Star Trek: Discovery: The Wolf Inside
January 15, 2018 7:00 AM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Burnham is given a mission by the Terran Emperor to wipe out a rebel encampment and the rebel leader, Fire Wolf. Tilly theorizes Stamets can be healed with space fungus. Burnham must find a way to get encoded Terran data on the Defiant back to the Discovery. We finally get confirmation what is wrong with Tyler, and we find out who the Emperor of the Terran Empire is. Most importantly, this episode finally reveals the first MU goatee!

It's Sarek. MU Sarek has a goatee.

This episode confirms pretty well every theory so far, except the ones about Lorca. Lorca for some reason still really wants to remain on the MU Terran Empire ship being tortured.
posted by fimbulvetr (56 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

It's Sarek. MU Sarek has a goatee

For some reason I read that initially as Saru and thought, well no it wasn't him, but then went on a mind tangent about a Saru goatee and I might be in love.

After watching this episode I went down the MU rabbit hole of Enterprise Mirror Darkly episodes and they are so painful to watch after being thoroughly sucked into Disco. Would not recommend, though getting some backstory was maybe worth it. Needed many wines.
posted by danapiper at 7:41 AM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

The award for "most inconveniently timed re-emergence of a personality" goes to...Voq! Let's have a round of applause.

Burnham got more affirmation from Mirror!Sarek in two or three minutes than she probably got from her own Sarek in her lifetime.

Mirror!Voq is even more openly aware that other people need to do the thinking for him than his counterpart. But he seems to envision his multispecies coalition as temporary until he can fully reunite the Klingon houses, and we know from DS9 that the Klingons and Cardassians will conquer Mirror!Spock's Terran Republic within the next few decades. Same person, different form of pragmatism, I think.

Speaking of Mirror!Spock: how does he even exist in this version of the MU, in which all non-humans are treated as beneath contempt? I suppose Mirror!Amanda could be a Terran dissident, but something has to happen by the end of this season to explain how you could have Mirror!Spock as a successful bridge officer just ten or eleven years from now. Mirror!Sarek's example at least explains why Mirror!Spock would be open to the possibility of instituting a Republic, though.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:43 AM on January 15, 2018 [8 favorites]

I am very disappointed that everyone in the MU doesn't have a goatee.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:44 AM on January 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ah, finally! After ten episodes of keeping as many balls in the air as they could, they finally decided to provide some grounding for the characters. One of the most frustrating things about the series to this point had been how little stability they'd provided for the main characters, with almost every one either being perhaps not what they seem, having some big mental blind spot that could lead them into misguided action, or be hopped up on space spores. Now they've started to use those various elements for their larger purpose by revealing what is driving their actions.

Other than Lorca, who still seems pretty mirrory in an unexpected way with his rescinded command for Michael to do what it takes to get Discovery home, the rest of the characters were given chance to show their base beliefs. With Michael, happily, that means coming to grips with the values that Starfleet is supposed to stand for, where she found need to uphold those values even though the universe she's doing it in is not her own and some of those she seeks to help are her "enemies" on the other side and those she opposes are her friends.

The Tyler/Voq connection is laid bare and shown to have been an internal conflict at the point of killing Culber, where neither Voq nor Tyler was completely in control, making each "side" real and giving more explanation for the PTSD-like condition that's been affecting them. Past and present perspectives are vying for control of Tyler/Voq and are brought into the open after the meeting with mirrorVoq. We'll see how the sci-fi analog here works out, but now that it's known it can be looked at without the same sort of guesswork that had been keeping things purposefully opaque before.

I have to say I find myself really looking forward to each new episode as much for the look of the show as anything else. It really is top quality craft in almost every regard. So having the writing start to show itself as fitting the rest is a welcome relief, even if not a complete one given the unfinished business yet to be addressed. Nonetheless, as frustrating as the open ended nature of the show's been at times, it does seem to be written in such a way that rewatching or looking back can gain reward once the new information comes to light as the past conversations and events seem to inform the current situations in ways that might not have been apparent until the scenarios play themselves out. Alice indeed went through the looking glass and now has to face the Queen.

