Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Delivers A Shot Through The Heart In “The Wolf Inside”

REVIEW: “The Wolf Inside”

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, Episode 11 – Debuted Sunday January 14th
Written by Lisa Randolph
Directed by T.J. Scott

“The Wolf Inside” deftly continues the story arc that began in episode 10, while also delivering on some of the longer character arcs being built throughout the first season. Shazad Latif stands out as he is tasked with carrying much of the heavy lifting in the episode and delivers what may be his best performance so far on Discovery. And the production designers, costumers, creature and makeup designers all shined, bringing new and renewed imagery to the screen.

Apropos of the setting, everything feels a bit different and even a bit unsettling throughout the episode. At the same time, the episode has some satisfying classic Star Trek feels along with introducing some classic Star Trek elements, which were nicely renewed for Discovery.

It’s like a classic song you know and love, made new by a band you are just finding out knows how to rock.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.

[SPOILERS BELOW]

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

“The Wolf Inside” picks up on the story of crew of the USS Discovery finding themselves trapped in the Mirror Universe, with no clear way to get home. While the episode continues the plot from “Despite Yourself,” right off the bat it sets a different tone. From the start, we are drawn into the darker atmosphere of the mirror universe as we bounce between storylines on the USS Discovery and the ISS Shenzhou. Everything about “The Wolf Inside” feels quieter, moodier and more introspective. All of this enhances the fact that things are different here, in this very different universe.

In the mirror universe, the corridors get creepier

Even the intro segment feels out of place, lasting 15 minutes and bouncing around between characters instead of the usual short and focused pre-credits teaser. During this intro we pick up on what are going to be the three big things for the episode. First, the discovery of Lt. Stamets in a damaged section of the ship, cradling his beloved Hugh Culber’s lifeless body. After the spooky find, Saru and Tilly focus on this side-mission starting with the assumption that it was an addled Stamets who killed Culber.

Nothing suspicious about this

On the ISS Shenzhou we find Michael Burnham struggling with the impersonation of her ruthless counterpart. Being captain was always her dream, but here we find Michael hauntingly narrating her Mirror Universe “nightmare” to Lt. Tyler who reveals the only thing holding him together is the “tether” of their love. We can see how both of these characters are having epic identity crises.

Thankfully we can both hold on to our humanity, right Tyler?….Tyler?

And lastly we have the main plot progression with Burnham trying to figure out how to fulfill the mission of getting the USS Defiant data files back to the USS Discovery. In addition to circumventing the paranoid IT infrastructure of the Terran Empire, as Captain Burnham she has to maintain her cover, including dealing with the genocidal orders from the Emperor.

I’m the captain now!

There must be some way out of here

Burnham’s orders – direct from the Emperor – are to go to the planet Harlak and destroy the rebel base and leader known as The Firewolf. Consulting with Lorca, who is clearly feeling the effects of his time in the agony booth, Burnham struggles with maintaining her cover by following these orders. It’s no surprise that Lorca doesn’t see the issue. If you have to drop a few photon torpedoes on some rando mirror people to complete your mission, no big whoop.

Lorca is not looking so good

In a simple, yet powerful scene with Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs, once again it falls on the convicted mutineer to point out Starfleet’s core principals to her captain, and remind him of the bigger picture. Burnham is able to see past the mini-arc to the season arc, noting that the head of the alien rebellion is a Klingon.

If she can find out how this Federation-like group has come together, maybe she can get the key to the ending the war with the Klingons back home. After having to witness executions by transporter and getting bathed by Mirror Saru, who is her personal slave, Burnham seems desperate to do something that upholds the ideals her Federation before she loses herself in this dark place.

What happens on the ISS Shenzhou, stays on the ISS Shenzhou

Director T.J Scott and cinematographer Glen Keenan are able to draw us into the unease Burnham feels by shooting and lighting this world differently compared to the rest of the series. The mood is punctuated by composer Jeff Russo who gives the music a subtle ominous tone throughout.

Mirror Universe? More like the Moody Universe

Rebel rebel, how could they know?

Following the advice of Lorca to only bring Tyler with her – which seemed like a good idea at the time – Burnham heads down to Harlak where she quickly surrenders to the rebels, eschewing her Federation’s favorite line, “We come in peace.”

We then get introduced to this burgeoning little “Coalition of Hope,” complete with our first looks at Discovery’s versions of the other founding Federation members, the Andorians and Tellarites. Any concerns that Discovery was going to radically redesign these two classic Trek races were put aside by impressive updates. Kudos to designers Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page for their nicely detailed work, which also honored what has come before.

