Star Trek: Discovery: Vaulting Ambition
January 21, 2018 8:35 PM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Burnham heads out to meet the Terran Emperor, with Lorca as a prisoner. Stamets figures some things out while trapped in the mycelial network. Saru asks L’Rell for help. This episode has a number of interesting revelations.

Stamets gets some closure with Culber and wakes up from his coma. We find out more about the fate of the Kelpians under the Terran Empire... it is not pleasant. Burnham learns that her Mirror universe counterpart was much, much more than just a captain. Rumours about Lorca are confirmed.
posted by fimbulvetr (116 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I’m thinking Voq may be gone for good now. Or perhaps the two personalities are permanently fused.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:38 PM on January 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I remember thinking after the first two episodes that the show did not do the work it needed to in order to establish Burnham's character, that her impulsive and arrogant behavior leading to her mutiny did not have adequate justification, and that it was going to be very difficult to sympathize with a protagonist who did something awful enough to be court-martialed for it. The show needed to treat her crime with the severity it deserved, and it absolutely could not let her off the hook. Back then, it wasn't at all clear to me it would happen.

I'm having flashbacks to how I felt back then. I think Burnham has just jeopardized the future of the prime universe. She's essentially given Georgiou information on the prime universe and a way to get there (or potentially any other universe). Those are basically the keys to the kingdom. And why did she do this? Because she didn't want to be executed, as far as I can tell. That and she didn't want Discovery to be found out and destroyed.

But think. If I was in Burnham's position, knowing what I know about this imperialist, all-conquering Terran Empire, I wouldn't think, "boy I need to get the Discovery back home to deliver this intel about the Klingon cloak and save the crew!" I'd be thinking, "gee, I'd better not TELL THEM ABOUT THE SECRET SPORE DRIVE THAT LETS YOU JUMP BETWEEN UNIVERSES and maybe it would be better for us to die and the Federation not to know about the Klingon cloak than it would be for the Federation to fight a second war with an enemy that has a starship ten years more advanced than anything they fly now."

Maybe I missed something crucial in that episode. But it just seemed staggeringly incompetent and idiotic for Burnham to reveal her true nature to Georgiou. And I don't know how the show makes this better.
posted by chrominance at 8:54 PM on January 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


With the degradation in the space fungus network and the threat from the Terran Empire, I think we are seeing the beginning of the end for spore drive travel. I agree that was not a very believable and a pretty stupid thing for Burnham to have done.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:58 PM on January 21, 2018


It seems like Voq's dead, if the scream L'Rell did when she completed that little procedure on Ash reflects previous Trek lore. I didn't care for the Voq character much, but if so, that's a pretty anticlimactic ending for a major driver of the season's plot. Wriggling fingers and some wavy lines on a monitor with a brain drawn on it, and *poof,* character's gone.

That eLorca reveal though—HA! I called it back in one of October's threads! That wasn't PTSD when he pulled the gun on Cornwell, that was simply smart behavior for the mirror universe. It's too much to hope I suppose that the mirror universe might have the original Lorca on ice that Burnham and the crew might take back with them.

I really liked this one, after feeling a little trepidation at another set in the mirror universe. It's not my favorite milieu of Star Trek, not by a long shot. I'd rather them out there exploring and adventuring rather than retreading stories that have no impact on *our* Star Trek's universe, but this episode had some fun twists. As for Burnham's stupid agreement to share the technology, I hope we've not been privy to the whole story, like with Tyler's unexpected rescue from vacuum. I'd rather they don't just gloss over it, because that is a bizarre thing to which to agree—it opens up the main Star Trek universe to invasion from the MU, so clearly something has to give.

I agree with fimbulvetr, I also imagine they might use the network's degradation risk as a reason to shut it down. Stamets will figure out how to fix it perhaps, but also realize that it'll never be useable without corrupting it again or some such thing, or maybe he'll have to in effect cauterize the two universes from the network itself.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:44 PM on January 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


But, I liked Lorca. Sure, he was bad but he was our bad dude. Redeemable. Mirror Universe Lorca is just bad-bad. I genuinely bought into Lorca not knowing the sister's name. His "buck up, soldier" comment because he didn't recognize the other guy. Hot damn.

The plot point where Lorca had Burnham give him drugs to numb the pain? And then relies on it to escape? A fucking thing of beauty. Smart, evil villains are such a rarity.

Burnham had to give up her secrets so she and Phillipa could be on the same side against evil Lorca. Otherwise, it's Discovery against two enemies.

Stamets. Wow. Of course, now it makes sense that Stamets was seeing an alternate universe, not the future. The episode with Mudd was part of deliberately misleading the audience. Niiiice. Really. Evil Stamets!

The Kelpian thing was just mean. Good touch, though. But I would have loved seeing Burnham throw up all over the table.

This show. Just, wow.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 10:04 PM on January 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


I agree that Michael's actions in this episode seem incredibly boneheaded and the only way I could really get my head around them was reminding myself that Philippa Georgiou was a maternal figure for her as well as a source of profound guilt. I feel she just couldn't see past Georgiou to the emperor, and couldn't help but trust her to do the right thing. And I can't claim I wouldn't fall apart in just the same way under pressure, in that spot, and just try the hail Mary pass and hope it would go okay. That said, yes, sooooo stupid.

I've been waiting for the Lorca mirror universe reveal for like all season now so I'm glad it finally showed up. Though it is pretty sad how few genuine surprises this show has managed to deliver - sure the details may not be known but I feel like it hasn't been hard to guess the broad twists. It's fun to watch and discuss, but other than Culber's surprise death, not much has been totally out of left field.

It's a credit to Discovery's world building and character development that when they revealed Georgiou and Michael were eating Kelpien it actually made me feel a bit sick.
posted by potrzebie at 10:24 PM on January 21, 2018 [10 favorites]


OH. MY. DAYS.
posted by danhon at 10:27 PM on January 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


It is not OK to give Hugh an encomium where he becomes the fucking mushroom fairy spirit guide. Not OK. Yeah yeah mirror Lorca Burnham Spore Drive loose lips what-fucking-ever. You don't off your gay doctor and then use him as a magic negro, ideally, I would say, or even either of those things. I am sad and angry in ways I presume the show runners did not intend. Oh boy am I mad.

I appreciated the performances in those segments of the show. But I want this death to be overwritten and even if it happens I will remain mistrustful.
posted by mwhybark at 10:59 PM on January 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


There is soooo much Fuller in this still, from the splits of personality/psychiatric dichotomies with the emphasis on persona bluffing and betrayals that aren't what they seem, motivations tied to basic drives of sex and love, and of course the quasi-cannibalism. It sure seems like they kept a lot of his design for the show this season even after his departure. It even has something of the rich look of a Fuller production, where the visuals feed the underlying emotions for the story.

Tyler/Voq, going by the description of what happened to them and the seeming needs of the story should still be an amalgam of both characters as Voq was put into a copy of Tyler instead of "taking over" the real Tyler, leaving this character not Tyler but not really Voq either. More importantly though the show needs to bridge the divide between Voq's view and Burnham's otherwise the point of the "exchange" is rendered useless and the values promoted moot at best. There has to be enough Voq in Tyler for any concordance to matter otherwise it was just Voq the mad Klingon who failed in his quest and there is no better equilibrium to be found between the Klingons and Starfleet coming from these events. That seems unlikely, though it certainly is still possible, but would be a terrible mistake if they chose to simply let Voq disappear at this point since that conflict is still the heart of the season's concerns.

Burnham being forthright with Georgiou, for me, fits her ideal of there being some way to reach across boundaries, where there must be some shared underlying commonality between the Georgious. The risk isn't a good one in any tactical sense, but I don't see it as being completely out of character for Michael given what we've seen of her to this point and the seeming, or maybe just possible ideals the show might be exploring. That her decision based on that "knowledge" of the core Georgiou is then immediately fucked up by the realization of who Lorca is makes it a more fraught choice given her failing to realize Lorca's nature earlier. It requires Michael to sort of double down on her trust in Georgiou's core persona to fight against the greater betrayal Lorca represents, underlined by his extra creepy "grooming" notions.

