Show Reviews

Star Trek: Discovery, Episode 12, “Vaulting Ambition”

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Wow! Just….wow! The brilliance of Discovery’s writers is astounding, to the point of murderous envy. Okay, well, not “murderous” per se, but definitely an envy that’s seething at its core; because their collective minds have really crafted a topnotch story arc this season; and I love how it was so methodically planned, and so believable, that longtime fans were pissed at the perceived direction of our new series. Now, however, since the curtain has been pulled back, and the “wizard” has been revealed, we know things weren’t as they initially appeared. Lorca, our commander-in-chief, our leader – O Captain! My Captain!, was a Terran from the “Mirror, Mirror” universe all along! Damn those deliciously deceitful bastards in the writers’ room! They had us strung along the whole time; God I love them for it.

In this episode, written by Jordon Nardino and directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper, we were given a more defined picture of the Terran version of Philippa Georgiou – or “The Dominus of Qo’os,” as she is referred to in the bedroom by her many, many lovers. Kidding.

Last week, I mentioned how refreshing it was to see a “good” version of Voq, amidst all of the abhorrent doppelgangers of our Discovery crew. With the information that was revealed about Georgiou, via her dialogue with Burnham, I can’t help but wonder if, in the end, Burnham might just be successful in planting the “seed of change” in Georgiou’s subconscious, just as Kirk was successful in doing with Terran Spock, or should I say, will be successful in doing, since the Enterprise’s trek to the “Mirror” universe has yet to transpire. This version of Burnham’s captain doesn’t seem completely, one-hundred percent terrible (although she did murder all but one of her execution-party, and she does eat Kelpien like it was sushi). I mean, she is a wee “unbalanced,” but her love for Burnham isn’t a trait you often see in Terrans; so maybe there’s a chance at redemption? Jury’s still out, but I’m not wholly sold on her “evilness” just yet.

Soooo, let’s talk about this Lorca feller, huh? What a cunning and brilliant imposter he is. Everything he’s been doing on the Discovery from the very start has been one, calculated move after the other in order to get him onto the I.S.S. Charon: his coveting of Burnham for one of his own, his manipulation of Stamets, his use of the spore-drive – everysinglething has been a chess-move for one, sole purpose: to supplant Georgiou and take her place as emperor; or, if her crown isn’t what he desires, what’s the ultimate end-game? Is Lorca as bad as he seems to be? I’m still not completely convinced that he is. Back in the “Prime” universe, he seemed genuinely invested in winning the war with the Klingons; or was that merely an act? Were we all played by this guy? I suppose more will be revealed soon, as the season is nearing its conclusion in just a few short episodes. Additionally, I’m curious to know if “Mirror” Burnham is, indeed, dead. We haven’t been given any solid evidence to refute this, nor have we been given any to confirm her demise either. I wonder, did Lorca seek her out merely as a means to an end, or is Burnham a significant linchpin throughout the multiverse – a sort of “constant,” spanning the whole of time and space? We’ll see….or perhaps not (I’m hoping it’s the former).

Again, hats-off to the writers and producers for the intricate web they’ve woven. It’s also great to watch a season of Star Trek, and have each episode be a connected chapter in the all-encompassing grand story arc. It’s something that I can’t recall us ever seeing, especially over an entire season. It’s also something I’m hoping will be a pervasive pattern throughout the rest of this iteration.

Additionally, if you’re an inquisitive little spectator like myself, you’re probably wondering where this recent excursion into the “Mirror, Mirror” universe falls on the Trek-timeline. Well, thanks to Memory Alpha, this is how that timeline unfolds:


The flag of the Terran Empire, which displays the imperial symbol rendered in gold on a field of crimson, is planted on Luna. (ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly” and “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II”)


Zefram Cochrane launches Earth’s first warp vessel. The Vulcans make First Contact with the Terran people. During first contact, Cochrane kills the Vulcan captain and his fellow Terrans storm the Vulcan ship. (ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly”)

Late 21st Century to Mid-22nd Century

Sometime between 2063 and 2155, the Lunar colonies are attacked by an Emmette-type starship, with photonic torpedoes. (ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly” and “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II”) The Terran Empire conquers the Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, Denobulans, and the Orions. Starfleet engages in a conflict with the Xindi. (ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly” and “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II”)


As the Imperials struggle to put down a massive rebellion, the ISS Enterprise discovers the USS Defiant, which has been lured from the primary universe 100 years in the future (TOS: “The Tholian Web”). After a brief power struggle on board the Defiant, Hoshi Sato takes command and declares herself Empress. (ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly” and “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II”).


