Sunday night featured the midseason finale of After Trek, which has grown into a fun and informative after show for Discovery. Host Matt Mira welcomed stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham) and Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly), with writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt joining via subspace. We have highlights and video clips.
Writers hint at what is happening with Stamets and Lorca at the end of midseason finale
Writers and executive story editors Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt Skyped in to talk about writing the midseason finale, with Kim noting the episode title was part of the John Muir quote “Into the forest I go, to ease my mind and soul,” a metaphor for the journey Burnham has been through.
When asked what was up with Stamets following the his collapse after the last jump in the finale, Lippoldt said:
We set up in episode 7 and episode 8 that something weird is happening as a consequence of Stamets injecting himself with tardigrade DNA. So, you can imagine there has been a cumulative effect doing these repeated jumps, 133 in a matter of minutes has probably offset his biology a little bit. So, that last jump clearly has affected his mind in a way that we haven’t seen before.
Speaking of the number 133, it was revealed on the show the writers picked that number as an homage to “33,” the title of the first episode of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, written by Trek vet Ron Moore. (They’d originally considered making it 525,600, an homage to the song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway show “Rent,” which Anthony Rapp is famous for starring in.)
The writers were asked if Lorca wasn’t really happy to see Admiral Cornwell rescued as the last time he saw her she had threatened to take his command away. But Lippoldt noted that circumstances have changed, especially given how the midseason finale ended:
It’s a little bit more complicated than that now. In episode 6 they were still earlier on on the war and Cornwell had seen that Lorca was possibly psychologically compromised. But now he has just got this huge victory for Starfleet by breaking the Klingon cloak and we saw in that scene with Admiral Terral that he is going to be rewarded for it. So, that is going to put him in a stronger position than he was before. And of course we have that scene at the end, where Saru declares they don’t know exactly where they are. So, depending on where they end up, that might just be a moot point.
Regarding bringing back Cornewll, Lippoldt noted:
We definitely wanted to keep her alive because we do love Jayne [Brook] and as having a female admiral having that kind of authority in Starfleet is a character we wanted to keep around.
They also gave a special shout-out to Martin-Green for the single tear she shed when Burnham comforts Tyler after his confession, pointing out that it was completely unscripted.
Midseason finale gave Burnham forgiveness
Sonequa Martin-Green talked about how the mission to the Sarcophogus ship in the midseason finale capped off her character’s redemption arc:
This has been such a journey to redemption and getting forgiveness … When I was in that prison cell, I thought that is where I was going to spend the rest of my life so the only thing I was going to be able to get is penitence. But with being sort of forced onto Discovery by Lorca and being able to put a hand in ending the war, and avenging Captain Georgiou.
Martin-Green also highlighted what she saw as the four pivotal moments for Burnham’s journey through the first chapter of Discovery: Her nerve-pinching mutiny, realizing her life was built on a lie from Sarek, opening up her heart to Tyler, and avenging Georgiou. The show also featured a package that showed Michael Burnham’s journey from the pilot to the midseason finale, watch that below.
Martin-Green talks Burnham’s love and L’Rell’s hold on Tyler
Martin-Green also talked about the relationship between Burnham and Lt. Tyler, confirming they are in love, saying:
“Yes … and so is Tyler. I can say, they are falling.”
The show ventured close into discussing the the prominent fan theory about Lt. Tyler and his connection to L’Rell when host Matt Mira asked Martin-Green if she felt L’Rell was in control of Tyler. After a long pause, the actress offered:
There is some deep stuff between [L’Rell and Tyler]. It’s what I say to him. She has something. There is something there, with her being his torturer and then the sexual abuse. It’s a lot.
Growing up in the Sarek family was no fun
In discussing Burnham’s family backstory, Martin-Green gave a bleak assessment for what it was like growing up in the Sarek household, saying:
Growing up in that household was extremely difficult. There was a lot of self-denial and self-condemnation. Any time you are in a cycle like that, year after year, it is really debilitating.
She also spoke about constantly striving for the impossible to achieve approval from Sarek, being introduced to the “strange” and “staccato little boy” Spock and finding a “nest” with her human mother Amanda. You can watch the segment below.
Wiseman discussed deleted scene
Mary Wiseman (Cadet Sylvia Tilly) joined the show after the first break, and she quickly took credit for Burnham’s growth over the season. There was some joking around about how Tilly cannot keep a secret with Mira joking that Tilly is the “mycelium network of Discovery’s crew.” Wiseman agreed and pointed to a deleted scene from episode 8 (“Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”), where Tilly struggled to keep the secret that Stamets was suffering from Tardigrade DNA side-effects:
There was a scene at the end of that scene where Culber walks in and Tilly has a conniption. She immediately cannot keep a secret.
An image of this deleted scene was actually included with other images released by CBS before the episode debuted.
Celebrating the natural hair on Discovery
Reacting to a tweeted question about hair on the show, Wiseman and Martin-Green gave credit to the head hairstylist Ryan Reed along with the showrunners for allowing their natural look to flow:
It’s about Ryan Reed and Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg all deciding that we wanted to be authentic and I love that and so I had a say in it, but we all agreed and decided “Yes, this is the future and this is the way the hair grows out of my scalp…” You saw my hair straight at first. I had my 2256 little flat iron digging in at first, then I realized…who am I?
Message from Shazad
Wiseman and Martin-Green also reacted to a video question sent in by co-star Shazad Latif, who asked them to have a karaoke-off in the studio. They did reveal that their big song on set was Beyoncé‘s “Love on Top,” and that their individual go-to karaoke staples were Salt N Pepa’s “Shoop” (Martin-Green) and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” (Wiseman).
Behind the scenes on the Klingon Sarcophogus ship
The midseason finale of Discovery said goodbye to the Klingon sarcophagus ship, and to bid farewell After Trek had a package with behind the scenes info, such as the detail that the text on the stairs was a Klingon translation of text from John Ford’s Star Trek novel The Final Reflection.
Behind the scenes – storyboard to screen
Another nice package from After Trek showed how storyboards from the midseason finale were realized on screen.
That’s a wrap
The show wrapped up its own mid-season finale with a tribble drop, thoroughly startling both in-studio guests who then seized the moment and engaged with Mira in a tribble fight. If you have been watching over the season, the tribble population had been growing with each episode so this was a sort of finale to that arc. After Trek has certainly improved over its first season and is definitely starting to loosen up a bit.
Coverage of After Trek will resume the week of January 7th when episode ten premieres, but in the meantime you can keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.