How this all works out though is difficult to judge since the potential concept here of some reliable core being that can take on wildly opposing attributes and values is difficult to sell and difficult to accept in some senses, but it is also a potentially meaningful concept as well since it does prevent thinking of innate superiority of values or "goodness" coming from one's innate being and also makes it more difficult to see innate inferiority or evil in others since that core can be shaped by events to diametrically opposed ends. They of course could ignore all that and hold to the basic some people are good, some evil ideology, but that'd be a real disappointment now given everything they've done to this point in emphasizing parallels and mirroring.

Still not sure about where Stamets and Culber will end up other than their connection not being finished yet judging from their exchanges here, which were lovely, but, as noted above, better lead to something more later. I'm not sure I entirely trust Fuller in this regard given some of his past works, but better representation for gay characters is something he has made a point of speaking about and the showrunners and cast seem to be suggesting there is more to the story, so we'll see where it goes from here. Rapp and Cruz are great in this episode and I really hope we get to see more of them together in more casual circumstance since that's something this show will need if its going to work over extended seasons. The same with some of the other characters of course, but out of the main cast we've seen so far, Cruz and Rapp are the ones who could most use some variety of interactions and more light moments, especially since they seem to do best there.

Saru is a fine acting captain so far, I look forward to him being in charge of Discovery from here on, and hopefully helping to instigate a Kelpian rebellion.

Oh, and I have to admit, Lorca's "glass half full" line cracked me up.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:50 AM on January 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


I called Mirror!Lorca when he was giving Burnham that pep talk on the shuttle, as he just barely managed to stop himself from revealing that he knows where the Emperor's palace is.

As the network doesn't appear to be full of dead people, it's not clear what Culber is doing wandering around in there. I agree that this is not what you'd call a satisfying resolution to the Stamets/Culber plotline, but the situation is so odd that they may be setting up something else.

Presumably Mirror!Lorca and Prime!Lorca swapped places while they were still on the Buran? (This puts a new spin on Mirror!Lorca's decision to blow up the ship.) I'm going to guess that Mirror!Lorca knows perfectly well how he crossed between the universes, and that negotiating with him will be key to getting the Discovery back to the prime universe. Meanwhile, where are Prime!Lorca and Mirror!Burnham?

We've known since the pilot episodes that Burnham isn't yet a mature tactical thinker: she hasn't fully mastered the art of balancing, or even seeing, both long-term consequences and short-term benefits. The mutiny, and resulting galactic disaster, made it clear that she's a brilliant scientist, but not a precocious captain like Kirk. Her reveal to Mirror!Georgiou wasn't smart ("She's an evil emperor! Don't tell her about your ship! For crying out loud, Burnham!"), but it wasn't unprecedented, either.

One of the things the Mirror!Lorca reveal does, though, is call attention to a different but connected segment of her character arc: she really, really wants somebody to admire and love unconditionally, and doesn't always know how to respond when that backfires. Hence Georgiou, Sarek, Tyler, and now Lorca.

The dialogue with Mirror!Georgiou about "honor" was a shout-out to the end of "Mirror, Mirror," when Kirk calls Mirror!Spock a "man of honor in both universes." We'll see about that.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:19 AM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


I remember reading months ago that this series was meant to explain something that had come up previously but never fully explained, and tonight we got it: at long last, the canonical reason why the Mirror Universe is always so dark and horny-looking
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:08 AM on January 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


" I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on th' other."
- Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:58 AM on January 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


Some thoughts...

- This episode was shorter than usual, clocking in at 37:53 minutes.
- Burnham and Mirror Georgiou eating Kelpian ("TRY THE GANGLIA IT'S DELICIOUS") is the second instance of cannibalism that we've heard mentioned on ST:DISCO. The first was a conversation between L'Rell and Voq in which they mention eating the Prime universe Georgiou.
- Mirror Stamets wasn't on Mirror Discovery when it swapped universes. His lab is on the ISS Charon.
- Pay close attention to the way Mirror Stamets looks at ours when he's not looking. Creepy.
- The Shenzhou shuttle computer in the Mirror Universe speaks in a female voice, but the Mirror Enterprise computer spoke in a male voice.
- Georgiou's titles: "All hail her most Imperial Majesty. Mother of the Fatherland. Overlord of Vulcan. Dominess of Kronos. Regina Andor. All hail the Emperor. Philippa Georgiou Augustus
Eoponius Centaurius."
- Lorca nearly reveals himself earlier in the episode by showing he knows the location of the Imperial palace.
- Lorca tells his supposed supporter "chin up soldier." In hindsight, he doesn't know the guy's name.
- Tyler apparently tried to claw out his own heart. Klingon cultural mythology talks about the Klingon Heart as the seat of the soul.
- Burnham continues to show a ridiculous level of naivete for someone who was second in command of a starship, promising the Emperor of the Terran Empire the means to invade the Prime Universe. With the benefit of having watched other series we know she didn't spread her Empire to our universe. We also know that the Terran Empire (spoilers) will collapse in a few years, because of a Vulcan named Spock. But Burnham doesn't know this, and her act (to save her own ass) seems inexcusable.
- Prime Universe Tyler died at the Battle of the Binary Stars. Alas poor Ash, we hardly knew ye.
- "Grooming." Good lord. The show all but says Lorca had a pedophilic relationship with Burnham.
- Tilly continues to chatter inappropriately. "I know it's subjective, but he really does look better. I mean, just look at his skin. It's all dewy."
- The Lorca reveal was nicely done.
posted by zarq at 6:56 AM on January 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


Memory Alpha notes that the voice of the Shenzhou's computer is Emmy nominated actress and voice over artist Tasia Valenza, a Trek veteran. She has been the voice of the Shenzhou (and now its shuttlecraft) since the first ST:DISCO episode.
posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


her act (to save her own ass) seems inexcusable.

Ouch! So harsh! I mean there could be other reasons for her actions. She might have felt that was the only way to save Discovery given the situation with Stamets in a coma and their need for info to get back to prime U. Or she might actually have a plan given she did bring along the tchotchke from her Georgiou in the first place, wasn't it last episode where mirrorVoq told her his coalition of fighters came together through a common enemy?

It could be Michael has something like that in mind. I mean she actually shares a common enemy with this Georgiou now since Lorca's on the loose, and any attempted invasion of prime U could unite the warring parties against invasion so there are possible plans she could have been contemplating. I grant they might not be good plans, or could involve an annoying cheat on the viewer, but nonetheless there could be other reasons for telling this Georgiou the truth even beyond some abstract belief in there being shared emotions between Michael and the two Georgious.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:17 AM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lorca being from the Mirror Universe is a fine twist and sets up the season finale nicely -- and presumably greases the wheel to write Jason Isaacs out of the show entirely, which I've assumed would happen by the end of the season since the moment he was cast -- but it makes him a much, much less interesting character, and defuses the very real tension about which "side" different characters would ultimately choose when push and came to shove. Now that we know he's "just bad" it's clear that everyone else on the show will do the right thing; it's boring in a way Discovery didn't need to be, if it had a bit more courage about its place in the Star Trek canon.
posted by gerryblog at 9:47 AM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Ouch! So harsh! I mean there could be other reasons for her actions. She might have felt that was the only way to save Discovery given the situation with Stamets in a coma and their need for info to get back to prime U. Or she might actually have a plan given she did bring along the tchotchke from her Georgiou in the first place, wasn't it last episode where mirrorVoq told her his coalition of fighters came together through a common enemy?

It could be Michael has something like that in mind.


Whether she believes she has valid reasons for revealing the spore drive details to Georgiou or not, it's incredibly reckless of her to reveal that the drive exists, and that it can travel between universes. The Emperor cannot help but view this as both a threat and opportunity. Threat in that her universe may be invaded by the Federation, whom she cannot trust. Opportunity because by its very nature, the tyrannical Terran Empire is expansionist and would try to invade the Prime universe. Burnham must know this. She's studied history, and she's studied the Empire.