Rebel scum…oops, wrong franchise

Even more importantly, the “Firewolf” was revealed to be the mirror version of Voq, counterpart to T’Kuvma’s torchbearer who hasn’t been seen since episode 4. While Burnham does her best to convince this Klingon that she is a “new” Michael Burham and not the “Butcher of the Binary Stars,” we can also see that Tyler is having a bit of a freak out. And the hits keep coming as we are soon introduced to Mirror Sarek – a properly goateed James Frain – who is some sort of prophet for this ragtag band of aliens.

Burnham doesn’t flinch as Sarek comes in for the mind meld, something she has experienced before. After Mirror Sarek watches an inter-dimensional clip show of his counterpart’s past with Burnham, he is convinced – if not a bit perplexed – by her sincerity. This leads to a quick negotiation between Burnham and Voq to help the rebels escape in exchange for Voq explaining just how he is able to work with these different aliens.

Now you know you are in the Mirror Universe

As Trek fans it is easy to forget that for this show, Klingons are very much not the type to be casually hanging out with anyone but other Klingons. Voq reveals that in this universe the Klingon houses are united and that having them in order and fighting a common foe is the key to their inclusiveness. While the moment seemed to fly by, this insight may become important later in the season. But before we can take in any of this discussion and its possible implications, all the talk about Klingons seems to finally break Tyler’s tether as he attacks Voq while screaming in Klingon. The pair square off but Voq easily puts Tyler down.

The entire segment in the alien camp has so much going on with so many layers between the designs and the actors that you really need to watch it a couple times to take it all in. It is even more impressive when you realize that one of the actors is playing two of the parts.

Voq’s back, but did he ever really leave?

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes

Since episode 5, just about everyone has picked up on the fact that Lt. Tyler had something to hide about his time as a Klingon prisoner … well, everyone (with the exception of the late Dr. Culber) not on the USS Discovery. But seeing Mirror Voq finally set off the trigger that L’Rell tried to pull last week. This was the episode that we finally and definitively learn that Tyler is actually Voq, surgically altered to look human with Tyler’s personality implanted on top. Even if you knew it as coming, how the reveal was played out was still both satisfying and impactful.

In a devastating scene back on the ship we have Michael Burnham realize her lover is actually the Klingon spy she fought on board the Sarcophogus ship. And that same re-awakened Klingon realizes his alter ego has been getting very up close and personal with the woman who killed his Lord and the Klingon messiah, T’Kuvma. So yeah, it was a bit awkward.

Set your phaser to heartbreak

Both Martin-Green and Latif deserve all the accolades for the heartbreaking moments as they slowly peel away the layers of deceit. The pair then pick up where they left of, fighting to the death. To the show’s credit, they didn’t get sappy by having the tether of love break down the raw hate. The re-Voqed Tyler was ready to kill and was only stopped by Burnham’s loyal Kelpien slave. Maybe giving him the name Saru inspired some extra loyalty, as he picked Tyler up and tossed him aside like a rag doll.

Tyler soon finds himself  beamed into space as the Terran Empire has a very efficient criminal justice system, only to be saved by the other Saru and the USS Discovery, revealing that his execution became a convenient way to get those USS Defiant data files (remember those?) off the Shenzhou.

Being used as a data card transfer holder is not going to get you into Sto-vo-kor

Shine on you crazy diamond

While most of the action is over on the ISS Shenzhou, there are still some goings on with the crew of the USS Discovery. With the situation with Stamets losing his mind to the mycelial network becoming dire, Tilly is able to convince acting captain Saru to let her take over his care, which is pretty amazing being that she is only a cadet and not a medical professional. Desperate times, or perhaps he was simply dazzled by her impressive display of technobabble.

Gone was all the fun of last episode’s “Captain Killy” dealing with playing Mirror dress-up as both character and actress pivoted to the life and death situation with Lt. Stamets. Tilly – true to the character – continues to show her ambition as she plies Saru for a recommendation to the Command Training Program while she has poor Lt. Stamets’ life in her hands.

Is this really the time to ask for a recommendation, Tilly?

Mary Wiseman continues to show an impressive range through a series of scenes leading up to Stamets being put back into the reaction cube and hooked into the mycelial network which apparently can “link death with life.” And it’s not too long before Stamets actually dies, which would have been devastating except for the way the scene was played out. You almost expected one of the medics to say, “It’s Star Trek after all, don’t worry.”