There were some other really nice moments with Tilly and Sarus, and a few slight disappointments, such as the "Red Wolf's" easily discovered teeny weeny little hidden camp and crew. But all in all I'm pleased and might add something more later when I have the time.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:44 AM on January 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

There was a lot of confirmed theories here. I really like the trope of "Deep cover operative ends up TOO deep" so I'm very much digging Ash Tyler's arc. Right now it seems like he's gone full Voq but I'd like to see the Ash personality in him reassert itself and reach some form of equilibrium. I don't know how you justify keeping a disguised evil Klingon operative around long-term but Lorca has demonstrated his willingness to pull in questionable allies. Speaking of, can't help but notice his continual unwillingness to commit to leaving the mirror universe, plus apparently agony booth torture makes your Australian accent more pronounced.

I would also be willing to accept Voq returning to the Klingon Empire and leading an army of similarly swarthy human looking Klingons who seize control by the time Kirk is in the Captain's chair.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:56 AM on January 15, 2018 [10 favorites]

Speaking of Mirror!Spock: how does he even exist in this version of the MU, in which all non-humans are treated as beneath contempt?
How does he exist? Regrettably, considering a class of people beneath contempt has never stopped any oppressor class from having sex with them, or producing children with them. Maybe Mirror Amanda is a dissident, and maybe the explanation is much less pleasant.

How can he be an Imperial officer later? Even in the most rigid caste-based society exceptions can be made -- for people who have made themselves very useful, and for people who are related to people important and influential enough to improve their position in society. Spock may get a foot in the door because of relatives in high places, and maintain his position because he's better at his job and at backstabbing than his rivals.
posted by confluency at 7:59 AM on January 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Jason Isaacs is English, not Australian. But I’m happy to claim him for us if you like.
posted by harriet vane at 8:12 AM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm wondering whether Stamets met MU Stamets or if it was a time-displaced version of himself in the fungal forest at the end.

I guess we find out next episode if Lorca really has been MU Lorca all along next week, now that the Emperor has been revealed.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:49 AM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought it was clearly MU Stamets -- didn't he have the band across his uniform? Tilly was kind of a little heartbreaking, when she was so sorry he wasn't seeming to pull through the procedure. And I also had my "cries at Hallmark commercials" gene triggered when Burnham called slave Saru by his name, and then again when she was shattered by the Emperor's identity.

I hope that Starfleet has a hell of a PTSD treatment program because when this ship finally does pull into a starbase every single crewmember's going to need it.
posted by sldownard at 11:23 AM on January 15, 2018 [9 favorites]

Just saw a screen capture of the fungal forest scene. You're right, definitely MU Stamets.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:28 AM on January 15, 2018

Also, I have to ask ... did anyone else think Patti Yasutake (who played Alyssa Ogawa, Dr Crusher's nurse on TNG) was one of the medical staff who came to help Stamets? I swear that was her. IMDB says no, though. It's possible that after this episode I am also seeing things...
posted by sldownard at 11:46 AM on January 15, 2018

Is it just me, or does Shazad Latif bear what appears to an uncanny familial resemblance to Wil Wheaton?

The real Ash Tyler's older brother totally needs to show up at some point.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2018

Great episode, still enjoying this show very much. The solution to Tyler/Voq that seems sustainable to me—assuming they don’t keep the hybrid around—is to have MU Tyler show up and be a horrible person, and get killed or made brain-dead somehow, and then they transfer Tyler’s imaged consciousness (did they call it an enneagraph or something?) into brain-dead MU Tyler’s body and boom! good human Tyler, all fixed.

The larger continuity questions haven’t even occurred to me—has Paramount made clear if Discovery is in the now-non-canon TOS TV world, or if it’s part of the 2009 NuTrek continuity reboot? I had assumed that it was expanding the rebooted Trek universe, rather than placed into the former continuity/canon, so in watching Discovery I’ve assumed that anything could happen, no fealty to established future events necessary.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:26 PM on January 15, 2018

i am still not over the killing off of Culber. i almost didn't come back for this episode. i had been liking Disco pretty well, with reservations, up to that point. but it doesn't matter what the writers say, or if they got the thumbs-up from GLAAD. they killed off the gay black guy, in a totally stupid and clumsy way. and they basically admit they did it for drama. they fridged him! ugh. so gross.

