HOLY BABY JAY-SUS! What can I say, except that so much has transpired since last we rendezvoused for a Trekkian discussion over the interwebs; so much, in fact, that I have no idea from where to commence. I suppose we can recall the short-short version of events that have brought us to this pivotal moment in the series. Sound good? Okay, here it goes:
Episode 7, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”
Mister Harcourt Fenton Mudd made quite the entrance aboard the Discovery; so grand was it that he repeated the same entrance fifty-three times before the crew figured out a way to outsmart the slimy bastage.
Episode 8, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”
We witnessed the physiological decay of two characters: Stamets and Saru. The former’s mental faculties began to breakdown as a direct result of his spore-drive connection, while the latter’s emotional stability began to falter as a result of his unwillingness to part with the inner peace Pahvo provided; a peace that was obtained while attempting to harness the planet’s natural planetary harmonics into some sort of sonar technology capable of detecting a cloaked Klingon vessel. However, what the crew got in the end was not what they had hoped for: a Pahvan mediation of both Federation and Klingon; an intervention which resulted in the Klingons’ decision to destroy the peace-lovin’ species.
Episode 9, “Into the Forest I Go”
Lorca is ordered to retreat to Starbase 46 instead of hanging around to save the Pahvans. However, the Captain has alternative plans; plans which include Stamets’ aid in taking Discovery on 133 micro-jumps, all performed in rapid succession, in under four minutes – a move which would net Discovery a three-dimensional snapshot of the cloaked Klingon ship’s position, ultimately providing enough data for the crew to construct an algorithm to detect any given Klingon vessel while it’s cloaked. As an added bonus, the plan would also require Tyler and Burnham to sneak aboard the enemy ship to position the devices which would gather the needed data. In the end, Kol and his “Ship of the Dead” were destroyed, Admiral Cornwell was rescued, L’Rell hitched a ride with the departing Discovery crew, and Stamets puts himself into a catatonic-state while performing one last jump to Starbase 46; a jump which lands the ship and its crew amongst an interstellar “graveyard” of ship wreckage.
Episode 10, “Despite Yourself”
Welcome to the “Mirror, Mirror” universe, kids; a lovely destination which introduces you to the worst, possible version of yourself – if you and they have not already become acquainted with each other prior to the visit. After a several-month, traditional network-model type of hiatus (because, you know, streaming works exactly the way network television does), Jonathan Frakes brings us back to the universe whose way of life looks very much like a certain administration was authoring the guidelines. In this episode, we get all kinds of crazy goodness: Sylvia Tilly is the Discovery’s Captain, and her nickname is “Captain Killy” (awesome); Lorca pretends to be the ship’s Chief Engineer, and does so with a Scottish accent, giving us a sweet homage to our beloved Montgomery Scott *sniffles*; L’Rell lulls Tyler into a hypnotic-state, and homie begins to speak “Klingon” (more on this in a bit); the USS Defiant gets a shout-out; and, in what is probably one of the most heart-wrenching moments of Discovery thus far, Tyler has a personality glitch, and breaks Dr. Culber’s neck. I believe my neighbors may have heard my audible distress as I reflexively yelled, “F%&#!”The good Mister Frakes brought his A-game to Discovery in a hugely enjoyable way. This was probably one of my favorite episodes this season.
Whew! Okay, that wasn’t short-short at all; more like “short-ish”. However, as you can see, some serious shite has definitely gone down over the past several episodes. Our crew now resides in uncharted territory, both figuratively and literally. Emotions are bound to run exponentially high from here on out, and I’m sure by the end, tears will be in order; which, by the way, brings us to this past Sunday’s installment….