So, to no one’s surprise, in the final act, Stamets pings the monitors with signs of life. What was a surprise was seeing Paul (presumably where his real consciousness has been hanging out) in a mycelial forest, running into Mirror Stamets, who asks him if he is ready to get to work.

How many Stametses does it take to screw in a glowing mushroom?

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold

The last big “surprise” that you probably saw coming was the late reveal of the Emperor, who is really more of an Empress, in the form of the Mirror Phillipa Georgiou. Michelle Yeoh is back again, and now she has a sword too. She didn’t have much to do in the late tease, but the actress chewed things up with some menace.

Got enough gold on?

As if Burnham’s day wasn’t bad enough with her boyfriend turning out to be a Klingon, now she has to deal with the evil version of her beloved dead mentor. And this Georgiou was not happy that Captain Burnham was dragging her feet on destroying the rebel base so she had her flagship handle it in an impressive display of destruction.

And would it be reading too much into things if Lorca’s subtle little smirk after seeing the Emperor was telling? Jason Isaacs’ performance all season long has been keeping us guessing at Lorca’s character and motivations and this is just another delicious moment to add to the list.

What is going on in that dark mind of yours Gabriel?

No one knows what it’s like to feel these feelings

Last week’s episode reveled in the fun and camp of the mirror universe and even found time for some humor, but this week things got serious and more personal. Writer Lisa Randolph took her time with “The Wolf Inside,” drawing out character moments and playing on their emotions. The major plot beats mostly flew by, and sometimes almost felt incidental to the more important stories about the trials and tribulations our crew is going through.

This was an especially big episode for Michael Burnham. She is being tested by the Mirror Universe. And in the face of all this evil, she is able to hold on to hope and her ideals. Lorca, like the proverbial devil on your shoulder, tells her that the ends justify the means – the same Vulcan-trained logic that resulted in her mutiny. But this Burnham appears to have grown past that. In the face of all that she lost and even dealing with another version of her surrogate father Sarek, she is able to draw strength from her new family, including Tilly as well as Lorca and Saru, both of whom call her “Michael” for the first time. Although, this trip to the evil universe also saw both Burnham and Saru lie to each other, so they aren’t entirely pure and I have a feeling those fibs may have repercussions.

Torture has turned Lorca into a big softy

We also see this heart of idealism shine through as Saru explains to Voq/Tyler why he wasn’t left to die. The speech espousing the rule of law of the Federation was preachy, yet the perfect moment of Star Trek in this otherwise bleak universe. This was punctuated with how these two universes dealt with criminals dovetailed together.

Saru explains that killing prisoners is now how the Federation rolls

It’s more than a feeling

“The Wolf Inside” was a strong, provocative and emotionally charged episode. We may have known what was coming in some cases, but the journey there was entirely satisfying. Being that this is the middle of what appears to be a multi-episode Mirror Universe arc, it had time to spend with developing characters, especially Michael Burnham.

This is one of those episodes where upon reflection you find yourself asking questions like: why doesn’t the Shenzhou crew find it odd that the Discovery is following them at transporter range? Where is Mirror Tyler and why didn’t anyone make a note about how he was talking in Klingon before being executed? Why is a cadet the only other person on board who understands how the spore drive – the most important thing about the ship – works? How did Burnham know that the rebels wouldn’t just kill the “Butcher of the Binary Stars” on sight?

But, really, none of that matters. The episode delivered a series of emotional punches while setting up some key plot points to move forward both the MU mini-arc and likely the entire season’s Klingon War arc. It also satisfied by delivering some classic Star Trek elements, but more importantly, fundamental Star Trek themes. And what else can you ask for? Rock on, Discovery.

My boyfriend is a Klingon, my dead captain is the Emperor, OK universes, what else you got?

Clips

 


Star Trek: Discovery is available on CBS All Access on in the US and airs in Canada on the Space Channel. It is available on Netflix outside the USA and Canada.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

newest oldest
AJinMoscow

It’s all good….

Great review.
I have enjoyed DISCO (I love this nickname) from the start but as the season has progressed I have seriously fallen head over heels with it.
Since growing up in the 80s I have always hoped for high budget, deep thinking Trek. I felt we were on the right track with the first Pine/Quinto Trek film and I now believe Discovery has picked up where the films left off and run into exciting new territory for Star Trek. Talking about breathing new life…etc.
Long live DISCO.