I mean she actually shares a common enemy with this Georgiou now since Lorca's on the loose

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Now that Burnham knows the USS Defiant's method of ingress will not help bring Discovery back to her home universe, she no longer needs to know the location of the Defiant's entry point in interphasic space. As far as she knows there's one sure way to get home: Stamets and the Discovery Spore Drive. As far as she knows, Stamets isn't capable of navigating the ship home.

But a question remains unanswered: how did Lorca cross? Since the spore drive does not exist here, it must have been another way. The Captain may still hold the key to Discovery's return, and Burnham cannot afford to throw that away.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on January 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have a somewhat wildly speculative theory about the mycelial network. This isn't a spoiler.

In Dan Simmons' Endymion series, he discusses Planck space at length, hypothesizing that it is an underlying structure which acts as connective tissue for the entire universe. In the series, a group of AI's have discovered how to use Planck space as a crude transportation medium. They set up physical portals in two different locations and send physical objects through Planck space nearly instantaneously. Somewhat similar to another franchise's Stargates.

But using Planck space to transport objects is horribly destructive to the medium, which serves a very different purpose to the universe. Each time those portals (farcasters) are used, they cause permanent, irreparable damage to it. Towards the end of the series, Simmons discusses ways that individual people who have taught themselves how might be able to 'cast themselves, without causing such damage. A single person could theoretically travel the network instantaneously, and do no harm.

The Tardigrade was able to traverse the mycelial network without damaging it. When used as a navigator for the ship, the Tardigrade was itself injured.

So here's my theory:

The mycelial network is like Simmons' Planck space. Transporting Discovery through it is causing harm to the network. One creature can roam the network without doing harm. Hijack that creature and force it to punch damaging holes through mycelial space to transport a giant spaceship, and the Tardigrade will react to the damage it is causing in pain and horror, and collapse in on itself.

Being used a starship's drive is what's causing the network's corruption and destruction. The only way to stop it from escalating further is to stop using it.

This is why we don't see the Spore drive in use in later Trek series. Ethically, the Federation could not use it: for one thing, there's the anti-eugenics argument. For another, using it causes harm to the mycelium. So they abandon the technology. And in centuries that follow, no other species has ever been able to make it work.
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on January 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


This is why we don't see the Spore drive in use in later Trek series. Ethically, the Federation could not use it: for one thing, there's the anti-eugenics argument. For another, using it causes harm to the mycelium. So they abandon the technology. And in centuries that follow, no other species has ever been able to make it work.

Voyager is a tough one here, because they would have probably been able to justify a single use rather than take a century to get home. We'd need another reason why they couldn't use some version of this technology given their dire situation; my expectation is that it will actually be because the spore network is utterly destroyed as a result of the MU arc.
posted by gerryblog at 10:54 AM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of sick of discovery being mostly a big pile of "TWISTS" instead of a show that operates on it's own. Everything just follows the logic of what the story need to happen. Burnham is basically an idiot wrt the motives of the emperor. She kills her whole council in front of Burnham, but still decides to trust her. The twists are highly telegraphed to the point where the people behind the show have to say "no no no, tyler isn't voq!" The flashbacks to all the things that lorca said revealing himself to be mirrorverse lorca is the show patting itself on the back for how good it is.

Also I'd be happy with less sexual violence and implied pedophilia in discovery, but hey "it's dark and edgy" and the writers are so very very desperate to prove "this ain't your daddy's trek!"
posted by Ferreous at 10:57 AM on January 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


More on Simmons' Planck space network for anyone who might be curious. He called it The Void-which-Binds.

gerryblog: Voyager is a tough one here, because they would have probably been able to justify a single use rather than take a century to get home. We'd need another reason why they couldn't use some version of this technology given their dire situation; my expectation is that it will actually be because the spore network is utterly destroyed as a result of the MU arc.

That makes sense, although i hope not.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on January 22, 2018


I get that people are calling the whole "Terrans in the mirror universe are more sensitive to light than Prime universe people" a pulled-out-of-their-assholes plot move.

But I think it works better (and I really appreciate it) as a joke to the audience. Like this:

Me: Hey, why are Lorca and the Terrans sensitive to light compared to prime universe humans?
Writers: Because their universe is SO DARK! Get it?! DARK! Because they come from a DARK UNIVERSE!

As a dad, I am 100% behind this dad joke.
posted by danhon at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2018 [34 favorites]


Another thing that annoys me, this is probably the most we've seen the mirror universe fleshed out and it really begs the question "how the fuck are these people capable of running an empire?" They're all god damn idiots who constantly murder each other, kill off administrators and function as complete cartoon evil. Yes I know it eventually falls, but honestly I would have much preferred something less than over the top mustache twirling evil. It's too stupid to take seriously.
posted by Ferreous at 11:31 AM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Now that we know he's "just bad" it's clear that everyone else on the show will do the right thing; it's boring in a way Discovery didn't need to be, if it had a bit more courage about its place in the Star Trek canon.

I'm hoping the show will complicate Lorca's character further. I'm not sure Emperor Georgiou is a reliable source on what exactly he's up to, or what his relationship with mirror!Burnham was.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:38 AM on January 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


I mean she actually shares a common enemy with this Georgiou now since Lorca's on the loose

I wouldn't be so sure about that.


I'm not so sure about it in any real sense, but that's the appearance they operate under at the end of the episode. Michael suggests they share a common enemy, whether or not they do or whether or not she believes it.

In the past couple of episodes there have been a couple reversals where it appeared Michael was doing one thing only to do another as events revealed themselves. That Michael went to the Charon with some plan in mind isn't hard to believe, even if it turns out that plan doesn't go quite as she imagined if it turns out Lorca is acting against her counter to her expectations.

I just don't think it's absolutely clear we have the full scope of the events as yet. The end of the season will undoubtedly tie back to the opening with prime Georgiou's lesson in the sand for Michael, a lesson which took the shape of that same com badge Michael used to gain some action from Emperor Georgiou, to ends yet unknown on all sides. What that will be exactly I can't say, but I don't have any reason to suspect Michael simply gave up Discovery to save her life since that wasn't shown in her demeanor and doesn't really lead anywhere much or fit the character in story terms. It might be that no clear reason is given and she did it to save herself is as possible as anything else as an interpretation, but I'm gonna wait before assuming that's all there is to it.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:45 AM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Another thing that annoys me, this is probably the most we've seen the mirror universe fleshed out and it really begs the question "how the fuck are these people capable of running an empire?" They're all god damn idiots who constantly murder each other, kill off administrators and function as complete cartoon evil. Yes I know it eventually falls, but honestly I would have much preferred something less than over the top mustache twirling evil. It's too stupid to take seriously.

I think you meant to post this in the US politics thread.
posted by Balna Watya at 12:44 PM on January 22, 2018 [39 favorites]


Voyager is a tough one here, because they would have probably been able to justify a single use rather than take a century to get home. We'd need another reason why they couldn't use some version of this technology given their dire situation; my expectation is that it will actually be because the spore network is utterly destroyed as a result of the MU arc.

This is a fair point, but even without the spore network destroyed, it would take a lot of resources to outfit every ship in starfleet with a spore drive that they plan to use once ever each.
posted by faethverity at 1:08 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


1) So, are there any fan theories still left unproven?

2) I really want to see a blooper where, after Voq/Ash starts speaking in English and L'Rell does the death howl (at least I'm assuming that's what that was meant to be), Doug Jones puts his hands on his hips and says "oh great! Now we have a Klingon who speaks English instead. Good work, miss 'only by my hand' fancyfingers!" and everyone cracks up. This is my headcanon...blooper reel. Which is a thing that I just made up. Look, this episode made me need a hug and also a laugh.

3) oh dude they ate a Kelpian :( :( :(

4) "Grooming," ugh ugh ugh creepy ugh so creepy. Ok, I get it, it's Dark Trek, did you have to specifically choose that phrasing? Oh god, so creepy and gross. Grosser than eating the poor Kelpian.

