More spoilers than ever I think.
I think this was my favorite episode so far. It established a couple of very interesting things and was also finally going into some more of the crazy story-telling that we all know and love from Star Trek. In short, we get to experience mind-meldception. But before I get into that...
It should've been clear from the get-go to me, seeing as Michael is Sarek's other child trying to mix Vulcan and Human cultures, but if it wasn't this episode hammered it in. Whereas Spock was a logic man fighting (against) his emotions, Michael is an emotional woman fighting (for) her logic. They're similar in that they both value logic a lot higher than emotions, but that makes perfect sense seeing as they've grown up in the Vulcan logic-driven culture. Both Michael and Spock come off as rude and awkward in human company a lot of the time, this is a point that is often mentioned in TOS where people (mostly McCoy) are shocked by Spocks lack of emotions even in the worst of situations. They think not crying/shouting/cursing means you're not caring. Michael, just like Spock has had her issues growing up in the Vulcan society, trying to balance these two worlds - although of course the Vulcans would rather the human side was completely eradicated meaning they see no value in it whatsoever. Star Trek, and again TOS mainly, goes a long way to show that emotions have their time and place too. That is something this episode also tries to do, and I think it succeeds.
Speaking of Sarek, his ship has been blown up by an assassin Vulcan (apparently that's a thing) part of a terrorist faction who don't want Vulcans to work with humans. Sarek is drifting around in a nebulae that looks a lot like those 3d pictures I always failed to see back in the 90's and his Katra-meld with Michael is the only thing that can save him. In the end she basically does a mindmeld within the katra-meld. This story is just the kind of oddball that I love about Star Trek, especially since it is used for an interesting and rewarding purpose. Lorca immediately sets out on a rescue mission against the express commands of the Federation. Michael has to force herself into Sareks mind, which allows her to learn that when given the choice Sarek chose Spock before Michael for the Vulcan Expeditionary Force. Sarek had told Michael she had failed the test. I thought Vulcans don't lie? I know they do on several occasions, but it's still something they make a pretty big point out of in TOS.
|Nebulae or 3d picture?|
Also how does it work when Michael can see scenes in Sareks memory that he can't possibly have witnessed himself? In this particular case it might've been her memory mixed in with his memory, but eh /shrug.
A lot of people have been complaining about the anachronistic problems that arise when you make a prequel - in this episode we see that the Discovery has a very advanced holo-deck, something that of course wasn't present in TOS which is set after STD. I guess you can explain it that the technology existed, it just wasn't anything that was used on the Enterprise. It's not something that bothers me a lot, as long as it's not story breaking as in STD showcasing something that was actually invented/discovered as a plot point in another episode set after in time. I am sure this happens, but I haven't noticed any so far.
The guy Lorca escapes with in the previous episode, apparently named Ash Tyler, turns out to be one heck of a guy. So good in fact that Lorca basically offers him the Chief Security position on the spot. As we know, the previous security chief died a horrible death after an incredibly stupid decision to let loose the tardigrade on her own (well Michael was in the room, but unarmed), then aggravate it, although knowing it had killed several armed Klingons and torn through armed ship hull like it was butter. She was clearly not very good at her job. Also clearly, Lorca doesn't care who he pisses off in the ranking system that was actually in line to get that position, but that does seem in character.
I'm not sure what I think about Ash yet though... he seems pretty bland, but then again so did a lot of characters in other ST series (hello Dr Crusher, Harry Kim and actually come to think of it, almost everyone from NG).
|I was in camp Pulaski. Yeah you read that right.|
Speaking of Lorca, we get to learn a lot more about him. He is possibly, and probably, the only (main character) captain in Star Trek so far with a very dubious character and moral code. I would say he verges on psychopathic. Lorca gets another visit from Admiral Cornwell, they've bickered enough in the past to not make it come as much of a surprise when it turns out they've been some sort of couple-item in the past. Cornwell, who also seems to be a psychiatrist when she's not being an admiral, tells Lorca she thinks he has major issues (I am euphemizing here) and wants him to relinquish control of the ship. Lorca breaks down and pleads to her, as an old friend, not to ruin him. Cornwell answers, in what is a great scene and reply -"I hate that I can't tell if that is really you".
The food replicators tell you everything you need to know about the dish you're ordering, making them effectively more annoying than Neelix.
|Actually, I kinda liked Neelix.|
Sarek was on the way to negotiate some sort of truce between the Federation and some break-off Klingon houses, but since he has been hurt he can't do that anymore. Lorca suggests that Admiral Cornwell does it in his stead, and the second he said that I knew that Cornwell was dead. That would solve the story "problem" of her threatening to remove him from command of the Discovery. Literally the last thing she says before she flies off to meet the Klingons is "we'll discuss how you are going to step down when I get back". Well, you ain't coming back obviously - Hollywood writing 101.
She wasn't killed though, to my surprise, but indeed kidnapped. Somehow I doubt she will be let off as easily as Lorca was, he seems to have been kidnapped by the only completely incompetent Klingon out there. What's very interesting though is that Lorca doesn't set out to immediately rescue her but instead tells a very surprised Saru that he wants to go "through the proper channels and wait for the command". Clearly completely against everything he has done in the past, and another sign that Lorca isn't above throwing anyone to the wolves if it fits his plans and needs. Very interesting indeed.