TV REVIEW: Star Trek Discovery: Season 1, Ep: 10 (Despite Yourself) - "Long Live Star Trek Disc
Long Live Captain Killy!
Star Trek Discovery triumphantly spore jumped back for its second half of the season. And all I can say is ‘Long Live Captain Killy’
Starting at the moment when we last left the crew of the Discovery, they quickly realize that they no longer are in Kansas anymore. A fact that is hit home when they are attacked by a Vulcan Cruiser and then ‘saved’ by the ISS Cooper, which in their universe was being retrofitted.
Captain Lorca is a little quick in gathering Burnham and Saru to inform them that they had spore jumped into an alternate universe. And then tells Doctor Culber that he is relieving him of primary responsibility of Stamets, who alternates between being catatonic and shouting out warnings no one understands.
They decide they need information and go for the datacore of one of the ships in the wreckage they jumped into. A task that Lt. Tyler almost derails when he suffers another PTSD flashback. With the help of a few words from Burnham he accomplishes his mission. But Lorca notices and has a side conversation with Burnham about needing officers he can rely on.
Tyler confronts L’Rell inside the brig and we finally get the confirmation of what many of us have suspected: we have a Manchurian candidate. But something fails in the activation prayer. Could it be that the House of Lies did their job a little too well?
The datacore reveals to the crew the existence of the xenophobic Terran Empire. And how they are facing a rebellion from the combined forces of anyone who is not human (Andorians, Vulcans, Klingons). They are soon hailed by the Cooper, and just as Lorca is about to respond, Burnham belays his order and reveals that in this Universe, the Captain of the Discovery is Tilly (of course she is!). With a nod to Star Trek TOS they manage to fool the Cooper. Lorca quickly instructs the crew that to blend in and survive, they have to assume the role of Discovery in this Mirror Universe and the ship and crew get a facelift.
Going through the datalogs, they discover that the U.S.S. Defiant from their universe had once crossed over, and since they don’t have a spore drive, they need information on how they did so. A dangerous plan is hatched where Burnham and Lorca (both missing in the current Universe-she is presumed dead and he is on the run from a failed coup against the Emperor) will beam aboard the Shenzhou (still in existence in this universe, where she captained it). ‘Captain Burnham’ will pretend to have faked her death to complete her mission to capture the fugitive Lorca. Once there she will obtain all the info on the Defiant incident and beam back to Discovery.
Meanwhile, Tyler asks Culber to take an even more in depth look at him to find out what the Klingons did to him. Stamets then gains a moment of lucidity to warn Culber ‘the enemy is with us’, and then lapses back into a catatonic state.
Tilly prepares for her moment in the Captains Chair (she killed her previous Captain in bed) and she performs like she was born to be on the chair. Burnham also sells her ‘return’ with Lorca, and with an assist from Tilly gets the Shenzhou’s current captain to come pick Burnham up. Meanwhile, Tyler’s fears are increased when Culber informs him that the Klingons seem to have broken and rebuilt him, and he can’t allow him to go on the mission. Tyler than snaps his neck and proceeds to the transporter room. Once there, he seems not to remember what he just did.
Lorca, Tyler and Burnham beam over to the Shenzhou. It’s the Mirror, Mirror moment we have all wanted and it delivers. The crew is afraid to look Burnham in the eye. We see the agony chambers. And the current Captain tries to kill Burnham in the lift on the way to the Bridge. Burnham kills him with his own knife, and his body drops just as the turbolift opens on the Bridge. The crew turns to see their returned from the dead ‘captain’, and slowly break into applause. Burnham drops the knife and instructs anyone to ‘take care of this’, to which one of the bridge crew responds ‘with pleasure, sir’. She then takes the Captains Chair and her ‘crew’ breaks out into a chant of ‘Long live the Empire. Long live Captain Burnham’.
The episode ends in Burnhams quarters with her telling Tyler that she is never left alone long enough to access the data. They end up in bed together, with Burnham none the wiser the true enemy might be closer than she thinks. Then we have a final scene of Lorca in the agony chamber.
Tilly embracing her role as Captain. It is a joy to see her embrace her role as a badass and run with it. The transformation is not just in personality as the actress looks different.
The revelation that Tyler is a Klingon sleeper agent. The Kahless activation prayer is an inspired activation choice.
The Mirror Mirror universe look of the Shenzhou is fantastic.
The death of Doctor Culber. It shows much like with the death of Captain Georgiou, no one is safe.
Strong story and good pace throughout the episode.
Lack of cameras in either the brig or the medical bay for anyone to notice something is going on. And really, how can you open the door to a cell and no one on the bridge notices. Is Tyler the only security officer?
An empty sick bay when Doctor Culber is murdered. Where other the other doctors and nurses?
Lorca’s terrible Scottish accent.
It was a terrific return for Discovery. I don’t know if they will remain in the Mirror Mirror Universe for the entire second half of the season. But there are so many questions. I would like to see at least one episode of the Mirror Mirror Universe Discovery within the prime universe. Could these seasoned, ruthless killers help turn the Tide against the Klingons now that the Federation does not have the clocking algorithm? Will the Prime Discovery crew give the cloaking algorithm to the rebellion to help tilt the war? What does Stamets mean by ‘don’t enter the castle’? Could that be the residence of the Emperor or could that be Empress (as in Hoshi Sato)? In Kirk’s Mirror Mirror episode, Spock served as his first in command: Will Discovery do something to ally the Vulcans with the Terrans? Could both versions of Lorca meet? Will we get to see Tilly kick some ass?
So many tantalizing questions. Till they are answered, I will start a clap and call of ‘Long Live Captain Killy.’