then, the scene in this episode just added to the misery - if they resurrect Culber (i do not know how they could manage to do that without it being a total cop-out) it was just a cheap, cruel tactic to show Stamets sobbing over his body. and if they try to replace him with MU Culber, i am NOT HAVING IT. i'm not even all that invested in the characters - i am simply aghast over the tone-deaf, hideous trope they have used. i mean - have they not paid ANY attention?

i can't even enjoy learning about the cool MU continuity aspects. or having the Voq/Tyler identity reveal, or even Emperer Giorgieu (apparently, the evil universe has a lot of women in charge. not sure that's such a good thing, either. though i do really, really love Captain Tilly.) but there is NOTHING they can do to fix this stupid mistake. it is totally a "bury your gays" moment. they need to own that.

and yeah i will probably continue to watch, because i've watched ST since i was a little baby girl. but this will always be a blemish on the series. they will have to do a LOT of work to regain my trust. this last episode didn't really do it.

oh and, the torture cubicle brings out Lorca's (very bad) southern drawl. he's supposed to be from the south. as for the surprisingly teeny rebel base? how probable is it that it was a decoy and they escaped, so that Voq lives to see another MU day...
posted by lapolla at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2018 [11 favorites]

This was the episode where the end credits rolled and I realised I'd reached the sort of "how do I wait 167 hours to find out what happens next?" state of engagement with the plot that I recall having about half-way into the second season of Babylon 5.

I was a bit surprised that the Terran Empire executes thought criminals by mere beaming into space, given that limited examples of vacuum accidents suggest that this would be far from the worst death imaginable. Of course, it's setting up that Tyler/Voq is going to be executed in a way that he can be retrieved from.

We've now seem more of MU Detmer in one episode than we have of Original Detmer in the last 8 episodes or so. One of the reservations I do have about the series is the almost complete lack of any focus on the rest of the bridge crew of the Discovery, despite them being series regulars. I'd hate to think that the MU versions are getting more screen time because they are somehow more interesting; everyone on the Discovery's bridge does or ought to have an intriguing back-story. (How is Detmer coping with what were plainly life-changing injuries? Is Airiam - the blue-skinned officer - human, alien, cyborg or some combination? When do we get to see Owosekun doing awesome stuff instead of just sitting at her console looking awesome?)

I wondered how MU Saru managed such excellent timing, but of course MU Kelpians presumably have the same danger-sense as in the original universe.

As someone who grew up watching 70s BBC shows like Pertwee/Baker era Doctor Who and Blakes' 7 I was very amused to see the away team beam down to what looked just like the infamous BBC Quarry.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:57 PM on January 15, 2018 [13 favorites]

Speaking of Mirror!Spock: how does he even exist in this version of the MU, in which all non-humans are treated as beneath contempt?

This is a STOP THINKING ABOUT IT thing. Our universe diverged from theirs hundreds of years ago; nobody* in our universe has a direct counterpart in theirs. But a show where they're just obvious strangers who can't impersonate anyone would (a) be real dull because the Empire would just kill them on sight and (b) not respect the TOS and DS9 episodes, even though that part of them is silly.

*Very long-lived and slow-reproducing races excepted, if the Trekiverse has those.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:41 PM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

I too was surprised that beaming into space is how they execute people. It seems surprisingly merciful, given the options. There's something poetic about how getting airlocked launches you away from the ship, like saying, "Not only fuck you, but also throw your dead body forever away from us." You don't get that with the transporters. Given how transporter burials are also pretty common it's quite dignified.

He was happy to see the Emperor appear and we know Mirror Lorca was on the run for treason

Y'all aren't thinking fourth-dimensionally about this. There's no reason to believe Mirror!Lorca is a traitor. All we know is a Lorca aboard the Buran in the Mirror Universe tried to overthrow the Emperor. It seems plausible, likely even, that the two Lorcas switched places on the Buran and it was actually Prime!Lorca who made the attempted coup.

For what it's worth, I'm also pissed off about Culber. He got a prefunctory death in the previous episode and there is still no payoff for it. I still expect that Stamets is going to bring him back via some timey-wimey mycelium magic, probably with the help of Mirror!Stamets, but it still rankles. Hell, Landry (remember her?) got a better death than poor Culber. There are so many other ways they could have done it. "Beaten into a coma" would've had the exact same plot effect, and could still have led to Stamets bringing him out via mycelium magic.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:46 PM on January 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

This episode was good in a lot of ways, how it sort of let a lot of things pay off all at once (the Sarek thing, the Voq thing, etc.), but also somehow it felt like it just sort of came to a halt, instead of properly ending. Like they just had a really long second act or something. I still found it very compelling, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they finish up the season. I just expected the ending smash cut to black to be one of those pseudo commercial breaks they do for some reason, instead of cutting to credits.