Episode 11, “The Wolf Inside”
Everything comes to an explosive head in this episode. I mean, like, tug-at-your-heartstrings “explosive”. But, before we delve into the heartbreak, let’s talk about one of the most unexpected, and interesting turn-of-events this past Sunday: seeing a “Mirror, Mirror” Voq leading a unified front against the tyrannical Terran Empire (try saying that ten times without getting tongue-tied). The thing which most of us long-time Trekkies love about the “Mirror Universe,” and which never gets old, is seeing wholly abhorrent versions of our beloved crew members. What’s refreshing, and a counter to those horrible doppelgangers, is seeing “good” versions of the “616” residents (to use a Marvel term for its “regular” or “primary” universe’s heroes). In “The Wolf Inside,” we get to see a Voq who’s the antithesis of his counterpart in the non-Mirror universe; a Voq who’s a lot like Worf, in that he has honor and integrity, yet still maintains a warrior’s instincts. Was this merely a glimpse into a “What If” scenario, or was it more than that – perhaps, a preview of a “616” Voq yet to exist? Maybe. I dearly hope so, for I’ve grown to love Tyler’s character too completely to see him become the villain we surmised he was; but more on that in a moment.
Have you ever had one of those days at work where it feels like everything that can go wrong does go wrong? Well, multiply that by a thousand, and then multiply it yet again – this is the sort of day that Burnham has been having in this episode. It’s like our girl can’t catch a decent break. First, she’s forced to kill a “Mirror” version of a crew member she lost in her universe; then, the man she thinks she knows, and cares deeply for, turns out to be a Klingon spy underneath that well-groomed, symmetrical façade; and finally, if these things weren’t enough to obliterate one’s resolve, her beloved Captain, a woman whose murder she witnessed en vivo, turns out to be a murdering, sadistic, and racist “emperor” in the “Mirror, Mirror” universe. Talk about wanting to give Starfleet the finger and have a “Jerry Maguire” moment….sheesh! Additionally, what was up with the smirk on Lorca’s face when Burnham was made to bow before Emperor Georgiou at her behest? Well, concerning this eye-brow-raising Spock-moment, the Star Trek podcast “Engage” posits an interesting theory, which is, Lorca’s not of the same universe as Burnham; quite the opposite, in fact – he’s from the “Mirror, Mirror” universe. I can almost hear the sound of your eyeballs bulging out of your face, as you silently mouth the words, “What the fudge??!!” Yes, our boy isn’t of the “616” variety at all, but rather his doppelganger instead; which begs the question, if it’s true, “Where the hell is our universe’s Lorca, then?” Another mystery, for another day, I suppose. Only time will tell if our friends over at “Engage” are right on the nose with this one; but if they are, this new turn will most definitely throw a starship-size monkey wrench into the equation, making Burnham’s and her fellow Discovery crew’s situation more dire than it already is….
Which segues us into the topic of Mister Ash Tyler – congratulations, Interwebs, you nailed this one with a bat’leth. Although, I only wish you weren’t correct, like you are so many thousands of other times (no offense). The writers fleshed-out this plot point fantastically. I say this because they wrote a great character in Lieutenant Tyler, a character which, I’m quite sure, I wasn’t the only one rooting for. He’s charismatic, charming, and just an all-around likable gent (the brutha’s also quite good-lookin’ to boot – psshh, whatevs). He and Burnham made a great couple, and seeing as Tyler was her very first kiss, as well as first romantic relationship (or “romantic” anything, for that matter….or so we assume), you couldn’t help but get all sappy over it. Then, the writers pulled the rug out from underneath us (ugh). It’ll be interesting to see where his story proceeds from this juncture. Since Voq’s transformation had the unintended effect of “tainting” his personality with humanistic sensibilities, will he remain the villain? Or is his future up for grabs, so to speak? This is a particularly keen point because of the type of being we have witnessed he could potentially be, thanks to his “Mirror, Mirror” doppelganger; like the Lorca theory, only time will tell. But I’ll be here, with bated breath, waiting, with a glass of vino in-hand, anxiously looking forward to seeing how this season plays-out, and leads us into the next. Stay Vulcan-strong, sisters and brothers. Like Rick James said, everything is gonna be alright.
Until next week, Kirk out.