Watching ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is like buying a brand-new car that you’ve wanted for a long time, but then discovering that the car has several large problems and is not as great as you’d hoped it would be. You still own the car and use it, because you’re committed at this point, but you don’t enjoy it as much as you’d hoped; you’re disappointed, and are already thinking about the next car you can buy and how much better things will be when you can finally ditch this clunker and get into a sweet new ride.
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: Now that ‘Discovery’ has jumped its own shark in revealing that the mythical Red Angel is really just Michael Burnham’s mother, there’s not a lot of option for the plot to do anything else but move forward in a pre-set straight line here. Dr. Burnham wants to be released so she can go back to the future (that’s heavy, Doc… I really crack myself up sometimes), but Pike wants answers first. Michael wants to chat with Mommy badly, but Mother Burnham doesn’t have much to say, after having seen countless futures, pasts, etc. – she’s a world-weary soldier, one of the few high points of the episode.
And hey, don’t forget that Section 31 is still a thing! The evil AI known as Control has infiltrated the group, now posing in person as Leland, and attempting to still get at that sweet, sweet Sphere data so it can complete its evolution and become all-powerful and what not. With only 3 episodes left in this season, it’s time for ‘Discovery’ to quit the “terribly mysterious” meandering of who and what the Red Angel is and get ready to rumble.
- 8 words into the opening scene of this episode, some utters the dastardly phrase: “time crystal.” I’ve already mentally checked out for the week, thanks.
- Dr. Culber is now somehow back in uniform and on active duty, eh? And we’re to believe that happened sometime in the few hours when Michael was unconscious after the events of the last episode, eh? If you say so, ‘Discovery’ creative team.
- Michael is adamant – she thinks there’s simply no way that the Red Angel can be her Mom – “no, she died!” Michael states emphatically. You’re right, Burnham, people simply don’t come back from the dead… except you’re having this conversation with a Phillipa Georgiou from an alternate universe because your universe’s version died, and a Starfleet medical doctor who literally came back to life thanks to the magic of space spores. So…
- In this episode, of all episodes, time is literally of the essence and at a premium – so sure, let’s have Pike take several moments to deal with Michael’s temper tantrum about not being able to go see her Mommy.
- Dr. Burnham helped Spock save Michael as a child… so now she is actively creating new timelines with each “jump” she makes, trying to find the one “jump” that will complete her mission. She’s like a crappier version of Sam Beckett in ‘Quantum Leap.’
- I, for one, am still holding out the ever-so-slim hope that Hoshi Sato (from ‘Star Trek: Enterprise,’ revealed in that series to be the Empress of the Terran Empire) is Terran Georgiou’s mother – thought we might get that admission and solid canonical connection in this episode when Georgiou was talking about her mother, but alas, no luck.
- Hey, of course Tyler survived Control’s attack on him – Control is a methodical organic-life-killing machine, one of the smartest beings in the universe, but sure, somehow it can’t figure out how to properly stab and kill a dude, okay.
- I am still all-in on my ever-evolving theory from two weeks ago that the future-abandoned Discovery with AI Zora at the helm, whom we met in the ‘Short Trek’ mini-episode “Calypso,” is either Control that the Starfleet team managed to isolate, or is the natural evolution of the Sphere data that has now partitioned itself off in Discovery’s data center.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: What’s the “end game” for the ‘Discovery’ creative team here? They seem to have painted themselves into a corner, with one of two possible “outs” that they may be gunning for. One, the most obvious, is that Section 31 and Starfleet created the Borg by accident, and they somehow use the time crystal nonsense to send Control and the burgeoning new killer race back in time and halfway across the galaxy into the Delta Quadrant. Two, they are giving us a possible reason for the technological “regression” we would see in ‘The Original Series,’ if everyone is super-paranoid about letting artificial intelligence gaining this much, ahem, control ever again.
The first option beats a not-quite-dead-but-way-overused horse in the Borg, and the second sounds kinda cool but is really just dumb, as I doubt the entire universe would just blindly agree to regress technologically – especially the enemies of the Federation. For both of these potential outcomes, I’d just prefer this particular timeline to be destroyed and let ‘Star Trek Discovery’ fade into the annals of Trek history like some ill-conceived ‘St. Elsewhere’ fever dream.
See you here next week for more analysis, kids!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru
Anson Mount as Captain Pike
Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Cadet Tilly
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Culber
Ethan Peck as Spock
‘Star Trek: Discovery’ features new episodes Thursday nights at 8:30 pm online via CBS All Access.