DiscoTrek

I always wanted the same thing and Disco makes me very happy…

VoR

Completely agree. DISCO is the Trek I’ve always wanted and hoped for. It has the spirit of the original, with the complexity of DS9, along with many new and original qualities of its own.

Also, Captain Killy is hot.

JAGT

Kudos for the rockin’ and rollin’ chapter titles!
…and once again I start commenting before having read the whole thing – but so far I’ve found myself agreeing to every assessment uttered in this review. So a thumbs-up there as well.

ReysWes

My biggest question still is: What are Lorcas real motives? And where is his counterpart? I don’t really believe, that the other Lorca died in a smiliar Buran incident. Why should they do that and throw away a mirror version of him.

So i still have the feeling that he actually is the Mirror Lorca and the Prime Lorca is either dead or somewhere else.

Either way: I hope Jason Isaacs will remain in the series, because imho he is the most interesting and intruiging character. Without him the rest of the series would be half as good…

Saiyan

Was it just me or did Lorca smile when he saw the emperor? The smile was very “I love it when a plan come together”.

Olaf

Yeah, I thought I saw that, too.

DiscoTrek

I think it was one of those “Are you fucking kidding me” smiles

Corinthian7

I think it was he smile of somebody whose getting a second crack at killing the emperor.

DiscoTrek

I think it was one of those “Are you effing kidding me” smiles

Holden

Agreed, Disco. I thought it was more of an amused smirk, perhaps at the irony of it all. But then I still don’t buy he’s from the MU or fully understands it.

TrekFan 1973

I have a feeling the Lorca story will be the main reveal as the season comes to a close. I too hope that the character will remain past this season. He’s been my favorite character on this show and one of my all-time favorite Trek captains. He’s a kick-ass guy who’s as flawed as he is competent. Could it be that the traitor to the Empire is actually Prime Lorca?

ReysWes

My thought too. Otherwise, I don’t want to have a “good” Lorca. Would feel like the “good” Kirk in “The Enemy Within”… too weak. I want HIM! Better MU Lorca stays and gets a bit more accommodated to Starfleet. But still badass.

Phil

It’s going to take some twisting of the pretzel to rationalize Burnham back into the fleet at the end, too. She’s still the mutineer, and now known to have been getting busy with a high level Klingon spy. Not exactly stuff you want on your resume…

albatrosity

or folding of the fortune cookie

albatrosity

I agree, I really like Lorca! Him, Stamets and Saru are my faves

LesterInKirk

What the hell… Saru enters captain’s quarters without knocking, catches Burnham and Tyler in bed. Burnham acts embarrassed. Mirror Burnham would have locked door for fear of assination. Mirror Burnham would have killed Saru for walking in unannounced.

Olaf

Does Tyler have a boner in that heartbreak pic? :-o

robert

I expected Georgiou to be the emperor. Mirror Sato grabbed power at the end of mirror darkly. Wouldn’t be surprised if Georgiou is her great grand daughter

TrekFan 1973

I saw that coming from a mile a way too and really hope you are right that she and Sato are part of a dynasty ruling the Empire since Enterprise.

Fred Javelina

Just because they’re Asian doesn’t mean they’re related. It’s an interesting conjecture, but…it feels a little…racist, on top of being very lazy screenwriting.

We never assume all white people know each other or are related to each other. Would we assume James T. Kirk is Captain Archer’s grandson?

Sato was a Japanese-American character played by a Korean-American actress with no accent in English, and Georgiou is a character of currently unknown ethnicity or nationality, with a Greek last name, played by a Malaysian actress of Chinese background, with a noticeable accent.

The likelihood of them being related – when in the real world Asians make up the *majority* of the world’s population – is statistically very low.

Eric Cheung

True.

The only thing I’d add is that there is evidence that Georgiou may be Malaysian, if only culturally, given the way she decorated her ready room. Michelle Yeoh had some say in what she could bring to the room.

robert

O for gods sake get over yourself with the racist thing and the whole Asian analysis. People like you take yourself way to seriously.

The defiant still exists in the mirror universe after nearly a century has passed. This is clearly a link to ST ENT and Hoshi Sato. O and don’t get me started about the way people look that play one anothers decendants. Or worse young and older versions. The actor playing 9 year old Anakin would never look like the 20 year old version from episode 2 and 3; let alone the 44 year old sith bald guy in episode 6.

My idea is mere conjecture and that’s that. If that’s racist then every casting director is racist by definition.