5) I hope that either Voqash is a viable character in this state or that they can, like, find the Tyler that the Klingons took the DNA/psyche from (L'Rell didn't say they killed him, right? Just that they captured him at the Battle of the Binary Stars and later used DNA and his psyche.) and put the psyche back in and he can be troubled over there. I dunno. It's just a shame to build up both characters ... well, okay, to be honest, I thought Voq was kind of lame. And fancy this-is-what-it-means-to-be-a-soldier-so-be-it! speeches aside, I mostly want to punch L'Rell in the face. I mean, they were both kind of failures, and now look at them, being failures in a whole new way on the Discovery. Great work spying on the brig there, L'Rell.

6) I am ... on the fence about Culber. I didn't want him to die in the first place so it was nice to see him again. The spirit guide thing is kind of irritating. That's not the "he gets better" I was hoping for. I am officially holding out for a mycelium network related Culber restoration.

7) Did the Stametses wake up in their correct respective universes? I kind of thought that Prime Stamets woke up in the MU. I could be wrong. I'll rewatch tomorrow.
posted by sldownard at 1:28 PM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


7) Did the Stametses wake up in their correct respective universes? I kind of thought that Prime Stamets woke up in the MU. I could be wrong. I'll rewatch tomorrow.

My take was that they switched bodies.

6) I am ... on the fence about Culber. I didn't want him to die in the first place so it was nice to see him again. The spirit guide thing is kind of irritating. That's not the "he gets better" I was hoping for. I am officially holding out for a mycelium network related Culber restoration.

Agreed.. of course, the thought occurs that we haven't seen mirrorCulber yet..
posted by coriolisdave at 1:47 PM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm holding out hope that MU-Culber will join the Discovery somehow. Prime Culber was way too calm, earnest, and squared away to make a good Star Trek doctor. Except for Crusher, the Trek doctor has been somewhere on the quirky/irascible spectrum, I'd like to see that tradition continue.
posted by peeedro at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Trek Lore-yers: How does the mycelial spores acting to connect all life in the universe fit with the conception of humanoid life having being spread across the galaxy by the aliens that Wesley goes wandering off with in late seasons of TNG?
posted by biffa at 1:56 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Question: Michael has been Captain of her own ship for an unspecified amount of time with a crew made up entirely of Mirror Universe people (excluding Voq / Ash).

Why didnt she notice that they have a sensitivity to light before?

I'm guessing the answer is 'Because Plot' but I would like to hear any less stupid and more plausible reasoning.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


All in all a satisfying episode, they definitely delivered on the major plot twists we've been reading into the show. Now my main curiosity is what the plan is for season 2. They've got three more episodes this season; I think that's enough time to wrap up the Mirror Universe stories and get us back to where they can start with a fresh story in season 2.

I'm mad about the reveal that Lorca has some creepy sexual obsession with Michael. Don't put her in a position of being a victim. The whole original setup was he was paternal and admired her abilities was nice. I hate having that cheapened because he's got the hots for her. My anger can be sated if the show redeems itself by writing a strong revenge plotline for Michael where she expunges Lorca's creepiness for all time.

Love the idea of Mirror!Culber coming over to replace dead Culber. I forgot, do we know if Mirror!Stamets and Mirror!Culber are a couple? Mirror!Stamets is apparently a monster, perhaps Mirror!Culber is a sweetheart and is looking for an excuse.

I think the whole conceit of the trans-universe space fungus highway is the stupidest plot device. I hate every aspect of it, including the magical mushroom land that Stamets has escaped to. I sure wish the writers had not invented it. Hopefully all burns to a cinder by season's end. "Astromycology" should not be a thing.
posted by Nelson at 2:11 PM on January 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also yes, the Kill All Your Gays, so they can Ascend to Magical Negro status is stagggeringly, magnificently awful and the entire show is going to have to do something tremendously surprising to negate that sour taste.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:11 PM on January 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


Yeah - i did not get the impression that there was any Stammets "freaky friday-ing" going on.
posted by Golem XIV at 2:45 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Trek Lore-yers: How does the mycelial spores acting to connect all life in the universe fit with the conception of humanoid life having being spread across the galaxy by the aliens that Wesley goes wandering off with in late seasons of TNG?

Conflating two things here.
Wesley goes off with "The Traveller" who is, canonically, a future biomodified Stamets.

The all humanoids having a common proto ancestor thing is from "The Chase" and are unnamed proto humanoids who all look a bit like Odo from DS9.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, this is going to be an even more awkward conversation with Saru, now.

"Um...the Kelpians I met seem to play an...important role under the Terran Empire, and mostly lead delici- I mean...delightful lives!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:16 PM on January 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


"Astromycology" should not be a thing.

Well, it's an ACTUAL thing, so...

posted by crossoverman at 3:29 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, this is going to be an even more awkward conversation with Saru, now.

Do you think that might be the DSC equivalent of the joke on the bridge from the end of classic TOS episodes?
posted by biffa at 3:43 PM on January 22, 2018


"Astromycology" should not be a thing.

I didn't realize until last week's episode that Stamet's first name is Paul, and I was like *groan* Paul Stamets.

groan because I'm not crazy about naming a Star Trek engineer after a guy who sells mushroom extract patent medicines, why not name the doctor Mehmet Oz or the captain Ron Rico?
posted by peeedro at 4:36 PM on January 22, 2018


I'm really enjoying the Plot Twist of the Week format, though I can totally understand why people might not like the over-reliance on not only repeated plot twists but also very similar plot devices (if the Stamets theory above holds true we could have 3 consecutive episodes where "regular cast member is not who they seem" is the twist).

Critics who seem to be taking it personally when the cast/crew "lied" to them during press junkets - for a show that we now know is all about plot twists - is taking it a bit too far. What are they supposed to do, say "ah you got us!" back in September during a junket or in some sort of red-carpet interview?
posted by thecjm at 5:11 PM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm down with plot twists but can some of them actually be surprises? Like, even a few? Can we trust the audience and also the Federation's legacy of curiosity-fueled spacefaring?

If you're gonna bend the classic ST formula of one-shot adventures tied off with predictably friendly moralizing, I expect to be stunned and complicated by the new interlace of light and dark! I love the aesthetics, the more representative cast, the updated technobabble and the "Lower Decks" perspective — but I don't buy the motives or characterization of the main players. Where are the core tenets of Starfleet? The discovery missions? The professionalism? What characters besides Culber, Stamets and Saru even act like officers? Lorca, Burnham and Tyler/Voq have all made exceedingly bad calls. Only a lowly crewman would make such mistakes in TNG, for example. (And then Daddy Picard would be there to chide them, inspire them and firm their resolve!)

ST has always required disbelief, but if we're upping the flair factor I expect to be breathlessly sucked in. As is, we have a heinous chimera of Classic Trek and Peak TV: diaphanous plotting married with character-thin drama.
posted by fritillary at 6:40 PM on January 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


I didn't really mind Burnham immediately offering up the spore drive because the first, biggest, most important thing we know about the spore drive is that it doesn't work very well. For it to work as well as it has been for Discovery, you need to have a super-genius who's dedicated his life to astromycology (ugh) run the thing, and even then with side effects that render him useless pretty promptly. It's not really a prize.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:42 PM on January 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Lorca is more interesting as a complex villain than an eeeeeeevil mirror universe villain, so I hope they keep some of that complexity after the reveal. They keep talking about not letting the mirror universe get to them, so just mayyyyybe the values of the Federation universe infected mirror Lorca a bit? At the same time I reaaallllly hope they don't try to have some big redemptive moment for Lorca where he sacrifices himself or whatever.
posted by speicus at 6:45 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


So if Mirror!Stamets isn't using the spores for propulsion, what is he doing with them? He's been stalking our Stamets, how much did he pick up and how come Emperor Georgiou didn't know about spores as propulsion?
posted by Coaticass at 7:16 PM on January 22, 2018


and how come Emperor Georgiou didn't know about spores as propulsion?