I will say that they're doing a reasonably good job of fleshing out the Mirror Universe in a way other than DS9's "it's just a very, very horny place overall." I suppose the idea of authoritarian menace is a lot easier to play for drama in 2017/2018, compared to mid-nineties campiness.

Incidentally, one person on Reddit posited a rather interesting idea, that the interdimensional spore network serves as a sort of "strings of fate," binding certain individuals to one another, which explains why whenever there's a crossover into the Mirror Universe, it's always the same people as would otherwise have been there in the main universe (i.e. in-world justification for "because we only have so many actors"). I'm totally down with this theory.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:55 PM on January 15, 2018 [8 favorites]

My favourite part was Saru saying they adhere to Federation law. It was heartening to see UFP and Starfleet principles come up multiple times throughout the episode.
That was one of the things that made this really feel like Trek to me, despite all the differences in tone and structure. I had the same feeling at the end of Into Darkness, when they didn't kill Khan. (Mind you, they killed the replacement main villain in that movie, and the main villain in the previous and subsequent movie, so possibly Khan only escaped because he was an Important Canonical Figure.)
We've now seem more of MU Detmer in one episode than we have of Original Detmer in the last 8 episodes or so.
I did also notice that. I'm really hoping that one of the tweaks they make in the next season is integrating more of the extended crew into the storylines. The named characters do seem strangely isolated from them.

Star Trek has always worked well as an ensemble cast show, and despite all the marketing of Burnham as the main protagonist Discovery is already effectively an ensemble cast show now. There's just a rather abrupt dialogue and characterisation cliff between the core characters and everyone else, which makes the minor characters feel weirdly like furniture.
posted by confluency at 4:56 PM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm not 100% certain, but I thought I recognized the prisoners they were teleporting into space from the agonizer cylinders. The impression I got was that they tortured the prisoners, and then executed them by transporter.

Out of all this though I feel the worst for MU Saru. My new fan-fiction is that they rescue him and bring him back, and from then on out they are the starship with 2 Sarus.
posted by Balna Watya at 5:04 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Can one of the Sarus be slightly bigger than the other? And they're never seen together? Asking for a friend.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:52 PM on January 15, 2018 [8 favorites]

No, they both need to be on the bridge together. That way when one of them makes a passive aggressive comment about Burnham, the other one can back him up, and then they can high, high five each other.
posted by Balna Watya at 6:20 PM on January 15, 2018 [15 favorites]

"Jason Isaacs is English, not Australian."

I also googled to find out if he was Australian after that accent shift!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:47 PM on January 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tyler/Voq is the prequel to Tuvix.
posted by hijinx at 9:10 PM on January 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

Stupid theory time about how to keep around Tyler/Voq.

IF the Lorcas are already switched, maybe prime Lorca is already in the rebellion/working with mirror Voq. Once the Lorcas are switched back, he'll want to try to redeem Tyler/Voq. Especially if by some turn of fate mirror Voq is killed and Tyler does something redeeming/heroic.
posted by thecjm at 9:29 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lorca sounded Australian to my American ears too.

I know the real answer is "they haven't cast anyone", but I really want to know who the CMO is. Was it that doctor who appeared to treat Stamets? Why wasn't the CMO assigned to treat their chief engineer in the first place? Wasn't Culber treating him a breach of medical ethics anyway? Why wasn't a doctor present in the scene when Tilly and Saru were standing over Stamets and discussing? Why weren't medical staff supervising the spore experiment to start with, instead of rushing in at the end? Nothing about Medical on Discovery makes sense.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:01 PM on January 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Darn - no Scary Saru.

Kelpiens are attuned to minds that want to harm them, no? Feels impending death.

mirror!Saru must be reading a totally different vibe off of prime!Burnham - reason why mirror!Saru is team Burnham?

Conflicted re: Burnham lying to prime!Saru about not encountering any Kelpiens.