Fred Javelina

I’m guessing this is a problem you’ve never had to deal with. because you’re a member of the majority race; everyone in media, politics and public life mostly looks like you, and your majority has had the power to define who is “the other/outsider” for as long as we can remember.

You’d see this very differently if you were a member of a minority community, because yes, you become sensitized to lazy stereotypes and ignorance from majority-race people.

I have personally had the “Hey! You’re [insert nationality here]? Do you know [friend of theirs who is also of that nationality that I don’t know because there are billions of us on earth, in a city of millions]?” conversation far, far too often in my life, and also the “No, where are you REALLY from?” conversation far too often, and to be frank, I’m sick of it.

The idea that Sato and Georgiou are related *just because the actresses and characters are of Asian descent* is lazy at best, definitely insensitive, and, to spare you the indignity of the R-word, IGNORANT to a high degree.

I mean Korean and Malaysian people don’t even really look alike, but I guess to the untrained eye, ALL LOOK SAME amirite?

DeanH

I know there are still naysayers out there but overall IMO Disco continues to evolve into a series that will deservedly join the rich legacy that is Star Trek. No it is not perfect but I for the most part look for good writing and a level of care and commitment from the cast and crew, all things that seem pretty apparent over the first 11 episodes of season one. No, this doesn’t have the “utopian luxury liner” look and feel of TNG but we all know that is where things are headed… in about 100 plus years. Until then, I plan to enjoy the Disco journey of the Federation struggling to get to that bright hopeful future.

ST DISCO FAN

@DeanH… I agree with your assessment about the journey to the golden days of the TNG universe.
What we are seeing here is a possible take/interpretation on how the foundation was laid for TOS and TNG, and all the other series that existed prior to this one. Because this is a potential past, there is room for them to play around with some bits of the cannon, coming up with potential backstory for some of what we know.
The people in this time period are real, rough diamonds. Yes, the Federation exists, but it is still very young and growing. It think ST DISCO has the power to show some of those growing pains in its story telling.
I’m looking forward to having my heart yanked about every week for a few years to come…

DeanH

Btw, one question I have not yet heard… Will MU Ash Tyler make an appearance on board the Discovery???

PEB

That’s been my real question as well. I figured he could be aboard the Defiant.

Curious Cadet

@DeanH — yeah I’d have to go back and look at the last episode a little closer … They seemed to scrutinize the recovered database and only put people they could verify into positions where they could be questioned. They must have verified Tyler to use him in such a high profile way. If so, where is Mirror Tyler? Of course, is there is a real Tyler, he’s the answer to preserving Tyler’s consciousness now surpressed inside surgically altered Voq. They just transfer his consciousness into Mirror Tyler.

DeanH

Ah yes, that makes sense since they found out that only Michael and Lorca “didn’t get uniforms”!!

DiscoTrek

CC, I haven’t thought of that as a resolution. Works for me

TUP

It was sort of implied that the fact the Klingon houses were united and willing to work with other species was because they had a common enemy…and that might be the key to ending the war in the Prime Universe.

It makes me wonder if there will be a common enemy pop up. But they have very few episodes left to wrap up the war.

Thomas W.

My thoughts about this episode:

The clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the gorilla suit has to go!

Jacek

It’s a pity they didn’t address the question of Spock. How is it that Sarek is a prophet of the rebellion, while Spock will be a respectable officer of the empire in a decade? I wanted to see more than the goatee running in the family.

DeanH

Yes, that would have been interesting. I think in Enterprise, the MU Vulcans were slaves to the Terran Empire – but they also served onboard ships like the NX-01 even though others were sowing the seeds for rebellion. In Mirror Mirror, Vulcans obviously were still serving onboard ships like the ISS Enterprise but it is unclear what other Vulcans were doing.

TUP

Maybe the real revelation is that Spock was either a rebel or sympathetic to the cause the whole time. Kirk gave him the last little push he needed to become more personally involved.

David Ryan

Maybe the actions of the Discovery crew and their meeting with Mirror Sarek allow for some sort of reconciliation with the Empire. Maybe if Emperor Georgiou is killed, the incoming Emperor eases up on some of the xenophobic policies. Or perhaps Spock just built up a unique relationship with MU Kirk, which allowed him to rise through the ranks

Curious Cadet

@Jacek — isn’t that clear? Prime Sarek wanted Spock to follow the ways of the Vulcans but Spock chose to join the academy. The same is true in the mirror universe. Clearly Sarek’s human wife, had a Vulcan servant named Sarek, who impregnated her with Spock. She let Sarek raise him on Vulcan, but knowing his human half, Spock felt compelled to follow in the Terran footsteps of his mother, or his mother raised him as a servant, and used her connections to get him into Starfleet. I mean this stuff writes itself.

