We finally get to know who Tyler really is, and by this point it should've been obvious. Of course I was the last to figure out, because I am really bad at these things, but we'll get to that...
When the episode started I was confused. I had completely forgotten the ending of the last episode where they were trying to be their own evil counterparts and Michael was now the captain on the Shenzhou. Michael is clearly uncomfortable being morally derelict, and it all gets worse when she is ordered by the mysterious emperor to wipe out a rebel base they've found on a nearby planet. Michael goes to discuss the matter with Lorca who think the most important part is that they keep their cover. Michael convinces him that he is losing his grip in things and that there is a different way, in a scene that is a bit uncharacteristic for Lorca in that he seems unsure about himself for the first time so far. It's understandable though, considering all the torture he has gone through so far.
Again, just as in the previous episode where Tyler was clearly able to visit L'Rell in the brig without anyone minding, Michael is left alone with Lorca without any trouble. Sure, she's the captain and she can order whatever she wants, but in a totalitarian and backstabbing state like that it's still surprising that no one is curious as to why she is spending so much time with him.
Michaels plan is to infiltrate the rebel base instead, to steal information on where all their bases are and so have the means to destroy more than just one. At least that is what she tells everyone else - her real plan is to warn them of the attack, while at the same time get information on how the Klingons manages to be in a coalition with so many other species - information she thinks can be highly useful back in their own universe.
I like the moral conundrum though, and feel like it's a nice throwback to some of the best Star Trek episodes. Should Michael sacrifice the rebels of this universe for the greater good of the people back in her universe? This reminds me of episodes like "Similitude" of ENT, where they clone Tucker to harvest the organs for the "real" Tucker who is dying from an accident. That Star Trek episode actually had me crying at the end. Another good one is the "Nothing Human" episode of VOY, where the Doctor is set with the conundrum of using medical information obtained through immoral means to save one of his patients. In this episode, the conundrum is more of a setup of for the rest of the plot rather than the point of the episode, but it was an interesting reminder of some of the things that I really like about Star Trek.
|"You only exist so we can harvest your organs. Nothing personal."|
Also I was reminded that the doctor of Discovery is called Culber. Let's see how long it takes me to forget. EXTRA SPOILER HERE! I read an interview with Jonathan Frakes who directed the episode where Culber dies, and he sort of hints that it's not the last we see of him. It doesn't mean much, but I wish I hadn't read it none the less. END EXTRA SPOILER.
This episode actually sets out to explain a lot of things. So we get to know about more about what is happening to Stamets. In essence he is turning into a tardigrade, sort of, maybe? I didn't really get much of it, but Tilly says she wants to try to fix him using the spores and to no surprise of course it fails, because that would've been to easy otherwise.
Michael also speaks to Saru on the Discovery, telling him that she has the information about the Defiant that they need but no good way to transport it off the ship without anyone noticing. We also get to see that in this universe, Saru is a slave. For some reason Michael chooses not to tell Saru when he asks if she has encountered any Kelpians like him.
Back on the Shenzhou Michael and Tyler are ready to get beamed down. I wouldn't trust anyone beaming me anywhere in a regime where beaming people into open space is the go-to way of execution. How is Burnham to make sure that the people at the controls don't just do that or beam her into a wall or straight into the rebel base? I'd take a shuttle...
|Just saying, it CAN happen.|
Once they're on the surface they get shot on a bit but as soon as they lay down their weapons the rebels decide to listen to what they have to say. Considering the Terrans are such a scourge in this universe that Klingons have decided to be BFFs with Vulcans, the rebels are awfully trusting.
They are taken to the rebel leader, who happens to be on this exact base that they found? Pretty lucky ain't it. It also happens to be Voq, if ya'll still remember him? In this universe he has fared a bit better than back home and I've been wondering what happened to him after L'Rell said she was going to take care of thing a lot of episodes ago. Well, we don't have to wait much longer for that answer... Tyler starts acting very weird around Voq and it all ends with Tyler shouting things in Klingon and trying to murder him. Fortunately he fails but obviously now Michael has had it with Tyler's weirdness. Before they leave though she tells the rebels she is giving them an hour to evacuate before she'll blast everything for show.
When she confronts him back on the Shenzhou we get to find out that Tyler is in fact Voq, in a twist that, as I mentioned before, came as a surprise to no one. Since I am a bit daft I only realized this was the case when Tyler met Voq in the rebel base, but it was really quite obvious. We don't get to hear anything about Voq since episode 3 (or so) and it's clear Tyler is a Klingon. Of course he is Voq! (It doesn't help that the information is on IMDB where I go to look for other information every now and then, but clearly missed this).
He tries to murder Michael, and almost would've made it too if it wasn't for the meddling slave-Saru who comes in and saves her life. Voq/Tyler is taken prisoner and sentenced to death. Michael beams him into cold space herself and as we see Voq/Tyler floating around there we know it can't be the end of him because that would just be stupid. Of course, he gets saved. By Discovery?!
|Who fortunately looks nothing like this.|
Saru beams him onto the Discovery and says some stuff about how even though they're not in their own universe they need to abide by Federation law and put Voq/Tyler on trial. At first I thought he was stupid, but turns out Michael used Voq/Tyler as a means to transfer the data disk of information on the Defiant. Very clever! Very odd however that no one notices that Voq/Tyler has been beamed out of space again.
Then the episode ends with the rebel base being destroyed ahead of time by another ship, presumably killing everyone in it including Voq and Sarek (whom, I forgot to mention, also is there). Then Shenzhou gets a personal visit from the emperor himself, actually herself, because it turns out to be none less than Phillippa Georgiou in this universe. And she is not happy with Michael disobeying orders on destroying the rebel base.
This episode was good in the sense that it answered, or at least laid open, a lot of the things that it has been lurking for the last couple of episodes. And it ends in a place where even though a lot of things have just been clarified, we really want to know where things are going from here. Is Michael going to be found out? Is Voq/Tyler going to reunite with L'Rell now that they're both in the brig (I'm assuming they only have one brig, but I would really not put those two anywhere near each other) and scheme murderous plans? How long will Lorca want to deal with the torture and how will it further deteriorate his mental state? Will they be able to get back to their own universe with the information they have on the Defiant (that seems like a given)?
Sucks to be Voq/Tyler though, who went through all that trouble to become human so he could infiltrate them to steal information, and not really accomplish any of that. Or did he?
I'm definitely looking forward to the next episode and that is always a good sign.