The USS Discovery under Captain Gabriel Lorca is brought to the “Mirror” universe with the use of its spore-drive. (DIS: “Despite Yourself”)


A transporter accident brings several personnel from the primary universe to the “Mirror” universe. James T. Kirk-Prime encourages Mirror-Spock to start a revolution. (TOS: “Mirror, Mirror”)

Late 23rd Century to Early 24th Century

Sometime between 2267 and 2270, Spock becomes commander-in-chief of the Terran Empire and implements several major reforms, turning the empire into a more peaceful and less aggressive power. Prior to the full enactment of these reforms, the Terran Empire’s forces occupy Bajor. Spock’s reforms leave the Empire unprepared to fight against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. The Alliance conquers the entire Terran Empire, enslaving the Terrans and Vulcans. (DS9: “Crossover”)


Benjamin and Jennifer Sisko separate. (DS9: “Through the Looking Glass”)


Julian Bashir and Kira Nerys become the first people from the primary universe to crossover to the “Mirror” universe in one hundred and three years. Quark is executed. The primary Doctor Bashir kills Odo. (DS9: “Crossover”)


The Terran Rebellion begins. Benjamin Sisko is killed when his freighter is destroyed. Garak executes Rom. Miles O’Brien becomes leader of the Rebellion. (DS9: “Through the Looking Glass”)


The Rebellion takes Terok Nor. The rebels build a Defiant-class starship (the ISS Defiant) based on schematics stolen from the primary universe. It helps the rebels to remain in control of Terok Nor. Intendant Kira Nerys kills Nog and Jennifer Sisko. (DS9: “Shattered Mirror”)


The “Mirror” universe versions of Bareil Antos and Kira Nerys crossover to the primary universe to steal an orb. The Intendant hopes the Orb of Prophecy and Change will unite the “Mirror” Bajorans against the Alliance. (DS9: “Resurrection”)


Jadzia Dax is killed in a skirmish with the Alliance. Kira kills Brunt. Garak is killed by an ulcartic virus. Ezri Tigan joins the Rebellion. After a battle between the ISS Defiant and the Regent’s flagship, The Rebellion captures Regent Worf. (DS9: “The Emperor’s New Cloak”)

Now you’re like the Watchers, observing cosmic events as they unfold throughout the universe. But, before we part ways, what are your feelings on Tyler? Do you think L’Rell was successful in eradicating Voq’s consciousness and personality from Tyler’s body? And did you fully understand (unlike me) the gravity of what the Klingons did to him? From what I gathered, the “real” Ash Tyler was captured during the Battle of the Binary Stars and had his DNA harvested. What I don’t understand is whether he was killed and cloned, or if it was the “original” that was used as a vessel for Voq. This conundrum exists because of all of those flashbacks we were given of Tyler being surgically altered, or, at least, it appeared that way. Regardless, I have a suspicion that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Voq. I think Tyler will suffer from a sort of dissociative identity disorder moving forward, and will eventually kill himself in a selfless effort to keep his crew safe (Burnham specifically), or his crew will be forced to take him down themselves; a tragic turn-of-events that I feel is an inevitability.

If such a thought isn’t depressing enough for your emotional sensibilities, I sure know what is: Culber’s and Stamets’ “goodbye”. Man, I’ll admit that their scene together at the end was enough to form a tiny lump in my throat. Now, I do have some questions, though: does the mycelial network allow for such concepts as a person’s “soul”? Is it able to contain a consciousness within the confines of its multiversal-web? Or was that entire scene merely a conversation that took place in Stamets’ mind? I’m not a believer in such things as an “afterlife,” but if Trek can explain it in a scientific or pseudo-scientific way, I’m all ears (where’s Spock when you need him?).

On that depressing note, we’ll continue this next week, ladies and gents – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. Kirk out….

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