When Michael told the emperor that Discovery used a spore drive she didn't say "what's that?" She said, "give me the schematics." Mirror Stamets could be working on the technology without having gotten it working yet.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:45 PM on January 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm starting to think they'll have to destroy the fungus network to stop the Emperor from coming into the Prime Universe.
posted by crossoverman at 8:11 PM on January 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Critics who seem to be taking it personally when the cast/crew "lied" to them during press junkets...
This drives me crazy. It's literally these people's job not to spoil upcoming plot points. Then interviewers try to back them into a corner with conversation-stopping binary questions, leaving them the option of a) not doing their job, b) evading, which sounds suspicious and is perilously close to a, or c) lying, and then they are shocked, shocked when it turns out that they gave misleading answers, because lying is wrong!

Seriously.

(Apart from everything else, interviews like this annoy me because they're such shitty, pointless interviews. Stop wasting time trying to get this actor to reveal a spoiler, which he clearly isn't going to do, and ask him something interesting about what he thinks about the show. Ideally not the same thing that he was asked in the twelve previous interviews I watched. Otherwise why are you even here?)
posted by confluency at 2:38 AM on January 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


If the Terran Empire doesn't have a spore drive, is the ISS Discovery still in the Prime universe? Is there even an ISS Discovery?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:39 AM on January 23, 2018


How's this for a good headline? Objects in Mirror are more Evil than they Appear (and it seems their previous reviews may be similarly well-titled.)
posted by Coaticass at 5:15 AM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


That link to the Tor.com review at top right is borked, by the way.
posted by Coaticass at 5:19 AM on January 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


If the Terran Empire doesn't have a spore drive, is the ISS Discovery still in the Prime universe? Is there even an ISS Discovery?

There's definitely an ISS Discovery because Terran Empire files have records on it and its Captain Tilly. It's MIA right now in the Mirror Universe and the USS Discovery crew assumes it's been swapped over to the prime universe because of spore drive magic. Recall that when USS Discovery made its spore drive trip into the Mirror Universe, there were briefly two Discovery ships on screen. I'm guessing one of them was the ISS and that's where the swap happened.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:45 AM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


That link to the Tor.com review at top right is borked, by the way.

Thanks. Redid that; I hope it works.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:11 AM on January 23, 2018


Does the Mirror Universe have a Section 31?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:14 AM on January 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


Does the Mirror Universe even need a Section 31?
posted by tobascodagama at 7:37 AM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Actually, I take that back, Mirror Section 31 (Section 13?) exists but is all about finding peaceful diplomatic solutions to problems.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:38 AM on January 23, 2018 [12 favorites]


Question: Michael has been Captain of her own ship for an unspecified amount of time with a crew made up entirely of Mirror Universe people (excluding Voq / Ash).

Why didnt she notice that they have a sensitivity to light before?

I'm guessing the answer is 'Because Plot' but I would like to hear any less stupid and more plausible reasoning.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:08 PM on January 22 [+] [!]


I imagine most Terran ships have tinted windows. If Emperor Georgiou suspected Lorca might be Terran, showing and explaining the light sensitivity would be a good way to check, without putting Burham on the defensive.
posted by Harpocrates at 7:45 AM on January 23, 2018


I rankled a bit at Burnham revealing the spore drive as well. BUT... it's also an established personality trait for Burnham that she responds to moments of crushingly likely defeat by making a bold hail mary and trusting herself to figure it out in time. So it makes a kind of sense.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 AM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


7) Did the Stametses wake up in their correct respective universes? I kind of thought that Prime Stamets woke up in the MU. I could be wrong. I'll rewatch tomorrow.

Prime Stamets woke up on his Discovery (formerly USS) in the Mirror Universe.
Mirror Stamets woke up on the I.S.S. Charon, which is also in the Mirror Universe.

@rich_mccarty: I need to watch the (truly amazing) episode again, but... when Prime and Mirror Stamets came out of their trippy coma, did anyone get the impression that Prime woke up in Mirror's body? Is that a thing? Or was I pouring the vodka too strong last night? @startrekcbs @albinokid

Anthony Rapp [Verified account] @albinokid: [Replying to @rich_mccarty @startrekcbs]
...it’s an interesting theory but it’s not what happened. Sorry if we misled you into thinking that.
posted by zarq at 8:45 AM on January 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Mirror Section 31 (Section 13?) exists but is all about finding peaceful diplomatic solutions to problems.

Well, now I know what I want Season 2 to be about.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:57 AM on January 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


On a continuing basis, my spouse and I basically read Fanfare for Steven Universe, The Good Place, and Discovery. So right now we're doing a lot of joking along the lines of "Mirror Stamets is Pink Diamond" and "Lorca and Michael are Michael and Eleanor" or what have you.

Congrats to everyone who thought up their fan theories that the Lorca we knew was actually from the Mirror Universe! You were right!
posted by brainwane at 9:21 AM on January 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


I too was confused about Stamets waking up. I think it was confusingly edited. Something about the narrative expected me to see Prime!Stamets first but instead the first camera shot is of Mirror!Stamets. (Or vice versa.) Really they need to put some evil goatees on people so we can keep them straight.
posted by Nelson at 9:48 AM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Coincidence or clue- "USS Discovery NCC-1031"
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2018


Coincidence or clue- "USS Discovery NCC-1031"

Perhaps a red herring?
Final Analysis: Possible, but unlikely

While the USS Discovery’s mission certainly seems top secret, there is no evidence to suggest that it is working completely outside of Starfleet. Section 31 is supposed to be the most clandestine organization in the Federation, designating a vessel after itself doesn’t seem very smart; not to mention the fact that it’s hard for a large starship near a warzone to fly under the radar, so to speak. Bryan Fuller is known to drop certain Easter Eggs into his work. Given that his favorite holiday is Halloween (10/31), the Discovery’s designation NCC-1031 is more likely just another reference he dropped into one of his productions. The USS Glenn which was also doing covert testing was NCC-1030, there’s no hidden “31” in the Glenn’s registry.

The black alert has been defined as a special alert for the spore drives. We don’t have an explanation for the black badges yet, but it may just be related to heightened security. Again. Section 31 is a covert organization, so it is unlikely they would have their own special badges.

Lorca may not be your typical captain talking about peace, diplomacy and the prime directive, but he makes no secret about how he is a warrior. In fact, he seems rather frustrated with the USS Discovery being full of scientists who he has to coerce into fighting. His menagerie may be creepy, but it fits in with his warrior persona.

Landry certainly did not fit into what is understood to be a Starfleet officer in any century. We have seen some bad apples and even prejudice, but Landry took it to another level. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean she was Section 31. More likely, she was simply written as a rather one dimensional character. Remember, Section 31 is practically unheard of, even to top admiralty of Starfleet, so a Section 31 operative is not a mustache twirling villain, the whole point is to not draw attention to yourself.

posted by zarq at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


That this episode was only 37 minutes makes me wish they'd spent some time with the rest of the bridge crew, seeing how other people dealt with being stuck in the Mirror Universe. They literally had time to spare! We've seen more of the Mirror Universe crew than the Regular Universe crew!

Other thoughts:
- They had better do something with Culber other than this, or else his death will have been both unnecessary (in that simply knocking him out would have served just as well for Voq in the moment) and (as already noted) problematic.
- I'm confused about what L’Rell/Voq's plan was; send Voq to kill Burnham? To gather intelligence? What were they trying to accomplish? I get the thematic resonance on mirroring and identity, but as an actual narrative it feels vaguely defined. Maybe we'll find out later?
- I continue to be slightly aggrieved at how the show seems unconcerned with distance and travel times (looking back over the last few episodes), particularly in that being able to cross large distances quickly is sort of the whole point of the spore drive; everything feels very close together in this show.
- Having the Discovery make it back and become Section 31 -- or have parts of the crew go and do that -- would be one way of burying both the spore drive and also knowledge of the Mirror Universe without stranding the Discovery in the MU.
- Do we know for a fact that Mirror Burnham is actually dead? She's 'reported missing,' the same as Lorca was -- could there be a Mirror Burnham out there looking for revenge on Mirror Lorca?

This season has felt rather twist-heavy and also has rarely surprised me; I'm fine with not being surprised, but I wish they would spend more time just letting characters develop so that these twists would feel more like changes to the status quo rather than a revelation of the status quo -- for example, it would have been nice to have a Culber-centric episode prior to this point. It would be even better to have a Culber-centric episode after this point, but.
posted by cjelli at 10:34 AM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


It really is short...I thought I just got whooshed through on the first watch. But no!