TUP

Did you pick up on Lorca’s smirk when the Empress was lecturing Michael…? Or did I imagine that?

DiscoTrek

it’s either “there she is. I’ve been waiting” smile or it’s “are you effing kidding me” smile

TUP

It felt to me that he smirked and then caught himself and stifled it. Thats how it seemed to be played. And the close up would indicate his reaction was important.

But I only watched it once.

Corinthian7

I’m confident that it was the former. I’m more convinced than ever that Lorca is from the MU and that his self satisfied expression was because he will get a second opportunity to eliminate the Emporer. I’ve really enjoyed Lorca so it will be disappointing if it turns out he’s the shows main villain and that his goal all season has been to return to the MU to become emperor. However, even if he is mirror Lorca he could be looking to overthrow the emperor because he supports the resistance making his desire to return to the MU more noble and even allowing the character to stay on as Discovery Captain in season 2.

Neil24

I don’t think he’s a mirror Lorca. I’m guessing Prime Lorca is infiltrating the mirror universe in some kind of effort to save the Buran and her crew (and that the prime version of Landry is among them).

First, Lorca surviving the Buran’s destruction and his claim that he destroyed it to save his crew from Klingon capture and torture seems very odd and should have certainly resulted in a court-martial or at least being stripped of command. Did the ISS Buran venture into the prime universe and is that why Lorca blew it up and got away scott-free?

Second, for sure Lorca is definitely reckless and shuns authority, but nothing so far indicates he’s an evil/mirror Lorca. Wouldn’t prime universe tribbles and Kelpians instinctively exhibit a threat response to an evil/mirror counterpart?

Third, even if the Buran was destroyed in both universes, maybe Lorca thinks he can bring back the USS Buran crew because of the mycelial network. Isn’t that consistent with why a seemingly dead Stamets appears to be there and why the producers keep hinting that Dr. Culber will somehow comeback through that same network.

Anyway, that’s my take on things so far.

And by the way, didn’t everyone pretty much predict the “big” reveals that this episode tried to “surprise” us with– Tyler being Voq and mirror Georgiou being the Terran Emperor. I think the writers underestimate a little the intelligence of the folks who love Trek. I wasn’t really thrilled by this last episode for that reason, but I admit the actors did a fantastic job with what they had.

Curious Cadet

@Neil24 — Why would Prime Universe tribbles react to evil Mirror Universe humans?

I mean, what you propose is certainly a possibility, however, so is this: we’ve already seen Mirror Stamets on Discovery, which in my mind opens up a possibility where Lorca with Stamets discovers the Mirror Universe and Lorca being quite intelligent discovers a better path for himself by crossing over into the Prime Universe, as passing himself off as his Prime counterpart. There could be some sort of intelligence gathering mission as well. But my point it, that Lorca, as well as Stamets, unlike Kirk and the others Spock claimed could not so easily pass themselves off as their Prime counterparts in Mirror Mirror, have had a chance to study the environment they will infiltrate. And at a minimum, that’s all that’s necessary for Mirror Lorca to cross over, whatever else they may come up with. And whether Lorca is Mirror Lorca or not, I get the feeling he’s been in the MU before. So there’s at least that.

Neil24

True, although Tribbles in canon have alerted on the presence of Klingons, it doesn’t necessarily mean they alert on “bad” people. Could just be a species thing. But what hasn’t Saru’s threat ganglia activated if he’s a evil/mirror Lorca?

I also agree that Lorca (whether he’s mirror or prime) has definitely been in the MU before.

I’m just trying to figure out why he was there before and why he’s presumably returned on purpose, when he otherwise seemed very dedicated to defeating the Klingons and the Federation winning in the prime universe. The only thing that I can guess that would seem especially important or significant to him is the Buran. He’s admitted he’s purposely not seeking treatment for the damage to his eyes because he doesn’t want to forget what happened to the Buran, so it seems very important to him.

victor schwartzman

Okay review but I don’t like the show, and feel like we make excuses for it. Trek was about people working together. Discovery is a war show that stole the Trek brand. I have to force myself to watch, hoping it will improve. There are interesting characters but the show does not know what to do with them.