"Yeah, your race in this universe are a completely subservient slave caste favoured by the Terrans for their subservience and gentle/erotic hands."
posted by porpoise at 11:59 PM on January 15, 2018

Why wasn't the CMO assigned to treat their chief engineer in the first place?

Because they didn't want to make Culber the CMO.

Wasn't Culber treating him a breach of medical ethics anyway?

Maybe, but he has special science background whatever so that the main character treats the main character.

Why wasn't a doctor present in the scene when Tilly and Saru were standing over Stamets and discussing?

So they didn't have to pay for another actor, and so the focus wouldn't be on someone else.

Why weren't medical staff supervising the spore experiment to start with, instead of rushing in at the end?

They'd just keep complaining about oh he's tachycardic now he's bradycardic look his brain isn't supposed to do that wah wah wah and getting in the way of Tilly's spore juju.

Nothing about Medical on Discovery makes sense.

Trek has generally rewarded thinking about the motivations of its characters, and the interactions between characters, and the moral implications of its characters choices. It has not ever been a show that rewarded thinking about the organizational necessities that pin up the plot. Trek has always been a show that sends the captain of the ship down on exploratory away teams, which makes not a lick of sense.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:49 AM on January 16, 2018 [20 favorites]

The writers (or showrunners) have confirmed that it's part of the Prime timeline (television Trek) as opposed to the Kelvin timeline established by the JJ reboot.

If I'm remembering the timeline of the two universes correctly (and I'm not going to bother to dig into Memory Alpha to check), we know for sure that this is the TOS universe, not the JJVerse.

TOS Spock served under Captain Pike for 11 years before becoming first officer of the Enterprise under Kirk. In JJVerse, Spock met Kirk and took his post on the Enterprise right out of Starfleet Academy- because of the destruction of Vulcan and prior to that 11 years under Pike.

Discovery takes place ten years before the events of TOS. If this were JJVerse, Vulcan would already be destroyed.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 6:02 AM on January 16, 2018

The Man from Lardfork, close but not quite. Disco has taken place (thus far) in 2256, and the destruction of Vulcan in the JJVerse would have been in 2258. There would be plenty of other markers that this universe is different from the JJVerse, though, including that the ships would be a lot different--the AOS Enterprise was supposedly much larger than the TOS ship--in fact, according to this diagram, it's larger than the 24th-century Enterprise-E. You'd expect the other ships of the line to be correspondingly different, including the Shenzhou and Discovery itself. This also alters the AOS Enterprise's dates of service; AOS Kirk joins Starfleet in 2255, shortly after seeing the Enterprise still under construction in Iowa, and it wouldn't be launched until 2258; we know that the ship is in service already in Disco, as Burnham and Tilly are talking about it during their corridor jog.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:36 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

This show is so good, y'all. I'm fully engaged in a way I never was with Enterprise or even Voyager. I like the grimmer, more tense events in this show. Still not entirely settled with doing half a season in the Mirror Universe, previously a place for the writers to have fun with sexy fetish wear and silly goatees.

But this episode had a really strong emotional beat with Michael grappling with being a ruthless awful captain. She does great at it, presumably relying on her Vulcan training, but the conflict we see on her face in every scene is fantastic.

I had to watch like six times, but they did actually film Michael slipping the Death Star Plans Floppy Disk in to Tyler's pocket. Still a bit of a fakeout: Prime!Saru must have been tipped off about the exchange ahead of time offscreen.
posted by Nelson at 7:04 AM on January 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Prime!Saru must have been tipped off about the exchange ahead of time offscreen

He had to have been anyway if the plan was to recover TylerVoq; presumably Burnham would have tried to get him back alive in any event.

Mind you, given than transporters are supposed to be fairly short range, this does imply that the Discovery must have followed the Shenzhou to BBC Quarry Planet and is presumably lurking nearby - which given that the Federation don't have cloaking, raises the question of how its not being seen. Burnham can hardly be ordering the mirror bridge crew to ignore sensor readings, can she?