Now I am even crankier about Culber. Seriously, what is with the spirit guide thing? Why is he even there? Are there more dead people in the mycelial network? How did he get there? It just makes no sense *and* it's vaguely insulting. Grrr. Still mad.

L'Rell definitely did not say that they killed Original Tyler, just that they harvested bits. And I didn't find any reference to the whole "mother, give me drink" speech thing; was that new for this episode or was it a reference?

Watching Burnham eating ganglia does not get less upsetting on rewatch. Especially while Saru is over on Discovery being a very calm badass.
posted by sldownard at 12:51 PM on January 23, 2018


UGH. I hate all the twists. You could see them all coming from a mile away, but you kept hoping they wouldn't, because it would make the characters less interesting. It might have some of Fuller's design elements now, but all the characters feel entirely like a Kurtzman production. Characters exist only to make interesting plot points, and their motivations should be bent if the resulting reveal is cool enough.

I will keep watching. But grumpily.
posted by politikitty at 12:59 PM on January 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think Culber is going to be continuing to show up for Stamets in the future. Their scene here seems like a chance for them to say goodbye properly and Culber giving Stamets a way back out of Mushroom Hill Zone. That does not make Culber's death any less egregious and I'm increasingly without hope that they will do anything to further palliate matters.

I also don't see how promising the spore drive to the Emperor was a bad call, per se. For one, she hasn't actually done it yet, and we've already seen that the spore drive is incredibly fickle and hard to operate successfully. Having the schematics is just one part of the puzzle, and anyway it seems pretty clear that the mycelial network is not doing well. Chances are spore drive's usefulness is very limited in the future.

As to "Why wouldn't Voyager use Spore Drive to get home?" I'd say it's either still not usable in the future, Starfleet swore off the technology because of the damage it does to the mycelial network, or information on the spore drive is highly classified in Voyager's time, or even at its best it was a wildly dangerous technology. Ultimately, you might as well just ask why Voyager didn't use whatever method the Enterprise used to reach either the center of the galaxy or the edge of the galaxy, either of which ought to have been decades-long voyages.

Anyway, since Ash is Voq and Lorca is Mirror!Lorca both turned out true, here is my new predictions:
1) Mirror Michael will show up and kill Emperor Georgiou.
2) Prime Lorca will show up and the Lorcii will kill each other.
3) Stamets will die getting the Discovery back to the prime universe and stopping the corruption of the mycelial network.
4) We will continue to learn next to nothing about the Discovery bridge crew or any other Discovery crew member other than the seven or so the series has dwelled on.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think attempts to bridge TOS Klingons, Movie Klingons, TNG Klingons, and Disco Klingons should be left in the realm of "we got better at FX." (Along with the Disco set design. The scripts always treated Starship bridges as rich information interfaces, even when Nimoy, Doohan, and Kelly were just reciting lines while looking at blinking lights.)

I'm disappointed in the Tyler plot line. He follows Seven of Nine in the category of, "it was rape, or was it?" plots. And I'm annoyed that the arc of this season is, "it can't get worse, or can it?" Still, Trek is Trek. I'm rooting for Saru.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


4) We will continue to learn next to nothing about the Discovery bridge crew or any other Discovery crew member other than the seven or so the series has dwelled on.

I think this is the biggest failing of the series (speaking as a fairly big fan). Particularly with regard to the helmsman, who was apparently disabled in some way at the Battle of the Binary Stars and seems to blame Burnham for it but who has barely been allowed to speak on camera.

I also have some intense personal headcanon devoted to what's really going on with Crewman Robot Head, while we're on the subject.
posted by gerryblog at 4:25 PM on January 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


Stamets will die getting the Discovery back to the prime universe and stopping the corruption of the mycelial network.

I have to admit, this one worries me a bit, though I was thinking more ascend to a higher plane/join the network and phantom Culber sort of thing, mostly since I can't think of a good reason why Stamets character would be in a second season of the show if there is no spore drive and the Klingons aren't a major threat since Stamets was pressed into service against his will by Lorca and astromycology doesn't seem the most useful hook to craft stories around for an ongoing main character. That it would seem to violate their claims about the character(s) is the only reason I have to be more optimistic at the moment.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:43 PM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Writer Jordon Nardino (@jnardino) explains his thoughts behind Emperor Georgiou's titles and names.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:59 PM on January 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Nardino's linked twitter thread above is pretty crucial stuff. It clarifies the (Nardino-headcanon) role of Hoshi Sato and hypothetical lines of power descent to Giorgiou.

(I keep hearing "Andor" as "Endor", which never fails to amuse me)
posted by mwhybark at 8:21 PM on January 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


it pretty singlehandedly deals with the complaints that Discovery and Lorca didn’t fit with the principles of Starfleet - that’s because under his helm *it wasn’t* Starfleet.

Interestingly, this also points to a subtle critique the show makes of Starfleet itself - that its adherence to a rigid hierarchy makes it unable to deal with commanders of questionable ethics leading its crews to do things that conflict with Starfleet principles, and that those principles themselves become considerably more flexible in times of crisis (as they do for many governments).
posted by whir at 10:37 PM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


L'Rell obviously doesn't know what she is doing to Voq/Ash, since the results of the original procedure are CLEARLY so far from what she was expecting. I hereby strike her name off my list of recommended brain surgeons.
posted by Coaticass at 5:34 AM on January 24, 2018 [12 favorites]


I hereby strike her name off my list of recommended brain surgeons.

Okay, sure, but if you're ever looking for some cosmetic surgery she's hard to beat! Though the procedure is evidently a wee bit painful I gather.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:54 AM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nardino's linked twitter thread above is pretty crucial stuff. It clarifies the (Nardino-headcanon) role of Hoshi Sato and hypothetical lines of power descent to Giorgiou.

OK, be honest here, people. Did any of you expect that we would ever seriously discuss the events of Enterprise and label how those characters link up with anything as "crucial"?
posted by Servo5678 at 5:56 AM on January 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


>I hereby strike her name off my list of recommended brain surgeons.

Okay, sure, but if you're ever looking for some cosmetic surgery she's hard to beat! Though the procedure is evidently a wee bit painful I gather.


I've been hearing a lot of buzz about her 'two for the price of one!' deal.
posted by cjelli at 6:46 AM on January 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


To be fair, the Mirror Universe two-parter is about the only worthwhile contribution that Enterprise made to Trek Canon. Unless you think the Temporal Cold War should make a comeback?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:37 AM on January 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


OK, be honest here, people. Did any of you expect that we would ever seriously discuss the events of Enterprise and label how those characters link up with anything as "crucial"?

It's sort of felt like Marvel's inclusion of a Howard the Duck cameo at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. Somewhat WTF, but also deeply cool.

The In a Mirror, Darkly episodes of Enterprise are possibly the best the show ever produced in terms of continuity fanservice.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on January 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the Mirror Universe two-parter is about the only worthwhile contribution that Enterprise made to Trek Canon.

The ENT S3 "Search for the Xindi superweapon" arc remains one of my favorites, and the Xindi - five sentient species from the same planet, more or less coexisting - are one of the more original societies we see in Trek, and one I wouldn't mind visiting again.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:08 AM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm still really confused about what actually got done to Tyler / Voq. Is the Tyler we see now a surgically-altered Voq (that is somehow genetically human), or a mentally-altered Tyler? Between the scar tissue, the genome extraction, and the electro-brain hands I have no idea.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:50 AM on January 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


Okay, sure, but if you're ever looking for some cosmetic surgery she's hard to beat!

Arguably a valuable skill in the Trekverse, given how often we see it. Kirk as a Romulan, Troi as a Romulan, Kira as a Cardassian, Dukat as a Bajoran, and Sisko, O'Brien, and a solidified Odo all as Klingons, just off the top of my head...well, I'll just point you to the cosmetic surgery entry on Memory Alpha. Not all of the examples there are cross-species disguises, but many are.

