Trekathon 749: Despite Yourself (DIS)

2018 and we’re back for the last six episodes of Season One of Discovery. Review and spoilers after the jump.

It’s not a good sign when my initial reaction is ‘Mirror Universe, Sigh’. DS9 really poisoned the well for my subconscious, even with the strength of the ENT entry. But I think there’s also the issue that the cartoonish nature of the Mirror Universe feels like a very poor fit for the more grounded tone of this show.

I forgave that the second we found out that it was Captain Tilly. And then Lorca moved into a Scottish accent and I was enjoying the episode a fair bit, despite some flaws. It took a while to get going, but once it got going it was a lot of fun.

(‘Mirror Discovery’ running around the prime universe is an interesting story. Wish we got to see that too. If we don’t get to see ‘Captain Killy’ for real I will be very sad. But with all the effort they went to for the costumes, I’m optimistic.)

Overall, I felt that this ended up feeling like a much more grounded approach to the mirror universe, in keeping with the general theme of the show. Tilly wrestling with the nature of her counterpart, and Burnham dealing with the sudden but inevitable betrayal, felt like a more interesting character approach than we’ve seen before.

So, on to the L’Rell, Tyler and Voq plot. There’s a lot of hints planted through the first half of the episode, and I appreciated that Tyler was at least smart enough to seek some medical help. I was very sad to see Dr Culber die, as I thought he and Stamets were a nice couple. It seems like all the theory crafting about this being a katra engram is wrong. ‘Implanted overlay personality’ does answer some of the concerns about Voq, but it’s still pretty stupid. Maybe it’s the benefit of time, but I don’t feel as upset about this as I did when I wrote my last review though. Not finding a way to keep Lorca out of the agony booth seemed a bit arch though.

Some quick notes;

– Whee, Yellow Alert again. Lorca must be the only Captain who got a good grade on the ‘alerts’ exam.

– ‘Evasive Pattern Beta Four Pi’? Yes, because the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet would only give you 240 options for evasive patterns with one letter and a number. Clearly any sensible captain needs 5,760.

– Too much technobabble in the Mirror Universe reveal. There were better ways to do that. ‘Quantum signature’ is a lazy writing room who just wanted to move on with it. For instance, could have just learnt it from the data core, and find another reason to retrieve it.

– After a couple of months away, the credits really bought me back into the thing.

– There is seriously nothing between Tyler walking into the brig and releasing L’Rell? Not a guard, a camera, a password?

– Nice of Lorca to put up a nice big ‘it was me, I did it’ flag early in the episode, redirecting Burnham from the logs.

– I think it’s interesting that Lorca’s first question about the Buran was if his crew was alive. It speaks to the nature of his trauma.

– USS Defiant linking back to the Enterprise Mirror Universe episodes. Nice callback, but a bit convoluted.

– So, if Lorca’s mirror version is leading a coup against the evil government, what does that mean about the Prime Lorca? Is that a pointer towards him being more evil than we’ve thought so far? And while we’re at it, The Emperor is unnamed and mysterious? That’s a mystery box for someone we recognise I think.

– I shall need a T-shirt reading ’60 per cent terrified, 40 per cent excited.’ With ‘Maybe 70 per cent’ on the back.

– Having complained about Technobabble, I would appreciate some technobabble that at least tries to explain the way that there’s this weird ‘character syncing’ thing in the mirror universe. My butterfly effect is strained.

749 down.