Come to think of it, the Terran Federation shouldn't have cloaking technology either, so how come the Emperor's ship is cloaked? My suspicion: in the MU the Terran Empire has captured the Klingon Ship of the Dead, and is using it as the Emperor's mobile HQ.
posted by Major Clanger at 8:34 AM on January 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

That would be a good excuse to reuse what undoubtedly was an expensive set.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:33 AM on January 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

This show is so good, y'all. I'm fully engaged in a way I never was with Enterprise or even Voyager.

Seconded. I'm fully on board with this show; it's not the Trek I grew up with and that's totally fine. Evolve or die.

I do admit I was a tinge disappointed/not surprised by the Emperor Georgiou reveal at the end. I was hoping they'd go for a long pull and a relative of Hoshi Sato would still be in power, or maybe it would be someone else. (That said, this is Michael's story so it totally makes sense.) As it stands, it's interesting: Discovery feels very self-contained and yet part of a much bigger Federation world simultaneously. The main plot thread through the series definitely helps, and brings a focus to the show that I haven't felt since the end of DS9.
posted by hijinx at 9:35 AM on January 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm fully engaged in a way I never was with Enterprise or even Voyager. I like the grimmer, more tense events in this show.

Me too, but I really appreciate how, so far, they've been threading the needle of having the grimmer/more serious tone that's common to current serialized shows while keeping those moments where they're still Starfleet, still optimistic that doing the right thing will work out.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:12 AM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Recently, on

Ted Sullivan Talks Mirror Universe, USS Defiant, Season 2 And More During ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Q&A

He confirmed the idea that the USS Defiant has been modified over the decades due to wear & tear, etc...

Watch Shazad Latif Talk About Big ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Reveal From “The Wolf Inside”

One commenter was disappointed that Lorca's Tribble wasn't part of the reveal of Tyler/Voq
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 AM on January 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Mallory Ortberg's recap on The Vulture added at top right.
posted by Coaticass at 8:56 PM on January 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm trying to decide if this is really hitting home for me because this is really the first Trek I've watched since I got caught up in all the related series (TOS! TAS! ENT! oh dear god ENT VOY DS9 TNG & etc) so I catch a lot of the nods to continuity, or if it's the first one I've watched in real time so it wasn't just something I could binge through the cliffhangers. I'm really enjoying it though.

And honestly, if you haven't seen ENT, I dunno, it's an interesting counterpoint to this. If you can just plow through it on a streaming service, eventually you'll learn just how many taps on your remote it takes to skip the theme song. There's a lot of traditional "Classic Trek" that was only sort of hinted at and mentioned offhandedly in TOS that ENT brought to life, and I'm enjoying the evolution to ENT that DISCO is providing.
posted by Kyol at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2018

Tyler is a sleeper-agent version of Voq himself, who’s just switched from Jean Valjean-style “Who am I?” to full-on “Shadows avaunt, Richard’s himself again!” at the worst possible time in the worst possible place.

from Coaticass' link. I didn't know that Mallory Ortberg was following Discovery, but I will have to start following these.

And honestly, if you haven't seen ENT, I dunno, it's an interesting counterpoint to this. If you can just plow through it on a streaming service, eventually you'll learn just how many taps on your remote it takes to skip the theme song.

We all know that Enterprise wasn't perfect, but can I just come out and admit that I liked the theme song?* I started watching the show because NPR played part of the theme on the radio one morning and said that NASA had used it to wake up the astronauts in space. I thought that was neat and checked out the new Star Trek. Obviously Porthos, the captain's beagle, was ridiculous in the face of millennia of ship's cats. It strained credulity, why not just break the 4th wall while you're at it?

*You can't take the sky from me.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:49 PM on January 16, 2018

It’s not that the Enterprise theme song is inherently BAD. It’s more that, musically, it is designed to make you want to buy lite beer and a pickup truck.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:37 AM on January 17, 2018 [18 favorites]

Which is one thing to be said for only watching 'In a Mirror, Darkly' I and II; different titles and theme music than the usual Enterprise ones.