In fact, given the number of times people of one species pose as another, either for espionage/infiltration, or just to avoid "contaminating" a pre-warp society, one could construct a heirarchy of the depth of the disguise:

0 - no disguise used. Either the subject is similar enough to the target species to pass without comment (how many times have we visited pre-warp planets where everyone looked human?) or else any differences are passed off as being from a different region or something.

1 - clothing and/or makeup only to disguise distinguishing features, e.g., Spock's knit cap in "City on the Edge of Forever"

2 - cosmetic surgery. Subject appears to be target species upon external examination, without any technology used for examination. (Variant: prosthetics, e.g., Colonel West in the extended cut of STVI, but cosmetic surgery seems to be much more common. Perhaps prosthetics should be 1.9?)

3 - 2+macroscopic internal surgical changes (skeleton, internal organs). Subject appears to be target species upon scan which reveals macroscopic internal anatomy.

4 - 3+genetic rewriting. Appears to be target species upon genetic scan.

5 - 4+false memories and/or other psychological conditioning. Subject believes, or at least suspects, themself to be target species.

[On preview re sevenyearlurk: our "Tyler" is a surgically/genetically/psychologically altered Voq, at least if L'Rell is telling the truth. The real Tyler (never seen on screen) was killed at the Battle of the Binary Stars. L'rell's death howl in this episode suggests she "killed" anything left of Voq's personality, or at least intended to, whereupon you can make a philosophical argument that what's left is Tyler, but the flesh is originally that of Voq. Personally, I'm hoping there are still traces of Voq's personality left, whether through L'Rell's duplicity, or her lack of skill, just because it seems rather anticlimactic if that was really the end of Voq. OTOH, it opens up some interesting possibilities for L'Rell if the show is going to keep her around for a while.]

I'm not sure if we've seen examples of 3 or 4 — none come to mind — but they wouldn't surprise me. Other combinations are possible, e.g., "Second Skin" in which Kira is externally altered to appear Cardassian, plus attempted gaslighting of her to the point where she begins to doubt her identity.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:20 AM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


The ENT S3 "Search for the Xindi superweapon" arc remains one of my favorites, and the Xindi - five sentient species from the same planet, more or less coexisting - are one of the more original societies we see in Trek, and one I wouldn't mind visiting again.

Season 4 was pretty good as well. My favourite Treks are:
  1. Deep Space Nine
  2. Enterprise
  3. Next Generation
  4. TOS
  5. Voyager
Discovery is far too new to rank. I've had a very mixed reaction.

Despise the new Klingon look (they look like former fish people) and the manner of speaking. Appreciate the effort in regard to the sound of the language but it seems over the top.

Mixed reaction to the "change this character or this technology for the plot" tendencies. All of Star Trek is guilty of this and I know I'm not being fair in regard to Discovery but since it's out now, 2017/18 I would appreciate more nuanced plots that some of the more outstanding shows we've seen have displayed. Unfortunately, Star Trek is still managed by companies in the mainstream so we get mainstream television show quality which is usually terrible. That it's not actually on television outside of Canada but is streamed should have allowed more mature story telling. Thus far that's not been the case. I've gotten used to this nonsense though still don't care for it on the old shows but years ago that sort of nonsense was common place and I've grown fond of some of the characters. It remains to be seen how Discovery holds up after a couple of seasons. TOS had many terrible episodes, like Journey to Babel which had a lot of foundation ideas and settings introduced but the episode itself is pretty awful.

I really liked the idea of a different crew/story focus per season like Fargo or True Detective that was floated as a possibility but now seems silly to even think CBS would bother to do something like that.

I'm open, nonetheless, to giving Discovery more time. The first season of Next Generation (and mostly the second) were on average pretty terrible but the show improved. I'm hoping Discovery follows. When that doesn't happen with a Trek show (for me Voyager being the best example) sometimes I can develop an affection for the characters. I'm finding Discovery's character building to be rushed and sign posty thus far.

Enterprise, like Voyager, and it looks like Discovery as well frankly, suffered from terrible executive meddling. The first season of Enterprise was originally supposed to be Earth bound and would have gone much deeper into the establishment of Starfleet and eventually the Federation but the executives insisted that it be ship bound from the start, that we have a transporter (that was then very infrequently used), that we have holo technology (not Starfleet but another species who then passed it on to the Klingons (but not the Enterprise crew who helped them)), a main character in a fucking cat suit (fortunately Visitor, Ryan, and Blalock killed each of their characters despite the cat suit) and sadly that the show have plenty of action. In other words, let's have Next Generation again complete with exteremly intelligent and competent people who can become unfathomnably stupid if the plot requires it.

As for Culber I would not be surprised if L'Rell's technique for transplanting personalities will be used to restore him in some way because it's Star Trek so why not.

I just wish the executives respected the audience more.
posted by juiceCake at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


1 - clothing and/or makeup only to disguise distinguishing features, e.g., Spock's knit cap in "City on the Edge of Forever"

Also, rubber prosthetics.

There was an episode of Enterprise where Phlox disguises the Captain and Mayweather using rubber facial prosthetics to mimic forehead ridges. They get captured and Archer gets beaten up by the local Gestapo. The punching tears the rubber half off his face. They peel it off to find (*gasp!*) he has a smooth forehead! So they take detailed medical scans and find out his blood is the wrong color and his organs are in the wrong place.

Oops.

So Archer tells them he and Mayweather are supersoldier spies, genetically designed by their enemies on another continent to infiltrate and eventually invade.

Not one of his brightest moments.
posted by zarq at 10:47 AM on January 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm hoping there are still traces of Voq's personality left, whether through L'Rell's duplicity, or her lack of skill, just because it seems rather anticlimactic if that was really the end of Voq.

I took it more as L'Rell unified Voq and Tyler's essences rather than erases Voq. First because I can't see why she would find erasing Voq completely as acceptable, and second because the Klingon prayer like thing he as speaking continued on after the "surgery" but in English instead of Klingon, to me, suggesting Voq's knowledge is still there, but no longer in conflict with Tyler's being.

I assumed the original plan was that at the appointed time, Tyler's personality would be submerged or erased and Voq's alone would dominate. The unexpected tenacity of Tyler's being screwed that up and led to an internal battle between the two personas and this procedure somehow resolved that by merging them. I could be wrong about that of course, but that's what makes the most sense to me taking the entirety of it all into account.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Last episode, Burnham makes a big deal out of trying to understand what unified the Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians, &c., and concludes that it was the existence of a common enemy that helped bridge the gap between their respective cultures. In this episode, we're presented with two potential common enemies: Lorca, who seems set to at least temporarily bring the Terran Empire and the United Federation of Planets into an alliance -- and the Terran Empire itself, which, with access to the Prime Universe through Mirror Stamets, presents a potential threat both the Federation and to the Klingon Empire.

Idle speculation: Burnham somehow leverages knowledge of the Mirror Universe to help end the Federation-Klingon war. I'm not particularly expecting that, since I think this was more likely thematic foreshadowing/grounding of Lorca's current-and-upcoming-role, but.
posted by cjelli at 12:18 PM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would be outed so quickly in the mirror universe.

"Hey, why is it so dark in here all the time? Could someone put some lights on?

What?

Oh, sorry...put some fucking lights on or I'll murder you!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Another excellent review from Aussie fan-writer Liz Barr (formerly of No Award).
posted by Coaticass at 4:48 PM on January 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


MERKIN THE TRIBBLE A HA HA HA
posted by mwhybark at 6:40 PM on January 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


I wonder if tribbles like mushrooms.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:38 AM on January 25, 2018


Kelpian Helper: Saruganoff (made me chortle.)
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


ITS FUNNY BECAUSE JASON ISAACS USES HIS MERKIN ACCENT ON THE SHOW AH HA HA HA
posted by mwhybark at 2:23 PM on January 25, 2018


Just this guy, y'know: Wesley goes off with "The Traveller" who is, canonically, a future biomodified Stamets.

In case someone else is tripped up by this: this is not canon, at least not yet. It could be headcanon though.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:46 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


What if both Stameteses are Prime Stamets?

