets. Saru plans to search Klingon space for Lorca. Upon hearing about Saru's plan to make multiple Spore drive jumps, Burnham informs Saru of her concerns for the Tardigrade, but he puts it on the back burner until Lorca is found.
Lorca is in a Klingon prison where he meets Harry Mudd. Mudd tells him that his attempts to woo a woman named led him into the arms of the Klingons. There's a third captive who, as Mudd says, "out to lunch." Klingons enter the room and bark an order. Mudd points to the third prisoner. One of the Klingons beats the prisoner to death.
When the Klingons have dragged the prisoner away, Mudd explains that the Klingons come in and tell the prisoners to "choose their pain," meaning they can accept a beating or pass it to someone else. Lorca notes Mudd is free of bruises. Mudd tells Lorca to stick with him, insisting the two of them are both survivors.
Burnham brings Culver to talk to Stamets about the Tardigrade. Culver's tests confirm Burnham's worries. Burnham points out that the current situation is bad for the creature and the spore drive and they need a workaround. Culver leaves, and Stamets tells Burnham they need to find a solution.
Lt. Ash Tyler has been added Mudd and Lorca's cell. Tyler has been in prison since the Battle of the Binary stars, meaning he's been here seven months. Lorca wonders how Tyler has survived so long. He says the captain of the ship has taken a liking to him.
Mudd goes on a rant about how he used to be a businessman until Starfleet started a war and cost him everything. He accuses Starfleet of arrogance for pushing the boundaries of space.
Stamets, Burnham, and Tilly are working on the tardigrade problem. Tilly suggests building a virtual tardigrade to replace the real thing. He realizes now they need a living "co-pilot" and suggests finding another species they can graft the tardigrade's DNA onto, one that's sentient and understands its role in the process.
Saru prepares to launch the Discovery's rescue mission. Meanwhile, Stamets, Burnham, and Tilly have shut down the spore drive to find a species compatible with the tardigrade.
Saru arrives in the lab, angry that the spore drive is offline and that Burnham went around him. So far the only possible substitute they've found is humans, but eugenics experiments are forbidden. Saru accuses Burnham of behaving exactly the way she did that led to Georgiou being killed. He receives word that they've found the battlecruiser with Lorca. Saru orders the spore drive brought back online and Burnham to her quarters.
Lorca is returned ot his cell. He knows Mudd has a transmitter that's been feeding intel to the Klingons. Mudd knows about Lorca and that Lorca's last command was ambushed by Klingons. Lorca was the only one who survived. Lorca says he didn't just escape, he blew up his crew so that they wouldn't be taken to Qo'nos and tortured.
The tardigrade is loaded back into the
Saru orders the tardigrade be rehydrated for use. Culver explains that the tardigrade is in survival mode and these actions may kill it, noting it could be a sentient creature. Culver refuses the order, but Stamets agrees.
The Klingons tell the prisoners to choose their pain once again. Tyler volunteers and he is chosen. Tyler takes the beating at first but then begins to fight back, with Lorca joining in. They defeat the Klingon guards. They leave Mudd behind and he swears vengeance.
Lorca and Tyler fight their way through the ship. Tyler is hurt so Lorca goes on ahead.
Lorca and Tyler steal a Klingon raider and escape the cruiser. They fight their way through other raiders to reach the Discovery.
Saru orders the tardigrade be used to jump them out of Klingon space. The ship makes the jump, but Stamets used himself as the co-pilot He's found unconscious but Saru is able to wake him.
Saru goes to Burnham and tells her about Lorca being saved. Saru admits that he is not scared of Burnham, but angry at her for what she took from him and jealous that he never got to serve as Georgiou's First Officer.
Burnham tells Saru that he did well today and gives him Georgiou's telescope that was left to her. Saru asks Burnham to save the tardigrade's life.
Burnham's best attempt at saving the tardigrade is to give it spores and set it free in space. In space, the creature awakens and teleports away.
In their private quarters, Culver checks over Stamets and Stamets tell him to stop worrying. Stamets tries to explain to Culver why he did what he did, including that he knew Culver would leave him if he hurt the tardigrade. Stamets insists that he feels okay. Stamets leaves the mirror, but his reflection remains for an extra moment before walking away.