Greetings and salutations, friends! So, before we proceed into our Trekkian discourse, I wanted to make sure that you were, as Jean-Luc’s ancestors would say, au fait with the news which reached far and wide over the interwebs yesterday: Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a second season!
*Starfleet Academy cadets go bonkers*
*Klingons go wild with unrestrained blood-wine drunkenness*
*Vulcans raise an eyebrow*
Yes, fellow True Believers, our beloved new crew will be returning next year for Round Two. My wish, and it’s quite a stretch – like wishing your facial and chest hair looks as well-groomed and as sexy as Riker’s, is that the team of executive-relics over at station-headquarters learn how a “streaming” platform is meant to function. The mere fact that we are getting a two-month hiatus after the November 12th episode screams volumes of their 21st century media-acumen. Not sure if these guys and gals know how the interwebs operate (hint: it’s not like network television), but I believe there are books on this subject readily available for the newbs.
Anyhow, despite my annoyance, I am happy the show’s reception has been positive. It’s a first-rate show with a first-rate cast, and I want them to thrive, well-into a seventh-season sunset (at minimum, of course). So, it is to you, crew of the U.S.S. Discovery, that I raise my glass with congratulatory avidity – Salud!
And now, on to our discourse….
Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea what the episode’s title meant, nor did I even know how to pronounce it (it’s pronounced lee-thee). According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a river in Hades whose waters cause drinkers to forget their past; which lays a clever foundation for our story in Episode 6. As we observed, Sarek kept a secret, very close to the chest, with regards to Burnham: he lied to her about her acceptance into the Vulcan Expeditionary Group – he told her they didn’t want her because she was human. In truth, they would have accepted her, but with a caveat: Sarek would only be allowed to have one of his non-Vulcan kin take part (Spock is, of course, only half-Vulcan). So, Sarek chose Spock. However, the woeful decision of his would eventually back-fire because Spock’s joining would never come to pass. He, as we all know, chose Starfleet. As much as the Vulcans have, for the most part, been presented as a species permeated by logic, intellect, and sound-decision making, there are those within who are, unfortunately, as similarly racist and elitist as any human. We’ve also seen this in Star Trek ’09, with Spock as a child being bullied by his youthful peers for the mere crime of being a hybrid of two species (I suppose “biracial” is human way to describe it). It would appear that ignorance is a disease which spans the boundless frontier of space and time, far beyond the stratosphere of Earth. At least we can take comfort in knowing that Starfleet, as an organization, strives to embrace the better angels of their nature.
Which leads us into the next portion of our discussion: how about that Lorca, huh? The guy will cease at nothing to maintain captaincy of his ship; even if it means throwing a former lover, friend, and fellow Starfleet member into the clutches of the Klingons. Now, in all fairness, one could surmise that Admiral Cornwell’s capture was inevitable; a certainty marked by one, immutable truth – the Klingons cannot be trusted; at least, not within this current juncture of time. If she’s killed, Lorca’s days may be numbered, as all that he’s done will, in fact, conclusively come to a head; a plight that will assuredly affect all of his crew, most notably Burnham, who seems to have taken a liking to him. Maybe she sees him as a father-figure, given her current relationship with Sarek. I don’t know, but what I do know is that Lorca isn’t headed down a path that will net him anything positive.
And speaking of “positive,” what’s going on with Stamets’ mood? The ole chap seems to have had a personality-shift of some sort, because the dude is acting like a free-lovin’ hippy after his experience powering the ship’s spore drive via those fabulous and very fashionable nipple-clamps. I’m actually digging this new and improved Stamets 2.0; at least until it’s revealed that his 24/7 positivity is marred by a killer, Mirror, Mirror version of himself. *shivers*
You know what I’m not particularly digging? My Spidey-Sense tingling whenever Lieutenant Ash Tyler strides onto screen. As much as I love his addition to our crew’s roster, there is just something off, like those moments when Spock cracked a smile – cause as we all know, nothing good ever trailed a smiling-Spock (usually). Tyler’s been able to ingratiate himself amongst the Discovery’s crew way too easily, almost like a well-trained spy (good-looks and charm aside). Thanks to the inquisitiveness of Trekdom, there is a brilliantly-constructed theory floating aloft the social media landscape about who Tyler really is, or, might be (you can peruse said theory here). When you have a few seconds to spare (and spare you should), take a gander; cause it’s a doozy of an idea.
I think the cap-off to this episode was a really poignant one. I’m speaking of the words exchanged between Burnham and Tyler. In opening-up to the lieutenant about her relationship with Sarek and her Vulcan upbringing, Burnham says, “All my life, the conflict inside me has been between logic and emotion; but now it’s my emotions that are fighting. I think about him, and I want to cry; but I have to smile. And I feel angry, but I want to love. And I’m hurt, but there’s hope. What is this?” To which Tyler responds, “Uh, it’s just being human.” Indeed, the intricacies of human-contradiction, beautifully conveyed, in a few, simple words; well-done, Discovery writers.