There's no reason why MU Stamets would have needed to wake up at the same instant.

Also, the bridge of the ISS Shenzhou is noticeably darker. I assumed that was heavy-handed symbolism, but it makes sense now.

I suspect we're going to be leaving the MU soon, or we're not going to see much more of the palace. They, uh.. kind of phoned it in on the CG for the ship's exterior.
posted by schmod at 6:40 PM on January 25, 2018


Other headcanon apropos of nothing: MU Voq and Sarek are a couple.
posted by schmod at 6:43 PM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Kelpian is probably delicious to Terrans.

Many species such as frogs and caterpillars have defense mechanisms that rely on being foul tasting to escape predation. Maybe Kelpians have that kind of thing, but it only tastes bad to the Kelpians original biochemistry. To Terrans, though, it could very well have a delightful taste. Asian cuisine incorporates a lot of texture using parts like tendon, tripe, pig skin, cartilaginous tissue like ears, and collagen rich duck's feet - Kelpian should be a cakewalk to cook.
posted by porpoise at 7:41 PM on January 25, 2018


guys is it okay that once in a while, when I see or hear reference to Stamets, I can't not think of Principal Scudworth shouting "STAMOS!"
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:09 PM on January 25, 2018


Doing a little rewatch of the first episode and thought I'd note that after Burnham kills the torchbearer and is in stasis recuperating, she has a flashback to her childhood on Vulcan tasked with a test on Klingon history that intersects with her own orphaning. She fails the test when asked about the survivors of the alleged Klingon attack on Doctari Alpha, of which she is the only one we later learn. The test is aborted and Sarek tells her "When emotions brings us ghosts from the past only logic can root us in the present." Michael suggests she could learn Vulcan to do better, and Sarek responds "The problem isn't your human tongue, it's your human heart."

Given the opening to this episode, where Burnham expresses a fear of Georgiuo's "ghost" to Lorca, it seems the arc is one of not only Michael learning to deal with "ghosts" from her past, but to find the strength in doing so from her human heart that reaches beyond logic alone. Logic may help her find her ground, but the solution must come from some greater emotional knowledge, given the values of the show.

As I suggested earlier, the opening of the series with Georgiou providing a lesson for Michael with the symbol in the sand while saying it is time to talk about Michael having her own command set up Michael's journey for the season and the task she has to prove worthy of. That the symbol is the same as the communications badge that Michael carried for failing to save Georgiou or recover her body since Georgiou couldn't be "found" without the badge and since the opening too was about being lost and finding a way out by use of that symbol, I'd have to imagine the badge itself is going to be part of the bridge Michael finds between her Georgiou and the past and the Emperor Georgiou and the present that provides the way out of the situation and amends her earlier betrayal and weakness, potentially by that com badge now being able to be used for the transport Michael failed to provide her captain Georgiou or something of that sort.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:09 AM on January 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


They'd still have to resolve the Voq/Michael Klingon/Federation issue of course, so Tyler is going to have to be involved. This is made more interesting now given the relationships between Tylervoq and Michael and MirrorLorca and MirrorMichael. They took some pains to show Lorca's similarities to Tylervoq that add further resonance to the Lorca(s)/Michael(s)/TylerVoq(s?) histories in interesting ways. I'll say this for the show, whatever else, they certainly haven't been shy about trying to set up elaborate relationships subtexts.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:21 AM on January 26, 2018


I've started rewatching the early episodes too! And I must say, Michael isn't very logical, in fact she's an impetuous blunderer. It's felt like a bit of a fake out as she's set up as being ruled by her Vulcan training and then, rewatching, she really got everybody killed, starting with the accidental killing on the beacon.

Honestly, if Michael Burnham brings Saru anywhere near these Terrans I will be severely disappointed in her *VULCAN FROWN*
posted by glasseyes at 4:09 AM on January 26, 2018


Anyway I love Sonequa Martin-Green's performance, particularly the way she uses her voice. Sometimes with the timbre and the resonance she sounds like a preacher getting caught up in oratory. Apart from the rest of her range, like when she finds out about the Voq in Tyler.
posted by glasseyes at 4:14 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh, things are about to get interesting.
Don’t trust Jason
Actor Jason Isaacs is having some fun now that Lorca has been revealed to be Mirror Lorca. He will be a guest on this weekend’s After Trek and fans have been asked to send in their questions, but the actor is pointing out we can’t really trust him to answer truthfully.

Jason Isaacs on Twitter: @jasonsfolly: For all those asking if mirror Lorca makes it, if he or prime Lorca will be in season 2 or if this is the end of the mirror universe in #StarTrekDiscovery, why would you trust me? I’ve been lying to you from the beginning!
#BelieveMe #LiarInChief
The bridge crew will apparently feature prominently in the coming episode. Article is here and may contain minor spoilers.
posted by zarq at 4:54 AM on January 26, 2018


On further reflection, I have to wonder whether there's a mirror Torch of Kahless too.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:43 AM on January 26, 2018


My parents are from Karnataka in south India and for dinner, as a child, I commonly ate rice with a spicy soup that's variously known as rasam or saaru. But Michael Burnham probably has not run into this dish and therefore has no reason to fear a Saru saaru.
posted by brainwane at 6:14 AM on January 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Killy, Killy, bo-billy,
Bonana-fanna fo-filly
Fee fi mo-milly,
Killy!
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:30 AM on January 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Buran was of course the first Soviet space shuttle. As a post-nationalist space nerd, I just took it as appropriate homage, something akin to the Leonov in the 2001 mediaverse.

But let's dig a bit, shall we?

The Buran was an unmanned test vehicle, which never completed a crewed flight. The NASA shuttle program had a test vehicle which never completed an orbital flight, but which was instead used for flight test, crewed. The name of that ship, the mirror image of the Soviet Buran? Enterprise, of course.

Nicely done, show. I haven't seen this little fillip bruited previously, although obviously I'm not the first one to think of it - credit must be due to the writers' room, I beleive.
posted by mwhybark at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


Rewatched the episode tonight. When Mirror Stamets and Prime Stamets walk into the mycelial network's hallucinogenic Engineering, this is on the wall.
posted by zarq at 6:42 PM on January 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


sweet catch. where's the pic from? and take note: not ISS, USS.
posted by mwhybark at 8:08 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


(I do see that the image is found on the MA stub for the Stamets)
posted by mwhybark at 8:14 PM on January 26, 2018


Re: Bridge darkness...it is heavy handed symbolism, which they've heavy handedly diegetically retconned. But I'm more than OK with that, although I would have preferred goatees and a retcon for the prevalence of evil facial hairs.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:26 PM on January 26, 2018


the good news is that it's only a matter of time before there's a fancut using contemporary video redub tech that retroappliqués Community darkest-timeline goatees as appropriate. I'm holding out hope for a guest shot by Danny Pudi and Donald Glover.
posted by mwhybark at 8:36 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don’t trust Jason
Actor Jason Isaacs is having some fun now that Lorca has been revealed to be Mirror Lorca. He will be a guest on this weekend’s After Trek and fans have been asked to send in their questions, but the actor is pointing out we can’t really trust him to answer truthfully.


Huh. Are we sure this isn't Mirror!Isaacs we are talking to here?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:27 PM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Anyway I love Sonequa Martin-Green's performance, particularly the way she uses her voice. Sometimes with the timbre and the resonance she sounds like a preacher getting caught up in oratory. Apart from the rest of her range, like when she finds out about the Voq in Tyler.

Did she really pitch up for that? I thought I imagined her going into a higher range, or sound editors taking liberties.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:48 PM on January 27, 2018


I meant her vocal range is amazing, very convincing when expressing emotion as well as sonorous and impressive when emphasizing for effect.
posted by glasseyes at 8:52 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


First because I can't see why she would find erasing Voq completely as acceptable, and second because the Klingon prayer like thing he as speaking continued on after the "surgery"

This makes sense. I can’t see L’Rell killing Voq either, especially not “because he is suffering”.
posted by corb at 9:58 PM on March 25, 2018


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