Monday, January 8, 2018

Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Ep 10

Despite Yourself

And we're back! I really thought this episode would be called Mirror, Mirror after seeing it, because that is essentially the episode we got. It started off a bit slow but the second half got increasingly interesting.

Even though I quite liked the previous episode and thought the first half of the season was fairly entertaining, I realized as this episode aired that I hadn't really missed it. Oh-oh, bad sign. I think that might also be why I thought the episode started a bit slow, because I wasn't really into it. That, and I recently started watching The Expanse (I'm only at episode 5 yet though) and that got my attention way more than this series has so far. Storywise they're not really comparable as they play out completely differently, but storytelling-wise I feel like ST has some to learn when it comes to character build-up and pacing. Anyway, let's get on to today's episode.

In the last episode we left off at a real cliffhanger - Discovery made a faulty jump and ended up only Kahless knows where. Seeing that I speculated whether they were doing a Voyager, although I didn't find it very likely as it would change the style of the story too much.

I miss these Klingons actually...

First thing that happens is that a Vulcan spaceship shows up and fires at them. Everyone is confused. Me too, why would such a tiny little ship even dare to bother what is among the best ships in the Federation army? It quickly turns out that Discovery didn't get lost in space, but in dimensions. Welcome to the Mirror, Mirror episode where everyone is really, really evil and the Vulcans have apparently teamed up with the Klingons (and the Andorians). We can all assume it is the same parallell universe that Kirk & Co stumbles upon in their episode that started it all. Not only is the Federation an Empire that pretty much kills everything and everyone, including themselves, on sight and opportunity - people seem to have swapped personalities as well. So it is that Tilly, the least likely candidate in our universe, is actually the ruthless murder machine known as Captain Killy (yes, for real) in our alternate universe, and captain of the Discovery. Michael and Lorca are presumed dead.

Tyler continues to struggle with his PTSD and gets some much needed character development. I have really not found him particularly interesting so far, but in this episode everything is leaning towards that he is in fact an actual Klingon, changed to look like a meek human. This is interesting, too bad so many things surrounding the reveal just seem weird.

Firstly, Tyler spends a lot of time talking to and agonizing over L'Rell by her prison cell. He even lets her out at one point although it is not entirely clear whether he just dreams this or not. I just keep wondering where the security is? This is presumably your only threat on the ship, and there is no guard, no cameras, no nothing to keep track of what is going on in there? I'd assume you'd even log every entry into that room just to make sure you know why anyone would visit your only, and quite important, prisoner. Especially when it seems to happen as often as with Tyler.

Secondly, Tyler goes to talk to the Doctor whose name I can never recall (so he'll just be Doctor with a capital D) and ask him to help him with his PTSD. Eventually the Doctor finds out that Tyler is sufficiently weird to point to the fact that he is in fact not Tyler at all. Tyler quickly goes on to kill the doctor (a move that quite surprised me actually). Why did these massive changes to Tylers body not raise question marks to begin with? And does no system on the ship react when someone is killed? Isn't that a function of the badges, to keep track of life signs? I'm pretty sure they've been used to track life signs in other ST episodes (can't remember exactly where though) but either way it seems odd that there is no reaction whatsoever.

Or is it just made of cloth?

Thirdly, they go on to find out who everyones counterpart is and what they're up to in this universe. That is how they find out that Lorca and Michael have a history and are presumed dead and that Tilly is Killy. But nothing on Tyler? Considering how important it is that he doesn't bump into himself for the upcoming mission (read further down) you'd think they'd do this. But if they did they'd find out he doesn't actually exist. So I guess that reveal is left for another episode for plot reasons (namely bringing him on said mission). Which also makes me wonder if they mentioned that his records don't exist in the Federation database? Do they? I can't remember!

Also there is a scene where Lorca tells the Doctor he'll give the case of Stamets (who, by the way, seems to know who Tyler really is in his delusional state) to another doctor. This scene only seems to be there to throw further fuel on the case of Lorca's dubiousness, because this other doctor is never seen and not present in the room with Stamets when the Doctor is killed.

Everyone is eager to get back to their own universe, so they think up a totally crazy mission involving getting on the Shenzhou (the ship that Michael was on in the beginning of the series that was destroyed, it still exists in the parallell universe) to get to information about the Defiant, which is a ship that apparently managed to make the jump between parallell universes without the spore-drive. (EDIT: After a short brain-lapse I realized it of course has to refer to THE Defiant from many other Star Trek series. That is a very nice touch.) Also apparently that information is classified and hidden on the Shenzhou.

Again I am not entirely sure why no one but Stamets can use the spore-drive? This is a point I brought up in another post, but I don't know how Stamets was uniquely qualified except for the fact that he came up with the idea. I still don't think that would in any way help him for the experience that is the spore-drive. Since he managed over 100 jumps before succumbing to whatever illness he has, surely someone could give it a go for a couple of jumps just to see if that would work? I still think that is less of a gamble than the plan they settle on.

Back to that plan - Michael gets on the Shenzhou with Lorca as a prisoner, because in this universe that is how things are, and while Lorca gets tortured Michael is getting comfortable in the captain's chair. For some reason they still apparently have no one more qualified to join than a clearly less than able PTSD:d and probably Klingon agent Tyler. I also find that really hard to believe, since just a couple of scenes earlier Tyler nearly botches a simple job because he gets too stressed out. Really, this is the guy you want to bring on this highly important and extremely risky operation?

So everything surrounding Tylers secret nature isn't handled well and full of plotholes, which is really unfortunate because the premise is interesting and could turn out cool.

Again, overall an ok episode which at least makes me want to see the next one and to be fair that is more than can be said about a lot of TV-series for me, so I guess that is pretty good.

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