I've been thinking about this episode a bit. The more I ruminate on it the better I think the episode is.
We find out the Enterprise and Pike were intentionally kept out of the war in case the worst happened. They were the last hope for the federation surviving even if the actual organization was conquered by the Klingons.
We also find out Airiam is a human who has significant prosthesis after a devastating accident.
We also find out Airiam knew something was wrong before things became totally obvious but she wasn't sure what was going on.
Finally we find out that the series seems to be following the Section 31 books. That Control is an AI and wants to evolve and develop itself. In the books it wanted to be caught so it could abandon its antiquated precepts. This time it seems that the AI is in its very early days of development and wants to figure out how to break out and develop itself.
Quite good. Airiam should have been a character with some screentime before this, but this was tightly directed. I'm not in love with the idea that Section 31 is run by an AI that's gone rogue and will destroy everything. It kinds of defeats the moral ambiguity and dark temptation of the 'hard men making hard decisions' line of thinking that comes with S31 if it turns out they're just a bunch of dum-dums bringing about the end of all life in the galaxy. S31 works best in small doses where they serve as a representation of how anyone can abandon their ideals and follow pragmatism instead of bravely sticking by their beliefs. Their threat should be an existential one - we might become more like them when it suits us - not a literal bringer of apocalypse.
Overall, loved it, just like every episode this season.
I like how everything seems to be tied together, or leads to something relevant later. I really appreciate that there are few dangling plot threads.
For awhile I thought maybe Airiam was the red angel; that went out the airlock.
I really enjoyed their discussion of Control, and how it helps make decisions, but doesn't make the decisions. I thought it was very Star Trekian to not castigate technology but also understand that the "human" element is a necessary part of those decisions. I appreciate the fact that the Admiral doesn't want it destroyed, just put back in its place. It would have been very easy to adopt a "get rid of it" attitude.
Hmm... Would have been a great deal more effective reveal if we had had any indication of Control's existence prior to this episode. Also, yes, they are suffering from not giving us more time with the rest of the characters.