(I actually watched both episodes, along with 'Mirror, Mirror', over the weekend. Although it's rather awkwardly split over the break between parts I and II, the scene where the MU away team power up the bridge of the Defiant - a near-perfect recreation of the TOS Constitution-class bridge set - break the ship out of dock, and battle the Tholians is easily worth all the back-stabbing melodrama in the rest of the plot.)
posted by Major Clanger at 5:22 AM on January 17, 2018

The Enterprise theme is OK, but it feels both totally appropriate _and_ totally out of place at the same time. I still sort of like watching it for the "history of spaceflight" sequence in the background, though. But man if there's something that seems to universally make Trekkies cringe, it's warbling into an off-tune rendition of the first few words...
posted by Kyol at 8:50 AM on January 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

The theme song alone kept me from watching ENT for a decade.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:08 PM on January 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yeah, the visuals for the Enterprise intro are great. It’s that song, though. It’s like the opposite of a Star Trek intro song. When Star Trek feels dated, it’s supposed to be because of an outdated notion of the future, not an outdated notion of the present.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

When Star Trek feels dated, it’s supposed to be because of an outdated notion of the future, not an outdated notion of the present.

It didn't help that something like 3 years prior to Enterprise's premiere, adult contemporary pop radio stations overplayed the Rod Stewart / Patch Adams version of the song. Everyone was absolutely sick of it. It's easier to divorce the film and the radio hit from the show now that so much time has passed, but for those of us who were there at the time, it was just terrible.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I didn't know that. I always assumed that it was original for the show.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:39 PM on January 17, 2018

Wow, that somehow makes it even worse.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:57 PM on January 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, it's not even that it's a Diane Warren song, it's not even a particularly good Diane Warren song.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:20 AM on January 18, 2018

I watched Star Trek: Enterprise's "In a Mirror, Darkly" two parter last night, it's fun! Didn't pick up a lot of details that seemed relevant to this Disco episode. The main crossover is the agony booth, the torture chamber; that's an invention of the Mirror Enterprise doctor and security officer. And the USS Defiant itself, of course. In Enterprise it's a super-ship 100 years from the future and capable of blowing up everyone else in a single shot. The big conflict is whether to disassemble the ship and study it or for someone to pilot it and singlehandedly rule the Terran Empire with its power. The latter choice seems to win. Oh, also the Federation has a cloaking device they stole from another race.

Also in the Enterprise version of the Mirror Universe, Starfleet women all wear absurd half-jacket tops with exposed midriffs. Both of the main women are in subservient roles, although to be fair they are also both ruthless and scheming and powerful from their disadvantaged positions. Anyway it's all pretty sexy/absurd, keeping with the nature of the Mirror Universe.

DS9's Mirror Universe was also pretty silly; Nana Visitor had a lot of fun playing Mirror Kira as a dominatrix. I think it's interesting that Discovery chose to tone the campiness of the Mirror Universe down so much. The Disco Terran Empire is a lot more like Space Nazis than Space Caligula.

Enterprise is also the show whose pilot featured a half-naked decontamination goo rubdown, bordering on soft-core porn. It was a simpler, creepier time.)
posted by Nelson at 7:45 AM on January 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the visuals for the Enterprise intro are great.

Indeed: as I never get tired of pointing out, when Star Trek first went on the air, Apollo 11 was still three years in the future; by the time Enterprise was on the air, the opening credits had a scene filmed on another planet and no one really thought it remarkable.

Btw, my remote control has had a mute button since 2001, so I have not heard the theme beyond, "It's been a..." since the ENT premiere.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:17 PM on January 18, 2018 [9 favorites]

The main crossover is the agony booth, the torture chamber

The agony booth also appears in the Classic Trek episode "Mirror Mirror". I like it as a recurring element of the MU. I don't think it ever appeared in the DS9 mirror eps, though.
posted by crossoverman at 8:34 PM on January 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Correct. I think it's strictly a Terran Empire thing.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:12 AM on January 19, 2018

The Agony Booth is such a great invention from every angle. In-universe, it's a torture device that inflicts unending pain but (technically) no harm to its victims. For the actors, it's a clear box where they get to ham it up as much as they want. No amount of overacting is too much for the Agony Booth.

Speaking of agony, did you know they tried tweaking the Enterprise theme song a couple seasons in to appease the complainers? I don't think anyone really noticed.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:50 AM on January 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

posted by jojo and the benjamins at 7:21 PM on January 21, 2018

I am waaayyy too hyped to make the post for the next episode but . . . stuff happens.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2018

Speaking of agony, did you know they tried tweaking the Enterprise theme song a couple seasons in to appease the complainers? I don't think anyone really noticed.

I did. It was worse.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:42 PM on January 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

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