Phil

Well, this Trek is about people working together. Burnham recognized that quickly among the MU rebels as well. As far as the brand goes, its look is very much so what Nick Meyer did for WOK, generally credited with saving the movie franchise. That’s an opinion, and open for speculation, but still an improvement over the 60’s era Enterprise, made of plywood and 2×4’s…

victor schwartzman

Hello Phil! Yes, sometimes the people work together, but mostly they argue. The look of the series is fabulous, absolutely. And the characters could be interesting, indeed some of them are developing. On the other hand, the series too easily kills characters off, which weakens your relationship to the survivors. I wish the series would place less emphasis on looks and more on each episode having a solid theme. Trek originated as an allegory. Whatever happened to that. And yes, love Meyer’s work!

albatrosity

Do they “mostly argue”? I think they disagree sometimes. I don’t see characters who openly hate each other. Seems like everyone likes each other and aside from Stamets’ comments early on, they like working with each other. It’s just that life is tough sometimes, even in utopian 23rd century Star Trek.

victor schwartzman

I hear you! But as an example, remember that Next Generation episode which begins with the Enterprise blowing up? The ship is caught in a weird time warp, and at the end they encounter Frasier? That is one of my favourite shows because it is the crew, as a team, working together. There is very little of that in the current series.

Trek Fan 67

Ummm victor… no one is making excuses for it. Nor do they need to. If it isn’t your cup of tea, why do you continue to watch?

victor schwartzman

Hello Trek Fan 67. Well, yes it ain’t my cup of tea, but: it has space ships. The visuals are wonderful. I had to push myself to watch the first four or so episodes. After that, I was curious to see what happened to the characters. So I continue for that reason. However, this series calls itself Star Trek. That ‘brand’ should mean something. If they wanted an action series set during a war, they could have called it Star Trips. In calling it Trek, I suggest the producers have an obligation to reflect what Trek itself is all about. Right now, I’d say the producers have failed in that obligation. There is also the hope that it will get better. One episode actually had some humor, which was different for this series. None of the episodes, however, have had real individual themes, nor have any of them been the type of allegory that Trek became famous for. I think it is fair for fans to watch, criticize reasonably, and keep hoping. Mind, I’m 72, and regularly rewatch Earth V. The Flying Saucers. Are you familiar with Ray Harryhausen? Beats CGI!

Wytse Kloosterman

Rock on, Discovery indeed!

DiscoTrek

Excellent review. (a lot of typos) You’re questions at the end: why doesn’t the Shenzhou crew find it odd that the Discovery is following them at transporter range?>>could’ve been addressed off camera. Burnham’s the captain and she wouldn’t have to explain herself. Where is the Mirror Tyler and why didn’t anyone make a note about how he was talking in Klingon before being executed?>>I think mirror Tyler will be resolved later and be the biggest resolve of the season. Speaking Klingon was part of why they were killing him and not really a secret after he attacked Burnham. Why is a cadet the only other person on board who understands how the spore drive – the most important thing about the ship – works?>>Because she was Staments assistant and partner in the jumps. Probably the reason she is on the ship. How did Burnham know that the rebels wouldn’t just kill the “Butcher of the Binary Stars” on sight?>> tougher one to answer. It’s just a Trek thing. She would rather take a chance on sacrificing herself then Kill everyone on the planet.

TUP

From the rebels perspective, it would be unwise to kill two Starfleet officers who are walking near your secret base. You’d want to know what they know and how they know it.

victor schwartzman

I suggest the problem is in the writing. Interesting characters are introduced and then often killed off or not developed. There are interesting people on the bridge, most of them never having a line. I believe the problem with the series lies in the writing. Too much emphasis on action and drama and being dark. Not enough emphasis on building the characters and having a coherent story line. The episodes currently are in a mirror universe. The single episode of the classic Trek used the concept to show differences between the characters, and then used those differences to tell a story. The current series does not seem to get that idea. It has dumped all the momentum built up for the situation in the ‘real’ universe by sending the crew somewhere else. Yes, there might be a flimsy tie in at the end. Vox will work with the Federation, eventually, to bring peace to the Galaxy because he saw it was a good idea in the mirror universe? Right now it feels as if characters are simply being manipulated, and the viewers along with them. Oh yeah, did love the mirror Tyler!!

Muse

Great review! A lot of thought effort goes into your reviews and it shows. I thought it was a stunning episode and at times a very powerful piece of television. The Burnham/Tyler/Voq meltdown scene was a masterclass of writing, acting and directing – the tension and heartache was truly visceral. The handling of the Mirror Universe is superb and puts the DS9 eps to shame (and I adore DS9!).

I’m so thrilled with how well this show is turning out. To be frank, I feel anyone who trashes the show at this point simply doesn’t want to like it.

Thomas W.

No. It is the worst written series of all Star Trek shows. I think this new ship was put together by monkeys. Oh, she’s got a fine engine, but half the doors won’t open.

TUP

Imagine thinking that was true. lol

DiscoTrek

lol I don’t think so Thomas W troll monkey

Holden

@Thomas. It’s a well written show–like many high end TV dramas these days it packs a lot of information in quickly, but when you watch it a second time you see how thorough they are (as opposed to some shows that just rely on quick editing, misdirection, and short audience attention spans). There’s some great writing in previous Trek series, but also a ton of filler. I haven’t agreed so far with every choice they’ve made with DISCO, and I’m still waiting for the end game to see if it all works, but there’s no question they are leaving it all on the court here.

albatrosity

If they just spread that information out over a couple extra minutes, it’d go a long way toward believability IMO. It’s almost like they’re talking over each other sometimes. GOT never feels that way, and it’s an intricately designed world just as complicated as Trek, and I understand it just watching it. But with DSC sometimes they just need to let the actors breathe and speak slower. Would it kill them to lengthen the episodes by like two minutes to get this exposition in more naturally?

Holden

True, albatrosity. There is an element of trying too hard to hold (some) people’s attention spans. I think they are self-conscious about the “technobabble” and probably overcompensate too much. GOT has a slower pacing–it’s a complex story in terms of characters, but there’s not as much complicated “science” to explain as in DISCO. That, and IMO they also have a lot more gratuitous sex and shock violence to hold those same people’s attention!

victor schwartzman

Appreciate you loved the show but I agree with the comments and I have secret intelligence that in fact the scripts have also been put together by monkeys. Remember the old saw about putting a thousand monkeys in front of a thousand typewriters, and sooner or later you’d get ‘Hamlet’? It is an old saying, it does involve typewriters. But it feels as if the scripts are being dictated by the producers, who are committed to certain storylines, and are not coming from the heart of the writers.

Lyle

It’s too bad they didn’t kill off Voq in this episode, then we could all go around saying “Voq is dead they say – long live Voq!”

Seriously, though, I am finding myself loving DISCO more and more each week.

jonboc

It’s a shame this episode didn’t happen 3 years into the series so we have some real emotional attachment to these people adding real weight to the drama. Sorry, the whole thing was cobbled together too soon with a cast I barely care about, because I don’t even know them yet. Takes the air of fun out of having to watch them NOT be themselves. Patience is indeed a virtue, and pays off in spades…especially in serialized drama. Oh well. It looked good. I did enjoy the direction, this guy has a real good cinematic “eye”.

victor schwartzman

Yes.

Joe

Well there is no mirror Tyler. There is Voq…

Soren

In five words: Drab. Miserabilist. Overly self referential.

Kirok

Sigh… Looks like we are getting still another MU episode next week. Really hope it’s the last one. They need to get out of there and on with what seems to have become a forgotten story arc. The Klingon war. The good news is this episode had the fewest glitches ever! Only 3 and each one was quite short.

As much as I’m not a fan of the MU it has become painfully obvious something like it was needed to do what they are doing. Still find the alterned Klingon concept tired and old and worn out. But it’s here so we have no choice but to go with it. It was great to see Andorians and Tellerites. They have been a very rare sight on the TV side indeed. I am also forced to admit this episode moved things along quite nicely. It was one of the better episodes of the season. Not really sure what else to say here. Those are my main takeaways from it. My guess is they will find a way to get back without ever seeing or stepping foot on the Defiant. Thus avoiding THAT conundrum. One more thing… The first two episodes of the final 6 have been better than most of the first 9. So at least that…

ST DISCO FAN

Just listened to the podcast on this episode. The team asked hy Tyler would try to kill Voq after being activated.
My interpretation of that segment is that the awakened Voqler is seeing his mirror image and hearing him talk about being in partnership with these other races Klingons despise. It enrages him. He gave up his everything to ensure his Klingons triumph in prime universe. Mirror Voq is uniting with these races. He screams “remain Klingon or die!” (sic) before he attacks. It was what he sees as a betrayal of all things Klingon by Mirror Voq that makes Voer try to kill Voq.
Just my 2 centa….